How To Let An Arrow Fly – Release Your Arrow - My Archery Corner

How To Let An Arrow Fly – Release Your Arrow

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Ready To Release An Arrow

Ready To Release An Arrow. Used under creative commons from: Pyb

You will learn today how to let an arrow fly.
While it sounds simple, there are quite a few things you have to be aware of when you release your arrow and some things can be done wrong if you don’t do it carefully.

I will show you how to do it correctly to help you become a great archer:

Make Sure You Are Set Up Correctly

Again it is time to reflect on what you have done so far:
This starts with your proper stance, continues with you hooking the bowstring and drawing the bow.
When you found your anchor point and transferred the load to your back, all you need to do is to aim and then release your arrow.
I left out a few steps in this quick summary, but you have to reflect on all the steps of my archery training.
Your arm has to form a straight line with the arrow and your body has to form the T shape.
This all has to become second nature for you.
When you practice regularly and always go through these steps in your mind, you will be able to do it without thinking much about it.

The great thing is, that you can even practice this when you are not handling a bow.
You can do this whenever you want. At your lunch break, while watching TV or before you go to sleep.
Imagine then how you go through these steps and when you are actually holding a bow at your archery range, things will become easier quickly!

Arm And Arrow Are On One Line

Your arm and arrow form one line.

How To Release Your Arrow The Right Way

In archery, we often say release instead of shoot, since a bow it not a gun.

Now, this is the way we do it when we don’t use a mechanical release:

Remember that you hold most of the draw weight with your back muscles. After you have taken aim, all you have to do is take a deep breath and extend your chest. Move your shoulder blades even more together and pull a little on the string.

The trick is to not just open your fingers actively.
Instead, the tension has to grow that strong, that the bowstring wants to move around your fingers by itself and shoot forward with the arrow. So when you feel the pull of the string becoming stronger, you just let it go.
The release can come as a little surprise to the archer.

Things You Have To Avoid

There are a few things you can do wrong here that can effect your accuracy and can even lead to the infamous target panic, a condition that gives archers a very hard time to hit a target, even when they were great archers before:

  • Dead Release
  • Punching

A dead release means that you didn’t extend your chest enough but just opened your fingers to let the arrow fly.
Remember that the release “has to happen”, don’t force it.
When you extend your chest and increase the tension you will feel that the string wants to leave your fingers, and then you just let it go around your fingertips.
This might be a bit difficult to understand if you never used a bow, but you will know what I mean when you did some practice with a bow.

Punching goes even a bit further than the dead release.
It means that you release the string at a time when you weren’t even near to being ready for it.
Some let the arrow fly as soon as they have eyes on the target, before they anchored correctly or before they had time to take aim.
You can imagine that it will be very hard to hit the target when you suffer from punching.

This is also called target panic which is caused by the wrong conditioning of the archer.
Once you have this problem it can be difficult to get rid of it.
You can find out more about target panic in my book The Bullseye Masterpiece.

How To Release Your Arrow

After the release.

Are We There Yet?

You might think that this is the end of the training. You know now how to release your arrow, so you are ready to go, right?
The truth is that there is one more step you have to know about.
It is a very important step, so don’t skip it.
You came this far, you can take the last step, can’t you?

I will see you in the final post of my archery training.

Are there any problems or questions concerning this part of the training?
Are you confident that you know how to let an arrow fly?
Let me know in the comments below and discuss this topic with me.

I am looking forward to hearing from you!


>> Next Step: Follow Through In Archery – The Final Step To Success

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(6) comments


Hi Mortiz:

I have always wanted to learn archery and so I love your website. I tried it a couple times and was actually pretty good. I remember I tried it a Renaissance Festival and really enjoyed it. The tips and instructions on how to release your arrow correctly are really well written. What about your eyes and do you need to shut one of your eyes like they do in the movies?



    Hi Steph,
    before I really started with archery I build my own (crude) bows and tried it on several festivals, too.
    Then I made the decision to take it more seriously and it became my greatest hobby.

    No, please never close one of your eyes. Both of your eyes have to stay open, or you can’t estimate the distance to your target.
    I have an article about how to aim with a bow. I am sure you will find it interesting, too.


survival chick

Great post, and thanks for the tips! I have some experience with archery but seem to always sting the inside of my forearm when I release the bow. It really stings! How can I avoid doing that – do you have any tips or tricks?

I liked some of your post about proper positioning too!


    Hello and welcome to my site!

    I actually do have an article that covers this topic.
    Please read my article about how to raise the bow and extend your bow arm correctly.
    The trick is to rotate your arm out of harms way.

    Another idea would be to get an arm guard to avoid bruises.

    Happy shooting.


Bob Lynch

I know absolutely nothing about archery except that a bow and arrow are used. When it comes to technique etc. I’m clueless. If I was interested in learning how, your diagrams and descriptions make it easy to understand. I commend your page.

I took time to read a little about you as well. Your passion for the sport is obvious.

Glad you’ve found something you like to do and can share it with the world.


    Hi Bob,

    you came to the right place if you know nothing about archery. 😉

    I highly recommend and wish that you give archery a try.
    You can learn a lot about archery on my site. Read my getting started guide and my training of the 10 basic archery steps.
    Finally, you can have a look at some bows I recommend to beginners and advanced archers.

    Have a great day!


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