By Levi Morgan
There are many things that affect the accuracy of your shot. As I often say, archery is made up of a million tiny things you have to repeat every time to be consistent. One of the most overlooked things is release pitch when using handheld release aids such as a thumb button or hinge (especially with a hinge). If you change the angle you hold your release at when you’re at full draw, your impact will be different.
Some people shoot with a steep angle, while some people shoot with their hand almost flat. Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to hold a release aid, but it does have to be repeatable. If I take a hinge-style release aid, shoot with it at a steep angle and then suddenly switch to a lower angle, I will hit well right of where I aim almost every time. This happens because I’m changing where and how the pressure is pulling on my release arm.
As I flatten out my hand, I subconsciously start pulling around my body instead of straight back. This affects my entire body as the bow fires, forcing everything to the right. (Obviously, if you are left-handed, everything is the opposite.) Holding the release aid at a steeper angle causes me to pull straight back and down with my elbow. This keeps everything more in line, but if you aren’t sighted in for this, you will see impact changes.
This is another reason the “hand-to-face” part of your anchor is so important. Floating anchors that have no hand-to-face contact are extremely hard to repeat. They can be very accurate if perfected, but 99 percent of people can’t consistently repeat them. (I am part of that 99 percent.) I suggest finding at least two points on your hand that touch your face the same each shot. Not only will this help with your anchor, but it will also ensure your release angle stays consistent.
There really aren’t right or wrong ways to shoot a bow; it’s all about repeatability. If you can figure out ways to do each step the same every time, you will be a great archer. However, while there isn’t a right or wrong, there is definitely easier or harder. Your shooting will improve much faster if you find an easy way to repeat things. A very important step is release angle and having an anchor that allows you to keep that pitch exactly the same from one shot to the next.
If you’re seeing left and right impact changes on a regular basis, you need to make sure this isn’t part of the problem. This game is impossible to master completely, but if you improve on things such as this, one at a time, you will be as close to a machine as humanly possible.