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How to shoot a bow like a pro.
As with any shooting sport, stance is the foundation of a good shot. Without good stance your chances of hitting the target accurately and consistently are limited.
First of all stand side on to your target. Your non-dominant hand side should be facing the target so for right handers, your left hand side should be facing the target. Now align your toes with the centre of the target and spread your feet shoulders width apart and centre your body weight between them. Now you are in a good, strong shooting position.
You should be holding the bow with your non dominant hand at arm's length in the direction of the target. Your grip should be firm but not so tight it's uncomfortable (see the picture below for the correct grip). Now you want to position the arrow on the arrow rest with the different colour flight facing away from the bow. You'll notice there are 3 flights, if you don’t face the different coloured one away from the bow you will damage the arrow and it will affect your accuracy. On the bow string you should have a knocking point this could either be a mark on the string or two metal clips. It's important you always put the grove in the back of the arrow, or knock, in the same position on the string. This will give you consistent shots and help you be more accurate.
With the arrow knocked and on the rest your, left hand gripping the bow firmly you’ll want to draw the string, to do this, place your index finger above the arrow and your middle and ring finger below the arrow. Now in one smooth movement draw the string to your right cheek, you should be able to see the string and down the arrow with your right eye.
To take aim you need to do a few things, firstly ensure the string is centered down the middle of the bow and arrow is pointing in the direction of the target on a horizontal axis, this is as simple as looking down the arrow and making sure it is centred with the target. If you need to adjust your aim don't just pull the string to one side, move your rear foot for big adjustments and your left hand for small, it's critical you don't twist the bow away from the string, it will cause you to miss by a long way! It’s always a good idea start shooting at about 10 - 15 metres and then move further away once you start to get the hang of it. The flight path on an arrow is strange, at 10 metres point the arrow at the middle of the target and see where it hits, it may go high or low depending on the strength of your bow and the arrows you're using. Once you’ve made your first shot you can work out how much you need to compensate by, for example if it lands 30cm low then try aiming 30cm above the middle of the target this is called ‘holding off’ and is key skill which you’ll pick up quickly if you shoot regularly.
Releasing the shot is the second to last part of the process, as with everything else consistency is key. When you are happy with your aim straighten your fingers a brush them past your ear, you need to try and avoid snatching your hand away from the string as this will move your shot off target, another thing to avoid is letting the string slide off your fingers slowly this can cause you lose your aim and all control of where the arrow is going to go.
The final part of the process is the follow through, because of the way a bow works it’s vital you follow through correctly, once you have released the arrow don’t move the bow until you have seen the arrow hit the target. Moving the bow while the arrow is still in contact with it will cause the shot to be erratic.
Always make sure the different coloured flight is facing away from the bow.
Consistency is key! Do everything the same every time and you’ll do well.
A good firm position is the foundation of a good shot
Don’t start with a bow that has a very heavy draw weight, if you can’t hold it long enough to aim properly then there is no point having so much power.
Start small and work up. If you can't hit it at 10 paces you definitely won't hit it at 50