Archery Tips – 2021 Guide to Improving Your Shots

| Last Updated April 30, 2021

Archery isn't an easy skill to learn, but there are many ways to improve.

There are 12 essential archery tips that many experienced practitioners will tell you, and we explain why each one is important.

We'll also cover a few safety tips that you need to know before drawing your bow. 

Tips for Upping Your Archery Game

There are 12 crucial tips that can help anyone with any skill level improve their archery abilities. These 12 items cover why each point is important and how it'll help you shoot better. Some sections of advice are only relevant for newcomers or compound bow users.

Advice

Best For

Know Your Equipment

All levels of skill, especially newcomers


Helping improve your handling of a bow

Relax and Breathe

Reducing shooting anxiety and increasing accuracy

Get Rid of Target Panic

Anyone tensing up as they take a shot, reducing their accuracy

Ensure Proper Posture

Newcomers and anyone struggling to hold follow through

Don’t Move Until Your Shot Lands

Improving accuracy

Take Aim and Wait

Improving accuracy and helping reduce anxiety before firing

Proper Draw Length is Critical

Anyone feeling uncomfortable with their bow and for improving accuracy

Accuracy is More Important than Speed

Anyone with a habit of shooting fast without hitting their target

Follow Through and Watch the Arrow

Improving accuracy

Check the Bubble

Improving accuracy and shot grouping with a compound bow

Don’t Aim Too High

Increasing accuracy and perception

Practice Makes You Better

Anyone procrastinating or neglecting frequent practice and seemingly never improving

Know Your Equipment

Before you begin pressing, you should familiarize yourself with the bow, quiver, arm guard, and arrows. Knowing how to handle your gear when storing it or using it is essential. If you're unsure about managing your equipment, you'll likely damage the bow limbs or string.

Aspects of your bow and other equipment are fragile and will break if handled wrong. Familiarizing yourself with how to hold the bow and what it feels like to draw the string back will help prevent any accidents. Additionally, once you know your gear, you'll have an easier time using it during practice.

If you don't know your equipment, you may buy the wrong items or start training with the bow in the wrong hand. If you use a quiver or wear any gear, you need to know how to wear them correctly. 

It's also important to know how to inspect your equipment, knowing when your bow needs to get restrung. Without this knowledge, you may practice using a bow that'll snap and harm you.

Relax and Breathe

Before you lift your bow to aim and draw back the string, you need to take a moment to relax and breathe deeply. Spending a few moments before you start practicing at a range will improve your focus. This time is essential as there are often many distractions, such as other people around you when you're in an archery range.

One of the best ways to breathe before aiming is by taking a deep breath and holding it for several seconds. Repeating this process a few times will help reduce any feeling of stress and relax your body. If you're out of focus and not concentrating, you may cause an accident.

Additionally, if you're nervous instead of relaxed, you're likely to have a slight jitter when aiming. This instability makes it harder to hit the target when shooting. 

Photo credit: archery360.com

Get Rid of Target Panic

Target panic is a natural occurrence for many archers before they take a shot. This event causes you to lose your confidence and ability a moment before you fire an arrow. Target panic often results in poor aim and, in rare cases, can cause accidents.

In many cases, panic is a natural response your body creates as it anticipates the shot happening. Your mind tries to prepare your body for an impact, attempting to stiffen your muscles as you brace for impact. If you're consistently missing regardless of your practice, you may have a minor case of target panic.

The easiest way to prevent target panic requires you to work through the shooting process mentally. As you walk yourself through the steps, you'll start panicking less. The method slows down your shooting process and gives your mind ample time to understand what it's doing.

Ensure Proper Posture

When practicing archery, you need to learn the correct posture before firing an arrow.

Your stance and posture are the building blocks of almost every other technique in archery. Unfortunately, many disregard this area during their practice and struggle to improve their aim.

Tucking your hips and tightening your lower abdomen are critical points of a good shooting posture. You should place most of your body weight on the balls of your feet once you're in a firing stance. 

Correct posture will ensure your body works with the bow and not against it, preventing any injury such as muscle sprain. Draw length will affect your posture as you may pull too far back and have an extended arm.

