Whether you’re Olympic gold medalist, Oh Jin Hyek, or you’re just shooting a cardboard target in your backyard, every archer can benefit from some helpful tips. Improving your archery game can be simple if you incorporate the discipline and time it takes to be the best archer you can be.

Using the correct muscle, correctly. If you have occasionally struggled with too much tension in your draw or even a bit of a wobble in your aim, it could be because you’re using the wrong muscle to draw your bow. Your deltoid, the triangular-shaped muscle at the top of your shoulder, should be playing a key role in how you hold your bow arm. Many archers, however, think it should be playing the starring role, when in reality, it’s a supportive character. Too much tension on this muscle will almost guarantee a bad shot. Instead, try keeping your arm straight and allowing the natural support your bone structure creates for you in your shoulder to take the resistance. This will allow for your deltoid to support your arm, while still being relaxed enough for a smooth shot.

Posture and stance. Like golf and baseball, your stance and follow-through are the most important pieces of your form, and typically what makes the difference between good and great. First, you want to make sure you’re comfortable. Nothing will continue to kill your shot like spending half of your thought process on counting down to when you get to stand normal again. The best way to do this is by holding your bow and drawing. When drawn, move around a bit, almost like you’re doing a waltz with your bow. Find a footing that’s comfortable. When you do, look down and observe the angle of the bow in relation to your feet. Make sure you feel even distributed across your body and plant your feet firm into the ground, using the balls and middle of your feet.

posture

Don’t beat yourself up! It is common knowledge that we are our own worst critic. No one knows your flaws like you. Keeping a positive attitude and being able to congratulate yourself on a good shot are vital. Sometimes you have bad days or bad starts, but your mind and body will feed off the negativity you put out there, criticizing yourself over every shot. Just remember, everyone has bad shots and everyone has bad days. Try taking a deep breath after a bad shot and shake it off. Recognize what your error may have been and try to improve on it the next shot. Even more important, give yourself praise for a good shot. Reinforce your good form and make sure you’re feeling of pride at least equals, if not outweighs, your criticisms.

Practicing only makes perfect if you’re practicing the correct way. Follow these tips and have fun with it and you’ll discover your own perfect soon enough. Remember to be comfortable, relax, breathe, and have fun.