Are you confused about all that Archery equipment and techniques?
When I got started 8 years ago I was at the same stage as yours, confused and excited for my first shot.
So, with my years of experience in Archery and Hunting, I created this definitive guide on Archery for Beginners which will take you step by step towards your first successful shot.
Let’s jump right into the methods…
Start with Archery Equipment:
You need to understand that in all the equipment out there, we only have two main things; bows and arrows, which will enable you for your first shot…
And all the other stuff we use are for better shots and safety, Let’s discuss all of them one by one…
Different Types of Bows:
There are many types of bows which you can use, the difference is usually in their shape, bowstrings and obviously in the technology.
Some of them are old and traditional types of bows used for hunting but with the passage of time and new technology, they were changed to make them more effective and accurate…
1: Traditional Bows
These are our old bows which the human invented for the first time, you have already seen them in TV shows and manhunt movies or some other old style Archery Sports.
But traditional bows are not common now, you see it’s very difficult to shoot accurately and safely with these types of bows.
2: Long Bows
Longbows are also traditional and in ancient times people used it for blood sport, manhunt, and even wars. It’s a customized bow and its length actually depends on the height of a person.
Still, it’s not for beginners as it is not that user-friendly and hard to control but due to the restricted resources in some countries, some people still use it for their hunting purposes.
3: Cross Bows
The crossbows are bit modern when compared with traditional bows and considered as the survival bow due to their damage in manhunt and animal hunt.
In history, these are also used by armies for ransacking and destroying enemies because you can also shoot bolts with it which can cause severe damages.
4: Recurve Bows
The recurve bows are modern and powerful due to their shape and can shoot the arrows at high speed which can cause serious damage.
Also, these are used in games for target shooting by archery shooting candidates. You can also use it for bow hunting with some prior experience in hand.
I don’t suggest you to use recurve bows while you are just starting out…
5: Compound Bows
The compound bows are modern invention and due to its mechanical operation, you will be able to shoot anything with high accuracy and speed.
It is energy efficient and with the help of cams option, you can easily shoot at your target right after some practice.
When you are just starting Archery, I suggest you use a compound bow with right size and configuration, this way you will not need to practice a lot before you actually start shooting targets.
It’s a bit costly but your early investment on the compound bow will make you a better bowhunter or sportsman.
Different Types of Arrows:
When I was just getting started, I remember thinking that all the arrows must be of just one type, right? Because they all look like same…
But I was wrong, there are all different and believe me, this little difference can actually affect your shots by miles, saying this with experience…
So, here are some details which you should know before taking your first shot following this archery for beginners guide.
1: Fiber Glass Arrows
Fiberglass arrows are considered as the good ones by experienced archers, and the reason is simply that you can actually fit them to draw length and weight as required for the shot.
When you are using the fiberglass arrows, it’s also very easy to maintain the consistency among your arrows.
But the only problem is these arrows break easily and if you are a beginner you may hurt yourself while using one.
2: Carbon Arrows
Carbon arrows are fast and usually used for high damage purposes, history suggests that this one was used mostly for manhunt during the wars.
Also, when you are doing the bow hunting carbon arrows will be your top priority.
The other reason for using carbon arrows is that it can be easily fixed into the compound bow (which is beginner friendly), and by now you already know that hunter!
3: Aluminum Arrows
Aluminum arrows are also very useful for those who go out for hunt down and their intent is to cause serious damage.
The advantage of this type of arrow is that you can get it in different sizes from the market place. Companies manufacture them in different sizes and weights.
Well, these are expensive than wooden and carbon arrows, but they are worth it because their arrowheads are Interchangeable which makes them durable too…
4: Wooden Arrows
Wooden arrows are the old and traditional ones used back in the days of hunt down, you can get these in cheap rates but learning how to shoot with them is not an easy job and really not a smart idea for those who are just getting started.
As already discussed above, when you are starting out, you will be using the compound bow (multiple sight and shoot options) and wooden arrow can’t be used with a compound bow due to the limitation of the wooden arrow to go along with the speed of the compound bow.