Don't Move Until Your Shot Lands

Waiting until your shot lands before lowering your bow and relaxing can help improve your accuracy. While the trait is relatively common among newer archers, it can benefit experienced shooters as well. However, the habit is easy to learn with some practice and focus.

Holding your pose until the arrow lands helps improve accuracy as you can manage your aim more easily. You'll already know how to keep your bow to fire an arrow to the exact spot you just did. With minor adjustments, your next shot can have greater accuracy.

Doing this method every time you take a shot will increase your rate of accuracy. However, it has better benefits for new archers still developing their muscle memory.

Take Aim and Wait

It's common for archers to develop the habit of quick-firing their bow before they've developed the necessary skills. There are many steps to take before you release an arrow when aiming that's easy to skip. If you're impatient and dislike seeking for an extended period, you'll have issues hitting your target.

Taking just 10 seconds when aiming to relax, breathe deeply, and aim will dramatically improve your accuracy. Slowing down gives you the time needed to focus and pinpoint your aim. Additionally, if you use a bow sight, it provides ample chance to find your mark.

Once you're ready to take a shot, breathe deeply before focusing and readying your aim on the target. Pay attention to how you're holding your bow and how far you've drawn the string back. Then release your arrow and watch you're aiming steadily to improve with repetitive practice.

Proper Draw Length is Critical

Having the correct draw length is essential regardless of the type of bow you're using. The measurement determines the length and size of the arrows you can use and the size of your bow. This aspect is essential if you use a compound bow as they already have set draw lengths.

Many archers pick a bow and fit themselves to its draw lengths, believing one-size-fits-all. Using the wrong size will negatively impact your accuracy and potentially lead to injury. Using the wrong draw length is also uncomfortable and will make shooting feel awkward.

Photo credit: muskethunting.com

Talking to an experienced archer can advise you on the proper bow to buy with a suitable draw length for your build. If no one around is available to inform you, there are many tutorials found online.

Accuracy is More Important Than Speed

Firing your arrows at a slow speed but still hitting your target is more impressive than firing multiple shots in quick succession but hitting nothing. Focusing on your accuracy is a building step to shooting faster. Without accuracy, there’s no reason to shoot quickly.

Practicing efficient accuracy over speed will lead to fewer chances of causing an accident. As you notch the arrow quickly, you may slip and poke yourself with the arrow's tip.

Once you've reached a decent accuracy level, you can start trying to increase your firing speed. However, doing this will require a firm understanding of the fundamentals of archery.

Follow Through and Watch the Arrow

As you release the arrow and fire it, you should watch where the arrow hits. Following through and watching your shot will help pinpoint any flaws in your accuracy or technique. Additionally, seeing your arrow move midair will show you any wind blowing it off-track.

A successful follow-through will show that you held the bow correctly and relaxed your muscles. There's no unique process at the end of your shot, simply relax your body and watch your arrow until it hits the target. 

Once you release the string and no longer pull back on the bow, it’ll slightly fall forward. Allowing the bow to fall slightly forward is the central aspect of a successful follow-through.

Check the Bubble

If you're using an archery sight on your bow, you should always keep an eye on the level indicator. The bubble will show if you're holding the bow at an angle, which will affect your accuracy. 

The bubble shows how your arrow will land in relation to your sight's pin. If the bubble is on the left, your arrows will hit to the right and vice versa for the other side. Using this information will help you improve your shot grouping. However, these sights usually are only found on compound bows.

Photo credit: bowsightguide.com

Additionally, you'll need to calibrate the level before you begin your session. If the bubble isn't level, you'll lose accuracy on each shot.

Don't Aim Too High

Once you're ready to fire your arrow, you should ensure that your aim isn't too high. It's easier to adjust your aim by slowly aiming higher than by lowering your aim. The difference in difficulty results from seeing the arrow land when you aim low.

Additionally, it's risky to aim too high if you don't know the surrounding area or shoot at a range. The arrow may fly over the target and hit someone or something behind your intended target. If you fire an arrow too high up, it's easy to lose accuracy due to the wind. 

You'll also experience a loss of perception of what's in front of you if you're aiming high without proper focus.

