One of the greatest aims of any archer, either professional or hobby, is to be able to shoot groups with greater accuracy and ease. But this isn’t something that comes without tireless practice and a good handle on your equipment.
So, how do you shoot better groups with a bow and are there any special techniques that you can use to stay on top of your game?
In short, the answer to that question is most definitely yes, and in this article, we are going to be looking at just how to accomplish better group shots.
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What Is Shooting Better Groups With A Bow?
Archery is full of jargon that may sound a little confusing, especially if you are new to the sport. However, it can be quickly learned, so before we get started on looking at how to shoot better groups, we must be sure that we understand what this means.
Grouping refers to many arrows being shot from the same archer at the same time. There are two types of groups; loose and tight. A loose grouping is where the arrows are not released from the bow in close proximity to one another. In contrast, a tight grouping is made up of arrows that were very close or tightly fired together.
Of course, if you are able to shoot a tight grouping, this will prove your ability where accuracy and precision are concerned; two things that are vital in archery.
How To Shoot Better
Now that we understand what we are aiming for and why it is time to start exploring ways in which we can improve our groups and some of these ways are surprisingly simple and easy to implement.
Get The Right Fit
There is not one bow that works for everyone; you might imagine this piece of equipment in a similar way to a set of golf clubs – every golfer needs something personal to them. Your bow is exactly the same, and if you do not have the right fit, this could translate to poor shots and negatively affect your precision and accuracy.
A professional will be able to fit you for a suitable bow, and many things will be taken into consideration, most notably, the draw length. If this is out by even the smallest amount, it can drastically impact your shot. Besides, your draw weight might be off, and this can also have terrible results on your precision.
When you are being fitted for a bow, the professional will be able to offer you invaluable advice that can help you ensure that your aim and shot is always spot on.
Get A Professional To Give Your Bow The Once Over
It’s all well and good trying to maintain your bow at home, but without a bow press, there are some things that cannot be done as accurately. Taking your bow to a professional will allow them to give it the once over and make sure that everything is in full working order.
The first thing that you should ask is that the professional put the bow into a bow press and look at the cams; these should be tight. Failure to do this might mean that when firing, your arrows shoot off in various directions.
After this, it is essential to have the overall integrity of the bow checked because even the most minute changes in the position of certain features such as the arrow rest could yield disastrous results when trying to shoot a group.
There are different levels of flexibility when it comes to arrow spines, and what works well with one type of shot will not be as beneficial for another. This is why it is crucial to be sure that you are using the right kind of arrow for a tight group shot.
You will notice that each arrow has a spine rating and this refers to how stiff the arrow is a higher number means that the arrow is relatively flexible whereas numbers that are lower on the scale represent a stiff arrow.
You will want to use a stiffer arrow for group shots for many reasons but most importantly, because this will give you a straighter shot despite the high poundage of the bow.
Form A Habit
One of the most unique things about archery is that while a certain degree of skill is required, muscle memory plays a vital role in achieving specific shots like groups.
If you want to develop your skills and learn how to fire a perfect and tight group shot every time, then practice makes perfect.
You want to form a habit that becomes second nature, and this can only be done through repeatedly shooting the bow. To begin with, you shouldn’t worry about the accuracy or hitting a target but rather focus on the draw and your stance (more on that, later) giving you a great form. This practice must be done every day for at least half an hour and you will need to continue this for at least three weeks to see results.
You will notice that over time, the process becomes almost automatic and you won’t need to think much about it at all.
Correct Your Stance
If there is anything that can affect the aim and accuracy of your arrows, it is your stance, yet so many archers are still not standing properly when firing their bow. You may have been taught a specific way, but quite often, this won’t be correct.
One thing that you must remember is that while you are holding the bow in your hands, your entire body is responsible for how it reacts and the smallest inconsistency or movement can throw your shot off dramatically.
You want to maintain an open stance, and this is beneficial in two ways. Primarily, this type of stance was developed for bowhunting since it prevents having to do too much movement and therefore, scaring the target. Secondly, this stance will prevent the string from brushing against your clothing. Many people are not aware of the fact that should the bowstring even lightly touch anything on your person; the accuracy could be significantly affected.
To stand correctly, you should consider the following steps.
- Face your target at around 45º.
- Your toes should point towards the target, many new archers will point them at 90º, but this is not effective and should be avoided.
- The feet should be parallel and set between 18 and 24 inches apart.
While you are practising getting your stance right, it can help to mark out the floor and keep working on committing the stance to your muscle memory. Furthermore, you want to ensure that your stance is consistent, it may seem like a small detail. Still, any professional archer will tell you that the base for each shot must be consistent if you want to achieve consistent accuracy and tighter group shots.
Don’t Move When The Arrow Is Released.
Another of the most common mistakes made by those new to archery is that as soon as the arrow is fired, they will tilt their head or move it to one side. Again, this may seem like a small detail, but it is undoubtedly an important one.
Fortunately, this doesn’t require vast amounts of practice to rectify, and after leaving your head in place until the arrow hits its target a few times, it will soon become automatic. This is one of the most exciting things about archery; you will find yourself becoming one with the bow and treating it as an extension of your body, allowing yourself to develop incredible automatic responses.
Improve Your Equipment
You have probably heard the saying ‘a bad workman always blames his tools’ and this could be relevant in archery.
If your aim is off and you are struggling to release tighter groupings, then it might not necessarily be something that you are doing, but rather the fault of your equipment.
Every new bow that you buy will come with a stabiliser, but for the most part, the standard ones are cheap and highly ineffective. Upgrading this could be the thing that sees your groupings go from loose to incredibly tight.
Your stabiliser is a small but very relevant part of the bow and serves to prevent the bow from rattling and shaking as you aim. If this happened, your shot can be way off and replacing the stabiliser with one that is more effective might be the solution to your problems.
Do you remember that earlier we said that every part of your body affects your aim? Even something as unassuming as the position of your elbow could throw you off and cause devastatingly inaccurate groupings.
When using a bow, you should make sure that the crease of the elbow is pointing upwards, this will allow you to move the arm horizontally across the body. This position can take some getting used to, but you must take the time to do this.
Not only will incorrect elbow positioning affect the accuracy of your groups, but it can also cause some physical harm to you. If your elbow is not in the right position, the bow may slice across your arm as it is released and this can be very painful as well as leaving marks.
Anchor And Hook
This may sound like something that is more closely related to sailing, but your hook and anchor can drastically affect how your arrows fly.
Your anchor refers to the position at which the string rests on your face, whereas the hook relates to how you hold the bow. It is worth marking the bow so that you hold it in a consistent manner every time, therefore, improving your hook.
In addition to this, you must make sure that your anchor is correct and this can be done by working with an instructor. However, in the main, the anchor point will be just under the mouth or at the bottom of the chin. You might compare the importance of the anchor with an anchor that is used on a boat; holding it in place and therefore, improving your accuracy.
Tight groupings are important in archery, and improving your accuracy is the best way to achieve consistently tight groups. However, many archers make several mistakes that can have a negative impact on the precision of their shot.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to improve this, including ensuring a correct stance, updating your equipment and spending a lot of time practising.