So, I suggest you to only give it a try when you are good at shooting arrows and to start learning shooting for the first time, it is better to start with carbon or aluminum arrows.
Archery for Beginners [Some interesting Terms]
Following are the terms which you will use to define your arrows condition or type. These terms will also come in handy while hunting with a group or when you are shopping for your equipment.
Arrow Heads: As you already know arrowhead is the sharp front point of an arrow which is the real reason why you are able to hit your mark…
The front tip of an arrow is made of hard material most of the time it is metal but varies from arrow to arrow, the stronger the arrowhead, the greater will be the damage and better accuracy.
Also, there is a bodkin point within an arrowhead which helps in long flights of your arrow and reduces the cost of an arrow.
I also want to add that a man with experience of pig-sticking or bow hunting uses the broadheads.
The Broadheads are used for severe damage and serious bleeding, they come in handy while hunting in wildlife, especially after a lot of still-hunting or wait for your catch.
Fletching: These are present at the end of an arrow and their purpose is to make your arrow’s flight perfect.
Fletching is usually made of feathers.
The feathers used for fletching in arrow are mostly collected from the turkey.
Nocks: Nock of an arrow is the end part of an arrow which sits on the bowstring and with the help of it we pull the bowstring backward in order to shoot the arrow.
Nocks play an important role in shooting because good nocks prevent any swings in your arrow after your shot.
The modern bows and arrows as I mentioned before are the must-have things for shooting purpose…
But when you are in the field and going for the hunt then you need professional equipment in order to become a professional hunter.
Let’s jump into it right away…
1: Archery Quiver
When you are shooting professionally, then you can’t afford to keep your arrows lying around somewhere, you should always have a better way to keep them organized and to ensure they are available to you all the time.
So, for such purpose, professionals use the archery quiver which can be a type of holder or a case where you can place your arrows in the perfect format to allow shooting easy and comfortable.
There are different types of archery quivers which include ground quiver, back quiver, arrow bag, and belt quiver.
Which one is best?
It completely depends on the taste of shooter that if you like to place your arrows on the ground or put them on your back.
You can’t find out which one works better for you until you actually start your journey of shooting and with the passage of time you will find out which one is friendly for you.
2: Release aid
Professional archers use the release aid to shoot arrows instead of using their fingers and the reason is very simple…
When you are using release aid, you can aim better easily and it also helps you to shoot the arrows precisely when compared with your fingers.
Most of the archers with a compound bow in hand use the release aid both for better aim and more safety of their hands & bow.
3: Bow Sight
When you are in the field and doing still hunting for a long time, you definitely want to shoot the target and can’t afford to miss it.
Here comes the bow sight which you can attach with your compound bow and shoot with accuracy, it’s useful especially when you are shooting from long range.
Nimrod’s with a lot of experience in hunting uses it for shooting from far away…
As you are a beginner, a good bow sight will also be a perfect thing to add in your equipment list. This will surely make you a better bowhunter over time.
4: Arrow Rest
As the name suggests it is to place your arrow on the bow, you can attach the “arrow rest” with your compound bow and then place the arrow on it instead of trying to keep it straight with your hand before shooting.
Arrow rest’s main purpose is to keep the arrow in the straight or correct position in order to make sure that you don’t miss your aim.
Both bowhunters and target archers use it for accuracy purposes.
There are different types of arrow rests which includes the drop-away rests, containment style rests and Launcher style rests.
Which one is best?
There isn’t much difference in them but again it depends on the hunter’s preference. if you ask me, I always love to use the containment style rests with a compound bow.
5: Field Points
Field points are the bullet like slender points which are used for the target archery.
Archers also call them rubber points, bullet points, and blunt points.
I personally use them for target archery practice, and I can tell you that flight of the arrow with field points attached is way better and accurate than without it.
It is good to note that the field points should not be used for bow hunting, and only for target archery.
What’s the reason?
