Archery is a sport that has been around since the beginning of time and currently is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. Unique to archery, is that whether you are young or old, tall or short, left handed or right- you can be successful as long as you get the right start. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to hitting the bullseye and more importantly, having fun while doing so!
1 Enlist the Help of the “Been-There, Done-That” Pro’s
Mission Archery carefully selects knowledgeable, service-oriented retailers who demonstrate a passion for archery and bow hunting. By visiting an Authorized Mission Retailer and enlisting the help of dedicated archery specialists, you will save yourself a ton of time and frustration. Authorized Mission Retailers will show you the proper mechanics and form to shooting a bow. Getting started with the right foundation will undoubtedly lead to greater success and shooting enjoyment.
2 Establishing Eye Dominance
Determining whether or not you should shoot right or left handed depends solely on eye dominance. This can be determined with a simple test and will greatly enhance the ability to accurately shoot a bow. Before you even pick up a bow, an Authorized Mission Retailer will help determine your most dominant eye. This is a vital step for accurate shooting since the bowstring should be directly in front of the dominant eye. Most mistakenly assume that the dominant eye will coincide with their dominant hands. But that isn’t always the case. Therefore, eye dominance should be established before any decisions are made regarding equipment.
The easiest way to do that is with the following method:
- Extend both hands forward, placing them together to form a small triangle between the thumbs and the first knuckle on the index fingers.
- With both eyes open, look through the triangle and center on a particular object, such as a doorknob, light bulb or rock.
- Next, close the left eye. If the object stays centered in the triangle, then the shooter is right-eye dominant. If the triangle appears to move off of the object, making it no longer visible, then the shooter is left-eye dominant.
- To further validate your findings, perform the test again. Only this time close the right eye first. If the object remains in view, the shooter is left-eye dominant. If the object is no longer visible, the shooter is right-eye dominant.
3 Proper Draw Length and Draw Weight
Having equipment that doesn’t fit you properly or isn’t comfortable is one of the most common occurrences new archers have when picking up a bow for the first time. This usually occurs by using a friend’s bow or a hand-me-down bow that is either too long (draw length) or too difficult to pull back comfortably (draw weight); sometimes even both. The wingspan method is a simple procedure that your Authorized Mission Retailers may use to establish a starting point for proper draw length measurement. Of course, some fine tuning might be needed, but this method will get you fairly close to establishing the correct draw length.
To begin, stand with your back against a wall, arms extended to the side. Then, measure the “wingspan” from fingertip to fingertip. Take that measurement and divide it by 2 1/2. This will give you a rough draw length. For example, a 45-inch wingspan divided by 2 1/2 equals an 18-inch draw length. Remember, correct draw length is an important component in proper shooting form. Without proper form, accuracy will suffer and enthusiasm to participate will be stifled.
Likewise, when it comes to correct draw weight, focus on comfort. Pulling a bow is unique and uses a unique set of muscles. It takes some time to condition these muscles to where they have the endurance to be able to repeat a draw cycle over and over. If you struggle to reach full draw, or are using erratic drawing motions to do so, then the poundage is too high.
Another simple test to determine if draw weight is too great is to have the shooter sit in a chair with legs open and the bow straight in front. While in this position, attempt to come to full draw. If you can’t draw the bow back without raising it 4 to 6 inches above your line of sight, then you’re likely shooting too much weight. Lowering the poundage will allow you to draw the bow back in a smoother, relaxed manner.
4 What’s Your Mission?
Beginning archers (especially younger beginning archers) should start with a bow that has a ton of adjustability. As the shooter grows, the bow will need to be able to grow with them. Not only in draw length, but also in draw weight. The more you shoot the more poundage you will become comfortable with. This is true for all beginning archers. Also as you grow, a longer draw length will be required. The Mission Craze II, Menace II and Hype are all great options for growing archers because of the large adjustment ranges. With 15-70 pounds of draw weight adjustment and 19”-30” of draw length adjustment, the Mission Hype & Craze II make ideal options for beginners. While the Menace II will fit even the smallest of shooters with draw lengths of 17”-30”. Archery is like any other sport. The more confident you are, chances are the better you’ll be. By starting off with a bow that fits you and that you are comfortable shooting, you’ll rapidly gain confidence which will lead to enjoyment.
5 Practice Makes Perfect
Children don’t care about score or the number of X’s shot. To them, the name of the game is fun. Make shooting an enjoyable experience and the child will likely participate in archery throughout their lifetime. In order to set the stage for success, begin with the proper bow/ bow accessories and end with an emphasis on fun — not results. The duration of a practice sessions should revolve around the shooter’s attention span. For kids, it turns out, that is exceptionally shorter than adults! Limit arrows or time spent shooting to the shooter’s own needs and wants, and the process of shooting the bow will likely remain fresh and exciting to them. Archery is a wonderful sport that provides the opportunity to participate in a life sport with friends and peers and be highly successful at it. It teaches and encourages hand-eye coordination, discipline, patience, confidence and focus. Visit your nearest Authorized Mission Retailer today and get started enjoying the wonderful sport of archery, one arrow at a time!