While everyone wants to effortlessly shoot an arrow through the air and hit an archery target with perfect accuracy, the truth is, archery skills take time to develop.
The more time and practice you put into this interest of yours, the better you can get at it. Beginner tips can always help you get there faster.
What archery tips do we recommend for beginners? For starters, those who are new to archery should learn arrow nocking, which is when the arrow makes a sound when it’s secured on the bowstring.
Did you like that tip? There are tons more we’d like to share with you so that whether you’re shooting arrows for the first time or the 10th, there’s something you can learn that can help you improve your archery game even more.
Before you shoot any arrows, you need to get good at your stance. Archery is as much about the way you position your body as it is your technique.
To learn the right stance, first you want to find your target. Then, move your body so it’s sideways from the target. Your legs should be at the same distance as your shoulders so there’s adequate space between them.
You also want to use the target as a means of positioning your feet. From the target, your feet should be at a 90-degree angle.
As you start firing arrows, your arms and head should move, not the rest of you. Your back should be completely rigid and upright. Your waist should not lean, twist, or otherwise move. Your knees especially should never bend.
This stance might feel uncomfortable and unnatural to you at first, but the more you practice, the more you’ll get used to it. With time, the proper archery stance will even feel like second-nature to you.
Exercising and Conditioning
While archery isn’t the most physically exhaustive sport, it still takes athletic prowess to execute. When you visit the gym or do any exercises, you should focus on the upper half of your body.
Working your torso and arms especially is important. Don’t neglect your back, abs, waist, or legs, either. After all, it takes bodily endurance to stand for sometimes hours at a time shooting arrows.
Choosing Your Bow
It should come as no surprise that not all bows are created the same. You can easily run out to any sporting store and pick up a cheap bow, but how well will it really work? How many times will you be able to use it until it breaks?
Instead of having to go and buy a new cheap bow every few months, it’s better to spend more money upfront on a mid-priced or even an expensive bow. This way, you won’t have to replace yours nearly as often.
There are several bow types to choose from. The first is a compound bow. This has several wheels located at the bow’s end on either side. The wheels are used to create a type of pulley system.
With less drawback, you’re able to take your time choosing your target, holding the bow back for a long period without firing. That makes compound bows perfect for hunters.
The next type of bow is a recurve bow. This is a great beginner’s bow since it’s short. You can tell recurve bows apart from other bows due to their S-curve. While pulling on the strings isn’t the easiest feat, it’s far more effortless than doing the same with some other bow types.
You might also use a traditional long bow. This bow type has existed since the days of Western Europe’s Middle Ages. The design remains largely unchanged because it’s so efficient. This is a much longer bow and has just a single curve. That means using it is not easy, especially compared to the shorter, beginner-friendly recurve bow.
As you start learning the ins and outs of archery, a recurve bow could be the perfect choice for you. With more experience under your belt, you might graduate to a long bow.
Loading the Arrows
With your bow picked out and your arrows ready, you now have to load them. All arrows should have fletchings or feathers, at least three of them. One fletching will be its own color and the other two another color. This is to help you position your arrow just right. You want the fletching with the single color to be as close to you as possible and not your bow.
Next, you want to find the arrow’s split ending or nock. This is on its back. The nock is where the arrow sits on the string. You’ll know you have it in the right position if it makes a clicking noise. This is called nocking the arrow, which we mentioned in the intro of this article.
With your arrow ready to go, you can now aim and shoot. Your arrow should have a green pin on it. You want to position that pin so it’s in line with the target, which is often yellow. The hardest part of this is remaining steady. This is where strength and endurance in the arms and upper body comes in especially handy.
Don’t be discouraged if your aim isn’t totally accurate at first. Everyone has to start somewhere, and with time, patience, and practice, you can improve your aim.
One way in which you could be doing yourself a disservice is not anchoring your bowstring. You have to have your bowstring in such a way that it remains in one consistent spot. Otherwise, you will have to keep repositioning everything each time you want to shoot. That’s not only time-consuming, but it’s inconvenient, too.
If you want to anchor your bowstring, first you want to tug it back. It should be up by your nose. Keep the string at a slight angle so that it goes diagonally at your mouth. This is going to be awkward and even uncomfortable to do the first few times you try it, but eventually you’ll get used to it and it won’t be such a big deal anymore.
Bow Sight Adjustments
As a beginner, any equipment that can help you master the art of archery is appreciated. That’s why you might use a bow sight. This will help you better your aim. Still, a bow sight is an imperfect instrument, and sometimes you might need to reposition it.
First, shoot an arrow into a target without the bow sight. Then, track the exact impact area of the target. You can then adjust the bow sight to more closely match your shooting. Don’t be surprised if you need to make further adjustments for the first few times you fire off arrows. With time, you’ll grow to understand exactly how your bow sight works and start getting bullseyes a lot faster.
Most of the time, archery is associated with hunting. It can also be a fun sport that has nothing to do with hitting live prey. Just because you don’t need a hunting uniform doesn’t mean you should wear any old clothing when you’ll be shooting.
You want clothing that is somewhat tight. While jeans are okay, they should fit closely to your body. Flared or bell-bottomed jeans could prove to be a tripping hazard. A t-shirt is suitable, but the sleeves should not be too baggy. If it’s colder, wear a long-sleeved shirt or a close-fitting sweater. Again, avoid anything with loose or baggy sleeves.
Also, avoid wearing shirts that have a large or baggy collar. Most button-downs are inadvisable, as are turtlenecks. Sweatshirts are another no-no unless they have no hoods. A robe is also inappropriate attire for archery. Don’t wear scarves, either. All these clothing items can interrupt your ability to shoot arrows. You could end up hurting yourself accidentally.
