Skip to main content

Tips to Help Your Focused Aiming

One thing we all do as archers is aim. Some do this differently than others, but to shoot with any consistency we must incorporate some form of aiming into our shot. Several factors, including breathing, heart rate and focus, affect aiming. In one of my previous articles, I talked about aiming drills, but here I am talking about actual things that help or hurt how well you aim.

Focused-Aiming

Breathing techniques are used quite often in archery competition but are normally overlooked while bowhunting. Sometimes we forget to breathe altogether when that big buck is coming in. Obviously, taking breaths while aiming causes your pin to bob up and down as your chest heaves; this is not ideal. I like to breathe as I draw and take a final breath as my pin settles on the target, holding that air in my lungs as I execute the release. Taking a breath too early can cause panic, and you will rush the shot. So, be sure to breathe up until the last few seconds.

One thing that affects aiming that we can't really do a lot about is our heart rate. Adrenaline causes our heart rate to rise, which makes our arms, hands and entire body a little more shaky than normal. Knees knocking together can make aiming a lot more difficult, but I've been there many times! The most important thing is to put yourself in that situation as much as possible so you learn what your sight picture will look like and how to focus through that. I've found that when I'm under extreme pressure and my pin is quivering all over that if I just make a great shot on my release hand, nine times out of 10 the arrow hits the middle. Always focus on a small spot, and even if you're shaking, your subconscious is bringing your pin back to that spot. I think it will surprise you how well you can shoot under extreme pressure if you don't let it control you and you can make a clean, calm shot on the back end.


When it comes to aiming, I have good days and bad days, just like anybody. More times than not, on my bad days it's because of lack of focus. My mind is elsewhere, and I'm not thinking solely about keeping my pin in the middle. To perform to your maximum potential, you have to get to a point where you are only thinking about aiming while at full draw. That should be your only thought. Everything else, especially the release, should happen naturally without having to consciously think about it.


Most people have a thought process that goes something like this at full draw: "OK, my pin is on the spot now, squeeze the trigger. Wait, my pin moved. OK, it's back on, now squeeze. Crap, it moved again. Get it back and punch it!" I know that seems extreme, but it's the truth. Your mind can only consciously think of one thing at time. So, when you take the focus off aiming, you are 100 percent focused on something else.

To be a great shot with a bow, you must be a great aimer. Three things that will either help you or hurt you are controlled breathing, heart rate and focus. All of these will take practice to master, so don't pick your bow up the week before opening day and expect too much. How well you aim affects the rest of your shot. So, become a great aimer and you will become a great archer.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

Learn more about two new Elite Archery bows, the Enkore and Remedy, two new broadhead from Slick Trick and a new site from Custom Bow Equipment (CBE).

Mathews V3 - Flagship Bow for 2021

Mathews V3 - Flagship Bow for 2021

Mathews has announced two versions of their 2021 flagship bow, the V3.

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

ATA 2021 NeDuring this video from the Archery Trade Association's New Product Premiere showcase, Bowhunter's TV Mike Carney visited with Evan Williams, pro staff manager for Hoyt Archery, to learn about the new RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum and Ventum 33 bows.w Product - Hoyt

Crossbow Review: TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO

Crossbow Review: TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO

The all-new 2021 offering will certainly be one of the most accurate long-range crossbows ever built.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

These recent findings can help you better manage your buck population.New Deer Management Study: Small-Antlered Bucks & Stump Sprouts Whitetail

New Deer Management Study: Small-Antlered Bucks & Stump Sprouts

Jason Snavely - August 10, 2020

These recent findings can help you better manage your buck population.

From portability and comfort to stealth and shooting opportunities, today's tree saddles are hard to beat.Why You Should Try Tree Saddle Hunting Treestands & Blinds

Why You Should Try Tree Saddle Hunting

Andy May

From portability and comfort to stealth and shooting opportunities, today's tree saddles are...

Featuring sights, release aids, quivers and much more, there's a plethora of new bow accessories this year.New Bow Accessories for 2021 ATA Show

New Bow Accessories for 2021

Jon E. Silks - January 11, 2021

Featuring sights, release aids, quivers and much more, there's a plethora of new bow...

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques. Shooting Your Bow With One Eye Versus Two How-To

Shooting Your Bow With One Eye Versus Two

Bill Winke

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques.

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

Change your practice sessions now for more success this fall.4 Target Practice Strategies to Try This Off-Season How-To

4 Target Practice Strategies to Try This Off-Season

Taylor Pardue

Change your practice sessions now for more success this fall.

Understanding wind drift is a critical skill that requires practice.Shooting in the Wind: How To Be More Accurate How-To

Shooting in the Wind: How To Be More Accurate

Randy Ulmer

Understanding wind drift is a critical skill that requires practice.

To find consistent success, you must be better than average in every respect.How to Successfully Bowhunt Public Land How-To

How to Successfully Bowhunt Public Land

Clint Casper

To find consistent success, you must be better than average in every respect.

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

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Bowhunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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