Archery Basics

Archery Basics For Beginners

If you have decided to join your local club, it is helpful to be familiar with a few archery basics before you begin.  Archery is a sport or art that involves propelling arrows by using a bow.  Throughout history, the practice has been used in combat or for hunting but today it is most often a recreational activity.

Pick Your Dominant Eye

Traditionally, your right eye will be dominant if you are right-handed.  In this case, the bow will be held with your left hand.  However, for some people, the opposite eye is dominant.  In this case, you need to get a feel for which hand is more comfortable holding the bow.

Preparing For The Shot

Preparing for the shot properly is the most important of all of the archery basics.  When you are at the shooting line, you will put a nock between the two nocking points in the string of the arrow.  If there is only one available nocking point, the arrow will go directly below it.  Set the arrow on the rest.

Protecting your fingers with a tab, place three of your fingers on the string.  Your index finger needs to be above the arrow with the other two below.  Put the hand holding the bow into the grip and allow a 45 degree angle to form with your knuckles.  Be careful not to grip the bow, you want your fingers relaxed and open.  Use a finger sling to grab the bow when your release.  Keep in mind that you always want the pressure to be on your thumb muscle.  Ideally, you will be able to hold your bow and your hand will be relaxed without wanting to twist.

Draw Arm

Once your bow hand is properly positioned, the archery basics get a bit trickier.  You will rotate your elbow so that the inner part of your arm is vertical and then lift your bow and straighten your arm at the same time.  Pull the draw about one-third of the way back.  Always keep your draw hand in line with your bow hand, both at eye level.  One of the most important archery basics to remember is to not lift the shoulder of your bow arm.

Draw The String

In one very fluid motion, you will draw the string in toward your face.  Your index finger should be under your chin.  Aim to align the string with the tip of your nose but do not bend your head.  The important thing to remember is to be consistent with your alignment for every single shot or you will never improve your accuracy.


Use the muscles in your back, rather than your arm to hold the string.  The holding phase is quick, less than a second actually.  All you are doing is allowing time to relax your arms and transfer the weight to your back.  Check your string alignment and make sure you see the string that is near the bow.



Aiming should take no longer than three seconds and you will add a couple of millimeters to the length of your draw.  This is simply done by rotating your scapula towards your spine.  This small movement increases the space between your shoulders the smallest amount but it really makes a difference.


The last of the archery basics is the moment you have been working toward, the release.  When everything feels right, you will release the string by relaxing your fingers and allowing the string to escape.  Never use any muscles in your hands or you will disturb the flight of the arrow.  Make sure that the arm holding the bow does not move.  The goal is to have as little movement as possible and never take your eyes off your target during the follow through.