• You have correct, efficient full draw position when your drawing arm is in line with the arrow and your shoulders and arms are in line. When shooting from a treestand, remember to bend at the waist to maintain correct full draw position. DO NOT lower your bow arm and cock your drawing elbow high.
• The horizontal distance from your tree to the target is the distance which should be used for aiming. In this diagram, the hunter should aim approximately for 13 yards.
Many bowhunters don’t have time to take shooting lessons. But we should, because proper preparation can minimize one of our greatest frustrations — shooting and missing.
Preparing a little bit better can make a huge difference. Nothing has a bigger effect on your shooting success than getting your form correct at full draw. If you get that part correct, then getting a more consistent release –- every time –- is far easier to do. Learning to do this is easy, practical and effective over the long term.
When you learn how to play a sport, any sport, you learn very early how to stand properly. That means you learn how to use your posture to its best advantage to perform a given sport action. You learn how to stand, what muscles to use and what muscles to relax. If you are going to be successful at a sport you need to know these fundamentals. That’s a fact!
However, when I go to archery tournaments, any tournament, I see an overwhelming number of archers who have not learned those fundamentals.That’s also true for most bowhunters I see. Most don’t know how to stand up properly and use correct archery posture.
Proper archery posture requires that you stand with your head over top of your spine, your shoulders set level, back and down, and your chin-level-head turned toward the target. Your bow arm should be extended so that your forearm is lined up with the upper arm, allowing the bones to resist the force of the bow.
What most archers need to do, but don’t do, is establish the correct position with their drawing arm, elbow and shoulder. Most of the archers that are not lined up properly at full draw have their bow set too short for them. Their bow’s draw length setting needs to be increased by an inch or two. Trying to fit into a bow that is set too short for you is like fitting into a pair of shoes that are one-size too small – you just can’t perform at your best. And after a while it hurts!
Holding with the arms in a too-short setting requires the use of every arm muscle you have; this makes repeating the shot almost impossible. A draw length that is too short for an archer forces him to either bend his bow arm at the elbow or hold his drawing arm and elbow out somewhat in front of his chest.
Set the draw length long enough so that you can rotate your drawing elbow so it’s pointing directly away from the target, and transfer the holding into the back and relax the arm muscles. This makes it easier to replicate the shot sequence.
I repeat: Correct full-draw-position means that your drawing arm is set so that the forearm and elbow are in line with and behind the arrow. In this position, you’re able to download the holding from arm into your back muscles, thereby relaxing the holding arm and release hand. Minimizing muscle use creates the potential for a more consistent hold, aim and release. Let the bones do the work so that most of your muscles can relax, making archery look easier and, in fact, become easier.
The DOWNHILL SHOT: Most of us hunters spend lots of time in the tree stand. As a result we know that we will have to shoot at some downward angle to hit that big buck. Maintaining proper full-draw-position while shooting down at an animal can be achieved by bending at the waist so that the upper body – the shoulders and arms – maintains it power and stability. Even twisting for a side-angle shot can be done at the waist. Bowhunting shots require compromises; the smart and consistent way to compromise is to bend and twist at the waist, maintaining the upper body power structure. Practicing this technique should be an essential part of your preseason and in-season routine.
Our form problems are to be expected, because most of us are self-taught. Or, we learned from our dads, uncles, friends, or some guy at the local club. That’s just how it is with archery. You can change that! You can learn how to stand in proper FULL-DRAW-POSITION and build a more consistent archery shot … and have fewer misses.