how to shoot a bow and arrow

How to Shoot a Bow and Arrow | 10 Simple Steps to Learn

Stand in your comfortable position, nock your arrow, grip your bow, put your finger on the bowstring, lift the bow up to the shoulder, point your target, pull it back, and release the string to fly your arrow to the target. This is all about how to shoot a bow and arrow.

This is too easy, right?

Yeah, you’re almost right.

There is no rocket science behind archery. Learning archery is nothing just a few techniques and manners you need to follow. Do you excited to learn archery? Don’t worry, you’re just 10 steps away from shooting an arrow and hitting the archery target for the first time. Today you are going to have the foundation of your archery journey. So, you just need to stay relaxed on your foot and not to try learning how to shoot a bow and arrow quickly. Let’s dive into your very first archery lesson.

Recurve Bow Vs Compound Bow

As a beginner, you need to understand, how you ought to choose your first bow or, which one do you have to choose to recurve bow or compound bow. This is important to know before starting how to shoot a bow and arrow lesson.

Recurve Bow: Recurve bows are very popular among beginners and also among adult archers. Recurve bows are widely used by the clubs and outdoor shooting ranges to teach the new archers. They can be takedown, which means they can be disassembled into different parts or one piece. Recurve bows are very easy to learn with and very generic in design. Before purchasing you should have a look at the best recurve bow for beginners.

Compound Bow: A compound bow is an example of archery engineering. They are mechanical in design and comes with cam and efficient limbs. The velocity of a compound bow is very high. They tend to use mechanical release aid and magnifying lenses. Compound bows are very famous because of their ease of pick up and use and the most important for accuracy. However, you don’t need to look for another lesson to learn how to shoot a compound bow and arrow.

These two are the common kinds of bows in the market. This is your personal choice based on what you want to achieve in archery. The above factors may help you to make your decision. To know more check Recurve Bow vs Compound Bow in-depth discussion.

How to Shoot a Bow and Arrow Step by Step

Proper Archery Posture

As I said before, your comfortable and relaxed stance is very much important in the first place of learning how to shoot a bow and arrow. Whether your arrow will hit the target depends on how relaxed you are on your stance. It is very important before learning how to hold a bow and arrow. Then here comes the proper archery posture toward the target. You can stand in two different ways. Either you can stand on a square stance or you also can stand on open shape. For beginners, my recommendation is always a square stance.

At first, stand with your feet perpendicular or 90 degrees angles from the target and shoulder-width apart. In this position, your both feet are in a parallel position with the shooting line. This is called a square stance. The other one is an open or oblique stance. With this position, your front foot will be pointing at the target.

How To Nock An Arrow

Take an arrow and put it on the arrow rest or shelf. To knock the arrow you must find a nock locator. It is to help you consistently nock an arrow at a 90-degree position with the bow and nock it at the same position. Nock your arrow right below the nock locator on your bowstring.

How To Grip A Bow

Before holding your bow you need to know about your dominant and non-dominant hand. If you are right eye dominant then your right hand is your dominant hand and your left hand is your non-dominant hand. Grip your bow with your non-dominant hand gently. Don’t grip the bow tightly.

Perfect Finger position

There are many different techniques to grip the bowstring to draw. In this lesson, you will learn to grip the bowstring with three fingers- index, middle, and ring finger. This technique is called Mediterranean grip. Now grip your index finger right above the nock locator and the rest are below. On the other hand, if you find it comfortable you can also grip the bowstring with your three fingers down the nock locator. In this position keep the back of the hand flat.

For a beginner, we also recommend learning how to string a bow.


Afterward, raise your bow arm extended out towards the target. It is important to raise the bow neither too high nor too low but parallel to the ground or the same height as your shoulder. If you raise your bow arm too high or low, your arrow never hit the target. Besides, it can damage the arrow very badly.

How To Draw A Bowstring

You have almost learned how to shoot a bow and arrow. Now you are ready to draw the bowstring. At this point, you might feel afraid of hitting the bowstring on your bow arm. That’s why make sure you wear an armed guard on your bow arm. While you are doing this make sure to keep your front shoulder a little bit down. Otherwise, you’ll feel a bit uncomfortable. Now draw back the bowstring in a gentle and steady way. Make sure the nock locator, arrow rest, and your target point are in the same line. If you feel uncomfortable drawing the bowstring with your bare fingers you can use a finger tab or finger glove that will protect your fingers. While drawing back the bowstring consider using your back muscle rather than your arm muscle. Because it will ensure a powerful draw.

Anchor point For Drawing Bow

When you draw back the bowstring, reach the consistent anchor point which is a reference point on your face where you hold your bowstring before release. You can find and practice your anchor point on your own. Your anchor point could be the cheek, chin, or the corner of your mouth. If your anchor position is your nose then draw your bowstring until it touches your nose. If your anchor point is your cheek then draw the bowstring until your index finger touches your cheek. Make sure to keep your anchor point the same each and every single time you draw.

how to shoot a bow and arrow - anchor point

How To Aim a Bow and Arrow

In this section, you’re going to learn how to aim a bow and arrow. Aiming is the most controversial topic in archery. When you shoot without a bow sight it’s called instinctive shooting. On the other hand, you can also aim with a modern archery sight. However, in recent years sights are very popular in archery, you will be learning instinctive shooting in this lesson.

If your target is not so far then point the target with the tip of the arrow. At this time you need to stay relax and your body forms like ‘T’. If you find your arrow hitting the target too high or low, just reposition your fingers in the opposite direction of error. If the distance between you and your target is more than 25-30 yards you will need a little raise of your arrow tip. You need to determine that by practicing how much raise you need in which distance.

 You may feel target panic while aiming the bow at the target. Especially when you settle pinpoint at target and overthink of aiming. At this point, your brain tells your finger to release the bowstring immediately. This form is called anxious aiming. Now the question could come to your mind that,

 “How could I determine the target panic or anxious aiming?”

If you feel like you cannot aim at the center of the target and steadily release the bowstring then you have target panic. But there is nothing to worry about. It will take two weeks at maximum to cure. Whenever you get an opportunity, take your bow and arrow and go to the backyard. Fix a target, aim at the target, draw your bowstring and STOP! Don’t fire. You just need to practice centering your pinpoint for at least several moments where you want your arrow to hit.

It’s time to Release

There’s no HURRY! From a steady stance and with a dominant aiming push your fingers off and slowly release the bowstring. Releasing the bowstring is not the last step. There you go with your last step,

Follow Through

The Last Important step of How to Shoot a Bow and Arrow

After making your arrow flying toward the target it’s time to keep pulling your shooting hand at the bottom of your ear. Then let your bow naturally lilt forward a little bit to the target. This movement is called follow-through. That is a clean transformation of the energy throughout your bow to the arrow. It gives an extra push to your arrow.


On the contrary, mental training is the most important thing in archery no matter you are heading toward competitive archery or bow hunting. Another most important part is practice. If you planning to do an archery course in order to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow, I would prefer you to practice the above tactics first. It will make you comfortable with a bow and arrow. The longer you invest in archery, the more success you get from it. Best wishes for your archery journey and welcome to the world of archery.

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