Archery Mistakes Common for Beginners

While practicing on the archery range a few days ago I noticed a group of beginner archers with their trainer, probably on their first trip on the range. Seeing them reminded me that I was once like them, and I started to reminisce on what it was like when I was still learning and understanding the ups and downs of shooting a bow.

Though it was hard for me to overcome the bad habits when I was still learning, I thought it could help other beginners to know a few of the mistakes I made before I shot my bow as confidently as I do now.

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Beginners see the bow string as something that can break easily. They somehow think of the string as an elastic band and are afraid of the string scraping their face-off once they let loose.

  • Don’t be afraid of your string breaking. Practice drawing the string towards your face. Your thumb or the string itself should be able to touch the corner of your mouth.
  • The placement of your hand next to your face is your anchor point. Note the position and reference it at every shot.

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On some cases for first-time shooters, the bow can be too heavy or too light. They tend to draw the string with either with 2 or 4 fingers.

  • Use 3 fingers. Pointer and middle finger for strength to pull the string and ring finger for control.
  • Bring your pinky and your thumb clear behind the string.
  • Remember the nocking points on the string recess the knuckles to keep the hand straight.

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Mastery of aiming the bow or the arrow is one of the basic lessons when learning archery. Aiming the tip of the arrow directly at the center of the target is an instinctive misconception for beginners which results to have the trajectory of the arrow too high off-target.

  • Aim through the bow sight instead of the arrow.
  • Mind the position of your hands in relation to the target.
  • Note the distance of your target and compensate for the arrow drop.Aim2Long 900x400px

Drawing the string at full before aiming may seem most logical when shooting at the range. But the longer time it takes for you to let go of the string the more tense your muscles become. This results in your arms shaking and bobbing at the draw.

  • Visualize the target before raising the bow itself.
  • See and feel the position of the bow in your hands before you draw the string.
  • Practice shortening the time of every shot you make.

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Your shooting stance is one of the factors that makes your shots accurate. Moving back and forth in your stance after every shot resets a different stance every time you make the shot.

  • Plant your feet apart firmly on the ground. Stand with your body straight.
  • Take a deep breath and tense your hips as you draw.
  • Make the first shot and pick up an arrow for the next without moving your feet.
  • Make adjustments based on the first shot you made.

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Shooting the bow as a firearm and anticipating recoil. Beginners also tend to somewhat avoid the string or close their eyes as soon as they let go of the draw.

  • Avoid pushing the riser with your bow arm. Instead, gently hold its position by keeping your elbow straight and stable.
  • Pull the string with an opposite hand towards your face with the elbow completely bent to maximize your draw strength.
  • Your draw hand should end up near the back of your head on each shot.

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