Sure, there's an app for just about everything out there. You hit a button and a car with a pink mustache will come pick you up. Shake your phone and you can share a contact. Tell Siri that you want to know what the weather will be and she’ll tell you that it will be 86 and rainy tomorrow. Technology has solved plenty of problems over the past decade, but good shooting form isn’t one of them.
Any archer worth listening to will tell you that great archers must practice in order to achieve proper muscle memory. But how do you know if your form is good? Well, you can get your spouse or shooting partner to film and critique you or you can slap a lighted nock on your arrow and follow the light.
We are going to assume you’ve been working on the 3-yard March and you are now comfortable shooting at 20, 30 and even 40 yards. We are also going to assume that you have paper tuned your bow or had your local archery tech take a look at it and make sure it is properly tuned. So now we are going to dig into proper shooting form by using a lighted nock to track progress.
- You must understand the basics of proper shooting form and establishing your checklist of going through your shooting routine. Watch this video on shooting form to make sure you understand the basics.
- Make sure you are warmed up and just don’t come out of the gates firing. Since it is summer, a few arm rotations and push ups will do the trick.
- Learn to go into practice sessions with extreme focus and purpose. Just flinging arrows isn’t going to make you a better archer.
- Shooting time. If you are shooting with a partner, always have them stand behind you and watch (film if possible) the flight of your arrow. Start with a 20-yard shot. Make sure you have your Vesta’s on your arrows and shoot three arrows at 20 yards. Focus on your form and proper grip. If you shot a group within a 3-inch circle, then you can move back to 30 yards. If you have an arrow that strayed, ask your partner if he or she saw something wrong with your form. If everything felt good, then simply shoot another round. If the same arrow continues to fly off target, then toss it out of your shooting group.
- Repeat the same process at 30 yards and 40 yards. The lighted nock will allow you to track arrow flight. Make notes about the issues you have when shooting. Grip is a common problem that results in torque, which will cause you to shoot left or right. Again, you’ll learn to notice trends at longer distances that aren’t visible at 20 yards, so make sure you take notes to improve your form over the long term.
- At 50 yards, you will only shoot one arrow. The goal of this step is to build confidence in your form. If you aren’t comfortable shooting at 30 or 40 yards yet, then DO NOT do this step. You will begin to notice that you’ll instantaneously know if you made a good shot or not. The lighted arrow will help you confirm what you did wrong and allow you to make a mental note of how to correct it. Maybe you punched the trigger, maybe your grip wasn’t correct, or maybe you just pulled the shot.
- Repeat this exercise three times a week. This will help you build confidence while working on your form.
Using lighted nocks as a teaching tool will help improve your form and confidence going into hunting season, so when the shot really counts, you’ll be ready.