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Rather_B_Fishing

Holding Bow Steady

22 posts in this topic

I am new to bow hunting and archery, and I have a question:

When target practicing, I am having trouble keeping my pin steady on the target. I have already tried holding my breath. Does anyone have any pointers for keeping the bow steady?

Thanks.

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I'm new to the sport as well, and had the same problems. Here's what I tried and seemed to help. However, a guy at a proshop told me it was a bad habit to get into, but I figure if it makes me more accurate, then why fix it.

I do the same as I do when aming my rifle w/ a scope. I find my target and start high, and as I bring it down, fire when the pin hits the target. It seemed to tighten my groupings, and I have no problems of being low. I usually am a little high if anything.

Dont hold your breath! Exhale when you shoot!

I may be way off though, so hopefully some of the more skilled shooters here will chime in with better advice.

Also, lay off the coffee grin.gif

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Rath b- You may be trying to hard... There is to be expected some pin drift on the target. The harder you try to hold still the more difficult it is. Instead, just try and control the drift. Dont expect your pin to sit still!, but dont let it get too far as well. Then slowly pull the trigger. And like Brule stated, dont hold your breath, a slow exhale, while making sure you are at full draw seems to work well.. but no breath may be hard!!! I may hold my breath the last 5 seconds of my shot sequence... but that is about it.

Bruledrifter- If it works for you, that is fine. However, not the best way to do it by far. Unfortunatly that is a very bad habbit to start, and if you are new to the sport, I would suggest you try and right yourself of this before the change is too hard. What you are doing is called pass shooting, and when in a situation that you are excited, may or may not enhance any form problems resulting in a very low or very high shot and a missed deer or target.

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I am not an expert by any means but.. in this case I must ask if you are shooting the maximum draw weight that you can? If so, maybe take a couple pounds off so that you can relax and hold the bow for awhile. (I have had to hold my bow for at least two minutes while waiting for a shot). Remember, you do not have to "man up" and shoot the maximum. Heck I shoot 58 pounds and never a problem.

Second, try to pull your bow back and open your hand that is holding onto the bow. Place the bow in the spot between your thumb and first finger without hold onto it (at full draw) - now breathe - slowly close your hand and relax.

let us know how you do

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I have found what works best for me is to have a loose grip on my bow hand. When I shoot I usually just wrap my index and thumb around the bow and keep the other fingers open. Also when releasing...do it smooth and dont jerk shoot.I have heard a tight grip on the bow is bad. Also dont hold your breath...it makes your heart rate faster.

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One more thought. If you're a right handed shooter, are you anchoring your right hand to a consistant spot on your ear/jaw/face/whatever works for you? that That also might help take away some of that unsteadiness.

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I'm a rookie also, but what I've found to help is to make sure that I'm pulling back all the way on the bow string. It seems like the tighter the tension as I'm pulling on the string, the easier it is to hold steady.

It seems like when you pull back on a bow and are at full draw there is always a little extra you can pull back. I hold it in that comfortable area and then when I'm ready to release I pull back a little harder (not much), but that little bit seems to steady my shot.

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I would echo the fact that it's about impossible to have the pin be be completely still on the target. My best adivce after reading all the other good replies is to go out and shoot another 50 or 100 or 200 arrows. There's nothing like more practice to help you shoot better. I went through the same thing when I first started, but practice makes better.

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Now, I am an absolute novice here (been shooting less than a year), but one thing I have noticed is that I have more pin-drift the longer I practice (at this point all the seasoned vets are saying, "No S%^#"). I love to practice and sometimes I end up practicing too long. I have found that the quality of my practice shooting drops dramaticly after 40-50 min. After an hour my left arm (bow holding arm) is tired and begins to wabble more. I have found that more frequet practice sessions that are shorter in duration are better. Another thing that helped me was one of the archery tips on here that talked about focusing on one-shot groups... or shooting once, retrieving the arrow, resting for 5 min, and shooting again. This is more realistic to being in the field and allows your muscles to be rested and less pin-drift... at least for me.

