Technique for Good Archery Shooting

by Zach Lazzari

Successful archery requires sound fundamental technique and a consistent shooting style. Practice is the foundation of developing proper technique, and video recording or coaching is helpful for monitoring the performance. Consistency in the shooting style develops confidence and long-term success as an archer. The fundamental techniques are simple to understand but often difficult to execute on the first attempt.


Assume a square stance with your feet shoulder width apart. Point your toes perpendicular to the target with your grip hand closest to the target. Raise your grip hand without the bow and look directly over you gripping shoulder. You are looking at the target in a shooting position. Stagger your feet slightly if you feel uncomfortable but do not use a heavy stagger. This is the fundamental shooting stance. Advanced archers are capable of shooting from kneeling positions and other stances but the square stance is the starting point and remains the stance of choice for longbows, recurve bows and compound bows.


Grip the bow lightly and press the grip between your thumb and forefinger. The ideal grip is stable and comfortable without actually squeezing the grip area. Clip your release on the d-loop for compound bows or grip the string with your forefinger above the nock and your middle and ring fingers below the nock. Push into the grip and pull the string to your cheek to draw the bow. At this point, your posture must be erect with your shoulder blades slightly flexed. Hold the string against your chosen anchor point on the cheek or jaw. Use the same point on every shot to build consistency.


Aiming technique varies based on the type of bow, sights and experience. Aim directly at the intended striking point on the target for bows without sights. Fire several arrows and note the position of the arrows. Adjust your aim up or down to compensate for the arrow positions. Adjust the pins on the sights for recurve and compound bows. Shoot several arrows at 10 yards using the top pin as a guide. Adjust the position of the pin up or down to compensate for the arrow placement. Repeat the process in 10-yard increments for each pin on the sight.


Settle the aim on your target and lightly pull the trigger on a mechanical release. Release tension on the string simultaneously with each finger for a finger release. Follow through on every shot by dropping the top limb on the bow forward. Stop the follow-through when the bowstring is parallel to the ground. The follow-through is an important motion that keeps you relaxed and makes the shot a smooth motion.

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