Where do I Start?

Information taken from Learn-Archery.com

Receiving instruction from a qualified Archery Coach is always the best way to start your archery journey. However, if you need a little refresher or like to read about techniques then hopefully this information will be of interest to you.

Basic Archery Steps: (please use the quick links below to skip to the relevant area)

  1. Stance

  2. Nocking the Arrow

  3. Set

  4. Set-up

  5. Draw and Load

  6. Anchor

  7. Transfer and Hold

  8. Aim and Expand

  9. Release

  10. Follow-Through

Step 1 - Archery Stance

The basic archery stance is performed by placing one foot on each side of the shooting line.
 

If you are shooting a right hand bow, your left foot will be forward of the shooting line (on the "down range" side or the target side of the shooting line) and left handed archers will place the right foot forward of the shooting line.​

Space your feet so they are approximately shoulder width apart.

Rotate your feet into what we call the "square stance". The square stance means your feet are parallel to the shooting line.

Stand up straight and rotate your chin over the shoulder (or as close as possible) of your bow arm/hand (the arm that holds the bow).

 

Rotate your hips so they are tucked or rolled under your upper body so as to flatten your lower back.

 

Lower your chest and ribs downward toward your stomach.

 

Push your shoulders downward

How should I practice my archery stance?

 

To improve your archery stance I suggest that you dedicate a minimum of 2 or 3 practice sessions to this one topic alone before moving on.

Repetitions

In large groups we only have time to shoot about 30 arrows in this time period.

The number of repetitions you choose to focus on your basic archery stance will make a difference in how fast and how well you progress in the learning cycle.

The more time you mentally and physically exercise this entire process the more "in-tune" and aware you will be of your overall posture, COG and stability.

Repetitions develop muscle memory, strength and endurance!

For more information visit the LearnArchery page

 

Step 2 - Nocking the Arrow

Hold the arrow shaft close to the nock behind the fletching or vanes.

Place the arrow shaft on the arrow rest.

Rotate the shaft so the index vane is pointing in the right direction.

 

Recurve Bow - the index vane should be pointing away from the riser. In other words, rotate the shaft until the index vane is between your body and the riser.

Compound archers will index the arrow differently depending on the type of arrow rest installed on your bow.

If you are uncertain about how to properly index your arrow on the arrow rest go to the arrow rest page for compound shooters.

When the index vane is properly aligned or orientated, SNAP the nock of the arrow onto the bowstring under the nock locator or nock-set (Recurve Bow) or between the nock locators if you use two nock sets.

The process is the same for compound archers unless you are using a "D-Loop".

When nocking an arrow on a bowstring with a D-Loop, the knock on the shaft goes between the upper and lower knot of the D-Loop.

If there is a gap left after the arrow is snapped into position, the nock on the arrow shaft should be pushed toward the top of the D-Loop.

That is all there is to nocking the arrow...or is it?

For more information visit the LearnArchery page

Step 3 - Set

Set your bow hand on the grip so that the grip is placed in the meaty part of the hand just below the thumb.

The grip should be located in the web of the hand between the thumb and index finger.

Place the thumb so that it is pointing at the target when the bow is raised in the next step.

Relax the remaining fingers and gently fold them. The index finger can wrap toward the front of the bow but still it must be relaxed.

When the bow is raised, the knuckles on the arrow side of the bow should create an approximate 45 degree angle.

The bow hand must stay in place through the entire shot process and remain relaxed even after the bowstring is released.

Recurve Bow - the index vane should be pointing away from the riser. In other words, rotate the shaft until the index vane is between your body and the riser.

Compound archers will index the arrow differently depending on the type of arrow rest installed on your bow.

Gently wrap the first 3 fingers of your bowstring hand (the hand that draws the string back) below the arrow shaft (all 3 fingers go below the arrow for beginners).

The string should be located at the first groove of these fingers. Only the top knuckle of the string fingers should form the hook around the string.

Make sure the index finger is pushed up against the nock of the arrow.

It is important to keep the back of the drawing hand relaxed and flat.

