Long before you ever consider becoming an Olympic-caliber shooter, you must have a bow that is set up for your physical specifications. This means that you need to know your draw length, and you need to pull a comfortable draw weight. If either of these variables isn’t dialed, you’ll never be as accurate as possible.
Photograph by Tony J. Peterson
If your bow doesn’t fit perfectly, enlist the help of a pro shop employee to help set up your target or hunting bow to your exact specs.
When it comes to draw length, a deviation of even half an inch will degrade your shooting form and reduce accuracy. You can measure this yourself, but a better bet is to visit your local pro shop and have a bow technician measure your draw length. Then ask them to watch you shoot a few practice arrows. If your draw length is too long or short, they’ll be able to remedy it. If your form is off, they’ll be able to offers some tips on how to hold properly throughout the draw cycle.
When it comes to draw weight, if you’re shooting a compound bow and can’t draw it without raising your bow arm and aiming at the clouds, you’re pulling too much weight. Back it down so that you can draw straight back to your face without any struggles. If you shoot traditional bows, the same rules apply when it comes to struggling. You should be able to move through your draw cycle with a recurve or a longbow in one smooth action.
If you’re not happy with your shooting or believe it could be better, address bow fit first.
Quick tip: When it comes to draw weight, if you’re shooting a compound bow and can’t get it drawn without raising your bow arm and aiming at the clouds, you’re pulling too much weight. Back it down so you can draw and anchor in one smooth motion.