These techniques that I list below have personally helped me improve my accuracy. I don’t recommend anything unless I myself have tried it and know that it works. I’ve been doing archery for 13 years and counting and I’m constantly trying to find ways to improve myself. I hope these tips below can help you improve your accuracy!
1. Lift weights!
This isn’t necessarily #1, but this is something that has drastically improved my overall efficiency with archery. I don’t lift hardcore weights, I have two dumb bells that each weigh 5 pounds and I lift those about 2-5 times a week for about 10-15 minutes. I’m not looking to bulk up, I’m looking to increase the strength in my arms, shoulders and upper back.
2. Nocking point
This means that you must put the string in the exact same place on your face every single time. You may want to consider getting a kisser button. You put that on your string and then that rests against the corner of your mouth. If you don’t feel that kisser button on the corner of your mouth, then you’re not nocking in the same spot. There are other ways to make sure that you’re nocking in the exact same spot every time, but the kisser button is one of the best methods to start out with.
3. Loosen grip on bow
Many people are so afraid of their bow dropping that they death grip their bow. When you are in full draw, your grip should be loose. You can use a wrist sling (though I don’t, I personally hate the wrist sling), or you can use a finger sling (I recently discovered this and it’s been my go-to!) or you can gently connect your thumb and index finger around your bow grip (but still keeping a loose grip) and let the bow simply fall into your hand. No matter what you choose, it’s important that you keep a loose grip on your bow so that you don’t torque it and the arrow will fly straight.
4. Loosen grip on release
If you use a compound bow, you will be using a release. When you pull back on your release, your hand should go limp, essentially. You shouldn’t death grip the release. I hadn’t used a release until about a year ago (I was taught to use fingers 13 years ago and back in the day, even with a compound, you would use your fingers), and the best advice I got was to loosen my grip on the release. My accuracy was so much better once I did that.
5. Keep elbow level
You may hear people say ‘lower that chicken wing!’, which means your elbow, the one that is pulling back the string, is too high. Your elbow needs to be basically level with your string. Not too low, not too high; nice and level. If your elbow is too high or too low, it could really affect where the arrow flies.
6. Mantra; aim, breathe, release, follow through
Every time I am about to shoot, I first stare at my target for a moment and take a breath or two to relax and focus. Then I’ll pull the arrow back, get situated and say this mantra in my head (or out loud), “Aim. Breathe. Release. Follow Through.” I pull the arrow back, get it nocked against my face, I take my time and aim, then I take a deep breath and as I finish exhaling, I release then I ‘follow’ the arrow through the sight (I hold my position for a good several seconds). Speaking this mantra really helped me and I still say it to this day.
7. Slow down!
Many people want to just get that next arrow flying down range, instead of focusing on one at a time. It’s extremely important that you relax and take your time. Follow your mantra, breathe, focus on that ONE arrow, not the next. Focus on where that arrow is going to fly. If you mess up, who cares! Don’t get frustrated and keep following your mantra and take it slow. Don’t rush the process. Archery is supposed to be fun, so just smile, take a deep breath, relax and keep practicing.
Archery isn’t necessarily this ‘be awesome real quick’ scheme. People can get frustrated really quickly because ‘well, this one guy makes it look so easy’. That’s because that one guy (or gal), has probably spent thousands of hours practicing. Just like with anything, archery takes time and lots of practice. What you’re training for specifically doesn’t matter. The basics of archery is always the same.
I hope this has helped! If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!