Archery isn’t a difficult sport to learn, but it does take time to master. As a new archer, there are a number archery tips available that you should take advantage of. When you do you’ll not only save time mastering the sport, you’ll ensure you’re learning how to shoot the right way.
Learning a few archery tips helps you understand some of the more common pitfalls for beginners. Being aware of these makes it so you can learn how to properly address them before they become an issue. Avoiding these common archery mistakes in the first place allows you to be an overall better archer.
Archery Tips For Beginners
Most archers teach themselves how to shoot vs. using an archery coach. This is why many new archers spend years perfecting the steps to archery success. While reading books, archery articles, and archery videos help you become a better archer, following the tips below should be on the top of your archery to-do list.
1. Find Your Footing
There are a lot of techniques you must perform correctly to become a skilled archer. Finding the right footing that works for you is one of the most simple, but most important steps to master. Proper footing requires you to align your feet and body before taking your shot. Correct foot alignment is the foundation of proper shooting posture, so be sure to use a stance that’s right for you. Archery stance options include neutral, closed, and open stance options. Consistently using once stance is crucial, so be sure to practice until your footing becomes second nature.
2. Less Is More
Use a lighter draw weight until you’ve built strength and established good form. Starting with draw weight that is too heavy can cause injury and will lead to forming bad habits. It’ll also make shooting less enjoyable from the get-go because you’ll be straining every time you pull your bow. Simply find your recommended draw weight range and start with the lower-end of weight recommendations. Once you’re comfortable and feel like increasing your arrow speed and power, feel free to increase your draw weight from there.
3. Determine Your Draw Length
Choosing or adjusting a bow so it fits your frame correctly supports your ability to shoot with comfort and accuracy. Don’t underestimate the importance of determining your draw length as it determines the size of your bow and the length of your arrows. Draw length that is too short doesn’t effectively utilize your skeletal frame and over-stresses your muscles. Draw length that is too long overextends your bow arm and doesn’t allow for proper back tension among other issues. Shooting with correct draw length supports proper shooting form and execution, leading to greater archery success.
4. Establish Good Form & Posture
Proper form is key to shooting well and preventing injury. Form is so important that some archers sign up with an archery coach to provide them with the advice and feedback they need to excel at the sport. Expect to spend a lot of time focusing on perfecting your form and posture. Once you’ve perfected your good form and posture you should feel confident in your ability to consistently execute a perfect shot.
5. Avoid Bow Slap
One thing that every archer experiences at some point or another is something called bow string slap. New archers should be aware of this and take necessary precautions to avoid this common archery injury. Bruising is the most common type of injury experienced, which can be minor or major. Avoiding this injury has a lot to do with your footing, bow grip, and elbow rotation. To avoid this issue, use a slightly “open stance” footing, properly grip your bow with your knuckles at 45 degrees, and rotate your elbow down/out to move your arm out of the string’s path. This along with proper draw length should reduce bow string slap drastically.
6. Pull & Hold Correctly
Pulling a bow may seem simple enough, but I’ve seen many beginners use techniques that are detrimental to their success. I’ve seen people shoot with two fingers, pinch the string between their thumb and index finger, or shoot with their thumb wrapped around the string. These are techniques you may see in movies, cartoons, or television, but they are not effective for a number of reasons. For a clean release, an archer should use 3 fingers or a release-aid to ensure a proper hold and release. When shooting fingers, beginners should place all three fingers (index, middle, ring) just under the arrow nock. This ensures a strong hold on the string while you draw to your anchor position…which our next important tip!
7. Find A Consistent Anchor Point
There’s no consistency without a solid anchor point. An anchor point is the exact location your hand rests on your face while at full draw. Finding a consistent anchor point supports your ability to shoot consistently accurate. Whether you decide to use 2 or 3 points of contact you must always keep your head in a relaxed and upright position. Some people reference their nose on the string, their hand along there jaw, there mouth on the string, or any number of other contact points. Find what works best for you and have a friend record you from all sides so you can visually scrutinize your technique. If you’re having difficulty finding a consistent anchor point, be sure your bow isn’t too big or too small for your frame
8. Relax Your Grip
Don’t hold your bow grip tightly! A grip that is too tight results in an increase in user error. Your goal is to provide bow support without actually influencing the bow upon release. So instead, focus on a loose grip. Start by sliding your hand up the grip as far as you can go against the arrow shelf. The web of your hand, aka skin fold between your thumb and forefinger, should rest in the deepest part of the grip. Now, make it so the grip is resting just inside the lifeline of your hand, against the meaty part of your thumb/palm. Keep your hand relaxed during the entire shot process and make sure not to grab the grip upon release….this will introduce errors into your shot.
