Doesn’t it feel satisfying to see a pro shooting the bow and arrow? You wonder how come every shoot is so perfect.
A perfect shoot needs a lot of practice until it becomes instinctive, like throwing a basketball that reaches the target every time. However, if you are a beginner, you need to master the act by following some steps and practice for a long time.
No matter how intuitive the whole process seems, once you pick up the bow, you will understand that hitting bulls-eye is almost impossible without a proper guideline.
We have created this guide on how to properly shoot a bow and arrow so that you can master the act in no time. Keep reading.
How to Properly Shoot a Bow and Arrow?
Whether you want to be a pro in shooting or plan on hunting in the woods, you might want to start by considering the following steps.
Check the Equipment
The first thing to do before you get ready for your shot is to check all the equipment. Using cracked or damaged bow and arrows will not only cause you physical strain but can lead to serious injury.
Be sure that the string is not frayed; there should be no crack on the bow, bow riser, bow limbs, arrows. It is even better if you make it a habit of spending a few minutes with the bow and arrows to make sure everything is in the right shape.
However, if you own a bow, make sure you don’t drop it or cause any damage while traveling from your home and range. For complete protection, you can get a bow case that ensures your bow and arrows’ safety. This will also come in handy while traveling.
Assume the Right Stance
Some experts say, assuming the right stance with proper form is the key to a perfect shot. So, what is the right stance?
Entering into the archery field, you will see the shooting line a few yards from the target, typically 10-20 yards. While shooting behind the line is ideal, some archery ranges may allow you to stand on the line.
Wherever you stand, whether it’s on the line or behind the line, the crucial thing is that you stand straight, with your front and back foot perpendicular to the shooting line and parallel to the shooting direction. Also, the gap between your two feet should be equal to your shoulder’s width.
As for your back and hips, make sure to straighten them but not too much to make yourself uncomfortable.
And finally, the most important thing is keeping your shoulders firm but not too hard, and as you draw the bow, the shoulders and hand should form a perfect T.
Some tips you might want to consider; don’t twist your hips and don’t rotate your body. While maintaining the right stance, it is also essential that you are comfortable enough.
Grip the Bow Properly
Gripping the bow is one crucial thing for attaining accuracy and also consistency. However, gripping should come naturally. Following instructions word by word might lead to a tight grip or an open grip. Neither of them is a good practice.
So how should you grip your bow? The primary thing to keep in mind is that as you place your hand on the bow, your finger alignment should be such that your index finger and thumb make a V. And it is better to lay other fingers naturally, not fully open and not entirely gripping.
However, if you feel like you cannot draw strength in your grip and worry about the bow dropping, you might want to try with a wrist sling. Wrist slings help you attain accuracy in your shot but may affect the speed.
Nock the Arrow
The next thing on the line is connecting or setting the arrow on the bowstring. We call this ‘nocking the arrow’. Now it is important that you nock correctly.
Most bows have a nocking point along with the arrow rest. First, place your arrow on the arrow rest and then gently slide back until you hear or feel the satisfying click sound on connecting to the nock.
Now the arrow has three plastic vanes or fletching feathers, and of them, one is odd colored. Make sure the odd colored one faces away from the bow.
Some bows don’t have nock locators. In that case, you have to find the nocking point that works for you, which can be quite challenging as for consistently accurate shooting, you need to nock at the same point each time.
Grip the String
While there are several ways of grasping the bowstrings, the most popular one in the Split-finger draw or the Mediterranean style; in this style, you hold the strings with your index finger above the nock and middle and ring fingers below.
However, make sure you are not tightly gripping the stings, closing your fingers. If you are using a strong bow, the strings most likely to hurt your fingers. You can consider wearing gloves or using a leather finger tab.
Pull the String for a Full Draw
Now you are all set to draw the string. A common mistake while drawing the string is tightening the shoulders, which limits the upper body strength. Instead, focus on relaxing your shoulders and using the upper back and arm muscles.
Remember, a full draw is vital to attain maximum speed and strength. So pull the string with your dominant hand to the highest point and maintain the alignment with the bow. As you are pulling back across your chest and towards the face, avoid tilting and twisting your wrist.
Find the Anchor Point
After you have pulled into a full draw, you need to anchor the bowstring at some point comfortably, beneath your chin or side of your face. This locking point is your anchor point and should be consistent each time you shoot.
Finding the anchor point for the first time is a little bit difficult. You can experiment on and fix one that is comfortable and provides maximum accuracy as well.
Aim at Your Target
Once you are standing at the right stand with proper form, aiming comes easy and naturally. Make sure your dominant eye is in line with the target, and you are ready to go!
Don’t expect to hit the bulls-eye on the first try. You can do some trial shooting to adjust your aim.
For better and quick aiming, most bows have a built-in bow sight. If your bow doesn’t have one, don’t bother; practice naturally.
So, we have reached the last step of shooting. After you pulled to a full draw and anchored your string, now it’s time to release the arrow. Once you are ready to let go of the arrow, it is important that you hold still.
Leaning forward and pushing the bow are some of the biggest mistakes that most beginners make. This will not help you hit the target. Most experts suggest that you hold the position until your arrow has hit the target to avoid any unwanted movement.
However, sometimes you may struggle to hold still as the string release produces a noise that can be distracting or even cause vibration.
To prevent it entirely, you might consider attaching a string silencer which not only lessens the noise but reduces vibration, increasing your chance of hitting the bulls-eye every time.
While the step is not a must, evaluating yourself will help you understand how your shot was and how you can improve the next one.
And when it comes to improving the target hitting rate, a bow stabilizer is the most helpful tool. It adds weight to your bow, absorbs the shock and vibration, and improves your sight too. Again, you will notice all these effects if you take a few minutes to analyze the previous shot.
As a beginner, the aftermath is greatly helpful. Analyzing your shot every time will increase your accuracy and help you understand the archery more. Knowing how you feel about the shot boasts mental strength too.
The Secret to Perfect Shooting
Well, you know all the steps to shoot correctly. But mastering the act requires a lot of patience and effort. So, what’s the secret? Simply practice practice, and more practice.
It’s not rocket science to shoot an arrow. The more you practice, the better archer you become.
You might ask how much practice do you need? Well, until you can shoot instinctively, naturally, and effortlessly.
Shooting with accuracy and precision is not something you learn in a day or week. You need to know all about how to properly shoot a bow and arrow.
The several steps to hit the bulls-eye includes holding the equipment correctly and assuming the right stance to aiming accurately. In this article, we tried to focus on all the essential things about shooting a bow and arrow. Read on.