Good luck.

Cupper

p.s. If I am way off base, anyone can feel free to chime in.

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I would start out with maybe 5 arrows sessions and build up another 5 arrows every three days or so if you shoot every day to build up your muscles. I always left my pin drift in a small area rather than trying to hold steady on one spot and it does help.

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I'm gona agree with blackjack, finding a steady anchor point on your face would be helpful I believe. I used to have the same problem, but then I went out and got a kisser button, and it gave something else to think about rather than keeping my pins steady. It really helped me out. Maybe give it a try. Oh, and when you are shooting, try focusing on the target rather than your pins, this is another thing that helped me get over the shakes. I think you will just have to try a couple different approaches, everyones different- norm

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great advice so far guys.

I just want to add. your pin drift should subside as you get into better condition with shooting your bow. Proper back tension should also take away the shake from your bow hand. After you feel you are in shape. (been shooting for months) only shoot when you are fresh. Take a few shots then rest for 5 minutes. Repeat. Do not shoot or ever try to fix sight-in problems when fatiqued. Concentrate on form and the target, not your pins. you may already have a mild case of target panic.

If you find youself not shootin well some day. Put the bow down! and try again tomorrow. Lots of good advice with the grasping of the bowhand.

Good luck.

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make sure you have established a solid anchor point. it may vary person to person, but i hold my release hand against my face with the first knuckle of my index finger under my ear right where the ear is attatched to my head. it feels comfortable to me, sounds funny, but makes consistency much higher.

the thing with a consistent anchor point is that it is like holding the bow solid in two locations, making it much more steady. I wouldn't recommend holding your breath. just take a deep breath when you are aiming, and just as you are feel you are locked on slowly exhale and let er fly!

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I don't know what kind of target you are using, but if you are using a 3D deer target, that can magnify drift. I always start the year with a bag target with Bullseyes. This helps me put the pin on a specific point on the target. After I am grouping the arrows in the target at 10, 20, and 30 yards, I start shooting my 3D buck target more often. If I notice myself drifting, I put the bag bach out and shoot a few at it just to get myself back in synch, then its back to the 3D target. Many times, If I'm going to do a lot of shooting, I put the bag at 10 yards and shoot bull's eyes, and then hit the 3D at 20 yards.

I am also doing more of the "first shot counts" practice. I used to shoot 6 arrows at a crack, then I cut it down to 3 with a little break in between. I always try to make the first of the three perfect, then use the other two arrows for focusing on draw, anchor, aim, and release.

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The thing that I do is try and get my pin in the general area that I will be aiming at, now try and hold the pin(You will have some sway, but as long as your staying in the general area you're fine) on the desired spot for 3 seconds and on the last second, fire. If you start swaying outside the area, try and get the pin back to the area you're aiming at. The biggest thing is practice and muscle development as mentioned before. The more you shoot the better you'll get, it's as simple as that.

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Guys,

Thanks for all the great advice. I am hoping to get a little time to practice tonight after work. I will certainly use some of the techniques mentioned.

By the way, I am shooting 20 yds at a block target. My bow is a 60 lb max draw, but I currently have it set to 50 lbs.

Thanks again for all the tips.

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I know a guy who used to do long distance rifle shooting for competition. During the shooting season he wouldn't touch caffine or nicotine.

Another pro target shooter got me to shorten my draw length. Most people want speed so they shoot the longest draw length possible. I shortened mine so I collapse my left arm (I'm right handed) a bit. This takes the pressure off of my holding arm while shooting and helps me to relax my left are a bit.

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Rath B- looks like you got a bunch of great advice... please do try some of the stuff and report back what worked and what did not! as other may learn from it.

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fantastic advice all around. as an instructor, i'm impressed that so many 'novices' have found tried and true tips on their own.

What a great forum!

