ARCHERY FOR BEGINNERS: BOW BASICS AND HOW TO SHOOT

Archery is a sport or recreational activity that’s awesome, and if you’ve been steered towards it then you’re lucky. Before I tell you about the basics, here’s one fun fact, if you get fond of archery and become an expert, you’ll be known as a toxophilite. Amazing right?

What should come to your mind when thinking about archery, is a bow and arrow. These are the most essential things for this sport and without them, well you’re just wasting your precious time. So before you head out to buy your bow and arrow, here’s what you need to know about bows.

 

knowing your bows

Archery bows have changed throughout the years and with the help of technology, different enhancements have been made to the modern bows making them different from the older ones. Before I tell you all about your bows, I think it’s important to know that they’re 4 types of archery, each having its own scoring systems. The importance of knowing this is that you will need to use different bows for each. These are:

 

  • Field archery - With this type of archery, you will be shooting 3D animals or even paper faces. This will take place in a woodland setting, giving you a more realistic feel. The shooting made here is of an unmarked distance and as much as it’s a sport, it is also used to improve one’s skills on bowhunting.

  • Clout archery - Don’t get me wrong, this is not about shooting arrows to influence people, but is a type of archery where you’ll be shooting at flags that have been set at particular distances. Obviously, the distance will depend on the age and gender of the participant.

  • Flight archery - Basically, this is shooting an arrow, in order to gain greater distances. Note that the greater the distance the better. Fun fact, it’s also the most common type of competitive archery in the world. Awesome right? A trick to get better distances all lies in your choice of bow. Keep reading to know more about bows.

  • Target archery - In this type of shooting, you will be aiming an arrow at round five color paper faces. You’ve probably seen this in the Olympics where it takes place both indoors and outdoors.

 

Now that you know the types of archery, let's get into the types of bows. They’re 4 main types of bows:

 

  • Recurve bows.

  • Longbows.

  • Compound bows.

  • Crossbows.

 

recurve bows

Historically, the recurve bow was used by horsemen for hunting, protecting herds and even for war. In modern times, however, the bow is used in the Olympics and is distinguished from other bows by its shape, especially its curvature, where its central part of the limbs curve towards the archer and the limb tips curve away. This gives more power to the bow, and in turn leads to the need of very minimal strength while using it.

 

Often, the bow is used when teaching archery. So when you’re beginning, you’ll be given the barebow recurve, which only consists of a string, bow limbs, an arrow rest and a riser to help in balancing the bow.

 

longbows

These bows were first used in the battle of 1298, where it remained the prevalent weapon till mid 16th century. Known for its simplicity, the bow consists of a piece of wood, that’s long and slightly curved and almost the same height as the archer. Aiming with a longbow is much more difficult as compared to other modern bows and although very many archers enjoy the challenge that comes with using the longbow, you should know that to master it requires a lot of patience and practice. Up for the challenge? Go for it

 

compound bows

The compound bow was first delivered in 1966 and has continued to change throughout history. Its structure is basically like that of a recurve bow, only that it has cables and pulleys. These help the archer hold a draw weight that’s heavy. 

 

This type of structure also gives the archer ample time to aim a bow powerfully without causing muscle fatigue.

 

 When it comes to adverse weather changes, for example in temperature and humidity, then this bow is perfect for you as it is not affected compared to other bows. This in turn increases the arrow velocity as well as the distance and aim accuracy. The bow is not recommended for beginners considering its complexity. 

 

crossbows

Most people tend to believe that crossbows originated from China and Europe as they first appeared there. They have an appearance that’s similar to firearms, although they have a bow that’s attached horizontally to the muzzle.

 

Two types of mechanisms are used in launching and they are, the crank mechanism and the trigger mechanism. 

  • The crank mechanism - This helps in drawing the string as it is attached at the back of your crossbow.

  • The trigger mechanism - This is used when launching the string.

 

Crossbows have a firing range that’s short and they need a drawing weight that’s heavier as compared to compound and recurve bows. They’re also often used for target archery.

 

 

how to shoot your shot

After knowing all about bows, you can now start training. Here are a few steps to follow:

 

Know Your Dominant Eye

Just as people have their dominant hand, either the left or the right hand, you also have a dominant eye. Knowing which one it is will help in aiming as things are much more clear.

 

Get Your Pose Right

Being the most underestimated thing in archery, body postures also help in getting a good aim. One should also make sure that your muscles are relaxed when holding the bow. A pro tip is to Coordinate your body and bow. You should be able to feel your bow, and basically let it be part of you. This is important as it makes things easier.

 

Clutch Your Bowstring

Having a grip over the bowstring is essential as it determines how far your arrow will go. The stronger the grip, the further it could go. Don’t use a death grip though.

 

Draw Your Bow

This is pulling the bow back towards you. You need to make sure your draw weight is right and you’ll also need to use a bit of muscle. However, you need to relax your shoulder. Like, don’t get too tense.

 

Determine Your Anchor Point

This is a place on your face where the drawing hand will be placed. The purpose of this is to stabilize your aim before you release the arrow.

 

Know Your Target

Having a directed aim helps you keep your focus as opposed to having a general aim. One place to aim your bow is way better than not having a place to aim at all. The archer, being you, should try to create a visual image of your target and where exactly you want to hit.

 

Let Go of Your Arrow

After following the steps above, It’s finally time to release your arrow. Have your main target in mind as you do this and filter any  distractions that may arise during this period. Doing this helps you stay focused thus better results.


When getting into a new sport, It’s important to do adequate research as well as finding a reason why you’re doing it in the first place. This helps you stay  motivated as you have something to push you to do your absolute best. Ooh and just a thought, success stories also help. How? Good question. You now have someone to look upto. Just remember that for anything to workout successfully, you need to dedicate your time to it.