In archery, it is sometimes hard for people to make improvements because they are looking for a major change. They are looking for something that is going to turn them into a precision killing or winning machine overnight. In reality, that just doesn’t happen. You will make big strides in the beginning, but eventually, your changes will slow, and you will plateau, so to speak. This is when most people stop, as they think this is their best.
I would say this is where about 90 percent of bowhunters and archers are at this moment. This is when you have to really start breaking each facet of the game into tiny pieces and improve on each of them. Start eliminating the tiny mistakes that most people overlook.
That is why I am writing these articles. Most of my topics won’t make that big of a difference individually, but if you apply them all over and over, you will see unbelievable growth as an archer.
That being said, the following topic may be as simple as any I ever write about, but it is still vitally important.
One of the most common mistakes I see in archery is face contact with the vanes. Most people don’t realize that every bit of pressure on the string, vane, shaft or really anywhere on the bow at full draw will influence the impact of the arrow. Last issue, my column was on micro anchors and having that slight touch of your nose to the string; now, I’m talking about face-to-arrow contact, which should be zero. I see so many people that, when they anchor, their face is smashed against or their beard is pushing on a vane. The problem is this is almost impossible to consistently repeat. If the nock is turned a little differently from one arrow to the next, it will add different pressure, causing a different impact.
The good news is there’s an easy fix for this. When you build your arrows, just make sure you fletch the vanes far enough away from the back of the shaft that there is zero face contact. I know this seems like such a small thing — most people never even think about something so simple — but this can be the difference between shooting softball-size groups and shooting dime-size groups. I think a lot of people may chalk up their shooting to “as good as it’s gonna get,” because they think decent is all they are capable of. In most cases, however, there are just a few small things holding them back from being an exceptional shot. These kinds of tiny errors are what separate the best from the rest. It is really your call, but I know I’m not satisfied with decent.
Archery seems simple from the outside: pull the bow back, aim and release. To some degree, it is simple…at first. We start out happy to shoot decent groups, and it is exciting to just watch the arrow fly downrange. However, if and when we decide to try to be better and we become more consumed by precision, we find a completely different side of the game; a side that is filled with tiny things that are all crucial to our success. Pie-plate-sized groups at 30 yards are easy and don’t require much tuning or skill, but as we dive deeper and strive for “hole for hole” accuracy, there are many things that must be perfect, such as eliminating face-to-arrow contact.
Taken individually, these things may seem unimportant, but as many tiny mistakes compounded together they can cause a big problem. Many tiny corrections can result in a huge improvement.