Skip to main content

2 Tips for Perfect Shot Timing

2 Tips for Perfect Shot Timing

Decorated target shooter Levi Morgan uses two different Tru-Fire release aids — a Synapse thumb-button release (left) and a SEAR hinge release (right). Occasionally switching back and forth between the two release styles keeps Morgan from becoming too familiar with their timing. This prevents him from anticipating the shot so he can maintain his focus on aiming and proper shot execution.

Over many years of shooting — both in competition and in hunting situations — I’ve come to realize the importance of timing in my shot.

Release execution and aiming have to blend together perfectly for me to maximize my shooting potential. Timing, or rhythm, is crucial to the success of my archery game.

I’ve said at least 1,000 times that archery is made up of hundreds of tiny things you have to do over and over again in order to succeed. Well, “timing” is just all those tiny things working together fluidly. I’ve shot my bow at a high level virtually my entire life, so I know the fundamentals very well and don’t struggle with any of them individually. However, doing them all correctly at the same time and with a great flow from shot to shot is normally what makes or breaks me from one day to the next.

When my timing is off, there always seems to be one underlying cause — anticipation of my shot. There are many ways to help prevent this, from blank bale shooting to using multiple styles of release aids with multiple sensitivity settings on them. Anticipation is the cause of myriad shooting woes, so it’s imperative to keep it in check.


What do I mean when I say I’m anticipating the shot? Well, after shooting the same release for so long, I’m so familiar with its timing that I subconsciously know exactly when it’s about to fire. I then start to “freeze” on my shot and over-aim, throwing a monkey wrench into my overall shot timing. Blank bale shooting is great for working on timing, but it can actually make things worse if this is the underlying issue. So, my go-to cure is to carry two different styles of release aids.


I carry a Synapse thumb-button release and a SEAR hinge release, both made by Tru-Fire. After I shoot one for a while, I start getting a little sloppy, over-aiming and freezing when my shot’s about to break. When that happens, I switch releases, and everything suddenly starts falling back into place. I no longer subconsciously know when the release is going to fire, so I can focus on aiming and let the shot happen.

One of my heroes growing up was Randy Ulmer — one of the most successful target shooters and bowhunters our sport has ever seen. I remember Randy used to carry multiple releases of the same make and model. They all looked the same, but Randy set the timing differently on each. This forced him to focus on aiming because he never knew which release he had in his hand and couldn’t anticipate the timing of the shot.

Both my method and Randy’s will work. Regardless, if you’ve shot the same release on the same setting for a long time, I almost guarantee that you struggle with shot timing sometimes.

There are so many things you have to do correctly to be a great archer. In addition to doing them all well individually, you also need great rhythm and timing while doing many of them simultaneously. There are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years to help keep me focused on aiming and not subconsciously anticipating the shot. My go-to is to simply switch styles of releases when I start to freeze on my shot; others like to change the sensitivity on the same release.


Either way, a small change to your release aid is needed every now and then in order to keep you focused on the fundamentals that never change.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint Archery evolves in design and performance with the introduction of the new CP400 Crossbow.

Ravin R29X Crossbow – New for 2020

Ravin R29X Crossbow – New for 2020

The new Ravin R29X Crossbow includes everything you need for blistering speed (450 FPS!) and deadly downrange accuracy (3-inch group at 100 yards).

Springtime Turkey Hunt

Springtime Turkey Hunt

Kevin Steele and the boys are bowhunting turkeys with the help of some well-placed decoys.

Center Shots: How to Improve Your Bow Tuning

Center Shots: How to Improve Your Bow Tuning

Field editor Bill Winke goes over steps you can take to improve the tuning on your bow.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Paper makes perfect when it comes to bowhunting. How to Paper Tune a Bow How-To

How to Paper Tune a Bow

Patrick Meitin

Paper makes perfect when it comes to bowhunting.

Craft your shafts for maximum performance in the field.How to Build the Best Hunting Arrow Arrows & Broadheads

How to Build the Best Hunting Arrow

Jon E. Silks

Craft your shafts for maximum performance in the field.

You know the Spicy Elk Venison Vindaloo Recipe Recipes

Spicy Elk Venison Vindaloo Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

You know the "Indian food is so spicy!" exclamations you often get from people? Well, this...

Follow these 4 steps to early-season success.How to Pattern Bucks in the Early Season Whitetail

How to Pattern Bucks in the Early Season

Clint Casper

Follow these 4 steps to early-season success.

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

You're going to perform better if you can complete the entire shot sequence in fewer than 8 seconds. How Long Should a Shot Take? How-To

How Long Should a Shot Take?

Christian Berg

You're going to perform better if you can complete the entire shot sequence in fewer than 8...

Practice doesn't make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.Bill Winke's 3 Best Shooting Tips How-To

Bill Winke's 3 Best Shooting Tips

Bill Winke

Practice doesn't make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.

Follow these tips to prevent contact and increase your shooting accuracy!How to Eliminate Face-to-Arrow Contact How-To

How to Eliminate Face-to-Arrow Contact

Levi Morgan

Follow these tips to prevent contact and increase your shooting accuracy!

When the moment of truth arrives, you need to forget about the big rack in front of you. Pick a Spot to Slow Your Movement At Full Draw How-To

Pick a Spot to Slow Your Movement At Full Draw

Bill Winke

When the moment of truth arrives, you need to forget about the big rack in front of you.

See More How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Bowhunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now