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Aiming How-To Tactics

How To Aim a Bow Better

by Bill Winke   |  June 23rd, 2011 10

There are many things you can do to improve the quality of your aim. Here is a quick rundown of the most obvious: strength, a relaxed bow arm with a very slight bend, a relaxed grip, a focus on the spot and not the pin, breathing  out very slowly while aiming and making a surprise release.

Those are the obvious improvements.  Now we need to get into the suggestions that aren’t as obvious on how to aim a bow better.

First, let’s forget about shooting and see what it looks like. If you aren’t holding steady under these conditions, you have some simple work to do first. Relaxation and proper positioning is the key to steady aiming. Make sure that your draw length is correct and that your bow fits. With a very slight bend in your bow arm (just enough to unlock your elbow), make sure your other elbow (string side) points straight behind you at full draw. That forearm should be parallel with the arrow. If it points even a tiny bit behind you, your draw length is too long. If it points in front of you, your draw length is too short.

Relaxation is next.  You want every part of your body to remain relaxed.  You might be surprised to find that tension starts from the ground up.  It is very hard to relax your bow arm if your legs are tense.  Seems odd, but it’s true.  Make sure everything is relaxed: feet, legs, stomach, chest, bow arm, bow hand and shoulders.  Keep your shoulder down (not pushed up by the draw force) so you can oppose the draw force with your skeleton rather than entirely with your muscles.

The only muscles that should feel the tension of the shot are your upper back muscles that lock your release arm back into a steady position. Using this very stable muscle group will permit you to hold steady.

The only thing still required with how to aim a bow better is the strength to relax fully. Strength comes with practice, a prime reason why you should shoot regularly for at least two months leading up to the bow season and then at least three times per week during the season. You have to keep those muscles strong so they can support the shot without tension.

Easy On The Trigger
If, however, you find that you can hold the bow very still at full draw when you have no intent to shoot, the problem is more difficult to fix. Not harder to explain, just harder to make yourself do. The solution requires that you learn to make a surprise release so you can take advantage of that steady aim with good accuracy.

You must keep your mind off the shot timing. This is very important toward calming your nerves. Don’t worry about when the bow will fire, but rather focus all your mental energy on relaxing and just pulling the trigger slowly.  Don’t worry about where the pin is, focus on the spot and the pin will take care of itself.

Move your entire upper body (not just your bow arm) to keep the pin on the spot. The shot will take care of itself.  If you will take this medicine and give it an honest chance to do its work, you will be amazed by how well you can shoot a bow.

Remember, it starts with proper form, advances to the need for muscle strength and finally ends with the ability to make a surprise release. You have time between now and the season to learn how to aim a bow better.

  • Jacob Korosec

    Awesome advice. I shoot just like this, but I am still inconsistent. I think it might be the arrows. Mine are store bought, and most of my friends make their own. How do I know if the arrows are causing my inconsistency and how do I fix it if they are?

  • Joe


    Try matching the "spine" of your arrows to your bow. Most arrow manufacturers have a chart for their arrows. However, I use a software program (OnTarget2) to help me spine the arrows correctly to my bow. Otherwise, arrow flight will be erratic.

  • Bill

    to start try shooting a quality carbon arrow.I shoot GOLD TIP 5575 which I refletched with 2 " blazer vanes. For me this has been an awsome move.Ask your friends or a poo shop for other tips and good luck.

  • Morrie

    Will a arrow fly better if the vanes are closer to the nock?

  • Ray

    You didn't say if you have broadheads on, I found to line the blades up with the fletching,as well as some other things

    • Morrie

      I am using broadheads,and blazer vanes. with the new Blue streaks. How close to the nock can I put the vanes. Will it make the arrow fly better, the closer the vane is to the nock?

  • Jim

    I want to start making my own arrows. There are a few things that I'm not sure of. Maybe someone can help. What is a good midrange priced carbon shaft. What size should I use? I'm shooting a 27" arrow @ 58#. Lastly, do fletchings shoot truer than vanes.

  • Curtis

    Two more very important components to consistent and accurate shooting are foot placement and grip. Your feet should be in a neutral stance; which means the ball (behind your big toe) of your back foot should line up with the big toe of your front foot and both should point at the target. This makes a natural concavity in your upper body that provides clearance for your bow arm and provides a way to achieve a consistent stance. Your bow hand should not "grip" the bow but rather, the bow should rest up againtst the palm under the thumb; i.e., your hand should act as a fulcrum. Allow the bow to fall away after the shot. You can achieve this grip by holding your bow hand up with your fingers straight together and your thumb at a roughly 75 deg angle from the fingers when you place your hand on the bow. Happy shooting…

  • richard greene

    I think that shooting a bow should be as natural as possible in your stance as well as your form. If your core is stright and your arm is extended your body forms a 90 degree angle.Some people consider this as the tee post.I have found hunting from a tree stand if you do not hold true to this positionit can make your shoot be off.This is where your safety harness will come into play as you extend to shoot push forward until you fill the tension on

  • John ODonnell

    Blazer vanes work well on my setup which is Easton Acc Hunter (340) and 100 grain standard 4 blade slicktricks

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