SHOOT WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED
Most bowhunters spend the spring and summer shooting into a target of some type to prepare for fall bow season. Many hunters spend the majority of their time letting arrows fly at 20 and 30 yards. Although this is a great way to practice for fall, there are a few other things you can do to hone your archery skills. The first thing archers should do is shoot with their eyes closed.
BLIND BALE SHOOTING
The above paragraph did not end in a typo. If you want to be the best you can be, first you must determine what bad habits you have. Most of us have some type of shooting form issue. We either punch the trigger, drop our bow arm when we shoot or we have a death grip on the bow when we shoot. Many archers, including myself, have a combination of all three. One way to eliminate the problems is by shooting at a target at close range with your eyes closed. This is called blind bale shooting. The goal of the exercise is to help you focus on your shooting form without worrying about the target or where the arrow is going. By shooting with your eyes closed, you can focus entirely on holding your bow properly and gently squeezing the trigger. Many pro archers will practice this drill for weeks without shooting with their eyes open. After practicing like this for a few weeks, you end up creating good shooting habits. I often do blind bale shooting for a few minutes before I do my normal practice routine during the summer to refresh my memory.
RECORD A VIDEO
Another thing you can do if you are worried about your shooting form is have someone record a video of you while you are shooting. A close up video when you come to full draw that shows your body and arm as you shoot the bow will tell you a lot about your form and any bad habits you might have. A simple smartphone video will tell you a lot about your habits, good and bad.
SHOOT THE LENGTH OF A FOOTBALL FIELD
After you have mastered blind bale shooting and fine tuned your shooting skills thanks to your video, start shooting at extreme ranges. I love shooting at 80-100 yards. Forget shooting at 20 yards. If you focus on 80 or 100 yards, 20 yard shots will be a piece of cake. When you can regularly hit a paper plate at 80 or 100 yards, you will know your form is spot on. Of course I would never shoot a deer at that great of distance, but I enjoy practicing at those ranges. The challenge of hitting the mark at that distance makes practice a blast.
BY TRACY BREEN