Top 10 Archery Errors and How to Avoid Them
New archers and pros alike aren’t immune to making mistakes; it’s inevitable! Learning new tips and identifying errors is essential to staying ahead of the game. We’ve made things easy for all skill levels with the 10 most common archery mistakes, and how to correct them.
Top 10 Common Archery Errors
Inaccurate archery draw weight.
Draw weight is the amount of weight you must pull against to get a bowstring all the way to full draw. Ensuring it fits your skill level and body is crucial to hitting the archery target every time. One of the best tips in archery for beginners is to choose a draw weight appropriate to your strength.
Just because you’re used to lifting weights or staying in shape, doesn’t mean you should purchase an archery bow with a high draw weight. It can be easy to misjudge how much you can, or can’t, handle. If you find yourself pulling upward or struggling to pull, then you’ve gone heavy.
On the other hand, if it takes only minimal effort to pull, yours may be too light. Most female archers will do well with 30-50 pounds. Men can find their perfect draw weight around 50-70 pounds.
The best way to determine your appropriate draw weight is to find a local archery shop to experiment with a wide range. You’ll know your weight is right when you can pull the string back without straining or lifting the archery bow. However, weight isn’t the only part of the draw archers must keep in mind.
Incorrect draw length
The draw length is the distance at which you pull back the string for comfortable and proper shooting form. This measurement is important because some bows have a mechanical stop that is set to a specific draw length. Shooting a bow with a length that’s too short or too long isn’t ideal for hitting that archery target.
Head to your local archery shop or find a certified archery coach to determine your perfect draw length. You can always tweak things here and there to get more comfortable. Just be sure to align your draw weight and bow so things are accurate.
Improper bow grip
Every archer knows grip is one of the major keys to hitting the target each time. If you don’t hold your bow properly, each step in the shooting sequence can suffer. Proper hand position on the bow grip is the foundation of a good archery shot.
Many people have the tendency to grip a bow like a gun. However, that gripping style can lead to hand torque – twisting the bow left or right due to pressure from your hand grip. A secret to consistency in archery is being able to reproduce a set of motions over and over.
A grip that’s easy to replicate starts like this: hold your bow hand out like you’re motioning to someone to “stop”. Then, rotate it outward to form the letter V with your thumb and forefinger. When you draw the string back, the bow’s grip will push into the meaty part of your thumb.
This spot is flat and neutral, making it easy to find over and over. Be sure not to let any pressure on the grip with any of your fingers. Just let them fall limp, as you won’t need them to hold up the bow and other archery supplies.
Looking for the shot
One of the hardest things for new archers to do is not looking where the arrow hits upon releasing the strong. Though it may seem counter-intuitive to do, an archery shot isn’t finished the instant your arrow leaves the bow. Rather, there’s a continued movement of your bow arm toward the target.
Your release arm should move away from it for the shot to be consistently accurate. The follow-through is critical for the delivery of a good shot. New archers searching for the arrow right after the string is loosened often move their heads left or right to see around the riser.
When you move your head to look, this interrupts the follow-through. Failing to complete the follow-through or interrupting it can adversely affect the shot. Stay focused when you release the bowstring and complete your follow-through.
Failing to stay focused
One of the most common archery mistakes is failing to stay focused on your target. Unless you’re using a compound bow that has a peep sight, archery is not like shooting a gun. There is no sight down which you aim.
This means that you have to remain laser-focused while making shots. A tip about archery for beginners to keep in mind is to start your practice in an area free of distractions. Keep your eyes fixed on where you want the arrow to go.
Before shooting, check your stance, grip, and breath. Lift your bow and draw it in one smooth movement. Be sure not to hold the draw for too long as your arms may tire.
Additionally, be mindful to avoid the temptation of aiming down the arrow’s shaft. Keep your eyes focused on the target to hold the draw for only a moment before release instead. After you’ve become more consistent, try practicing in an area with distractions to truly hone in on the game instead of archery talk nearby.
Incorrect release technique
Whether you’re new to the game or have been shooting arrows forever, most highly recommend a hinge release instead of a trigger release. Having a repeatable release technique is just as important as a proper bow grip. Using a hinge-style release rather than a trigger can help with a shot that’s easy to replicate.
It’s no secret that proper stance is vital to making that shot every time. A good stance is important, but it’s even more crucial to stay consistent. Your stance shouldn’t be wide open, or way too closed off when we’re in archery talk.
Instead, try to maintain a slightly open stance while drawing the bow and look downrange. Keep in mind that using the same stance each time you draw is key. If you need more tips on how to perfect your stance, browse our other blogs on archery supplies and techniques!
Failing to practice
Just like any other sport, you can’t become an Olympic archer overnight. Improving your skill takes regular practice and dedication. The goal of practicing is to create an entire shot sequence that comes naturally to you.
Muscle memory will start to kick in for the real test come competition time. Getting better at archery isn’t something you can do in a few training sessions. Give yourself time to get adjusted and perfect some skills before competing.
It should be noted, however, that there is such thing as too much practice with archery. When your form starts to slip and your start feeling shakier with each shot, it’s likely time to wrap things up. Shooting too much can reinforce bad habits that occur when we practice while physically exhausted.
Striving for perfection
While everyone’s technique is different, following these general tips will help increase overall accuracy. The goal is to get better, not to reach perfection. Worrying too much about making a perfect shot each time can deter focus from the bow and arrow.
Plenty of players like to make extra moves after the shot, those things don’t matter as much. The arrow is already flying. Therefore, it is the split second when you open your fingers that is the most critical; just remember that!
Failing to utilize training and archery shops
When it comes to learning from the best of the best, coaches and pro archery shop workers are your best bet. If you’re ordering arrows online and practicing at a home range, you’re missing out on a major aspect of archery training. Consulting the pros is the best way to improve, from choosing archery equipment to following through on your shot.
Heading to a local archery shop will introduce you to professionals and fellow archers. They’ll help you choose the best bows, arrows, and accessories to fit your skill level, size, and budget. Shops will also point you in the direction of great coaches and training sessions.
Another great way to utilize local resources is making a “archery lessons near me” search. There may be opportunities for training, “archery classes near me”, and clubs to get more involved in the scene. Not to mention, you’ll meet plenty of archer friends along the way.
Now that you know which mistakes to avoid, improving your skill has never been easier. Keep practicing, get the right archery equipment, and don’t forget to have fun! Before you go, check out more from Crow Survival for additional info on all things archery.