How to get started in archery
The following ten steps described in this article will give you a basic overview on How to get started in archery. These are ten basic fundamental steps you must master as an archer, no matter what style of archery or bow you use. Implementing these steps through regular practice is crucial in order to build the right habits and solid ground for your whole archery journey.
The first step in shooting a bow is the stance. Imagine a straight line that runs from the center of the target to where you are standing. That line crosses the ‘shooting line’, the point from where you will be releasing the arrow. Place your feet about a shoulder’s width apart, either side of the shooting line, with the tips of your toes against the imaginary line that runs to the target. Loosen your shoulders and try to relax your body as much as possible.
This is all about the correct placement of your fingers on the string. Locate the nock on the string, and place your index finger above it with your ring finger and middle finger below. Next, hold the string by hooking the first joints of your three fingers around it. Make sure the string is hooked deeply and firmly.
The third step shows you how to hold the bow. The pressure from the bow needs to be distributed along the ‘pressure line’ on your hand. This runs diagonally across your palm just below the thumb. Try to keep your fingers relaxed, and allow the back of your hand to form a 45-degree angle. The tips of your index finger and thumb can touch, but don’t be tempted to grip them together.
Extending The Bow Arm
Raise your arm up slowly to shoulder height and always make sure that your elbow is turned away from the string.
At step five, you draw back the string along your bow arm, keeping it in a straight line, horizontal to your anchor point. At this stage, it is best not to put all the strain on your arms. Try to draw using your back muscles, moving your shoulder blades inwards towards each other. Remember to stay as relaxed as possible, keep your shoulders low and always ensure that your spine is straight.
This is when you find a reference, a spot from which you can shoot with consistency and accuracy. It is referred to as an ‘anchor’ as it is a fixed spot that will help you to develop as an archer. The drawn string should be touching the middle of your chin, while your index finger will be placed just beneath. Ensure at this point that your mouth is closed, with your teeth together but not clamped too firmly.
When you ‘hold’, the bow is drawn and your body tensed, ready to shoot. Your bow hand, draw hand and elbow should be forming a straight line in relation to each other, and you will feel the tension in your back muscles. Your shoulders still need to be kept as low as possible.
Use your dominant eye to aim, while keeping the other eye firmly closed. Keep the string slightly to the left of the target, and if you are using a sight then keep it fixed on the target.
Releasing The Arrow
Let go of the string to release the arrow. Do this by pulling your shoulder blades towards each other while simultaneously relaxing your draw hand. Your hand, if sufficiently relaxed, will automatically move backward. Once the arrow has left the string, allow your bow hand to relax completely and the bow to tilt and drop forward.
In the final step, you keep your draw hand raised, close to your ear while you watch your arrow fly. Keep focusing on your aim until after the arrow hits the target.
Final thoughts about how to get started in archery
All of these steps are just as important as each other and it is vital to be familiar with each one. The main thing is to keep relaxed and loose, only using the right muscles at the right times. Posture and pose is everything; keeping your spine bent or your elbow turned inwards could result in strains and injury. So, learn these basic ten steps of archery until they come naturally to you. Doing so will increase your enjoyment of the sport as well as laying a foundation for your progress to becoming a first-class archer.