How Should You Hold the Bow When Shooting? is reader-supported. When you buy something through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Beginners usually find it hard to master archery without a proper guide, and they tend to try different things before becoming skilled archers. While skills and patience are required to master archery, constant practice also plays an important role. Even before you take the first shot, there are a few things you should know. Holding the bow determines how good an archer you will become over time.

How Should You Hold the Bow When Shooting? 

Holding the bow is the key to success for any archer. When you take aim and begin shooting, you should be aware that you cannot have a bow too tightly or too loosely. So, in this article, we look at things that you should know and do about carefully clenching the bow. 

The Basics Of Holding The Bow When Shooting 

There are a few basic things you need to get right about holding a bow when shooting. These steps determine your accuracy, aim, and the strain on the muscles. We will look at each of the steps to make you understand the things involved in a basic shooting with a bow. 

  • Assuming the Shooting Position or Stance.
  • Nocking the Arrow.
  • Drawing and Anchoring the Bow.
  • Aiming at the Target.
  • Releasing the String on the Bow.
  • Following Through After the Shot

1. Assuming The Shooting Position Or Stance

Before you assume the position to shoot or get into a stance, make sure you are wearing the proper protective gear. Your protective equipment can include several things, but it is not limited to safety goggles, archer’s gloves, and shoes. Having decent traction for your feet is essential in archery.

You have to stand in a position that puts you at the right angle (90 degrees) to the target you are aiming for. The width, or the distance between either of your feet, should be equal to the distance or length between your shoulders, giving you the best balance.

Remember that your stance should not be strained but rather comfortable and easy. Do not strain your hamstring, calf, or thigh muscles. Relax all parts of your body. The upper body plays a role in producing the required power for drawing.

Read Also:   How To Store A Recurve Bow? 

If both your feet are in place and the upper part of your body is relaxed, you can assume you are in the proper position or stance. You can practice getting into this stance or position multiple times at different angles, even without picking up your bow. 

2. Nocking The Arrow 

One of the foremost things you should do while nocking the arrow is to either point the arrow towards the target or in a safe direction. At times, archers may point the arrow towards the ground and make sure to avoid it because you may accidentally shoot yourself in the toe.

A nocking point is where the nock of the arrow should be placed. A marked area on your bowstring would be the nocking point. It may be made of a metal substance like brass or usual rubber. Some bows have a simple mark to indicate the nocking dot, depending on the bow type you have.

The nocking point would be a spot where you constantly keep the arrow every time you take a shot. Do not keep the arrow anywhere else than at the nocking point. Some bows may have adjustable nocking points, but they should not be meddled with as a starter.

3. Drawing And Anchoring The Bow 

Take a good grip of the riser or handle of your bow, depending on your bow type. Make sure not to hold it too tight or squeeze it. Then, you should present the bow towards the target you are about to shoot. Raise your bow until your shooting arm is parallel to the ground. 

You have to draw the bow with the other hand simultaneously. The left hand would be gripping the handle or the riser, and the right hand would be drawing the bow. It is typical for right-handed archers, and the opposite applies to left-handed ones. 

You can rest your right arm on your face or close to it as it is a personal choice for most archers. Make sure your left and right hand are in alignment with each other. These should be on the same line as holding and drawing each time you take a shot. 

You can practice this multiple times with or without an arrow until you can perfect it. Perfection is achieved when your grip and draw seamlessly align with the other and are parallel to the ground. Being on level ground is vital for you if you are a beginner.

Read Also:   Is Archery Dangerous? (Risk Factors & How to Avoid Them)

4. Aiming At The Target

Everyone will have a specific instinct when they are aiming at a target, and it is usually where your eye sees and is called the human hunting instinct. However, if you are using sight, you have to ensure that the view aligns with the target you plan to shoot.

The arrow tip should align with the exact spot where you wish for it to hit the target. It is how you take it as a beginner with target practice. Try not to use advanced tools to get a better aim when you begin archery because it can mess your basic skills. 

Using sights as a beginner makes target practice easier. However, if you rely too much on it, you let the artificial sighter take over your instinct. Experienced archers do not suggest that you use sights when you begin, and instincts can help develop your skills.

5. Releasing The String On The Bow

Now you come to the best part, releasing the string on the bow. The release should be quick, smooth, and end on a confident note. You may not end up hitting the bullseye the first time, but remember that it takes constant practice before you become perfect. 

Confidence in your shot is relevant to how good an archer you become in time. Never lose confidence just because you do not hit the target consistently. You can also use a piece of paper on the target’s face to determine how well you hit the target. 

6. Following Through After The Shot

The place you saw before you released the draw is where you should focus after releasing the arrow. It is called the “follow-through,” which would allow you to notice where the arrow has hit on the face of the target. 

Without follow-through, you would not be able to recognize how good or bad your shot was. Every archer should focus on their follow-through. It is to see how their arrow behaves in flight, and it is also to know how the arrow had hit the target they aimed. 

Useful Tips For Beginners 

Anyone beginning target practice with a bow and arrow should consider these tips before practicing. These are suggestions by experts that you might find beneficial in your early days of archery. 

Read Also:   How To Use A Peep Sight On A Bow? (Explained)

1. Visualize

You have to visualize how good an archer you are about to become, and it would help you develop the skills necessary to become an experienced archer. Visualizing would also help your confidence levels when it comes to archery. 

2. Confidence

Practice with confidence at all times. The confidence factor is relatively important if you start to practice for competitions or hunting purposes. Without composure, you would never be able to become a skilled archer in any category of shooting. 

3. Good Equipment

You must invest in a good bow and arrows, and these things have their role to play to shoot with precision or accuracy. Without good equipment, you would end up taking longer than usual to become a skilled archer. 

4. Taking Expert Advice

Talking with experts in archery can be a good thing. You can find blogs and forums where it is possible to connect with skilled and experienced archers. Ask questions and have them answered. It can have a massive impact on improving your archery skills.

5. Practice

Spend a significant amount of time practicing with your bow. Good amounts of practice can even make a person with zero skills become the master of perfection. Persistence and constant practice can get you places when it comes to archery.

6. Patience

The key to becoming a skillful archer is having patience. Patience would help you build on a specific technique and master it. Skills without patience can not get you too far in the field of archery, and it can also be a key towards consistency in archery. 


Holding a bow when shooting is one part of becoming a skilled archer, and there are other aspects that we have covered that you can concentrate on as well.

Focusing on all aspects of archery can be a vital thing that you should do to become a skilled archer. Therefore, ensure that you have all the right boxes ticked and seek expert guidance in honing your skills in archery.

Equipment, practice, and good technique can be the keys to success in becoming an expert in archery. 

Leave a Comment