Raise The Bow And Extend Your Bow Arm – More Important Than You Might Think! - My Archery Corner

Raise The Bow And Extend Your Bow Arm – More Important Than You Might Think!

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Getting ready for the pre-draw

Ready for the pre-draw (in style). Used under creative commons from: Basheer Tome

Are you excited yet? We are getting closer to letting our first arrow fly.
Learn how to raise the bow and extend your bow arm in the proper way and you will be able to get on the archery range shortly.

I am sure you have already read the other articles in my archery training. If not, do read them before you continue.

Now let’s get started with our lesson of today:

What can be so difficult when raising a bow?

You are right. It is not difficult to raise a bow, but there are still quite a few things you can do wrong.

Some will reduce your efficiency and accuracy with the bow, others will leave you with painful bruises.
So read carefully and follow my advice!

How do you do it?

First, you raise the bow arm so that the arm is at the same height as your shoulder.
You point at the target with the bow and extend your arm fully.

Most importantly, don’t raise your shoulders!
I can’t say this often enough.
Many beginners, sometimes even advanced archers raise their shoulders which will lead to a decrease in accuracy and control over the bow.

Have a look at the picture:

raise the bow

Posture before drawing the bow.

In this picture, you see that the shoulders are held down as much as possible while the bow arm and the draw arm are at the same height as the shoulders.

This step is sometimes referred to as the pre-draw.
You can see that your body and arms are forming a T shape now. Try to always imagine this T shape and you will find your pre-draw position easily.

Take your arm out of harm’s way

The other mistake many beginners make is to leave their bow arm open for receiving some nice bruises.
You need to understand that the bowstring will move forward quickly when released. It is so fast that you can’t even see the movement of it.

If you don’t follow my next advice you won’t even notice at first that you have done something wrong. But after some time you will notice that your lower arm is starting to hurt and when you examine it you will find a nasty bruise there.

What happened?
The bowstring connected with your lower arm while it was racing forward after the release.
This happened so fast, that your body didn’t even pick up the impact of the string and didn’t sense any pain. (Well, sometimes you do feel the pain immediately.)

To avoid this from happening you should always wear an arm guard and rotate your arm out of harm’s way.

Rotate your arm in a way that your elbow is turned away from the bowstring.
If your elbow is pointing towards the floor, you will get hit by the string.

The picture below shows the correct form on the left side and the wrong form on the right side:

Rotate your arm out of harms way.

Rotate your arm like it is shown on the left side.

Here we go again!

You guessed it already:
We are finished with this archery shooting technique. You now know how to raise the bow and extend your bow arm the correct way.

In the next lesson, you are finally going to learn how to draw a bow correctly.

I am looking forward to seeing you in my next post!

I appreciate any comment below. Share your experiences with me or leave a question if something is unclear. I will be happy to help you!

See you soon.


>> Next Step: How To Draw A Bow Correctly

<< Previous Step: Hook The Bowstring – An Easy But Vital Archery Step

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(10) comments

Shizuka Torukoseki

I have two questions. The first one is, did you draw those diagrams yourself? The second question, I’m afraid might sound a little foolish, but please don’t judge me too harshly. Whenever I see movies or anything where there is an archer, I see more than one finger on the bow string. How hard is it to let go of the string with all of those fingers at once? I just imagine one finger failing to move away as fast and getting injured. Thanks for your answers.



    thanks for stopping by and asking your questions.

    I paid an artist to draw the illustrations for me. I don’t have the skill, unfortunately, to draw them by myself.

    You are right. The most common way is to hold the bowstring with three fingers. I explain this in my article here.

    I will explain how to let the arrow fly in one of my following trainings, but to answer your question:
    It is more a passive, than an active thing. We don’t really let go of the string, but the string suddenly moves around the fingers and shoots forward by itself.
    I recommend to wear a finger tab to protect your fingers, though. It will hurt, if you don’t protect them.

    When I have published the lesson where I explain this technique I will put a link to it in this comment.



Jyl Darlow

I love how your site is laid out for the absolute complete beginner in step by step lessons – I found myself standing in my kitchen holding my ‘bow’ and checking with the diagrams to see if I was doing it right 🙂 I’ve never done archery, or held a bow but it does look like a fun sport. Also, I had no idea why archers wore an arm guard – I thought it was to help straighten their arms… Loads of useful info here, and put across in a really down to earth, easy to follow manner. Great site, well done 🙂



    this sounds like you really should give archery a try one day! 😉

    Archery is an awesome sport and hobby.

    Protective archery gear is a must to avoid painful bruises.

    Let me know when you give it a try.

    Cheers and thank you!



Hi Moritz,

It’s amazing how, as I novice, I thought that shooting a bow was so easy. But now having read this article, your beginners guide and some other pages, it’s clear that there is so much to learn!

I was interested to read that many archery clubs give free trial lessons – this must be a great way to see if you enjoy the sport before you start spending a lot of money.

I saw your recommendation for the SAS Courage 60″ Recurve Bow which I think was retailing at $129, which is cheaper than I thought it would be. If a beginner was to be kitted out with reasonable gear (so bow, protective equipment etc) what roughly would the total outlay be?



    Hello John,

    while there is a lot to learn, you will notice improvements quickly when you start with archery.
    The first few shots might miss, but then you start to get a feeling for it and hit the target more often than not.
    To become a real “professional” archer you will have to practice for many years, of course.

    Beginner bows can be rather cheap. You can expect to spend around $200 when you buy everything you need to get started. It can be cheaper or more expensive depending on he quality of the equipment.
    I have reviewed a few starter sets here. Even though some of them are for children, some can be used by adults, too.
    You just need to choose a high enough draw weight.
    Depending on your build between 25 and 35 LBS.



I have bow hunted all my life. Never received any professional training and think you hit on a problem I have and didn’t even know it. I have never noticed my shoulders when I pull the bow string back but suspect I do raise my shoulders. I can’t wait to go out to the yard and check this out. What specifically causes poor accuracy when you raise your shoulders?


    Hello Mark,

    I am glad that I was able to point out a possible mistake you were doing while shooting your bow.

    If you don’t keep your shoulders down, there is no way to be sure that you anchor the same way every time, since the shoulders might be higher or lower than it was the shot before.
    Only if you keep your shoulders down, they will be always at the same spot.
    So this can cause high or low misses, depending on how high your shoulders were this time.

    Another thing is that you get tired much faster, because your shoulders feel and have to hold the draw weight much more than they would if they were down.

    When shooting your bow, your back has to be straight and strong (like a wall). Lifting your shoulders takes away from this strength.

    I hope this cleared it up a little.

    Make sure you go through my whole archery training.

    All the best.



Thanks for the tips! I’ve just gotten into archery myself, and I am guilty of making the “mistake many beginners make” part.. I constantly left my bow arm open for getting some real nice bruises. ouch. It took me a while to get used to the form and everything, but I got better.

I’m glad I found your blog, I’ll have to read through it and maybe learn a little more about this new sport I’m taking up! Thanks for the post, man


    Hi Koda,

    welcome to my website. Yes, those are the little things people have to be aware of, when starting with archery.
    Come back anytime or write me if you need help with anything regarding archery.
    Don’t forget to go through my whole archery training.


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