Aiming Steady Aiming Steady

Aiming while holding still is not necessarily the be-all and end-all of shooting archery. It helps, but it’s not the only thing that makes a great shot.

When shooting recurves, letting your sight “float” in the middle creates a more relaxed and repeatable shot, and puts your arrows into the 10 more consistently.

A key aspect to aiming steady is strength. If you’re only shooting, and you’re not training to stay still, you might end up with aiming anxiety, not steady aiming. Visiting the gym for regular exercise can help strengthen your stability muscles and steady your aiming. Planks, balance exercises, and stationary holds that extend your arms help strengthen your “aiming muscles.”

Teach your muscles to work in tandem with each other. Photo Credit: World Archery

Steady aiming isn’t about bulky muscles and bodybuilding. It’s about achieving great balance between all your muscles. By focusing too much on the motion of pulling the bowstring, you can overlook the front side and cause the sight-pin to move too much. Likewise, if you focus on holding the front side still, your shot execution will suffer if the string side freezes to a stand-still. By maintaining balance in the motion on the string side while keeping your bow arm solid and stationary, you’ll keep your sight-pin centered without excessive movement.

Meanwhile, don’t forsake your equipment. A few tweaks can greatly steady your aim and so will the right bow weight. Many archers try to shoot the highest poundage they can draw, but they often lose control over their bow as their comfort wanes, which hurts their form and shot execution.

An improper draw weight also hinders aiming. It causes archers to use brute strength to pull through the clicker whereas executing good shots requires controlled finesse. Excessive brute strength employs more muscles than required and leads to endless cycles of poor shooting and anxious aiming.

A stabilizer can be too heavy or too light, find your balance. Photo Credit: USA Archery

Another potential problem is a stabilizer setup that’s too heavy or too light. Too much mass weight makes archers work harder to keep their bow arm up, which affects aiming. Too little mass weight makes the bow feel like it wants to float higher and higher while you hold and aim. Archers must balance their setup’s mass weight with their strength. Experiment with different weights to learn where the bow calms down while aiming. This important step makes your bow truly yours.

Once you find the mass weight that suits you, try changing your tiller by small amounts. This task is more suited to recurves than compounds. If it feels like your sight-pin wants to pull down as you aim, the bow’s lower limb might be pulling more than your top limb, or it might be loading more poundage than the top limb. You can decrease poundage on the bottom limb by screwing out the bottom tiller bolt, or increase poundage on the top limb by screwing in the top tiller bolt. The opposite applies if your sight-pin wants to rise while you aim: Your top limb is loading more poundage.

All these methods help steady your aim, but nothing improves your shot like practice time and effort. Holding still is just one piece of the shot-process puzzle. Although a stationary sight-pin is important, it doesn’t rival the importance of consistent shot execution.

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