For more information visit the LearnArchery page

 
 

Step 4 - Set Up

Before you begin the set up step you should check the following:

• Is your bow hand properly positioned so it remains in the same location on the grip through the entire process?​

       - Hint: If you find yourself re-adjusting your grip during the Set Up or the next steps, then you need to re-evaluate your initial grip setting

• Hooking: Check that your fingers are hooked at the first knuckle.

       -  If you are hooking too deep (beyond the first knuckle) your string will not come off of your fingers evenly.

       -  If you are hooking too far out on the tips of your fingers, you will be apply excessive loads on the finger joints, muscles and tendons       

           which will result in pain.

• Footing: Check your footing. It is possible that while you were focusing on other tasks you moved your feet out of alignment.

• Hip alignment: Check the location of your hips. They should be rolled under your upper torso so that your lower back is flat and strong.

• Chest: Your chest should be lowered to bring your COG lower to the ground.

With the fingers hooked around the bowstring and the bow hand settled in to the proper grip position, extend your bow-arm forward.

The elbow of the bow-arm should be rotated vertically.

 

It is important that the bow-arm shoulder remains lowered during the next action.

 

The forearm of your drawing hand (bowstring hand) should move and remain as close to "in-line" or parallel to the arrow during the next action.

 

Raise the bow-arm up slightly above your point of aim (slightly above nose level and pointing in the direction of the target).

Move the drawing arm behind the arrow so the forearm is "in-line" with the arrow shaft.

 

As you raise the bow, rotate your chest and shoulders so your upper body is parallel to the arrow (perpendicular to the target).

 

The hand on the bowstring should be raised to the approximate level of your nose.

 

Check your bow-arm elbow. It should be rotated so the inside joint at the elbow is straight up and down.

For more information visit the LearnArchery page

Step 5 - Draw and Load

Before you begin the Draw and Load step you should check the following...

 

• Did you have to reposition your grip hand at any time prior to this step?

       - Hint: If you find yourself re-adjusting your grip during the set-up or the draw and load step then you need to re-evaluate your initial grip

         position.

If you must reposition the hand on the grip during this step then carefully "let-down" the bowstring, adjust the grip hand and start the process over.

       - Bow-Arm Shoulder: Is your front shoulder pushed downward or do you feel like the muscles of the bow-arm shoulder are "bunched-up" 

          on the top of the clavicle (collar bone)?

       - If the shoulder muscles are on top of the shoulder then the shoulder is not properly located which will lead to pain and prevent you from            achieving proper upper body alignment which will also prevent you from performing the remaining steps properly and efficiently.

       - Carefully let down the bowstring and start the process over. Try to think about the action of forcing or pushing your shoulder downward           while lifting the bow-arm toward the target.

• Your chest should be rotated parallel to the arrow shaft and perpendicular to the point of aim (target).

Draw: Draw the bowstring back toward the side of your face.

The bowstring hand started slightly above the level of your nose at the end of the set-up step.

 

As you draw the bowstring back toward your face in a straight line it should end in a position at the side of your face.

 

Your index finger on the bowstring hand will be near the corner of your mouth.

 

Load: As you draw your bowstring arm back toward your face, move your shoulder (drawing-arm) back and down as far as possible.

This is the action of positioning the shoulder and scapular so that the back muscles can "take over" the draw weight of the bow in a later step called transfer and hold.

 

Think of rotating the shoulder blade around from the front of your body toward the back.

 

As you rotate the shoulder back, it should also move down as low as possible.

 

Move: your drawing arm elbow until it is directly behind and parallel to the arrow shaft.

If you are not able to get your elbow directly behind the arrow it is OK. If the elbow is slightly higher than the arrow you are in a good position but the elbow should not be below the arrow.

For more information visit the LearnArchery page

Step 6 - Anchor

Before you begin the Anchor step you should check the following...

• Drawing Arm: Is your draw arm elbow placed behind the arrow?

       - Your forearm should be parallel or in-line with the arrow shaft.

       - Your shoulder should be rotated down and back.

