It took me way to long to realize the criticality of proper draw length - it's very, very important. The other thing that I've noticed is that when I seem to have a shakey sight picture, it's becuase my bow arm shoulder is riding up and that causes me to use muscles to try to keep it steady. Bone support is the key - no muscular support. Stay relaxed.
I just into spots and 3-D competition a year and a half ago. What I noticed was that for targets and alot of shooting in a day and way more practice, my 72# hunting set up is just too much draw weight for serious target shooting. I start out really well, but then I get tired and have a hard time holding steady as well. This not only effects your aim, but form as well. As mentioned above, draw length must be right also. I will be getting a new Taget bow for 04 @ 60# and keep my other for hunting. Good Luck.
I've been working on this for some time and have come to the conclusion that holding steady is the art of "not holding steady"... For me, the harder I try to hold steady, the shakier I am. If I just don't pay attention to it and place most of my conscious attention on form and commitment to the shot I'm fine.
Here's the answer to your question according to one of Spott-Hoggs newsletters:
"This is from Spott-Hogg
Holding Steady on the Target?
With the aid of a shooting machine, we have discovered just how accurate archery equipment can be. By having a shooting machine to constantly monitor your equipment, there can be no doubt, why you didn’t hit where was aimed.
BIG DEAL! About half of us here at Spot-Hogg have target panic so bad that the equipment is not the issue. Just because we know our equipment is setup very forgiving, it doesn’t stop us from “mucking up the shot”.
In fact, some of us have discovered that we have actually been practicing and reinforcing “mucking up the shot”. It wasn’t until we could no longer blame our equipment that we realized the reason we could not improve past a certain point was our own fault. It became clear, that unless we did something different, the situation would not change.
The first and most common solution was to put in more practice time. In fact, it’s generally understood that more practice is the solution to every problem that plagues an athlete. However, the trick is to know what is supposed to be practiced. We found that when we practiced the same things all the time, things got worse. Fear of “mucking up the shot” grew stronger with each practice session. Each time the shot was mucked-up, it reinforced what we (really) expected to happen, which was to miss. (If we could hit what we were aiming at, we wouldn’t need to be practicing). We were practicing missing, not hitting where we were aiming. So of course, the more we practiced the better we got at missing.
We seemed to relate to our definition of insanity: DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN, BUT EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS. It took us way too many practice sessions to figure out this is what we were doing. Those of us that are improving have learned that to make gains, we had to do something different. More practice only works if you practice the right things. If you practice the right things, you will get better. If you are not getting better, you are practicing the wrong things and more practice will not help.
One particular thing we found is that it’s actually possible to practice holding steady on the target.
For the longest time, we could not understand how some people seemed to be able to hold steady on the spot and affect a slow squeeze on the release. We practiced catching the spot as it flew by the sight pin. If we timed it just right and punched the release fast enough we might get lucky and hit where we were aiming. We felt that those that could hold steady on the spot had a genetic gift that we didn’t have. That is, until we started working with a release that could not be punched.
Normally we really liked a “hot” release the best (the type that will go off with little trigger movement, during the split second when the target is lined up with the sight pin). The idea of squeezing the shot off was ridiculous. That would risk not being aligned on target when shot was executed. By function, this release will not go off unless it’s squeezed. A few of us found that we couldn’t squeeze off the shot no matter how hard we tried. It was as if our fingers belonged to someone else. We would start the shot just as if we knew what we were doing, and then when the target would line up with the sight, our finger would independently punch the trigger. But of course, the release (by design) would not go off when punched. When it took one of us 2 hours to finally squeeze off two shots (and they didn’t even hit close), we knew this was a dumb idea.
Not being in control of our hand (fingers) bothered us to the point that even though this squeezing through the shot seemed dumb, stubbornness would not let the release win. It turned into a personal challenge to be in control of our own fingers (and the release).
Then, while we were working on trying to get our fingers connected back to our brain, we realized how steady we were holding. We figured out if we quit paying so much attention to the sight picture, it slowed down and seemed to stabilize. We had been focusing so much on trying to get our fingers to work like we wanted, that we had quit trying to aim and that made it possible to hold steady.
At first, just noticing that we were holding steady, started us moving. Now we knew it was possible to hold steady, and we were not about to ignore it. We found that holding steady is something that can be enhanced and practiced. It’s broken down into three parts.
The first part is to figure out how all the different body parts have to be aligned and balanced so the sight picture becomes steadier. That didn’t really seem to be a big deal. All you have to do is to close your eyes when you are at full draw and wait for your body to align and balance out the muscles needed. If you have the physical strength developed to do this, when you open your eyes you will find that you are actually holding a lot steadier than you thought you could. Then you run into the second part of holding steady.
The second part of holding steady is to be able to hold steady and aim. Invariably when we would open our eyes and see that we were holding steadier, we were not aimed where we wanted. As we tried to move that steadiness to the target, somewhere along the way the steadiness was lost and we were back to catching the spot as it flew by. The steadiness was lost because we weren’t balancing the muscles that controlled the steadiness. The best approach was to keep the same shoulder and arm alignments, but pivot at the waist. This is not as easy as it seems. But, anything else seems to cause the steadiness to break down. When this got stronger the third part of holding steady came into the game.
As for the third part of holding steady, we are now steadied and aimed at exactly what we want to hit. All that is left to do is to turn loose of the arrow. We are still working on that one.
We have tried the “squeeze until it goes off” (some us can now do that). Some have tried “just waiting for it to happen”. The problem is what works well for one doesn’t seem to work well for another. We suspect there is not a universal answer that will work for everyone. While trying to hold steady and execute the shot, we discovered a completely new set of problems.
However, we are doing better than we ever have before. We may have a long way to go, but at least things are improving. When we practice, it seems like we are actually getting better."
Hope this helps. Be safe.
There's an abundance of information on the world wide web, you just have to search for it, and seperate the Knowledge from the BS.
The most important consideration is probably "NPA," or Natural Point of Aim. This means that your relaxed body is aiming the bow right at the X, and you don't have to move the point of impact over from somewhere else. (It is a lot of work to make your NPA point right at the X---you have to adjust your feet, etc.)
Number two is proper form (see James Park's book, "Mastering the Compound Bow").
1. Correct draw length
2. Bow shoulder down and locked in position
3. String arm in straight back position and forearm relaxed as possible.
4. DO NOT OVERAIM
5. Pull through the shot and don't try to be timid
When I start getting a little shakey it's because I am not pulling through the shot correctly and am trying to overaim to hard.
and thanks guys. also, what is locking you bow sholder?
i am pulling through the shot, except not trying to. what i do is relax completely and just aim, and the back tension happens by itself.
If your bow shoulder is in the down and normally rotated backwards slightly so it moves down in the socket. This keeps you from having to use extra muscles to keep the shoulder in place. Most people call this the "locked" position since it is in the most natural place with an applied force acting against it.
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