Practice Makes You Better

Practice is the most critical part of any skill, and without it, you won't see any significant improvement. Through frequent training, you'll develop better form, strength, and focus. Without practice, your skills will begin to decline, and much of the time spent learning techniques are lost.

Frequently practice begins with a slight warm-up followed by repeating techniques you've already learned before focusing on new forms and more complex challenges.

Often these challenges will change based on how far away you place the target. With each meter further from you, you'll need better focus and aim.

However, practicing techniques you're struggling with will often help you refine your basics. 

Fundamental Tips For Archery Success

Whether experienced or a beginner in archery, there are a few fundamental tips that will always help you improve your aim and skill level. 

Master the Basics

Without the basics, any techniques or other tips you learn may prove useless. Before you visit a range, you should practice how to hold the bow, how to draw the string back, and the postures you're meant to hold. 

Daily practice at your home with blunt arrows and lightly drawing will help you master how you hold the bow while aiming. Additionally, if you don't yet have a bow, you can practice the basic form and posture you'll need when you hold a physical bow.  

Ensure You Have the Right Equipment

While this top may be expensive for anyone experienced with archery and currently owns no gear, it's still essential to have the right equipment. If you're borrowing gear or renting from the range you visit, check that the bow and draw length are correct. The sizing helps both your skill and enhances the safety of your shooting session.

If you're a beginner and have never used a bow before, it's best to select an item with a light draw strength. The bow should be correctly sized to your build, and you should use arrows that won't draw past the arrow rest once you reach full draw. Consulting with an experienced member at your club or supply store will help you find the best gear.

Exercise

Archery is a physically demanding task, requiring you to hold a bow and pull back on a tense string before fining. This difficulty changes for each bow as there are various draw strengths available.

The more power available in your upper body, the better the control you have when aiming. This strength will help you hold the bow at full draw longer as you aim. Additionally, increasing your strength will make pulling the string back more comfortable and less strenuous.

Make Notes

Taking notes as you learn new techniques and keeping track of your practice sessions will help you improve in any skill. As you aim and hold your bow, take note of how it feels and the steps you take until firing the arrow. This method keeps you mindful of your techniques and makes it easier to spot where you're going wrong.

Additionally, writing down advice makes it more easily remembered. You should also track how many arrows you shoot, your accuracy, the weather and wind conditions, and any adjustments made to your technique or bow. Keeping note of these records will show you detailed progress as you practice. 

Don't Overdo It

Over-practicing has adverse effects such as depression and burnout. Consistently practicing over a long period, even if your improvement is minimal, is far superior to over-practicing in one session. These adverse effects occur as you feel the skill becomes an unending task that shows little to no results.

Archery Safety Tips

Practicing safe archery tips is essential when visiting your local range. The following four points are crucial to keeping in mind before you draw the bowstring back and fire.

Inspect Your Equipment

Inspecting your gear beforehand is always essential to prevent any accidents. Depending on your type of bow, the string may come loose during carrying or potentially fray. If your bow snaps, the recoil from the limbs and the string will hurt your arm.

If your bow is damaged in any way, you place yourself and others at risk of harm. Through checking beforehand, you can make any needed repairs or replacements before you begin your session. 

Additionally, it's vital to wear arm protection as the drawstring can hit your inner arm. This injury will likely cause your arm to bruise and become tender for a while.

Photo credit: tntarchery.com

Follow Range Etiquette

At your local archery range, there are likely rules that every member must follow. Often you'll see posters listing all the range rules and etiquette around the building. Usually, if you break these rules, you’ll be thrown out, as they exist for everyone's safety.

One rule often seen on the posters advises against fooling around or acting silly. This warning is significant as a bow and arrow can kill a person when handled wrong. When aiming, always watch the range to ensure there is no one down the lane you may hit.

Conclusion 

Using these 12 tips, the fundamentals, and practicing safely will help you improve your archery. The skill requires plenty of practice to help make your posture when firing into muscle memory. It's essential to ensure you always use a bow with the correct draw length. 



My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at admin@biggamelogic.com. Read more about Big Game Logic.