The Proper Archery Stance – More Than Just Standing At A Line - My Archery Corner

The Proper Archery Stance – More Than Just Standing At A Line

By Moritz

Jun 20
Woman in the square stance

Woman using the square stance. Used under creative commons from: Simon Williams

Welcome to my archery training.
This is the first of 10 archery techniques you are going to learn in this series:

Why Do I Need A Proper Archery Stance?

The answer to this question is simple:
Without a proper archery stance you won’t be able to shoot in a consistent manner, because you won’t be able to control your body, your bow and your shot the way you need to be able to control them to hit bulls eye.

You need to be planted firmly on the ground to decrease sway and gain a higher accuracy.

The Three Stances In Archery

We actually differentiate between three stances but two of them are more common than the other one.

The most important part, however, is how you set your feet.
When you begin shooting you will either have a line that is parallel to your target, or you will need to imagine that line.

Now, when you hold the bow in your left hand, your left feet has to be placed before the shooting line while the other foot is placed behind it. Your left shoulder is pointing towards the target.
If you hold the bow in your right hand, it has to be the other way around.

Up to this point all the stances are the same, but now come the differences between the Square Stance, the Open Stance and the Closed Stance.

The Square Stance

This one is the easiest one and many beginners are using it.
All you need to do is to place both your feet parallel to the shooting line (don’t forget, one is before, the other is behind the shooting line).
Make sure to keep some distance between your feet to have a firm contact to the ground and reduce sway and be more stable.
You can rotate your feet a bit to the outside to improve your stance.
See the picture below:

Square Stance

The Square Stance

The Open Stance

The only difference between the square stance and the open stance is that the foot nearer to the target is rotated a bit more towards the target and is placed a bit behind compared to where it is in the square stance.
This way you open up your body a bit more.
Many advanced archers use this stance as they are more comfortable with it.

The Closed Stance

In my experience this one is used by only a few archers.
This stance is the opposite of the open stance.
The foot that is behind the shooting line is pulled back a little, so when you imagine a line that is vertical to the shooting line pointing at the center of the target, the foot would be behind this line.

Find The Proper Archery Stance

Now that you know the three archery stances it is time for you to choose.
No matter what other archers or your coach says, none of those stances is better or worse than the other!

It all depends on how you feel with the stances.
Make sure you try them all and you will find out after some time which one is the right on for you!

I personally use the open stance, because it feels right for me, but I know many archers who are more comfortable with the square stance and a few with the closed stance.

A Little More About The Stance

As I mentioned before your shoulder will point towards the target.
While you are placing your feet, keep the rest of your body as relaxed as possible and focus on your feet.
You will straighten your back and tense your muscles soon enough.

A girl standing a the shooting line

A girl standing in the square stance

Continue With Your Training

You have finished the first part of the training. Congratulation!
Don’t stop but continue with the next step.
There are still many things you will learn here.

As always please leave a comment if anything is unclear or you want to share your experience and I will be happy to help you.



>> Next Step: How To Nock An Arrow The Right Way

<< Previous Step: Learn How To Shoot With A Bow – The 10 Basic Archery Shooting Techniques

About the Author

Hi, as a huge archery enthusiast I love sharing my knowledge about archery. Enjoy your stay and don't hesitate to leave a comment if you have a question.

Leave a Comment:

(22) comments

Adrian June 22, 2015

Wow I had no idea that there were several stances in archery! I definitely learned something today!

Now, just to clarify it further, when you say for the open stance that the foot is rotated towards the target “a little bit”, how much is a little bit?


    Moritz June 22, 2015

    Hi Adrian.
    Happy I could help you learn something new about archery. I will continue with this training and post more articles the next days and weeks.
    To answer your question:
    The foot is rotated between 0 – 45 degrees towards the target.
    Every archer should try and find out how much is actually the best for him/her.
    Have a great day.

      Adrian June 23, 2015

      That’s awesome! I love how much competence and skill archery shows. Pros make it look so seamless but I’m glad to see that you have included many things here to breakdown how those who are skilled at it become that way.

      Thank you for answering my question in a timely manner. I had some idea that it was a certain amount of degrees but you’ve cleared it up perfectly! Much appreciated!

      I look forward to your future posts!


        Moritz June 23, 2015

        archery needs a lot of skill and practice.
        It is still easy enough to get started with archery, but in order to become a true master, you will need to know a lot about the archery techniques.
        See you around.

Zachary June 23, 2015

I didn’t know there is so many different archery stances. Is there any specific advantages to each one, other than comfort?

    Moritz June 23, 2015

    Hello Zachary,
    there is no better or best stance in archery.
    Every archer has to find out what suits him best.
    As long as you use one of the stances (and do everything else right) you can be as successful as all other archers, no matter which stance they use.
    Have a great day.

admin June 26, 2015

Hi Moritz, I have tried Archery once before, but was hopeless at it, I didn’t get anywhere near the target let alone the bulls eye. I have never bothered since, but nobody ever told me about adpoting a certain stance, and it didn’t even occur to me either. Having read your post, there may be hope for me yet, and I will definitely give it another try, I will of course start with the square stance and see how I get on.

