In this segment we provide a basic guide on how to shoot a recurve bow. Bow shooting is similar to chess or poker, it takes a relatively short time to understand the basics but a lifetime to try to master the craft. And while there are many complex tips, tricks and styles to shooting that expert archers train and implement we will stick to the basics steps in order to understand how to shoot a bow for those starting out.
Get a Proper Stance
Stance in archery, like in most sports is of vital importance. It serves as the base for which you anchor yourself to get enough power for your body to use as leverage.
When shooting a recurve bow, you want to stand straight and relaxed. Not stiff, yet not soft. Position your feet shoulder width apart. If you are on a target range, place your each foot on either side of the shooting line. Your ideal position is having shoulders square with your body, hips and feet.
Nocking Your Arrow
Once you’ve positioned yourself properly, your body will be perpendicular to the target. This means if you’re drawing with your right hand, your left shoulder points to the target, and vice versa.
Now, pull out an arrow from your quiver. Position the arrow against the bow’s arrow rest, then nock the arrow. You’ll know that the nock is properly placed against the string when you hear a clicking sound.
Before drawing the bow, make sure you have proper hand positioning. Instead of holding the bow’s handle with your whole palm you want to position your bow hand such that the ”V” portion of the webbing between your thumb and index finger slides right into the bow’s grip. The rest of the hand just keeps this place. But it is the V portion that will “pull” against your other hand when you draw the string.
For the drawing hand. A common practice is to place one finger over the arrow and two below it. This often gives you more control. Others however prefer placing all three fingers underneath the arrow. This boils down to preference.
When you’re ready to shoot and have the arrow nocked, lift the bow up until your hand points towards target. Keep your arm straight. When you reach shoulder height, face the target by turning your head and pre-draw your bow (usually pulling it back halfway).
Drawing the Bow
Draw your bow by pulling the string back across your face until the arrow nock or string reaches the tip of your lips. This the what is called the anchor.
Instead of pulling with your hands which what we would intuitively do, pull back using your back muscles. To do so, instead of using your hands, use your elbow to pull back. This way it will be the back muscles being engaged. As you practice this more you’ll get a better mind muscle connection with your back muscles.
Taking the Shot
Now that you’ve positioned yourself and drawn the bow, it is time to aim and release. Aiming will take focus and usually the use of one eye. Each person has their own style of doing this and it will be up to you to figure out how you best get focus on the target.
Once you’re fixed on the target, release the string by gently letting go. Let the string tension do the work for you and don’t try to put any extra work into it by moving, pulling, tugging on the string. By simply letting go and allowing the string to slide through you get the best possible (and straightest) path for the arrow to travel without disrupting it.
Go Out and Practice
Once you’ve learned the basics of shooting a recurve bow, the only thing left is to go out and practice.
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