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Hi everyone,

Unless I missed it, one thing that does help with steadiness (and I know that many would hate this idea) is to increase the actual dead-weight of the bow. A heavier bow is easier to hold steady than a light one. The easiest and most effective way to increase this weight is with a stabilizer that has adjustable weights or knobs. Gotta watch the length, though...restrictions on that in MN for hunting purposes. This will also reduce the amount of felt-recoil (if you can call it that) since more weight created by a quality stabilizer will absorb more shock. In many ways, shooting a bow is like sighting in a rifle. The heavier the rifle, the easier it is to hold steady and the barrel will not waver anywhere near as much. There can still be pin-drift, but once the muscles are built up from practice, the heavier bow will make a tighter group. It also (at least it seems to for me) make holding at full draw a little easier as well.

And...as was mentioned, actually "gripping" the bow is a huge cause of pin-drift, since a closed hand in most cases is not as relaxed as it could be. A tightened hand creates tension, and tension will cause shakiness.

Even the arm itself plays a huge role in your ability to hold steady. If you use a straight arm for holding the bow, the arm muscles are doing nothing for you. With a slightly bent arm, your muscles then are in use, and your elbow should not get in the way of the sting on a release as well...

Lastly, when aiming, it is best to find where you are comfortable holding the bow at full draw, and then learn to tilt at the waist to get your target aquisition. If you raise or lower your arm, you are using shoulder muscles only, which when different angles are required, different parts of the shoulder muscle are being used, and hence more shakieness in your hold (small muscles doing the work). When you bend at the waist, you are engaging bigger muscle groups, which allows you to hold a steadier bow.

Steve

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Quote:

I know a guy who used to do long distance rifle shooting for competition. During the shooting season he wouldn't touch caffine or nicotine.

Another pro target shooter got me to shorten my draw length. Most people want speed so they shoot the longest draw length possible. I shortened mine so I collapse my left arm (I'm right handed) a bit. This takes the pressure off of my holding arm while shooting and helps me to relax my left are a bit.


This is how the guy at the store set me up when I first bought my bow. I was fortunate to get a nice deal when working at a hunting show from a manafactur that was working next to my booth, but didn't have a clue as to what I was doing. The local shop helped me set the bow up and give me a few tips. He flat out told me that I will not be able to hold true to the target like I was used to with a rifle, which really helped when I first started shooting because I was all over the place.

I try not to shoot TOO much in one session because fatague starts to set in, grouping goes to heck and thats when frustration sets in as well. Like mentioned earlier...work up in how many arrows you shoot in a session and get your muscles conditioned. I like to hold my forward arm bent slightly and hold my hand open with all the pressure of the grip at one point of contact. I found when trying to grasp the entire grip my groupings would go out the door...the second I opened my grip it was night and day difference. One other thing I like to do is tense my back as I pull the release trigger. By this I mean...use the back muscles to pull your shoulder blades togeter at the shot. This seems to "stop" the pin drift the moment before the shot and for me it meant tighter groups and more accurate shot placement. Last but not least, I caught myself holding my breath trying to stop pin drift, which only made it worse. BREATH out at the shot!

To all that replied...thanks! You guys mentioned a few new things I had never thought of and reminded me of a few things that were told to me about proper shooting form. Great post smile.gif

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After reading all the advice, I got to try it out with some target practicing last night.

After getting my pin set correctly for my target distance, my shots were much tighter to my target. I also got rid of the shaking bow. Here is what I did:

1) Kept a loose grip on the bow handle.

2) Established a consistent point (relative to my face) to pull the release back to.

3) Didn't try to hold pin perfectly still. I didn't worry about the small amount of drift I got, and in doing so, I actually reduced the drift amount. Like someone said before, the more more you try to hold it steady, the worse it gets.

4) Breathed out, then slowly squeezed the release trigger.

Thanks again for all the tips. Now, I could use a little advice about hunting boots and tree stands. I'll make a new post for that.

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