    Moritz June 27, 2015

    Hello Rob,

    I am sure you can become a lot better when you follow all the tips I give here in my archery training.
    I know that in some clubs archery is not tought well enough. People just go there and mainly shoot as they think is correct.

    A lot can be done wrong and once you are used to a wrong technique it gets difficult to get rid of it.
    That’s why it is so important to find a good trainer.

    Let me know how it goes. I am always happy to help people to fall in love with archery!


Steve June 26, 2015

Hi Moritz, I have done some archery back when I was younger. Most of it was deer hunting. But I never knew the proper way to stand until now. I think back then while practicing I used the square stance, but when I was in a tree stand I had stand however I could. Great article. Makes me want to get the old bow out and start shooting.

    Moritz June 27, 2015

    Hi Steve,

    you are absolutely right that there are situations where you can’t use one of the stances I described here.
    Sometimes the surroundings just don’t let you use them.

    But for practice or target shooting you should always be in one of the stances to improve your accuracy.

    Glad you like my site!

    What kind of bow do you have?


admin June 27, 2015

Thanks for a great first post on this subject and one which I read with interest. It got me wondering, do you know which stance the professionals and those you see on the Olympics take? Which is the preferred stance for them, and does it change between men and women and different heights and builds?

    Moritz June 29, 2015


    I am glad you enjoyed reading my article.
    I would say that the most used stances are the square and the open stance. But you can see them all when you watch professional archers.

    There is no difference whether someone is tall, short heavy or light, a woman or a man.

    It really comes down to what feels good and comfortable to you.

    I hope that made things clearer.

    Thank you very much for your content and question.

    See you around soon and continue with the next step in my training.


Monkey Man June 28, 2015

I used to be into archery as a kid. I haven’t ventured into it much as an adult but I always remember my stance was the square stance.Do you think as an adult I should move to the open stance with a little more experience or stick with the square stance?

    Moritz June 29, 2015


    thank you for stopping by!

    I would recommend to try all the stances. You will notice after a few shots which feels best for you.
    You will be more accurate with the right stance, but nobody can tell you which is the best stance.
    Every archer feels different about this.

    When you found the right stance, stick to it and you will improve your shooting much easier.

    Have a great day!


The Fat Guy June 29, 2015

Hello Moritz,
Another good article, when I was being taught how to shoot a bow we used the square stance.
The instructors thought it was the safest way to teach children and it gives you the best base to shoot from.
I remember it was important to breath when you where aiming and not hold your breath, what do you think?
The Fat Guy

    Moritz June 29, 2015


    thanks! I am really happy you like my website!

    The square stance is the easiest stance to learn out of the three stances.
    So it makes sense to learn it first, especially for kids.

    Yes, always keep breathing. Many archers let the arrow fly when their chest is fully inflated. There is a short break before you exhale again and archers use this break to let the arrow fly, because the bow is not moving that much in this moment.
    It happens kind of naturally with enough routine.



admin June 30, 2015


Hey incredible job showing clearly the different standing positions for shooting the bow. I prefer the square stance. That’s how I learned. Do you have a preferred method?
I’m kind of interested in learning more about how to hold the bow as well. Is there more information on that?


    Moritz June 30, 2015

    Hi Benjamin,

    thank you very much.

    I prefer using the open stance. I started with the square stance, but then tried the open stance and it suited me better.

    I talk a bit about how to hold the bow in my training here.



LakanDula December 23, 2015

Archery is a cool sport! But it’s not to say there’s no correct way to do it. As you demonstrate in this article, a proper stance is the key to hitting your target, and overall safety. This pretty much applies to all types of shooting sports, I’ve shot guns before and needed to get myself into the proper stance, first off to properly hit the target and to not get hit my the shells.

    Moritz December 23, 2015


    thanks for your comment.
    I appreciate it and absolutely agree with you.
    A correct stance is important in so many sports and activities.
    No matter whether it is archery, shooting or fighting. The correct stance is essential.



ariefw February 2, 2016

Hi, Moritz.

I am stumbled to your website because I was looking for a way to leisurely shoot an arrow.

Wait, what? That doesn’t sound right. I don’t want to shoot arrows leisurely. What I meant is I want to be able to shoot arrows the correct way when I am pretending to be a Robin Hood or to be an American Indians or whatever warrior of the ancient time.

Your explanation about the stance is very easy to understand. I will remember them when I am pretending again.

(always a kid inside)

    Moritz February 2, 2016


    I am happy you came stumbeling across. 😉
    You will find everything and more you need to make archery look easy here on my site.
    Go through my whole archery training first.
    When you need advice for getting a new bow or equipment, check out some great bows like the Montana Longbow, the Apprentice 3 Compound Bow or the Samick Sage Recurve Bow.
    All of them are great bows.
    You just need to know which bow type you want to shoot with.

    All the best!


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