Deer Creek Archery's
The draw length on your compound bow is a vital part of your setup that can greatly increase your comfort, accuracy, and longevity behind the bow. It is also a part of the setup of a bow that many pro shops and archers alike do not take the time to properly fit. Poor draw length can throw your body out of alignment creating fatigue after only a few shots. It can also produce inaccuracy as your body must compress and hold in odd positions to compensate for the draw length. Finally, it can also cause you to feel uncomfortable when shooting, leading to less love of archery overall. So, let's make sure your bow fits you!
Before we start, it is important to note that archery technique and bow set up are things that are really personal. Each archer may have slight (or massive) variation in that technique and still shoot great! We are simply talking about the set up and technique that will work for most archers most quickly, and that will produce the most accuracy and least fatigue for that majority of archers. Levi Morgan shoots his bow with a slightly short draw length, and he's a multi-time world champion, but go watch the tournaments and see what you notice in aggregate.
Simply put, the draw length of a bow is the distance the archer pulls the bow from rest until it stops on the back wall of the bow. Improper draw length can cause a host of postural issues and technique errors. Below are some pictures with improperly fitted bows. On the left you will see a draw length that is a bit too long, and the picture on the right shows it to be too short. If one of these looks like you, then please get to an archery pro shop and get fitted properly ASAP!
If your bow is improperly fitted, the mod position, length of the d-loop, release aid position and more can be adjusted to get your fit proper. But how do you know what your draw length actually should be?
There are several ways to get your draw length measurement. The fastest, but not the most accurate, way of getting that number is to take the span of your arms from fingertips to fingertips and divide that by 2.5. This number is an approximate number that will give you a good starting place, but this number can be misleading as it is obviously impacted by the type of release aid you are shooting, your anchor, and more. However, many pro shops like Deer Creek Archery have a draw length testing machine so that you can see how you actually hold at that draw length with your own release aid and anchor and allows us to check your posture. Below are some pictures of an archer at full draw with a good draw length. You can see the archer has good shoulder, torso, head, and elbow positions, and the string position has good clearance from her face while her hand is at anchor. If your technique looks like this at full draw, your fit is correct!
Naturally, this article serves as an overview of the draw length fitting concept, but there are many more details that a pro shop or good archery coach can identify for you. Below is a video of one of the foremost archery coaches in the world, George "Griv" Ryals, talking about how the shoulder position can identify draw length issues, even when an archer seems to fit their bow well. The moral of the story is this: double check your draw length fits you properly and if you have doubts, stop in to your to your local pro shop to get it checked out!
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Deer Creek Archery will use this to archive articles and videos with tips from our team and the professionals on how to shoot and set up your bow more effectively.