Bowmen Of Leeds


There are are large number of good resources on the internet, including videos, on archery shooting techniques, which I will leave for your to discover in your own time.

Basic four stage techniques

The following paragraphs cover the basic steps for beginners in four stages as developed by our Secretary Carol Jinks, with acronyms as a reminder of the principle items to concentrate on at each stage.

"FAB" - Feet And Body

As with any form of ex cerci se, you should do basic stretching to warm up the muscle groups used in archery. The club can give examples of good types of ex cerci se to perform, both before and after shooting.

Start by positioning your feet either side of the shooting line, facing 90 degrees to the target. You should be in line with the centre of your designated target, such that if an arrow was placed touching the toes of both feet, it would point directly at the target. Stand up straight, with feet shoulder length apart so that your body weight is directly over your hips and in a comfortable position. Once in position, you should not need to move your feet or lower body ay all, whilst shooting a full end of arrows. Knock your arrow (always pointing down range) and check it is correctly sitting on the arrow rest.

"HASH" - Hand Arm Shoulders Head

Place the bow hand in the bow's handle such that when gentle tension is pulled on the string, the bow sits comfortably on the pad of the thumb. Point the bow at the ground in front of you. Place the fingers of the string hand with the index finger above the arrow and the next two fingers below the arrow. Never squeeze the arrow and depending on your preference, either do not touch it at all, or very gently place the top finger hardly touching the knock. Don't touch the knock with the lower fingers as this is a main reason for the arrow falling off the rest. Keep a slight tension on the string and relax the fingers of the bow hand. Don't grip the bow, the bow is kept in position with the gentle tension which is to be kept on the string from this point on. Now straighten your bow arm slightly keeping the tension in the string. The elbow of the string hand should be positioned so that the forearm is now in a straight line with the arrow. Stand up straight (bow still pointing down and forward) with you facing along the shooting line (don't face the target yet). Ensure your arms and shoulders are relaxed. Keep your head upright and breath normally as you now mental prepare yourself to shoot.

"TEAR" - Turn Extend And Raise

When you are ready to shoot, turn your head (not your body) to face the target. Your body continues to face along the shooting line. Concentrate on the centre spot. Put a little pressure on the string and extend your bow arm, but don't lock it out at maximum, just comfortably straight ready to take the strain about to be placed on it. Now raise your bow arm so the bow and arrow is pointing toward the target whilst keeping your string arm in a straight line with the arrow. This should be one smooth movement. Never raise the bow too high in case of accidental release when the arrow could go dangerously out of the controlled area. Your shoulders and bow arm should come into line, and your torso should be straight and upright, neither leaning to either side or to the front or back. Keep the elbow of the string arm high so the forearm remains in a straight line with the arrow. Take a moment to relax yourself in this "set" position.

"DEAR" - Draw Elbow Aim Release

From the set, without moving the bow arm, draw (pull) the string, keeping the elbow high and string arm in line with the arrow throughout the draw stage, until the string makes contact with the reference points on your face (nose, lips and/or chin as you prefer) and the platform of your finger tab comes up to sit snugly under your chin. The elbow remains high as you begin to aim. When settled on the target, completely relax the string fingers in a single instance (so that you are first holding the string, then suddenly you are not!) to release the arrow, and as the arrow flies keep still and concentration on the target. With the sudden tension release, the string hand tends to move backwards, but this should not be a conscious movement backwards, simply the reaction as the string is released. The bow tends to tilt backwards, or forwards if using a long-rod, which is normal, but don't grip the bow as this happens, let the finger sling or bow sling (whichever you use) contain the bow in your hand. Only once the arrow has hit and settled in the target, should you start the "finish" stage, and bring the bow down as you relax, and prepare for the next shot.

These are the very basics of making a shot in archery for a beginner, which can be recalled on the shooting line using the following acronyms:

Ultimate consistency is the objective in archery. Once you can repeat the above procedure exactly the same every time, you will find your arrows hitting the target in exactly the same place every time, the dream of all archers! But this can only come with practice, practice, practice. You can read as much as you want on the subject, but real consistency will only ever come from hundreds of repetitions of the exactly the same movements, which in turn comes from practice.

Many thanks to Carol for preparing this introduction to shooting for the beginner.