How to Hold a Bow and Arrow in 10 Steps
New and old archers alike can benefit from some fine-tuning to their bow and arrow holding skills. Coaches and professionals are constantly evolving new techniques in archery talk! Keep reading for the best tips and tricks on how to hold a bow and arrow.
How to Hold an Archery Bow
Establish a proper stance.
The first, and arguably most important, step to perfecting your bow hold is establishing a proper stance. A solid stance essentially means you’re standing straight, your feet in line with the archery target<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>. Start by making sure your feet are shoulder-width apart.
It’s important to stay relaxed in your posture by pushing your shoulders downward; they shouldn’t be touching your ears! Practicing keeping your body relaxed will help maintain a proper stance for shooting. The entire body’s stance is crucial to accuracy, but the foundation of good shooting is your foot position.
There are a few different ways to accurately hold your bow, but your feet must always be shoulder-width apart with the knees slightly bent. This position keeps your feet even with each other and perpendicular to the arrow. It’s known as the neutral stance.
Another option is the closed stance. It works by placing your front food slightly ahead of your rear with the hips closed to your archery target. Keep practicing and decide which one is most ideal for you while shooting the bow before heading to archery shops.
Hold bow perpendicular to the ground.
Now that your stance is solid, it’s time to grip the bow. Set up your grip while holding the bow up to avoid straining your hand. Simply pick up your bow and hold it upright.
At this point, your bow should line up vertically with the strings. The entire thing should face the ground at about a 90-degree angle. Setting up your grip and pulling back the bowstring before you hold up the bow can add extra strain us archers don’t need.
Be sure to wait until your bow is raised to tweak the grip and make sure it’s accurate. Don’t grasp it directly from a straight angle, as it can put your hand off-center with the grip. After you’re holding it, then you can grasp when practicing archery for beginners<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>.
Grasp bow with your non-dominant hand.
It may seem counterintuitive to reach for the bow with your non-dominant hand, but you need the stronger one to hold and aim the arrow. Gripping, aiming, and firing the arrow requires a lot more strength than holding the beginner bow. Plus, your grip on the bow needs to be light anyway.
Relax your hand before gripping.
Just like your stance, your hands shouldn’t be tense while holding the bow. Relaxing your hands makes it much easier to grip the bow properly and glide your fingers where they need to be. Start by sliding your hand forward on the grip as far as it can go.
This is where a bow grip may come in handy if you have one. If not, simply slide your hand forward with your thumb and fingers on opposite sides of the bow. Keep sliding until your hand makes contact with the ball of your thumb joint.
Your goal here is to limit as much torque (or rotation) as possible. When you shoot an arrow, having too much torque can throw off your aim. The best way to prevent this is by lightly gripping your bow with a relaxed hand.
Align your thumb with the inner edge.
One major way to help with aiming and holding your bow straight and solid is by aligning your thumb with the inner edge of the bow grip, then pointing your thumb towards the target. Instead of curling your thumb, keep it up straight as you position it on the other side of the bow, separate from your bother fingers. Let it rest lightly along the inside edge of the bow grip.
After your thumb feels strong in its place, adjust it so that it’s fully straight and pointed toward your target. Then, position your thumb pad against the bow grip. With all of these steps mastered, holding the bow is a piece of cake.
Position knuckles at a 45-degree angle.
If you’re still struggling to hold the beginner bow, it might be time to try a new technique. Gripping at a 45-degree angle can be helpful if you typically struggle with holding the bow too tight. Instead of wrapping your fingers around the front of the bow, pull your fingers back and let them rest gently against the grip’s side.
This process will help you move down diagonally at a 45-degree angle from the bow. In this position, your thumb should rest normally on the other side of the bow. It can be good training to help maintain a relaxed grip.
Be sure to place the force of the bow mainly on your index finger and thumb. They should feel firm and solid, but not too tense. These two fingers are ones that mostly end up controlling the direction of the bow.
How to Hold Archery Arrows
Nock the arrow.
Nocking the arrow essentially means to place it in your bow’s rest or the bowstring depending on what kind you have. There are a few different options for where to keep your arrows before nocking them. Hold them on your bow’s outer or inner side with arrowhead pointing up or down.
Another option is to carry them together with your bow or in between your fingers. Most archers find that keeping arrows in the inner or outer sides of the bow is most convenient. It would also help to hold the bow on the other side where you nock your arrow when shooting.
This technique is easier, as reaching over to grab the arrow on your outer side leaves nothing in the way of your fingers. If you choose to keep the arrowheads down or up, this comes down to archers’ preference. When grabbing your arrow, use two or three fingers and place your hand on the nock.
If your nock is that the bottom, you’ll need to raise your hand before grabbing the arrow. If the nock is at the top, you must lower it. The final popular technique for archers is between fingers or fists, which allows you to hold more arrows separated.
Draw the arrow.
Now that your arrow is placed, it’s time to grasp the string using the proper hand position. Most archers prefer to use a two or three fingers grasp supporting the arrow’s top and bottom. To assist with a safe release, consider using a release aid for less thumb and finger injuries.
When you’re drawing the string, your hand should be slightly above the nose. It should end at your face that is opposite to your bow hand. Essentially meaning if you hold the bow in your left hand, the string draw needs to be on the right side of your face (and vice versa).
Make sure you’re gripping the bow comfortably with your hand pointed directly at the target when pulling the string. After you’ve finished pulling the line, you’ll have to transfer the bow’s weight to your shoulders. With the weight behind you, your shots will be more accurate when practicing at archery near me.
Aim for the target.
Now, here comes the tricky part: staying still and aiming. Establishing your aim requires a lot of mental focus, practice, and patience. Those new to archery talk may even want to consider using a bow sight or looking through the arrow shaft towards the aim for help.
Aiming is a great time to refer back to your stance and assure posture is still proper and relaxed. Take a deep belly breath and slowly release to relax and clear the mind. Then, keep breathing calmly while making your shot to stay focused.
Release the arrow.
Finally, it’s time to release! Once you’ve drawn and aimed, open your fingers wide and let go of the arrow. Completely follow through as you watch your arrow hit the target.
Be mindful not to move the string after the release as it can be painful to you. It’s also ideal to wear an armguard for safety while shooting. Regardless of what step you’re at or how advanced your skill level is, safety should always come first.
How to Get Extra Archery Help
These tips are great, but what if you’re learning archery for beginners<span style=”font-weight: 400;”> and still struggling? Holding the bow and arrow doesn’t always come naturally at first. Heading to archery shops to chat with professionals and fellow archers is a must.
You can consult the pros and coaches for guidance on how to advance your skill. With a quick search of “archery near me,” find indoor and outdoor ranges for more practice. Shooting with fellow archers can help you pick up tricks and tweak your technique where needed.
Holding your bow and arrow has never been easier with these tips and tricks. Keep on practicing, be patient with yourself, and you’ll be a pro archer in no time! If you’re looking for extra info on all things archery, outdoors, and the like, check out more from Crow Survival.