How To Aim With A Bow – Instinctive Archery - My Archery Corner

How To Aim With A Bow – Instinctive Archery

how to aim with a bow

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The thing beginners wonder about the most is how to aim with a bow!
A traditional bow doesn’t have an archery sight, let alone an iron sight, to aim with a bow

To answer this question, I am going to explain several techniques to make you understand how you still can hit your target.

This is both fascinating and actually easier than it sounds.
So let’s not wait any longer and jump right into it.

Instinctive Archery

Here, I said it. The “magic word” you have heard very often when you ever had anything to do with archery.

What is this instinctive archery everybody is talking about?

It is a technique where you don’t actually aim at all!
All you do is focus on your target and “tell” yourself to hit it with your arrow. If you think that this can’t work then please remember that you are able to throw a ball to your friend, or hit an item with a ball without really taking aim.
You just know how you have to throw the ball so that it will hit the target.

This is precisely instinctive archery works. This needs a lot of practice, of course, but you needed this for your ball throwing, too.
As a baby or infant, you were not able to throw the ball and hit something with it every time.

Important about instinctive archery is that you do everything exactly the same every time you shoot an arrow. Only when you have found your routine in your stance, nocking, drawing and anchoring you will be able to become a very good archer using this kind of “aiming”.
Read more about those techniques here… or watch the video below:

What Types Of Bows Are Being Used For Instinctive Archery?

You basically can use any bow type for instinctive archery. You just won’t use any archery sights or other tools to aim at the target.
Still, instinctive archers mainly use longbows or wooden recurve bows for instinctive archery.

So, if you want to go down this road, I would recommend getting a longbow like the SAS Pioneer Longbow or a recurve bow like the Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow.
Both are top quality bows and perfect for traditional archers.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Instinctive Archery

Instinctive archers can be as good as or even better than archers who use sights to aim. All that counts is talent, practice, and experience.

A great advantage is that you will be faster than most archers who use sights because you don’t wait that long before you let the arrow fly.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about calibrating your sight.
You don’t even have to spend the extra money on a good sight. Why not save that money?

Another aspect is, but this is more a personal preference, that you will feel closer to nature and yourself.
Relying only on your skill to hit a target without any assistance of a tool will feel like a great achievement! This will make your overall experience even better and more enjoyable.

It is such a nice feeling to know that you can hit a target just because of your skill.
You don’t use a rangefinder to know the distance, you just estimate it and let the arrow fly. (A lot of training needed, of course.)
Unfortunately, there are even archers with a bad opinion about archers who use sights. They say that only instinctive archers are “real” archers.
I definitely disagree with that statement!
I highly respect all archers and when you see what professional and Olympic archers are capable of, there is no way of saying that those are not real archers.

How To Instinctively Aim In Archery

Instinctive Archery

You Need Patience When Starting With Instinctive Archery

While the following is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be frustrating for beginners.
Starting with instinctive archery can be difficult. At least it will seem difficult to you because you have no way of aiming. You might just let the first arrows fly without getting near the target.

There is hardly a chance that you will hit something far away.
But don’t let this bring you down. Nobody is born with the perfect “instinctive archer genes”.

Therefore, we start with a short distance, which makes it rather easy to hit the target.
The first arrow might still miss, but the next usually hits it somewhere. If your lucky or very talented you will hit bull’s eye a few times, too.
From there, you just need to keep practicing and find your flow, your archery cycle!
Remember, that you have to do it the same every time. Only this routine will grant you success.

So, if you don’t mind practicing a lot, I recommend you to try instinctive archery. Start trusting yourself to hit the target just by focusing on it.

how to aim with a bow

Traditional longbows and wooden arrows.

Is this really easy?

At the beginning of this article, I said it would be easy to aim with a bow instinctively.
I want to be clear, that it will take a lot of practice to become a good instinctive archer on higher distances.

But it is amazing to see that you will be able to hit targets quickly on short distances.
It is equally amazing that we are even able to do this. How come we can just draw a bow, release it and hit bull’s eye without taking “proper aim”?

Our body is a masterpiece and capable of many incredible things.
The key to success is to anchor correctly at the same point every time. When you get this and the other archery techniques right, you will improve your accuracy immensely!

Would you prefer aiming with an archery site instead?
Read all you need to know about how to aim with a sight here.

Has my article answered the question ‘how to aim with a bow’ for you?

Let me know in the comments below and I am happy to help and guide you.


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(10) comments


I like the idea of instinctive archery. I hadn’t heard of it before but it makes senses. Very informative


Thank you, Bruce.
Appreciate it. It is a great way of “aiming” in archery.


Enjoyed your content here. I used to be an arecher mamny many years ago, when I was 12. I learned to shoot with and without a sight and learned it was quite easy when you got the hang of it. A bullseye everytiem.
Nice job on the information here.


    Hi Debra,
    thank you so much for your kind words. Maybe my blog can make you pick up archery again?! 🙂


Hi Moritz, thanks for sharing about ‘instinctive archery’. The closest to archery that I’ve had was when I was in Korea. Living in the area in Malaysia where I am, there’s no archery grounds, but after reading your blog, I may have a go at it when I have a chance!


    Hello Rita!
    Thank you for your kind comment.
    It is unfortunate that you don’t have a chance to try archery at the moment.
    I hope that you will be able to pick up archery in the future.
    Be sure to come back here to learn more about the different aspects of archery.


Hello Moritz.

That was most interesting to read. I didn’t really know how people actually aim with a bow.
So it is not much different to throwing a ball?

Is there no other way of aiming in archery?

I am looking forward to more interesting posts on your site.
Your site is really helpful for people who want to get started with archery.



    Hi Jack.
    Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

    It can be compared with throwing a ball, because we don’t really have a way for aiming when we throw a ball. We just know by experience where the ball will fly to when we throw it.
    The same is true for other sports like football or tennis, actually all sports that use a ball.

    There is another way of aiming, though.
    We can use sights to aim.
    Some find this more accurate, while others don’t think so.
    You can read about that in my post about archery sights.

    Another post I would like to recommend to you is my getting started guide.

    Have a great day!



I learn archery for a short while. until now, I really dont know how to aim without a sight. Your article give me so much help… thank you. I have to trust my self to hit the target without hesitation


    thank you for your kind words.
    I am very happy that I could help you with your aiming.
    I also have a complete archer training on my site.
    Let me know when you need anything else.

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