Archery Tips & Hints for the New Archer
You’ve been bitten by the Archery bug and can’t wait to get started, here are some archery tips, hints, and tricks to help you get started in the right way.
- Consistent anchor point: an anchor point is simply the point to where you draw the string back to every time. Ideally it should be the tip of your chin or nose but find a point that feels comfortable to you and stick with it.
- Bow Handle grip: like a lot of sports the way in which you grip the equipment has a real effect on the outcome of your shot. With archery you don’t even have to ‘grip’ the bow at all really. Simply let the handle sit between the thumb and forefinger and resting against the heel of your hand. The fact that your arm is straight will keep the bow steady and this will increase as the string is drawn. If you grip the bow too firmly it might twist or pull on release.
- Follow through: archery is very similar to golf and snooker in the way you not only hold the equipment but for the necessity for smoothness and to maintain form until the target has been struck. The follow through is a very important part of the shot as it aids accuracy.
- Stance: the stance is a vital part to archery. Sometimes what feels natural to you won’t be the right way to achieve success. A good stance is one that sees you standing at 90 deg to the target, with your arm straight and the string pulled to your anchor point.
- Focus and concentration: some archers are complete naturals, they draw, aim and release with no apparent effort involved but for us mere mortals focus and concentration are very important. As with everything else do not force your aim, look at the target, see the shot in your mind and release the arrow. As far as archery tips go this is one of the most important.
- Relax: one of the biggest things I learnt when I was rifle shooting was breathing technique. I was a bit of a natural and was consistently hitting 90 – 93 out of 100 right from the start but I was unable to break into the +95’s until one of my instructors was spotting for me and noticed that my breathing was out of sync with my shot. I had a natural tendency to hold my breath throughout the whole process but he taught me to release my breath before pulling the trigger so my whole body relaxed. Within days I was shooting 97 – 99’s.
- Practice: I’ve mentioned this before but one of my golfing heroes Gary Player famously chipped in of the green to win.
One wag in the crowd shouted out at his ‘luck’ to which Player calmly replied –
“it’s funny but the more I practice the luckier I get”
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention practice in these archery tips. Practice is a vital element to progression and success. Recently I have rekindled my love for squash, (I seriously needed to get fitter and slimmer.) My partner Andy thrashed me for the first few weeks which was fine but I started going on my own and repeatedly practicing ths areas that were weak points in my game. Now only a few weeks later I can hold him to a draw and this is mainly due to my practice. The important thing to remember that without mistakes you won’t improve so don’t be afraid to make mistakes BUT practice on those areas until they become as strong as the rest of your technique.
General Hints and Tips
What I talk about here works for me but might not work for you without some adjustment. Remember these are archery tips not rules you have to adhere to, we are all different but in general these work for me.
Keep your bow arm straight, but relaxed – By keeping the arm straight the bow is a consistent distance from your body. Together with a consistent anchor point these two give a great base to work from.
Keep clothing well clear of the bowstring – Make sure the bow string doesn’t come into contact with anything as it travels, even the slightest contact will throw your shot way off target, this is more pronounced the further it has to travel.
Use a bracer, but make sure it doesn’t foul the release – If you use a bracer make sure it can’t impede the string as it travels. Try and get one that is both light and thin, that can be strapped close to your forearm.
Develop a pre-shot routine – Just as in golf try to do the same thing every time you step up to shoot. Groove in a routine that ensues everything is set up exactly the same for every single shot.
There is much more to archery form and technique, and there are more aspects of archery that come into play when in the field, but these archery tips will go a long way in helping you improve your skills and precision.