• Bow Arm: Is your elbow rotated so the inside joint of the elbow is pointing straight up and down?

• Grip: If you find it necessary to reposition your grip you should carefully let-down the bowstring and begin the process over.

Draw the bowstring back toward the side of your face the remaining distance until the tip of the index finger can be placed on the corner of your mouth.

 

Point your thumb down in to the palm of your hand. The thumb should be tucked in to the palm but relaxed at the same time.

 

Fold your little finger toward the palm of your hand. Keep the finger relaxed.

 

Now press your hand snug against the side of your face.

 

The index finger should be on the corner or crook of your mouth.

The anchor must be solid - Many new archers "float" the anchor meaning they do not have firm contact with the bowstring hand against the side of the face.

Note that the bowstring should be located just off the side of your nose.

 

You should be holding the full draw weight of the bow in this step.

For more information visit the LearnArchery page

 
 

Step 7 - Transfer and Hold

Before you begin the Transfer and Hold step you should check the following...

• Bow Arm: Is your elbow rotated so the inside joint of the elbow is pointing straight up and down?

• Shoulders: Both shoulders should be down.

• Grip: If you find it necessary to reposition your grip hand you should carefully let-down and begin the process over.

• Is your drawing hand forearm parallel with the arrow shaft?

• Is your weight evenly distributed on both feet?

• Is your anchor position correct and hand pressed firmly against the side of your face?

From the full draw position, transfer the draw weight of the bow from your arms and shoulder into your back.

To achieve this action you will align the bow arm and shoulder through your chest to be in-line with the drawing arm shoulder.

 

A slight rotation of the upper torso (chest and ribs) will aid in aligning the shoulders.

 

This action also requires rotating the scapula of the drawing arm toward the spine.

 

Move your drawing arm elbow directly behind the arrow.

 

Hold this position with your back muscles.

 

The forearm and the back of your drawing hand should be relaxed.

For more information visit the LearnArchery page

Step 8 - Aim and Expand

Before you begin this step you should check the following...

• Is your anchor position correct and hand pressed firmly against the side of your face?

• You should be holding the full draw weight of the bow at the anchor position.

From the Transfer and Hold step begin the aiming process by looking down the shaft of the arrow and placing the point on the target.

 

Pause for a couple of seconds to re-focus on your overall form.

Your weight should be evenly distributed on both feet, your hips should be over your knees and feet, lower back should be flat and chest down.

 

Check that your grip is not tight (relax the grip fingers) and make certain your bow arm elbow is rotated.

 

Carefully sight up the bowstring and line it up with the center of the bow limbs.

For more information visit the LearnArchery page

Step 9 - Release

Before you begin this step you should check the following...

• After you aim, you should have re-focused on your overall form and checked the alignment of the bowstring with the upper limb on the bow.

From the Aim and Expand step begin the release process by expanding further from the centre of the chest outward toward your shoulders.

The bow arm shoulder should remain stationary.

The expansion of the chest should feel similar to taking a deep breath which rolls the major pectoral muscles outward (widening the chest).

 

At the same time, allow the bowstring to leave your fingers.

Push your fingers out of the way of the bowstring.

 

Continue the expansion of your chest and increase the intensity of your back muscles at the same time.

 

During the release, the scapula should continue to move toward the spine.

For more information visit the LearnArchery page

 
 
 

Step 10 - Follow Through

Before you begin this step you should remember the following...

• Once you have began the release process you must be fully committed to completing the shot.

• Before beginning the release and follow-through you should have paused for a few seconds to quickly evaluate your overall shooting form.

After committing to the release, the fingers of the drawing hand should be relaxed.

 

Continue to engage your back muscles so the scapula continues to move toward the spine and the drawing arm shoulder rolls around toward your back.

 

Your drawing hand should move straight back along the side of your face and stop slightly below and behind the ear.

 

The bow arm should continue to hold the bow up and remain in this position until the end of the follow through.

 

Continue to apply back tension until the arrow hits the target.

 

Lower the bow arm and drawing arm and rest.

For more information visit the LearnArchery page