Long-time readers of these posts will know that I’m forever going on about the importance of grouping. I can hear the groans already – ‘Rob, not another grouping article!‘ Grouping however, isn’t quite as simple as you might think.
Consider the following two targets:
I wanted to show you this to highlight the difference between accuracy and precision. With a higher degree of accuracy, we end up with our arrows landing closer to the gold – as per the diagram on the left.
What we really want to be aiming to achieve though is precision. Precision is subtly different from accuracy, and is the degree to which your arrows land in the same place. You can be precise but in-accurate (as in the right hand target), which actually is much harder to achieve. Given enough practice we all can become reasonably accurate as our mental image of the target improves, but being precise requires good, repeatable technique.
The reason this is so much better than simply being accurate, is that it makes our shooting predictable. We can hold all other factors equal as we learn over time to become more precise.
The best archers are the ones that are most precise, that repeat good technique on every shot. They’re relatively hard to come by, and I don’t even pretend to count myself among their numbers. My shooting is generally pretty accurate, but largely scattered and un-precise. Maybe I drink too much, or don’t take it seriously enough! It’s hard to say.
If you want to shoot competitively, you need to focus on precision. Accuracy will come with practice.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be introducing my first guest author Nadeem Ahmad, who specialises in Asian traditional archery – something I find fascinating but know very little about. Keep an eye out for his first article later this week.
I am still on the lookout for new contributors (paid and non-paid)– if you would like to show off your traditional archery expertise and knowledge and earn a few extra quid for doing it, please read the contributor guidelines.