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The Parts of a Recurve Bow

How To Use A Spotting Scope For Archery

You might not think using a spotting scope can affect your archery in a bad way, but you would be surprised. I outline some common mistakes archers make when using a scope and show you how to get the scope to work FOR you instead of against you.

Watch the video below for the full overview, or you can read the key points below.

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Avoid looking through the scope immediately

This is the most common mistake. If you look through the scope immediately after you shot, you lose the wealth of feedback that you should’ve reflected on from your internal feeling. You should make sure to internally feel the shot, and review how it was BEFORE you look through the scope. This will allow you to get the right feedback, and prioritise the feeling of the shot and proper technique, rather than becoming distracted by the outcome.

Decide scoping frequency before the competition

You want to know where each shot goes, it’s natural. However, archery is about feeling and you don’t need to look through your spotting scope on every shot. If you don’t decide your scoping frequency before the competition you will simply end up looking through the scope on every shot. Make sure you decide your strategy before the competition. A good starting point is to shoot 3 arrows, scope them, and then shoot your remaining 3 arrows.

Don’t reinforce bad shots

Shooting a bad shot is something every archer has to deal with, and no one is immune to it. But what you do after a bad shot and how you refocus is completely in your control. Too often an archer will shoot a bad shot, become visibly frustrated and wait a few seconds before checking the scope to see where the arrow has gone. This does NOTHING useful. You can see where the arrow landed, and you know that the shot wasn’t good; scoping it simply reinforces it more strongly and will probably frustrate you even more.

If you shoot a bad shot, acknowledge it, learn what you can, and move on.

Position the scope properly

It’s your archery competition, and you should always make sure the position of the spotting scope works for your shooting. If you are sharing a scope, friendly communication is always the key and 99% of archers are very accommodating and you can find a scope position that works for both of you. If you can’t work something out, you can ask to remove their scope during your detail and use your own scope, and you can also ask a judge to find a solution that works. Remember, the competition rules are there for everyone. Most of the time everyone is extremely friendly and accommodating, but don’t be afraid to communicate if something isn’t working for you.

Extra reading

If you’re new to the site, we’ve got a huge number of resources for you. You can start learning archery with our Recurve Archery Basics, How To Train for Archery, and How To Learn Archery guides. Then you can dive into our specific technique sections on Stance, Set, Setup, Draw, Expansion and Release. Finally you can also find loads more of videos on our Online Archery Academy YouTube channel.