The Basics of Archery

How to Shoot a Bow for Beginners

If you’re reading this you’re probably interested in learning more about archery, what it all consists of and where to find it.  Well you came to the right place.  This article will talk about the basics of form, stance and execution of the shot. 

If your planning on getting into competition target archery, bow hunting or just want to try something new, this information is for you.

Before we begin lets make sure the bow is comfortable for you to pull back.  We do not want a bow that is heavy on draw weight because that will be hard to learn on.  We want to make sure you can easily pull the bow back and hold it comfortably.  

The number one thing any archer should begin with is form from the ground up.  Your stance should have your feet shoulder width apart with toes at a 90-degree angle from the target.  If it helps you can put some type of straight edge down and bring your toes to it.  For example see image below:

If you’re right handed you’ll have your left shoulder facing the target, and if you’re left handed you’ll have your right shoulder facing the target.  This is going to tremendously help with drawing your bow. 

Now lets put the bow in your hands, and talk about gripping the bow/hand placement.   The harder you grip the bow the more torque you will induce on the bow and that will result in missing your target.  Focus on putting the pressure of the bow between your thumb muscle in your hand and index finger.  This should have your fingers drawing a 45-degree angle through the bow. We do not want any of the bow/riser touching the bottom of your palm during the shot.  See image below:


Next step is going from the grip to your elbow and into your “anchor point”.  Your elbow should have a slight bend in it as you relax your shoulder.  Your anchor point is where you bring the string back to at full draw.  Everyone is different so anchor points may change slightly from person to person, but it should be relatively the same too. 

If you are shooting with “fingers” and not with a release aid then you’ll want to anchor your index finger on the corner of your mouth at full draw.  You’ll then place the very tip of your nose on the string.  This should allow your eye to look directly down the string following the arrow.  You will want your anchor point to be the same every single shot.  The more consistent (in our form) we as archers can be the more accurate we will be.  See image below:


If you are going to start out shooting a bow with a release aid then the anchor point will be different.  But there are so many different types of release aids that will have to be on another blog post.  

After your stance, grip and anchor point are all-together and you feel comfortable at full draw, let that arrow fly! 

Couple things to remember:

  • Never draw a bow back without an arrow loaded.
  • Always make sure the bow is facing in a safe direction.