As for shoes, any athletic shoes will do. You want to ensure your shoes have good traction, since you might be shooting on dirt or grass if you do outdoor archery. Never wear sandals or other open-toed footwear to avoid arrows hitting your feet and causing injury. Heels are not a smart choice either, as proper footing is important when shooting and you don’t want to accidentally trip.
Finally, if you have long hair, you’ll want it pull it up and out of your face. Your face needs to be clear for you to shoot arrows, as sometimes the string gets quite close to your face. Your hair can get tangled in the string or bow, which can be quite painful!
Relaxing and Getting into the Mindset
If you’re practicing shooting arrows for the first time, of corse you’re going to be a little nervous since you’ve never done this before. That’s okay and perfectly natural the first time or two. Hopefully, the more you go out and practice, the more comfortable you will be.
Being relaxed and even confident will help you succeed in several ways. First, being in a successful mindset can breed success. Second, if you’re relaxed, your body won’t be so stiff. As you remember from earlier in this article, the right body positioning is absolutely crucial to hitting that all-elusive bullseye. While it’s important to be able to stand up straight, stiff arms will lead to a lot of missed shots.
Don’t go in focusing so much on staying relaxed. It will be much harder for you to de-stress and unclench your muscles if you’re overthinking things. Just have fun with it! You’re not going to be perfect at first, but no one is. Before you even know it, you’ll be feeling more relaxed and firing off shots with ease.
Archery is as much about mental prowess as it is about physical. You must be able to visualize the angle and speed your arrow will fire before you ever release the string. Being able to focus and hone in on a target is not a skill you will learn overnight, but it’s invaluable to your success in archery.
If you’re not the type who can concentrate on any one task for too long, we recommend you practice. Whether you take up meditation or other means of focusing, having that concentration will really take you a long way towards getting better at archery.
Choosing Anchor Points
If you don’t yet know about anchor points, you’ll have to learn them. When you move the string back, an anchor point is simply where you keep the string. It might be under your chin, for instance. Knowing your anchor point allows you to shoot the same way over and over again, giving you more consistent aim and results.
You know the old saying that practice makes perfect, right? That’s true of just about anything. The more you practice at archery, the better you’ll get it at it. We understand that we’ve thrown a lot of tips and terminology at you and that it might all be a little hard to understand at first. This isn’t a rush, nor is it a competition. You want to take your time, reading up on as much info about archery as you can.
Once you’re ready to start shooting arrows, you might rent your equipment rather than outright buy it. After all, it’s tough to predict whether you’ll enjoy archery until you’re out there in the thick of it trying to hit a target.
If you do find out that archery isn’t for you, then no big deal! At least you tried it. If you like it but you’re not that good, that’s to be expected. As mentioned, you can’t master archery overnight. A lot of the techniques and positioning will feel foreign and unnatural to you at first. The more you do them, the easier they will become.
That’s why we say practice, practice, practice. When you have spare time, be that on the evenings or weekends, shoot some targets with your bow and arrows. The more time you can devote to archery, the faster your skills will generally improve.
Tracking Your Progress
How do you know you’re improving? After each archery session, it’s best to track your progress. You can do this via the old-fashioned system of a paper or pen or you can even use an app on your phone or tablet. Whatever you use, make sure you’re jotting down how each session goes.
Here are some metrics to focus on in your notes:
- The weather that day
- Where you practiced
- Your overall score for the day
- The number of arrows used
- Changes to your technique and whether these worked
You can then review your notes to learn more about yourself. Perhaps you do better in sunnier weather than cloudy weather. You might be the opposite, in that you find the overcast weather helps you concentrate better because you don’t have to worry about the sun being in your face.
If there were certain tweaks or technique changes you made, you might continue using them or abandon them if they’re not serving you. Don’t be afraid to go back to an old technique and pick it up again later.
What if you’ve been at it for a while but you feel like you’re just not getting any better? You’re tracking everything but not much is changing. It could be that you’re doing something wrong without even realizing it.
If you’ve been practicing archery regularly for several months and your skills still feel as rough and rusty as they did at the beginning, then you might consider getting coaching assistance. Working with a professional or someone who has mastered archery will let you figure out areas of yours that need improvement.
Listen, you’re going to get frustrated from time to time when you’re out there shooting arrows. At the beginning, it’s going to be because you wish you had more technique and experience. Once you finally do get better at archery, you might get mad at yourself for missing certain shots.
Every sport and activity can be frustrating. You have to be willing to let most frustrations and upsetting moments slide right off your back. After all, anger will prevent you from concentrating, which can hinder your overall score and ruin your whole day.
Even though archery is a lot of fun and can be downright addictive, it’s still a physical activity and thus you need to take a break sometimes. If you’re craving a drink or a meal or your muscles are sore, it may be best to stop for the day. You can always pick things up tomorrow when you’re feeling better!
While archery isn’t the easiest sport, if you can master it, it’s an incredibly rewarding one. Whether you shoot arrows to hunt or just for fun, by understanding posture and positioning, choosing the right bow, and mastering your technique, you’ll have mostly everything you need to begin your archery journey.
Do remember that practice makes perfect. Getting out there and practicing as regularly as you can is the best thing you can do to get better. Good luck!
Andy Ryan is an archery enthusiast who has been practising hunting and target shooting as long as he can remember. He is known for his accurate groupings and humming laughter. His texts are packed with experiences and knowledge about the archery sport that few obtain.