9. Shoot For Groups
Shooting for groups will help improve your shooting accuracy. The goal is to shoot arrows so they land as close together as possible. Shooting tight groups means you’re consistent in your form. Don’t worry if you miss the bullseye as your focus is on making your groups tighter and closer together. Be sure to follow through to keep your arrows from missing their mark. Successfully shooting groups means always keeping proper form. Once you’ve established good grouping, you can adjust your sights or your aiming position (if you don’t use sights) to bring that grouping into the center of the target.
10. No Peeking!
While it may be tempting, don’t move your bow upon release to see where the arrow goes. This will introduce errors into the shot at the last second and build a bad habit. Instead, focus on perfecting your follow-through. Upon release, your bow arm should move slightly in the direction of the target while your release arm moves in the opposite direction. These movements should feel natural and you don’t really need to think about it. When peeking, you’re moving your arm down or to one side or another, often resulting in bad shots. If you must know where the arrow goes, I recommend buying a pair of binoculars to check arrow impact between shots.
11. Shoot The Same Arrows
There are many arrow choices available to us today. From wood to carbon and everywhere in between there are a lot of options. Make sure you choose the right arrows that fit your bow and style. Just be sure you don’t mix and match your arrows and fletching. Instead, choose one arrow type and one fletching type to build a matching set of arrows. Pay close attention to arrow length, spine, nock fit, fletchings, and materials used to construct. Not only does this make things easier when doing repairs, it’s required when shooting tournaments so people know how to differentiate everyone’s arrows.
12. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
The old adage is true. The more you practice perfect form, the better you’ll become as an archer. Performing repetitive actions helps build muscle memory and builds confidence in the shooting process. Confidence in the shooting process leads to improved accuracy and this in turn leads to more confidence in your abilities as an archer. It’s like anything else in life, the more time and focus you apply to improving, the better your results will be.
Archery Tips For Accuracy
If you are specifically interested in finding some archery tips to improve your accuracy, check out the below tips proven to support great shooting accuracy.
- Breathe – Don’t hold your breath. Instead, take slow, deep breaths when shooting
- Number Your Arrows – Keeping track of numbered arrows helps you determine how your arrows are impacting (For example if arrow #3 felt like a good shot, you can see where it landed or if it flew badly, you can check it for damage)
- Muscle Memory – Be sure you’re training your muscles how to properly perform, which requires you to always shoot the right way vs. shooting the wrong way
- Take Your Time – Too many people rush the shot. Take your time, breathe, and hold the shot a number of seconds so you can properly execute the shot process.
- Prepare Your Mind – Visualize your shot before you shoot. Imagine the perfect shot, what it will feel like, and bring that shot to being with a perfect execution.
Archery Tips From The Pros
The majority of archery professionals state that practicing is one of the most important factors for new archers to focus on. Makes sense, right? But what are some additional tips from pros that can help you improve your game when just starting out? Following tips that come straight from the pros means you can’t go wrong.
Archery pros have many years of professional shooting experience, making it commonplace for them to offer their professional advice to those new to the sport.
“I rarely shoot more than 15 arrows in a practice session, but I try to make every shot as perfect as possible.”
– Bill Winke, Midwest Whitetail
“Mentally, archery is a unique sport. It is a body-control sport. And to be able to control your body to make the same shot every time means you have to control your mind. That’s one of the biggest things about this sport: Archery is 100 percent mental.”– Brady Ellison, US Olympic Archer
“Blank bale is always good in any form of archery. If I couldn’t get outside and shoot, then I would most likely be working on 5-10m bunnies (20cm face target).”– John Dillinger, USA Barebow Archer
“Failure is the best way to learn. A lot of times we fail, and it’s for a reason. If you take it as a learning experience, you will learn. But if you take it as a failure, it’s going to keep you in that rut.”– Mackenzie Brown, US Olympic Archer
“I used to log everything I did when I judged in practice. I would log the date, the time, the target, the weather, the terrain, my guess, and what it ranged. After a couple of months, you really start to see what targets or conditions give you trouble. You can’t work on your weaknesses until you know what they are.”– Levi Morgan, 3D Archer Champion
Use the above archery tips for beginners to help you perfect your archery skills. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by simply focusing on one tip at a time. Keeping track of your progress using an archery training log makes it easy to review your progress. Don’t forget the importance of practicing regularly, as perfect practice indeed makes perfect!