Everything that you learn in archery builds up to the moment that you let the arrow go. Pulling the string is one of the last steps that determines whether your shot will be successful or lousy. Therefore, it’s important to work on your bow draw and release before going for the shot.
You’ve probably spent a lot of time working on your stance, getting the right bow, and learning how to nock your arrow properly. And, you don’t want to ruin all that effort by pulling the string wrongly and having your arrow go completely off-target.
There are many ways to pull your string correctly. Some may occur naturally to you, while others require a bit of learning and technique.
Read on to find out the different ways you can pull the string for the perfect shot. We’ll also touch on archery releases that you can use for a better pull and release.
A good pull and release on your bowstring means a great arrow trajectory and a higher chance of a successful shot. This is why you need to master your bow draw as part of your archery skills.
Fortunately, there are several ways of pulling the string, so you don’t have to stick with one that’s not convenient for you.
We’ll look at three of these ways, and hopefully, you’ll identify one that you would love to try. Of course, it’s best to try all of them to find the one that you’re most comfortable with.
Here are 3 ways to pull the string in archery for a great shot:
If you study archers at competitions or ranges, you’re likely to find most of them holding the bowstring with three fingers. This is what is known as the Mediterranean draw.
It’s a very popular way of drawing the bow, and many beginners may opt to use it too. The Mediterranean draw involves creating a hook on the string with your fingers by placing the first joints on it.
The three fingers involved are the ring, middle, and index finger. The thumb is left alone, relaxed, and facing downwards. Avoid sticking it out or up, likewise for the pinky finger.
Once you’ve nocked your arrow in place, place your pointer finger on the string above the arrow. You should position the middle and ring finger below the arrow.
With this hooked grip on the string, you can then draw it back to take your aim. Some archers hold the string with the pads near the end of their fingers instead of the first joints.
But if you’re just starting, it’s wise to begin with using the joints to hook the string. You can then modify how you grip the string as you go along.
The Pinch draw is another popular way of pulling the string in archery. Like the Mediterranean draw, it too may be very familiar to beginners.
It’s quite easy, involving pinching the end of the arrow with the thumb and the index finger. Once you’ve gripped the arrow, you can then pull back and prepare to shoot.
This method provides for a clean release. The arrow will automatically fly when you pull back enough that there’s no longer friction to hold it to the string.
Unlike other pulling methods, the Pinch draw does not have a grip on the string. This is what leads to the automatic flying of the arrow once the draw is long enough.
The third way of pulling the string is by using the thumb draw. For this one, you’ll grip the string with only one finger, the thumb.
This draw method has been used for long in Asian cultures. The thumb grasps the string, while the middle and index finger reinforce the grip by closing over the thumb.
In this manner, there’s only one finger in the string, and it’s what you’ll have to move to release your arrow.
This method of pulling the bowstring is very different from the others because it utilizes only one finger. But it’s perfect for shorter bows that are more susceptible to string pinch.
The thumb draw method also provides the advantage of a longer draw compared to other ways of pulling the string. This is because you get to pull it further back into your hand, unlike with the Mediterranean draw.
If you’re right-handed and using the thumb draw method, position the arrow on the right side of the bow. Likewise, position it on the left side of the bow if you’re left-handed.
These 3 are the most common ways to pull a string in archery. All of them can lead to shooting success when mastered well.
There are many things that you can do when shooting to improve your bow draw. These are steps that are essential for successful firing, so you should pay attention to them even before you choose your preferred way of pulling the string.
Here are a few tips on how to perform the best bow draw you can:
Before getting into shooting, you need to get the right bow for you. Usually, this means that the bow shouldn’t be too heavy for you. If it is, it’ll end up listing upwards when you pull the string, and this will affect your ability to focus on a target.
As a beginner, go for a lightweight bow that is easy to engage. As you get better at using your archery muscles, you can opt for heavier bows.
It’s hard to make a perfect bow draw when your stance and posture are all wrong. You need to find the right technique that fits you and then stick to it with every shot.
If you are completely new to archery, make sure to read through my archery starter guide!
When pulling the string, make sure to engage your back muscles. This will allow you to pull the string as far back as possible without straining your arms or shoulders.
Don’t depend on your biceps or triceps, as these muscles don’t really help when making your bow draw. Instead, lead your arm with the elbow and pull until the bow hits a ‘wall’ and your hand rests on your lower jaw.
If you need to become more consistent when pulling your string, you can opt to use an archery release. This is a device used by many pros, so what is it, and why do you need to use it? Find out next!
Nowadays, many archers who use compound bows utilize archery releases. Archery releases are small devices that can help you to make a good draw and clean release for stable arrow flight.
Using these accessories can help you eliminate many issues that may arise when pulling your bow string, and which can affect your arrow’s trajectory.
Some of the ways that an archery release device can help you to draw your bow better include:
There are many types of archery releases available to suit different shooters. Therefore, you should choose the type that you feel supports your string pulling better.
Let’s have a quick look at some of the popular archery release types and how they work.
Archery releases come in different designs that call for unique handling. As already mentioned, these devices take the place of your fingers during a bow draw.
So, in the same way, that there are various ways to pull the string, different archery releases also work in unique ways.
Here are 3 common types of archery releases:
Most archers who decide to use archery releases opt for this type. This is because it utilizes a style that’s familiar with people who have used rifles for hunting before – which is usually where many hunters begin before getting into archery.
The mechanisms here is simple. To release the arrow, all you have to do is press a trigger on the device.
This archery release gives you all the time you need to aim at your target and prepare to fire the arrow. Once you have all the positions set, you can then press the trigger.
Most index releases come with a wrist strap to fasten around your hand. This makes it easier for you to smoothly pull your wrist and arm muscles for a long draw.
With this release, you can make your shot within a moment’s notice, and there are no complicated techniques to learn.
This handheld archery release can help you improve on your anchoring. It allows you to pull the string back comfortably to establish an anchor point that you can use over and over again.
It’s held by the hand and has a trigger that you need to pull by the thumb to shoot your arrow. This type of archery release is great for use in target archery or bow hunting.
The tension release, also known as back tension release, is the third type of archery release that you should know about. In many ways, this one resembles the handheld trigger release.
They have a similar design, and it could be easy to think they’re the same thing if you haven’t learned about them.
The main difference between these two is that the back tension release does not use a trigger. Instead, it utilizes a hinge mechanism that takes away most of the shooting control that you have when using a thumb trigger or index release.
When using a tension release, the hinge mechanism will activate once you draw the bow fully. The string will slide off the hook when the head of the release cannot receive any more friction from rotation.
The shooting that happens when using this type of release is not anticipated, unlike with the other types. Using the back tension release can therefore help you improve on your accuracy since there’s no going back once the bow is drawn fully.
If you’re going to be using a compound bow, it’s a great idea to get an archery release. Now that you know the different types available, you can decide on the one that you feel suits you best.
Pulling the string in archery may seem like a mindless action at first, but as you can see, so much goes into it. Of course, as you keep learning, you’ll get more accustomed to the action and gradually learn how to perform a good bow draw.
If you haven’t tried out the different ways of drawing your bow, it’s time you did. You may just discover one that works best for you and which you’re more comfortable with.
And, while figuring out how to pull that string perfectly, remember to pay attention to other important factors such as your posture and bow weight. Because without these, it’ll be hard to shoot successfully.
If you need a little help to improve your stability, build your confidence and consistency, you can always use an archery release.