In life there are no shortcuts to lasting success. None. Success is a combination of hard work, smart work, and luck. Bowhunting is no exception.
If you want a become a more accurate archer, and therefore a better bowhunter, you will most likely come to the conclusion that you need to shoot more, and you are probably right…to an extent. However, simply increasing the number of shots we take isn’t going to make us better; in fact it may hurt us in the long run.
You have no doubt heard the phrase, “Practice makes perfect.” Many of you may have even heard the escalation of that phrase, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” Becoming a more accurate archer isn’t about how many shots you take in a practice session; it is about how many perfect shots you execute in a practice session.
Each and every lazy, wasted, bad shot is a step in the wrong direction. The key to becoming a better archer is to make each and every shot count, and the best way that I have found to do that is to shoot with a shot sequence.
What is a shot sequence?
I like to think of it as a “mental checklist” that I run through for each and every shot that I take. However, the entire point of my shot sequence is to train my body to shoot without thinking.
When the moment comes and you finally get the animal you have been pursuing into bow range, adrenaline takes over. I don’t know about you, but in that moment, I am not always able to settle down and run through my shot sequence. It could be because I am too excited, which I do have some control over, or it could be because this animal is giving me a limited opportunity to make the shot and I have to get right down to business.
In these moments our shooting should be automatic, and while we may not have time to run through our shot sequence, it should be so ingrained in our minds and muscle memory that we follow the steps of our shot sequence without consciously deciding to do so.
Additionally, my shot sequence is critical for helping me diagnose bad shots. When I utilize my shot sequence, I can immediately identify what went wrong when I make a bad shot – whether it was my grip, bow torque, a flinch, or my aim – I will know for sure.
So the big question is: What is a good shot sequence, and how can I begin using one? Obviously not everyone will want to use the exact same shot sequence, but there are common elements of a shot sequence that everyone should employ.
Stay tuned for Part II to learn more about that! (UPDATE – Here is Part II)