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9 Common Archery Mistakes and How To Fix Them
The great thing about archery is that it can be picked up by anybody, regardless of age, gender and physical fitness. The main thing to understand is that archery takes practice and plenty of it, when you first start you might struggle to even hit your target. Over time however you will improve and gradually start to get those bull eyes, that you thought you would never get when you started.
When shooting at your target, there are many things that might result in you missing your shot. As you continue to shoot, you will learn what is making you miss. Once you know what is causing it, you can correct it.
The aim of this guide is to teach you the 9 most common archery mistakes. These are things that many apprentice archers will do and you might be doing one or more of these. As well as showing you what these mistakes are, you will also be able to learn how to fix them. By fixing these common mistakes, you will be one shot closer to hitting the middle of that target.
#1 – Poor Stance
One thing that many new archers forget is the way they are standing when taking the shot. The stance is very important if you want proper form as it can impact your balance, aim and also the strength of the shot.
In order to correct this mistake you could place a couple of arrows on the floor or if indoors use some tape. Place a strip of tape/arrow pointing towards the target and then one over this to form a plus sign (+).
You would stand side on to the target with your toes touching the tape/arrow facing towards the target. Make sure your feet do not go over this line, as you want to remain perfectly side on. You can then stand with your legs shoulder length apart with the other tape/arrow running through the middle.
#2 – Too Tight Grip
A very common archery mistake is the way beginners hold the bow. Many people seem to hold the handle tight, as though they are holding a gun. By holding it tight you apply more torque to the bow, which will no doubt result in you missing your target.
You should ensure that your grip is relaxed and only apply a small amount of pressure to push the bow straight. A common way of holding the handle is with the bow being held in the space between your thumb and finger.
#3 – Dropping Your Arm After Release
Do you notice your arrows seem to always be going low? This could be how you end your shot. Many new archers will tend to drop their arm as soon as the arrow leaves the bow, which will cause the arrow to not hit the target. Have you ever watched experienced archers, they hold their arm upright until they hear that thud of the arrow.
This can be tough to do due to gravity, which is again why you need to make sure you are using a bow that is right for you and one that is not too heavy. (Check out this buying guide) At first it might seem strange to keep your arm up, but give it ago and I am sure you will notice your shots improve.
#4 – Plucking The Bowstring
A very common archery mistake is plucking the bow string when you shoot your arrow. This happens when you release the arrow and you move you hand out away from the face. Instead of your arrow hitting the target, you will find it goes off to the side.
I always learnt to release the arrow but to keep my hand by the side of my face and simply open up the fingers. To help keep my thumb out of the way, I will often lift it up as though I am giving the target a thumbs up!
#5 – Inconsistent Anchor Point
It can be very challenging to understand anchoring and to do it consistently. When we pull the bowstring back, we pull it to a certain point which is called the anchor point. If we position this in different places then the arrow will go to different directions.
If you first decide on an anchor point and use this same point for every shot, you know that the arrow should in theory go in the same direction. This allowing you to change other things to help increase the chance of a perfect shot.
The most common anchor points are the corner of the mouth or just below the chin. I personally find the corner of the mouth to be the easiest for beginner archers to get used to.
#6 – Using The Wrong Bow
Even though 80% of archery is down to your technique, if you are using the wrong bow then you will be impacting your chances of improving. Not only that but you could be teaching yourself some bad habits. You need to make sure that you are using a bow that is the right size and weight for you.
If you are taking lessons then this is not as important, as you will be provided with a basic bow that is suitable for your size/shape. If you are however looking to buy one then you should go through the archery for beginners section – this will teach you about eye dominance, learning about draw weight etc.
#7 – Taking To Long To Aim
I have seen it many times, people taking aim and then holding it for to long. They tend to feel the longer they aim then the better shot, this is not the case. When you pull a bow to full draw, you can feel the tension and over time this becomes heavy.
You will soon notice your arm slowly starting to shake and this is when it makes it very hard to hit your target. You should look at your target and start to aim before you have even lifted the bow.
Lift the bow, nock the arrow and before you pull the bow string back look at the target again. Pull the bowstring and again focus on that target and release!
#8 – Elbow Rotation
A common mistake in archery is elbow rotation, this often comes from new archers getting inspiration from films or games. The amount of times I have seen actors holding and shooting the bow with their elbows rotated.
If you shoot with your elbow rotated then you will find brushing around the elbow, as well as it very hard for you to not only hit your target but actually hit it with power.
You need to keep your elbow rotated so that it is straight up, this making your entire upper body straight and aligned. You will find your arrows will form a tighter group on the target as well as being able to shoot with more strength.
#9 – Poor Finger Positioning
The final common archery mistake is due to the positioning of the fingers on the bowstring. Many new archers will not pay attention to where the fingers are going and will simply put their fingers on and pull back.
Placing your fingers in the wrong place or using too much tension can cause painful blisters, as well as cause you to miss your intended target. The best way to fix this mistake would be to have a double check as to where you have placed your fingers, ensuring they are exactly how your instructor taught you.
As mentioned these are 9 common archery mistakes, if you do any of them don’t worry. They are very easy to do but at the same time, once you know the mistake it is also very easy to correct it.
By correcting any of the issues above, you will be one step closer to becoming the archer you are wanting to be and getting those bulls eyes. If you seem to suffer from a couple of these mistakes and not sure which one you should focus on first. I would always recommend making sure you have correct posture. You could have the best aim in the world but if you are not able to perfect your stance and hold the bow correctly, you wont hit your target.
Adam has been enjoying the sport of archery since 2010, intially getting the bug for it whilst on holiday and trying it out in an activity center. Since his very first eperiance of holding a bow and arrow, he fell in love with it and can now be found at the range or in the great outdoors as often as possible.
His main go to bow type is a recurve but he loves shooting from compounds as well. Adam created The Archery Guide as a way to help others get into this great activity and to share his knowledge/experiences.