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.

Recommended for You

We tested this new trail-cam technology! Scouting Tools

Moultrie Mobile Cellular Camera: Remote Scouting Made Simple

Christian Berg - July 22, 2019

We tested this new trail-cam technology!

These tools and tactics are what minimalist tree saddle hunters use to climb! Treestands & Blinds

How Do You Get Up the Tree for Saddle Hunting?

Greg Staggs

These tools and tactics are what minimalist tree saddle hunters use to climb!

Learn how to lure wary bulls into bow range. Big Game

Elk Calling With the Experts

Tracy Breen

Learn how to lure wary bulls into bow range.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Springtime Turkey Hunt

Springtime Turkey Hunt

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

Bill Winke

Bill Winke's Bowhunting Treestand Set-Up Tips

Field Editor Bill Winke provides bowhunting treestand set-up tips that'll help make life easier when it's go time in the fall.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

We've rounded up the best new fixed-blade broadheads from the 2019 ATA Show. Check out our top picks! ATA Show

New Fixed-Blade Broadheads for 2019

Brian Strickland - January 10, 2019

We've rounded up the best new fixed-blade broadheads from the 2019 ATA Show. Check out our top...

We've rounded up the best new compound bows at the 2019 ATA Show. Here are our top picks for the year! ATA Show

Best New Bows for 2019

Tony J. Peterson - January 10, 2019

We've rounded up the best new compound bows at the 2019 ATA Show. Here are our top picks for...

Check out our list of the best new hunting arrows from the 2019 ATA Show! ATA Show

Top New Arrows for 2019

Tony J. Peterson - January 10, 2019

Check out our list of the best new hunting arrows from the 2019 ATA Show!

See More Stories

More How-To

A new generation of highly mobile bowhunters is embracing the lightweight comfort and versatility of tree saddles. Here's everything you need to know to get started in tree saddle hunting. How-To

BOWHUNTING's Guide to Tree Saddle Hunting

Greg Staggs - May 15, 2019

A new generation of highly mobile bowhunters is embracing the lightweight comfort and...

Maximize accuracy and prevent gear failures in the field. How-To

Bowhunting Gear & Tuning Tips from the Pros

Jace Bauserman

Maximize accuracy and prevent gear failures in the field.

For serious bowhunters, there is no downtime. Check out John Dudley's tips for improving your craft! How-To

Becoming a Better Bowhunter in the Off-Season

John Dudley

For serious bowhunters, there is no downtime. Check out John Dudley's tips for improving your...

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

×