The damage resulting from field points is not good at all so, you will end up wounding an animal instead of an instant kill, which means slow death over the days for the animal and failed hunt for you so, it is important to use field points only to help you in target shooting and don’t use it for bowhunting.
Due to this problem, it’s unethical and banned by many Countries to use the field points for hunting.
Broadheads are opposite to the field points, they come with wide and sharp blades.
These are used and suggested by the experienced nimrods because with these wide heads you can cause severe damage and bleeding in hunting.
But if you try to switch from field points to broadheads right away, your aim is not going to stay perfect, you will feel the difference in your targets and you would need more practice and time to get used to broadheads.
The difference in both is because of the arrow flight between field points and broadheads.
7: Archery Arm Guard
As you can guess from the name, archery arm guard is used to protect your arms while shooting arrows.
It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an experienced archer, it is very important to always consider your safety.
You need a guard to protect your arm from the damage while shooting.
Arm guards are not very costly and yet very effective when it comes to safety during archery shooting.
Basic Archery Techniques:
If you are planning to start target archery or bow hunting, in both cases you must practice these basic archery for beginners techniques.
These techniques can surely enhance your aiming skills and improve your performance over time for better target archery or bowhunting.
In my experience, it takes you at least 200 shots before these techniques become automatic.
Also, these techniques are not difficult at all, but you have to pay good attention while following them…
1: Make proper Stance
This is the first and most important step which you need to follow for a perfect aim.
Making a proper stance means; you should be standing right in front of your target, and to make it perfect, your feet should be in the line of that target as well.
The distance between your feet should only be shoulder-width apart.
Next, you simply push your shoulders downward (keeping a relaxed posture). All these simple steps will help you to maintain a proper stance.
The only way to improve your skills further is to repeat this whole process and in no time, you will learn it perfectly.
2: Nocking Arrow
Now as you have learned how to maintain a proper posture, your next step will be to learn how to nock the arrow.
Nocking the arrow simply means putting an arrow in the bow, which you can achieve by placing the arrow on your compound bow’s rest.
You can nock the arrow by placing it into the bowstring (from the end of the arrow)
You are all set now…
3: Grasp the Bow String
After placing the arrow, now you have to grasp the string. Normally archers use three fingers to grasp the bowstring, one at the top and two at bottom of the arrow.
Remember, as discussed before, you can use the release aid for this purpose as well. It is really good for the safe release of the arrow without hurting your fingers.
4: Draw the Bowstring
To draw the string, you just have to keep your bowstring hand slightly above the nose.
Bowstring this way should end at the face side, opposite to the hand which is holding the bow.
If you are holding the bow in left hand, drawing the bowstring should be at the right side of your face.
After pulling the bowstring, now you have to make sure that the hand which is holding the bow pointing directly towards your target.
5: Transfer Bow Weight to Shoulders
After pulling the bowstring, you have to put the weight of this pull and bow from your shoulders + arm to your solid back.
Beginners don’t follow this method which is a reason for the missing shots, so start following this way from your first shot.
When all the weight is on your back your aim accuracy is going to be way better.
6: Aim for Target
When you are done with the stance and your bow is ready, now it’s time to stay still and focus only on the aim.
You already know it’s the most important part and you should be standing in the correct format for achieving that aim on the target.
For beginners, you have bow sight for targeting and otherwise, you can look through the arrow shaft towards your aim.
Then you just have to make sure your balance is perfect and your body is relaxed.
7: Release the Arrow
As you know till this step you are all set for the shot.
While releasing you just have to wide open your fingers for letting the arrow go.
Make sure, that you are not going to move the bowstring right after release because that can hurt you if you are not wearing the armguard.
Also, while releasing the arrow you have to remind yourself that a slight movement can change the aim and you can only learn this over time.
Your First Shot Tips:
By following the basic techniques discussed above, you can surely go for your first shot.
Before starting shooting, make sure you are following the 7 Archery Safety Rules.
I want to tell you important tips which you should remember during the beginning shots and these can surely make you better at aiming.
1: While taking the shot, it is compulsory to make yourself still and stand right on the line of your target.
