Learn How To Shoot With A Bow – The 10 Basic Archery Shooting Techniques - My Archery Corner

Learn How To Shoot With A Bow – The 10 Basic Archery Shooting Techniques

Archery Training

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After I covered the different bow types, I want to teach you now how to shoot with a bow and give you the 10 basic archery shooting techniques you need to know to become a decent archer.

Follow along as I explain everything step by step:

Find Your Dominant Eye First!

Before you can pick up a bow, you need to know whether you have to use a right hand or left hand bow.

Now you might think “I am right handed, so I just take a right hand bow.”
Wrong! While it might be correct, the opposite could be true as well.

You need to know which of your eyes is the dominant eye.

Luckily, this is very easy to find out.

Focus on an object in front of you (e.g. a book in your shelf, an electricity outlet).
Extend your arm out in front of you and keep both of your eyes open.
Now raise your thumb so that it covers this object. Don’t change your focus to the thumb, keep looking at the object.
Now close your left eye.

Did your thumb “jump” to one side, or did it stay at the same spot?
If it didn’t jump, then the still open eye is your dominant eye.
If it did jump, then the now closed eye is your dominant eye.

Repeat this exercise a few times to make sure which is your dominant eye.

If something about this method is unclear, please let me know in the comment.

Now, let’s start with the actual archery training:

A Quick Summary Of The Shooting Techniques

This is only part one of a series I am writing about to give you the steps of how to shoot a bow the right way.
10 more parts are following after this introduction.

Let me give you a quick overview of what you will learn here:

    • The proper archery stance

      It is so important that you place your feet correctly and put your body in the right position before you even raise the bow.
      Without this technique, you will never be able to hit the target consistently.
      Don’t skip this if you are serious about becoming a good archer.
    • How to nock an arrow the right way

      Another vital step you need to learn on your way to an efficient archer.
      Nocking an arrow means to load the bowstring with an arrow. You might think that this is self-explanatory, but there are quite a few things you have to know to get it done.
    • Raise the bow and extend your bow arm

      An additional step before you can let an arrow fly is to raise your bow arm in the correct way, so that you won’t hurt yourself later when you finally shoot with your bow.
Archery Training

A member of the US army in an archery competition.

    • How to draw a bow correctly

      At this part, it is going to get exciting. We are going to let fly our first arrow soon.
      It is also one of the most important parts of archery. It looks so easy, but there are still quite a few things you have to keep in mind to make sure everything is perfect.
    • Find your anchor point in archery – Most vital for your success

      This is easily the most important technique in this training. Setting up and keeping the same anchor point every time you draw and shoot the bow is the only way to become a consistently good archer.
      There are different types of anchors and I will explain the most common of them.
    • Transfer the draw weight to your back muscles

      Also known as load transfer, what you do in this step is to bring in your back muscles and relieve your biceps. This is a crucial step as the strength of an archer does not come from his arms but from his back.
Archer taking aim

Taking aim. Used under creative commons from: Jethrothompson~commonswiki

    • How to let an arrow fly – Release your arrow

      Now we are talking! We are finally really shooting with our bow.
      A few things have to be followed to avoid common mistakes. Read carefully to not fall into a trap you might have difficulties to get out of.
      Don’t miss this step!
    • Follow through in archery – The final step to success

      Last but definitely not least comes the follow-through.
      Many beginners might think that this is not an important step, but let me tell you it is very important!
      When you watch professional archers you will notice that they all use this archery shooting technique.
      This can make the difference between a good and a professional archer.

What To Expect From This Training

Please make sure that you follow along carefully and don’t miss a step of this training.
It will make sure that you truly understand the different archery shooting techniques and they will help you to become successful in archery.

It is still a good idea to have an experienced archer to show you in real life how to handle a bow correctly, but if there is no one who can teach you, this guide will help you in a great way to get started with and really enjoy archery.

You will see results very quickly.
This is actually something I really love about archery. While it is challenging and difficult, you will improve consistently and see the fruits of your training, if you practice regularly.

If you ever have a question about one of the steps or about archery in general, don’t hesitate and leave me a comment here or below the article you have a problem with.
I will answer you as quickly as I can.

Without further ado, I want to introduce you to the first step of my archery shooting techniques series.

>> First Step: The Proper Archery Stance – More Than Just Standing At A Line

Have a great day!


Leave a Comment:

(26) comments

Hagop Margossian

Great information! You are encouraging me to get up and go to my closest archery field ( I think they call it that), and shoot some arrows! Very entertaining , thank you 🙂


    Hi Hagop.
    Yes, it is usually called archery field or archery range.
    Go and give it a try. It is a lot of fun and there are even many health benefits of archery.
    Have a great day!


This a great post with awesome content. The visuals are great : ) I had a go at archery once during a random stop at a farm where a man made them. I was soo accurate I amazed myself and surprised my husband 🙂 now I can read your site to improve my skills : )


    Hi Sarah,
    maybe you are a female Robin Hood? 😉
    You definitely should pick up archery. It seems that you have got talent for it.
    Check out my getting started guide and come back regularly to my site.
    This article here was just the beginning of my training about how to shoot with a bow.


That is really great stuff!
I practiced archery for a few years and it was awesome.
But in my understanding it takes several years to become any good at it. Is that right?


    Hi Lucky.
    It is correct that you need a few years to become a consistently good archer.
    But the good news is, that you will see improvements very quickly, if you shoot regularly.
    You don’t need years to hit bulls eye now and then. You can do this after a few weeks.
    It might take years to hit bulls eye EVERY TIME, though. 😉
    If you want to pick up archery again, check out my getting started guide and continue with the training with the proper archery stance.

