A few years ago I was shooing in a tournament next to Roger Willet, Jr. Willet is a seriously good archer and has been ranked number one in the world. (1) We talked a little, mostly about fishing.
I did overhear him giving a piece of advice. Someone had asked him a question, which I didn’t hear. His answer to the unheard question was, “One of the biggest mistakes I see amateur archers making is buy new equipment too often.” That seemed to me a solid bit of advice.
If you shot professionally you may get a new bow every year. Chances are the bow comes as part of your contract with a sponsoring bow manufacturer. As a professional archer many amateur archers watch you. You shoot well and that new bow in your hand becomes the envy of many.
Hundreds of amateurs that have witnessed that professional’s skill at hitting the mark and many of them will rush out to purchase that amazing new bow the pro is shooting. Here’s the thing, the amateur would be better off investing in more range time than a new bow.
Last week, a student archer, one that is pretty good, had performed poorly on a few shots. Her immediate reaction was to suggest she needed new equipment. Her equipment was fine.
I asked, “How long have you been shooting?” She answered she’d only been shooting competitively for a year but had been doing some recreational archery for the past few years.
Remembering Willet’s advice I echoed it and offered that she not invest into more gear until her groups were tighter. See, it wasn’t her bow, it was her.
There are a lot of excellent bows on the market. Put any of them in the hands of an elite archer and that archer will shoot it like an elite archer. Elite performance, simply put, comes from practice.
If you are considering a new bow in an effort to improve, stop and question that decision. Are you practicing 900 to 1200 shots per week? Are you groups tight? Are you looking for marginal gains? Are you shooting an entry-level bow with a lower level sight and inexpensive stabilizers?
There is a point where equipment can provide marginal gains. But, for most archers, more practice will provide the greatest gain.