Updated: Jun 3, 2019
Why would a bowhunter benefit from an archery / bowhunting coach?
There are many valid reasons why we should all have a coach. No matter how many years you have been shooting a bow for there are always ways that you can improve and having a coach will fast track your improvement. Not only is it good to have someone throw their eye over your shooting form from but they can also help you with the mental side of archery/bowhunting. Being able to trial different aspects of shooting form or different pieces of equipment under the watchful eye of someone with experience is a great advantage.
Archers/Bowhunters are an unusual bunch because it's one of the only sports where people don’t regularly consult with a coach. Part of the reason for this is that we all have a higher opinion of our ability and therefore think we don’t need one because we can do things ourselves. The other issue is the fact that there aren’t many coaches around. Don’t let either of these reasons stop you from seeking the assistance of a good, well-qualified coach. Here are some of the reason I believe every bowhunter/archer should have a coach.
Get help setting up your bow to suit you perfectly
A good coach will help you with the basics like getting your bow set up perfectly for you. If you are a new bowhunter then that can mean getting your exact draw length sorted out. Even if you have an idea of what it should be or the shop you bought your bow from set it up for you there is often some small changes that can be made to increase your accuracy. Getting your peep height set properly is another critical component to having your bow set up perfectly for you. Even bowhunters that have been shooting for years can benefit from having an experienced coach check out these two areas. It’s amazing how little changes in draw length and peep height creep into our bow set-ups over time especially when we go through a few different bows. Small changes that you won’t notice over time can be picked up when someone else casts a critical eye over things. One of the biggest issues I see with those new to the game is a D-loop that has moved since the initial set up. When you don’t know how to diagnose problems a simple problem like this can be a nightmare. Getting your rest set and timed correctly, checking and correcting cam timing and making sure you have the right arrow selected at the correct length are all things that a coach can help the new bowhunter with.
Fine tuning your setup to shoot broadheads accurately
The main aim for us as bowhunters is to harvest game. The way we do it is by delivering an arrow, or more accurately a broadhead, into the vitals of an animal. To do this well you need to be able to accurately shoot your broadheads. As anyone that has been bowhunting for a while will know it’s not just a matter of screwing a broadhead onto the end of your arrow shafts and shooting. Broadheads make an arrow perform differently than a field point. Therefore it can take time and experience to get your broadheads shooting accurately. This is where an experienced coach can be extremely helpful. They can help you diagnose the problems and help you fix them, in most cases, much quicker and with less frustration than you can do yourself. Broadhead tuning can be one of the most frustrating parts of bowhunting when you don’t have much experience and not having your hunting arrows fly accurately is not only frustrating it is also extremely unethical to hunt with them.
Assistance to try/use different products and set ups
A good coach will normally have a range of releases and stabilizers that you can try, along with the proper instruction on how to use them. This gives you the opportunity to try different things and work out which might be best for you before you buy. It’s much cheaper to have the opportunity to try before buying something new and then working out that it doesn’t work well for you. Getting proper instruction on how to use different release aids under the watchful eye of a coach can greatly enhance your ability to use it well. The same can be done with stabilisers and their set up. Having that experienced person assisting you in setting up your stabilisers to get the best balance and holding can be invaluable. Arrow shafts and broadheads are something that I always have many different models of to show people.
Helping you with a repeatable shot sequence
Your shot sequence is probably one of the most important aspects of shooting a bow and is also one of the most under estimated. Having a good, solid and repeatable shot sequence will help you become much more accurate each and every time you shoot an arrow. Having a good shot sequence will also keep the dreaded target panic at bay. Regardless of what you think everyone reading this will get some form of target panic in his or her archery/ bowhunting career. It may be something as simple as some anticipation issues right through to full-blown TP where you can’t even bring the pin onto the target. Many of us have faced this demon or will in the future and having a good coach to help you through it or better yet prevent you from getting it in the first place is invaluable. We lose too many bowhunters out of the sport due to TP. If more of them had the opportunity to consult with a coach then they may still be shooting today. Consulting a coach to assess and assist you in this area is one of the most important and best investments you will ever make in your bowhunting career.
Teaching you the mental side of shooting
Archery is a mental game. To do it well you need to have a good, repeatable shot and a clear focus when you shoot. Most bowhunters don’t pay much heed to the mental part of the game to their detriment. Controlling your nerves when you are within bow range of a true trophy animal is really hard. This is where having a process to go through and practicing it regularly helps enormously. It is this mental side that lets many an experienced and inexperienced bowhunters down at the moment of truth. Many people will deny it to themselves and make other excuses but the fact remains if your mental game is not up to scratch then you are decreasing your chances of a successful harvest. Having an experienced coach help you set up a repeatable shot sequence that you can use under pressure situations is priceless.
Having someone to be accountable to
Learning something new takes practice and without that practice you can’t expect to get better. Having a coach makes you accountable. He or she will generally give you a couple of things to work on over a period of time and when you know you will be seeing them again you are more likely to do the work. Don’t let this make you shy away from getting some coaching, as any good coach will take your circumstances and available time to practice on board when discussing your program.
Help with shot placement on different game (for the inexperienced)
If you are new to bow hunting or are targeting a new species then it is extremely important that you know where to shoot a particular animal. Not all animals have the vitals in the same spot. Due to the different anatomical makeup of different game there is sometimes a difference in where you should aim to get maximum penetration and as quick of a kill as possible. Seeking out a coach that is not only proficient in the technical aspects of archery but who also has personally shot a wide variety of game is essential. You can get advice from websites and forums etc. but having someone who has actually hunted and shot that particular game is of the utmost importance.
Keep the one coach and only listen to them - Trust him
One of the most important things to do when you decide on a coach is to listen to them and trust what they say. There are any people that will try to help you along the way and people are forever giving advice thinking they are being helpful, but to get the best out of your coaching experience it is good to only listen to the one person. Sure you can ask questions of your coach and if someone has suggested trying something different talk to your coach about it. Don’t just start doing something that a fellow archer has mentioned to you down at your club or on a hunt. It may well sabotage what your coach is trying to do. I do encourage you to read books, listen to podcasts, and watch YouTube videos to increase your overall knowledge of bowhunting. This will then give you ideas that you can try with your coach. However do be careful of the source of your information. There are some really good things out there and there are just as many bad things. One really good source of information, both archery and hunting wise, is John Dudley’s Nock On series of Podcasts and YouTube videos. John is very knowledgeable and is a bowhunter at heart.
How do I choose a good coach?
In today’s world having access to good coaching has been made so much easier with the technology we have at our disposal. While being able to have a coach that you can actually spend time with is still the best situation there are now many other ways to communicate. So if you are looking for a good coach first and foremost I would check out your nearest archery club. Most clubs have a coach that would be willing to help you out and you can generally have access to them on a regular basis. The next option is to consult a coach that may live a little further away. Someone who you may visit once initially and then does follow up work with via phone/face time/video etc. A third option is to follow one of the online coaching resources like John Dudley at Nock On. Whichever way you choose you should make sure that your coach has experience in both archery and bowhunting. Expect to pay for their services, as their time, like yours, is valuable. For most good coaches, coaching is just something they are passionate about so the cost of employing one is quite reasonable, especially when compared to the cost of other archery related items it is very cheap for what you receive.
Improve your shooting and make yourself a better hunter
Getting a good coach will improve your shooting no matter what level of experience you have. It will be the best investment you will make in your archery/bowhunting career and is generally cheaper than a new release aid or bow. I cannot recommend getting a coach more highly.
Contact me for any information about my coaching services.