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Stop Aiming, for Better Shooting

Your sight-pin floats around the 10-ring. You try to steady it, but the darned thing won’t stop moving. You’ve been at full draw a while now, and you start shaking. As the pin makes a pass toward the 10, you release the shot. The arrow lands wide of the middle.

Sound familiar?

If your shot timing is inconsistent, and you struggle pulling through the clicker or triggering your release, you’re overaiming – a common archery malady.

We all want to shoot great scores, but our desire for results can cause serious shooting problems. When your shots are driven by results instead of the shooting process, you can get hung up in aiming. That can happen in practice, and it certainly happens in competitions, even to the best archers.

How can you prevent overaiming? Don’t aim so much.

That’s oversimplified, but it can be just that easy. Instead of trying to control your sight-pin, trust your shot and focus on the process. Stare at the target’s middle and ignore the sight. Let the sight-pin naturally float around the middle. When you do that, you’ll notice the sight forms a figure-8 pattern around the 10-ring. If you execute a good release while staring at the target’s middle, the arrow will go where you’re looking, even if the pin wasn’t precisely in the middle when the shot broke.

Our minds are great at aligning things. When you stop trying to aim and let your brain do what comes naturally, you’ll always have better results. Aiming is like driving a car. When you keep your car between the lines while driving down the road, you don’t consciously steer. You look straight ahead and naturally make needed corrections.

If your sight-pin bounces or moves irregularly, you have form issues.

How to Hold Steady

Let the sight float naturally around the middle of the target. Photo credit: ATA

You can’t force a steady hold. Steady aiming is a product of form, proper draw length, and stabilizer setup. Two important aspects are proper alignment and bone-on-bone support. Those principles keep your body in a stable position and reduce the strength needed to support the bow. When strained, your muscles quiver and your sight moves. Your coach and the archery shop’s pros can help you dial in your form, draw length and stabilizer setup.


If you struggle with overaiming, try this helpful drill: Draw your bow and aim without firing. Just let the sight float, and then let down and do it again.

Also try shooting at a 40-centimeter target at 5 or 10 yards. The oversized target at those distances relaxes your mind and lets you focus on executing your shot.

The next time you feel yourself holding too long or fighting to aim, pause to recall this simple reminder: Relax and don’t aim so much.



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