I feel like when it comes to draw length everyone knows half the equation. Everyone knows to set the draw length of their bow, but by only doing that they’re missing out on one of the more important portions of the equation. What portion is that, you ask?
D-loop length. This small piece of thread attached to your string can do wonders for allowing your body to be aligned in a more useable way.
But there’s more to it than just that though. It’s all about getting proper body alignment, and like I have said in setting your stance, you want your body to work for you not against you.
There’s two parts to what I consider total spread for your body that we need to get correct. Your bow’s draw length and your loop/release length. These two parts essentially split your body in half on what they represent and work on.
- Your bow’s draw length will align the front half of your body, the side holding the bow. For an illustration, if you were to hold your arm out and use it to support yourself as you leaned against a wall how would your arm look? It wouldn’t be hyper extended or locked completely out. It also wouldn’t have a severe bend in it either. And if it did, you wouldn’t be able to hold yourself up as long because you would be relying on your muscles, not your bone to bone contact. So generally, your arm is going to be straight, but not locked out. Now transfer this from the wall to holding your bow out infront of you. Next, attatch the release and draw the string straight back to your face. Stand perfectly straight when you are doing this and make sure you are bringing the string to you and not you to the string. Also, make sure your head is straight up and down as well. Don’t lean it forward or backward to have your nose align with the string. When at full draw you want to be forming a “T” with you body. Take notice of where the string is touching your face. Is the string against your nose, behind the nose, infront of you nose? On a side note, on some of the shorter axle to axle bows, you may not be able to have the string against your nose. Next, see where the nock of the arrow is and how the string runs across your face. You will generally want the nock somewhere underneath the eye for starters. Also, you don’t want the string too far back on your face. This will cause left misses when it drags and comes away from your face while your shot goes off. On my bow, I get the string to touch the corner of my mouth where it crosses, and the tip of my nose. Once I’ve micro-adjusted the bow’s draw length to this setting that part is done.
- The second half of this is the loop and release length. This length will usually be a little bit different with each different release you use. This is because the length of the head on a hand held release will be different lengths with different brands and models, and how the wrist strap you are using is made can be different as well for the length of the rod, cable, strap, ect. What you are wanting to do here though is align the back half of your body to not be fighting your bow to get the shot to go off and leave straight each time. I would say as a general rule of thumb on this, having your release side forearm horizontally level, or slightly higher on the elbow end at full draw would be a good starting point for how long you need the loop to be. From this point you need to go to a longer distance, but one you’re still comfortable making good groups at. Start shooting some groups and take note of patterns that happen. Do you start missing and grouping more to the left of center each time, or the right? If you are a right handed shooter and missing to the left, this means you are still needing to increase the loop length. If it’s the opposite and you are missing right, you need to decrease the loop length. Little amounts can make a lot of difference here. I am most comfortable with a loop 15/16 of an inch long. If it’s 1 inch long I will start missing to the right, if it’s 14/16 I’ll start missing left.
Once you get these two adjustments correct for you, it will make you a straight line from you bow hand through your release hand and elbow and this added along with your foot position being correct will allow you to draw, anchor, put the pin on the dot you are aiming at and just let the shot happen. You won’t have to fight your body anymore. Your upper body won’t be pulling you left or right during the shot, just straight back. Having these two lengths will also help steady and slow your float down even more. This makes you have much more confidence in your shot and it will make your execution be much more fluid and consistent.
I hope thishelps you get on track to improving your scores and consistency!