Growing up bowhunting to now having a career in professional archery, draw length has always been critical factor in my bow setups. Whether it be because of me growing or just getting it fine-tuned to shoot more accurately, I have always had to adjust it. To me, draw length is one of the most important parts of a bow if not the most important part. It affects how the bow feels, your accuracy, and even how your bow tunes.
What actually is so important about draw length, you might ask? There are several things. The first thing is safety, because you don’t want to draw back a bow that’s way too long for you and you get your ear caught in the string or something. Another very important factor is comfort. You have to be comfortable when you are shooting. Perhaps the string is a little long: not hitting the desired anchor point could result in bad shot execution. If the length is too short, the archer runs the risk of either pushing the bow or pulling the bow off the target/spot being aimed at. Pin movement is affected if your draw length is too short or too long; if too short your pin movement will seem sporadic and jerky, and if too long you may get slow uncontrolled movements around the target. When you find a draw length that best fits you, you’ll see groups tightening up, and a more controlled and steadier pin on the target.
For beginners, a great way to determine draw length is to measure your wingspan and divide it by 2.5. This will get you to an approximate starting place for draw length. For instance, my wingspan (from tip of middle finger to tip of middle finger) is 73”. 73/2.5 would give me a starting draw length of 29.2”. This will give you a good starting point for draw length where you’ll be able to test it out and start playing with shorter and longer lengths to determine what is best for you. Not all bow companies measure draw length the same way, so you many have to adjust your length depending on the bow and string angle. Axle-to-axle length is another critical factor that may change how draw lengths feel and your draw length may need adjusted for that.
One of the best things about Elite’s bows (among many other advantages), is how adjustable the mods are for changing draw length. All you have to do is go to your local dealer and they will do it for you. Other bows have a rotating module that will twist to adjust length and some bows you’ll need to change the entire cam; your local pro shop will be able to tell you which one you’ll need. You can also fine-tune your bows draw length by increasing or decreasing the size of your D-loop. You can also twist or untwist your strings and cables. Twisting the cables an even amount on each side will lengthen your draw length, untwisting them will shorten your draw length. You can twist or untwist the string to adjust draw length, but it won’t quite do as much.
The most important thing to me is that you need to have good form, as the archer's form can also dictate the proper draw length. The word “form” gets thrown up all the time, and it seems that everyone has a little bit of a different depiction of what good “form” is. To me it’s when you have your bow arm out nice and relaxed, the string touching you in the corner of your mouth and tip of your nose, comfortably anchored into your release, and your back locked in pulling nice and steady. All until that shot breaks and you have a nice follow through drilling that spot or twelve ring. But, everyone has a different shooting style and it’s just like a golf swing. There’s not two people on this Earth that have the same exact shooting style or golf swing. The best way to figure out what is most comfortable and repeatable. Reach out to your local dealer or find a local archery range or club that can help you dial this in.
Draw length is an important factor to an archer’s success. The smallest adjustments can make the difference between holding steady and not. It can be easy to adjust and can make the biggest difference. It will also help you out a tremendous amount when you take the time to get it truly correct for you. I hope this blog was helpful and that it may help you out when tuning your next bow.
Be sure to follow me, Curtis Broadnax, on Facebook as “Curtis Broadnax Professional Archer” and Elite Archery on Facebook and Instagram. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have on this or any other subject.
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