man, in focus, pulling the cord on a bow and arrow, facing away from you with a blurred target in the background

How to Shoot a Bow for Beginners

An occasional holiday sport or a regular practice, archery is a fun physical activity that is suitable for a great number of people. It can be practiced by people of all ages (babies excluded), children, adults  and the elderly as everyone can find pleasure and challenges with it. Its playfulness compensates for its great technical rigor. In this article we will discuss some of the benefits and nuances of how to shoot a bow for beginners to archery.


Contrary to popular belief, archery is not just a hit the target sport. It can also work on both sides of the body (trunk, shoulder, arm, forearm and back muscles) and provide several health benefits. If the muscles on the side holding the bow are in static tension, those on the side of the cord work in both static and dynamic tension (when unticking the arrow).

Because archery requires perfect body stability, it also works the legs, abdominal muscles and all the muscles that support the spine. For this reason, it is often recommended for people with mild scoliosis or low back pain.

Archery can be practiced by people, adults or children, suffering from heart or lung disease that would prevent them from participating in other sports. Only people with severe cardiovascular disease are at risk of not being able to practice archery, as muscle effort while holding your breath can cause high blood pressure peaks or an increase in heart rate.


Shooting disciplines are very beneficial for children and adults who have difficulty concentrating. Attracted by the playful aspect of this sport, hyperactive people are forced to learn the concentration necessary for rigorous movement and accurate shooting.

In addition, archery requires the practitioner to combine concentration, controlled muscle tension and mental relaxation. Because the movements are slow and fluid, it contributes to a better self-control.


When you start archery, the first thing to do is to learn how to aim a bow. It is usually the eye that corresponds to your most skilled hand. To know which eye will govern your vision, we suggest a very simple test to perform:

1) Extend your arms out in front of you at eye level with your palms facing away.
2) Bring your hands together forming a small “V” shaped” hole or view window by overlapping your thumbs and fingers.
3) Select a small object at least 10 feet in front of you and look at it with both eyes through the hole in your hands.
4) While remaining focused on the object close one eye and take note of what happens then open the eye.
5) Now close the opposite eye and take note of what happens to the object. The object will remain in the window for your dominant eye, and will shift out of view for your non-dominant eye.

If you aim with your right eye, you are a right-handed archer. You hold your bow with your left hand, and pull the string with your right hand. Similarly, if you aim with your left eye, you will hold your bow with your right hand and pull with your left hand.


To put all the chances on your side when trying to hit the center of the target, your posture will be decisive.

Before you even aim your bow or pull the cord, focus on the position of your body in relation to the target, which must be in line with the “firing line”. This indicates the position on which the feet should be positioned in relation to the target. Both feet must be positioned parallel to the direction of fire and one shoulder width apart.

Archery requires great stability: so, despite the weight of your bow, make sure you remain as stable as possible. By keeping your posture straight, and spreading your weight evenly over both feet, you will make the perfect move when you aim your bow and shoot your arrow.


Once you have determined your guiding eye and learned to place your feet properly on the line of fire, you are almost ready. Have some more patience. All you have to do is learn how to place your arrow on your bow and how to position the string correctly.

When practicing how to aim a bow, first lower it down for safety reasons. Then place your arrow on the cord. It must be positioned perpendicular to the archery window, towards the outside. Once this first step is validated, raise your bow in front of you, to aim at the center of your target.

The string of your bow must be at the level of your chin. Normally, it is placed towards the middle or slightly on the side of your jaw. Don’t be afraid to hold your bow close to you: if you adopt the right position, the cord must touch your nose and mouth. Above all, don’t forget: archery is a question of precision but also and especially of training! By choosing the right equipment and following our advice, you will have every chance on your side to aim right and on the right track!


You’re now just taking your first steps towards learning how to shoot a bow. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the basic steps required to perform this act effectively. At 717 Armory, we are here to assist you. Our team of professionals like Todd Lydell are USA Archery, and National Field Archery Association Level-2 Instructors and will take you by the hand – quite literally – and help you improve posture, aim and hit that sweet center target. Our lessons are tailor made to help you either improve your shot or even learn everything from scratch. So if you want to shoot like a pro, we are your best choice!

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