Delroy Harris

This was a great post on how to shoot a bow I have never shot a bow before but after reading this I think that I might actually have a chance of doing it properly.
I never realised how much had to go into shooting a bow I thought you just kind of pointed and shot but I guess not
Thanks for posting



    Yes, there is actually a lot you have to know and consider when you want to become an advanced archer.
    It should always be fun, of course, but I love to be a perfectionist and encourage everybody to really follow all the archery steps I show in my training.

    Keep reading here and take a look at a recurve bow I recommend to beginners.

    Have a great time here on my site.



I had learned quite a few years ago to shoot a bow. but have not done it for awhile. I like the steps, especially the one where you gave the correct way to use your arms before you shoot. I was always afraid of hurting myself because I was not doing it right. You did teach me about transferring your weight and using the back muscles. Never knew that. Thanks!


    Thank you Liz.

    I have noticed that some instructors don’t really teach all the important steps to their new archers.
    That’s why it is good to know a place where you can check the facts first and then ask the instructors about it.
    If they don’t know about the things I talk about here, it might be time to change to another archery range.

    Transferring the load/weight to your back muscles is a very important technique, I will talk about in detail soon.

    Hope you’re enjoying your time here, and when you decide to pick up archery again, let me know.

    I will be happy to help and discuss about it with you.




Well i just learnt a few things that i thought i already knew. Nice, well explained. I did have some trouble with the dominant eye however, i tried several times and my thumb jumped one way then the other. After several tries i did get it to work but i think the object needs to be quite far away ? Maybe i have two dominant eyes or just two lazy ones !



    I am glad you found my post helpful!

    Maybe I will edit my explanation of how to find your dominant eye a bit.

    The object doesn’t need to be that far away. Between 1,5 to 2 meters is enough.
    Then do as I said above.
    A nice trick here is to open/close your both in turns quickly so that always only one eye is open.
    That way you can find out easier when the thumb is still covering the object and when not.
    Your dominant eye is the open one when the thumb is covering the object.




Ohh man, I remember when I first tried to shoot with a bow.. Must have been middle school and it wasn’t pretty, lol. I would love to give it another try though. There are some amazing looking bows out there today and these could make for an awesome hunting/outdoors experience. This post makes archery look like a lot of fun. Thanks for providing these awesome tips. I am sure they are well needed by many!


    Hello Pete.

    I wouldn’t want to miss archery! It is an awesome sport!

    The first time is always special. 😉

    While you can hunt with recurve bows easily, many archers prefer compound bows like the PSE Stinger Compound bow for hunting.

    Check it out and when you need further help, don’t hesitate to ask me.




Amazing blog on basic archery techniques.

I found the first part very interesting about finding your dominate eye to find out if you need a right hand or lift hand bow. I would have never known this. I took archery in high school and they told us about finding the eye.

This website sounds like a good place for the beginner to learn archery.


    Thanks David!

    I am really happy that you like my website.

    Yes, most people who don’t have much experience with archery, don’t know about the dominant eye!
    They usually think that, if they are right-handed they need a right hand bow.
    While this is often true, it can be the other way around as well.
    That’s why it is so important to check which of your eyes is the dominant one.

    I hope to see you around.




Hi! I have trouble with my dominant eye – my thumb is not moving at all! Is it possible that I have two dominant eyes? I can’t say that I have any experience with archery but I love the way you explained everything. Your site is very clean and readable to me.
Thank you!


    Hello Branka,

    everybody has only one dominant eye, but in some cases it is possible that people can force the non dominant eye to take over for a while.
    So it’s either that, or the test was not the right one for you.

    You can try another test:
    Hold out both of your hands in front of your face (on full arm’s length) and form a triangle with the index fingers and thumbs. Both of your eyes have to be open and stay open the whole time.

    Then focus on an object and look at it through the triangle.

    Then move your hands slowly towards your face and make sure that you never lose sight of the object.
    You will bring the triangle automatically back over your dominant eye.
    If your hand is blocking the object during this process, then you were moving the triangle towards the wrong eye.

    I hope that helped you to find your dominant eye.

    I am very happy that you like my site.
    Really appreciate it!

    All the best.



Hi Moritz! 🙂

Thank you for this clarifying article! 🙂

I’m living a really active life with a tiring job. Sometimes I feel like I need some active recreation, not just laying in the bed.
Do you think taking up archery as a hobby would be a great way of relaxation after work?

Thank you for your answer in advance! 🙂



    Hi Adam.
    I think archery would be perfect for you.
    Relaxation is only one of many health benefits of achery.

    I wouldn’t want to live without it.

    All the best.



I always thought archery was cool. I tried to do it in boy scout camp many years ago, and needless to say, I wasn’t very good. You give some great pointers. I wish I had known this back them. Maybe I’ll try archery again someday. Just a matter of having the time to do it. Your website looks great!


    Thanks Kevin,

    Feel free to look around more. 🙂
    You will find many interesting and helpful things on my site.

Ben Allen

I appreciate the information and tips on the basics of archery shooting and techniques.
I agree that one of the best things you can do in archery is to learn to put the draw weight into your back muscles.
I would imagine that archery can get pretty tiring if you are putting it all in your arms.
My brother is looking at getting into bowfishing, but the principles are the same I am sure.


    Hi Ben.
    That’s absolutely correct. Knowing the right technique is really important when shooting with a bow.
    It is not only tiring but also dangerous if someone is doing it wrong.

    The techniques in bowfishing are pretty much the same.
    I have written a bit about bowfishing, too. Check out my bowfishing guide and a fantastic compound bow for bowfishing.

    All the best.


So my dominant eye is my left eye… do i shoot with a left handed bow then?


    Hi Brooke.
    That is correct. You would need a left handed bow.
    Please note that you hold a left handed bow in your right hand and draw the bowstring back with your left hand.
    If you need any help with finding a bow, please let me know.

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