Shooting high scores isn’t just about holding your sight-pin steady while aiming. Executing each shot is also a key part of making your arrows land in the center. Consistent shots separate you from the target-shooting crowd, and deliver results often seen from the world’s top archers.
To achieve such results, you must work on your shooting form. This practice is mainly done without a target face to eliminate the act of aiming, which helps archers focus on the feel of the shot rather than keeping the sight-pin still. The archer typically shoots on a blank bale 5 to 70 meters away, depending on the skills they’re trying to hone.
Those choosing 5-meter work focus on aspects of the shot greatly affecting where the arrow hits the target. Shooting a target so near eliminates the fear of missing, and lets archers focus on their form.
Shooting 70 meters without a target helps archers who have mastered macro aspects of their form. They’re now focusing on the micro subtleties of their shot, which could be the exact angle they cant their bow, the exact moment they engage their back muscles, or the precise way they distribute draw weight on their fingers. Placing the target bale far away also simulates the exact angle the bow arm must have when shooting farther, thus providing a more realistic feeling while working on their form.
Now that COVID-19 limits how many people can be on archery ranges, technology is more vital than ever. You can use your phone for video feedback on your own or with your coach. An app that delays your shot’s playback provides instant reviews of each shot. In fact, a video delay app that shows what happened 8 seconds earlier is useful, too. The previous practice for video review was to shoot an entire end, and then study the video of every shot in that end. With video delay, you can immediately review each shot.
If COVID-19 closed your range, the next best training tool is using a stretch band to feel your muscles engaging. You can also pull a stretch band in front of a mirror to study your body position during your draw cycle.
The shot trainer is another helpful tool for practicing shot execution without actually shooting an arrow. The shot trainer is a strap system that attaches to your bowstring and connects to your string-side elbow. This setup lets you draw the bowstring back without using your fingers, which helps you feel the back tension without putting any load on your fingers and forearm.
The shot trainer also lets you draw back the bowstring with your fingers and release it without dry-firing your bow. Because the strap connects to your elbow, you’re forced to engage your back muscles after each shot finishes. That training technique helps instill strong, consistent follow-throughs.
With fewer archers and resources at the range, you must be creative with your training methods. High-level shooting requires consistent shot execution, so try experimenting with different ways to work on your form. You just might invent a new training technique.