Precision is all about consistency, about shooting the arrow in exactly the same way over and over again. Precise shooting results in tight groupings, and ultimately the “Robin Hood shot” of hitting your own arrows (which may be glorious, or it may be unfortunate if your arrows are expensive…)
Precision does not automatically mean a good score. You can shoot a very precise, tight grouping, but all in the wrong place! (precise but not accurate.) However, once you have a good accuracy, a good precision will ensure that more of your arrows land exactly where they should. Good precision will land high average scores and reduce “orbiting” (=shooting a perfect circle around our target, which is accurate but not precise).
As mentioned before, the main objective when training for precision is to learn to shoot all arrows in exactly the same way. This means:
- Decide on your shooting style, and stick to it! Through lots of experimentation we can find the optimal bits and pieces of technique that are optimal to our physical capabilities, equipment specifics, personal preference, ect. Then we need to make sure we stick to those techniques with every single shot. This also includes the aiming style.
- Repeat the shot process like a mantra! It really helps to tell yourself each little step of setting up and executing a shot, either in your head or even out loud. You can even write a list on a paper and stick it on the wall in front of you. The point is to really drill it deep into your skull and make sure you always have the same process, without leaving any step out! The goal is to have it fixed in your muscle memory so well that if someone alerts you in the middle of the night and scrambles you to face a pack of goblins, you can headshot all of them in the dark. (Yes, this repetitive practice can be boring, but fantasy can really motivate :3 ) Which brings me to the next point…
- Shoot in the dark! Put a spotlight on the target so you can see what you are shooting at, but keep your position dark. Your whole shot process will now rely on muscle memory. Keep practicing until you no longer crave a flashlight and you are consistently hitting your target. For extra challenge remove your nocking point and see if you can still get all your arrows level.
- Shoot fast! Once a basic consistency has been attained, shooting arrows in rapid succession can help to shoot them all in the same way. If the first arrow is well placed, shooting the other arrows after it will mostly result in a nice round. Just be sure that fast does not become sloppy and rushed! It just means a continuous process where our body and focus does not slack between shots.
- Practicepracticepractice. Consistency comes with time and practice. Shoot as much as you can, as often as you can, as many arrows as you can get in. Also, 4h of training should not be 2h shooting and 2h coffee break, it should be more along the lines of ~3h 45min shooting and the remaining 15min equipment setup and possible toilet or water break.
- Lastly, be patient with yourself! Archery is very mental, so a calm and positive attitude will be reflected in your results. Remember also that everyone has bad days, and that includes precision too. On some days the arrows seem like they don’t like each other and refuse to form a group! That can happen, but it will get better again.
may your arrows fly gloriously~ happy shooting to all fellow archers! ^_^
kitty hugs to all~