In this Archery for beginners guide we will discuss all you will need to know to start archery. Archery is one of humans earliest weapon and has been around since 10,000BC nowadays its used for sport and what a sport it is.
I have always likes medieval sort of stuff and Game of Thrones, Robin hood and using a bow and arrow is truly a fun experience. In the guide we will discuss in 8 simple steps the essential information you will need to know to start. We have other posts on the best bows, techniques etc. So you can start here and have a look at the other posts.
We found a great guide on archery tips for FREE in a convenient audible version if you want to have a look click HERE to help with your archery journey.
1. Getting Started
Different Types of Archery
This form of archery is seen at the Olympics and is where you shoot a given number of arrows at targets at a set distance.
Field Archery: For this type of archery it takes place on a set of targets set out in rough terrain usually in a woodland.
The shooting distances are mostly unmarked so that archers have to rely solely on their natural awareness and judgement. As well as the traditional style targets, field archery is known to also include animal targets
Styles of Bows
The common bow and archery in its simplest form, the traditional bow comprises of American Flatbows, English Longbows and Japanese Kyudo Bows. the typical wooden style arrows with feathers attached are typically used.
Compound bows are the newer type of bow, and almost anything is allowed as long as it is not electronic. These bows consist of cams to make drawing the bow easier and giving a much larger weight. (we have a post on the BEST BEGINNER BOWS)
These are the basic beginners bows, these are good for children showing an interest in archery, but a recurve bow is more suitable if the child wishes to pursue the sport further.
This is the only bow style allowed at the Olympics. Mainly associated with target archery, and ideal as a starter bow, recurve is the most popular style of archery in the UK.
2. Finding your dominant eye
This is vital to know as it decides whether you need a left handed bow or a right handed bow
- Hold out your hands at arm’s length out directly in front of you. Your palms facing forwards so you can see the backs of your hands.
- Make a “triangle” stretch both of your thumbs so that they are approximately perpendicular to the rest of the hand. Overlap your hands so that the space between makes a triangle (sort of like the Jay-Z Roc sign). Your two thumbs should be at the end of the triangle, while the edge and index finger of each hand make the two remaining sides. The triangle space that has been created between your hands serve as a viewing window – you should be able to see objects clearly through it.
- View an object through the triangle hole that you just made with your hands, with both eyes open. look for a nearby object that’s small enough (or further away) that you can view the whole object through the viewing window between your hands.
- Focus on the object. Try as much as you can to focus your eyes on the object between your hands – not your actual hands themselves. Your hands should become slightly blurry, while the object stays distinct and focused. It’s crucial to line this object up directly in front of you and look straight at it – moving your head to either side can ruin your results.
- Calmly move your hands towards your face. Start to draw your viewing window towards your face. As you are doing that, you must keep your head absolutely Don’t lose sight of it.
- Draw your hands in until they touch your face – the triangle should finish up over your dominant eye – keeping the object lined up in the hole between your hands, carry on drawing them all the way in until you can’t any more.
- Remember where your hands are – a lot of people subconsciously move their hands towards one eye to keep the object in their line of sight.
3. Right or left handed?
To determine which hand is more comfortable to shoot your arrow with start of with holding the bow in your left hand and draw the string with your right hand, you are a RIGHT handed archer if this feels comfortable for you.
If you hold the bow in your right hand and draw the string with your left hand, you are a LEFT handed archer.
It is crucial to recall if you are a left or right handed archer, as it will coincide to most accessories, as well as bows.
4. Choosing your bow length
Before you buy a bow it is vital to confirm you are choosing the correct bow length, we have created a simple guide below to help choose the correct size bow.
Height guide to selecting bow length:
6′ 2″ & over = 70″ bow length
5′ 10″ – 6′ 2″ = 68″ bow length
5′ 6″ – 5′ 10″ = 66″ bow length
under 5′ 6″ = 64″ bow length
5. Choosing your draw height
Selecting the right draw weight is the next step in selecting the correct bow. because if your bow is too heavy you might not be able to pull it back which will ultimately ruin your archery experience.
Our advice for beginners is to start of with a light weight bow you know you will be able to manage comfortably. Then after you get used to the weight you can opt for a slightly heavier bow in the future.
When you purchase a bow the description will tell you the maximum draw height. There is no definitive way of finding your draw weight, the preferred way is to try a few different weights we have created a rough guide to help you with your choice.
Archery Bow Draw Height Guide:
Heavy Limbs = 28-32#
Light Limbs = 16-20#
Medium Limbs = 20-26#
6. Selecting your correct arrow
When you start archery you need to know that you are using the correct arrow. Arrows are made from a variety of different materials however, as a beginner your main point is to start with ensuring you have an arrow that fits your draw length. Use the video below to help choose the correct arrow.
To find out your approx. draw length get hold of a tape measure in your bow hand and then pull (draw) the tape measure the same way you would a bow string to the corner of your mouth. Below is a video of how to pull the bow back the correct way.
Now you have an idea of you draw length, we advise you add approx 2″ to your measurement to get your arrow length, this is for personal safety as it can be very dangerous to shoot with an arrow too short.
7. How to string your bow using the bow stringer
This is the most safest method to string you bow and we would advise as a newbie to use this method although we could explain this its better to get a visual representation of this.
The video below was the most helpful and simple one we could find have a watch!
8. How to shoot a bow accurately
- The Stance – Before you shoot the bow : Stand upright with your feet about shoulder width apart, and point your feet at 90 degrees at a right angle to the target.
- Grip – It is quite common to grip the bow to tight as you are trying to aim. Do NOT do this keep a relaxed grip on the bow.
- Finger position – Place the fingers on the string with the index finger above the arrow, with two fingers below as shown in the diagram below.
- Draw – Do not grip the arrow with your fingers (as shown above). Pull back the string using your back, not your arms. Pull back on the string so your index finger of the pulling hand is under the chin, which leaves the string touches your nose and lips.
- Aiming – Using your dominant eye (found earlier in this guide), look straight down the arrow and line it up with the target. its important to hold your breathe at this stage to avoid to much swaying
- Relaese! – Relax your grip on the string and allow your fingers to slip backward naturally. After shooting, continue with your body position.