2: You should try to look at your target with both eyes during your first cycle of shots and find out which eye is dominant.
As all the archers suggest to find out your dominant eye early and this can impact your accuracy big time.
3: When you are in the learning phase, jump with all the additional equipment as well including the bow sight, release aid and arm guard for learning the professional and safe shots.
4: On the time of release, I suggest you rethink your posture every time and stay relaxed. Also, you have to make sure you are not going to move even a bit while releasing the arrow from the bow.
5: While you are doing the repeat shots, along with focusing on the right aim you also have to find out the minor mistakes or flaws which are causing the issues for learning better.
Archery for Kids:
If you are trying to bring your kids in archery, believe me, that is a perfect decision and here’s the Best & Easy way to teach kids Archery.
Archery is a good sport for your kids which can surely teach them many aspects of life including the:
• Pinpoint focus
• Better physical activity
Let me tell you, studies proved archery as a safe sport than football, cricket, volleyball, and rugby. As you know, it is also productive to involve your kids in this focus demanded sport.
Start with Toy Equipment:
When you are just involving the kids in archery, you should gift them the toy equipment first which they can use for learning the basics of this game.
You can find the toy arrow and bows from the same market for kids.
These toys have absolutely zero percent risk of damage to your kids and are made carefully by keeping these safety precautions in their mind.
With these, kids can boost their confidence for holding the bow or releasing the arrow which is the main reason for using these toys at the start.
Teach Basic Rules:
You should not hand over the toy bow and arrows to kids and let them use it with their own method.
Instead, you can slowly teach them the basic rules of archery.
The intention behind this is to teach them the correct stance and techniques of aiming and releasing.
Over time, kids will start following these simple rules themselves (it’s the nature of kids).
7 Types of Archery You Should Know
There is just a slight difference in the types of archery, but when you are taking it as a sport you want to perform it in tournaments within your own town, right?
So, you should know a bit about all the types or disciplines of archery.
1: Target Archery
Target archery played both indoor and outdoor, you already have seen it in the Olympics.
In this game, you are shooting multiple decided number of arrows on the target from specific distance and best results depend on the accuracy of shooting.
Most of the beginners start from target archery and after having some experience considers trying the other disciplines of archery as well.
2: Flight Shooting
This one is not common and practiced only in some areas of the world due to lack of available Venues.
In this archery, you are shooting the arrows in the air and the winner is decided on the basis of their arrow flights.
To be exact, every candidate shoots 6 arrows in the air and then compete with other shooters on the basis of distance covered by their arrow.
3: Clout Shooting
Clout shooting comes handy for the practice of archery.
Because you have to shoot from the distance on a black round target which is placed on the ground and believe me this one can be one of the best practice sessions for improving on archery.
Tournaments on this form also played where you can take part after growing competitive skills in clout shooting.
4: 3D Archery
If you are starting archery for hunting the game animals then this is your form.
In this format, the dummy of game animals is placed within the field (forest or between trees) and the shooter has to go through the trees and then shoot at these game animals.
Like hunting, you have to shoot the arrow at exact spot for hunting the animal and the person with an accurate target on these dummy animals is going to fun.
In fact, 3D archery is a fun format for people like me who love to go hunting and practice for actual hunting.
5: Run Archery
As the name suggests, in run archery candidate have to shoot on the target while running.
When you are just getting started run archery seems like a pro level but this one is fun too and you can learn a lot of hunting just by practicing this one.
So, the winner in run archery also decided on the basis of shooting accuracy.
6: Ski Archery
You can understand this one just by looking at the name right?
In ski archery, you have to shoot the arrow with your bow while standing or doing the skiing. This game is getting famous in Italy, USA, France, Russia, and Japan.
And it’s played in winters when there is a lot of snowfall.
So, if you have good skiing skills then after learning the archery you can start practice on this as well and start winning the tournaments of your areas.
7: Field Archery
Field archery is also one of the famous formats of the archery.
In this format, you are not shooting from the flat land towards your target, instead, you will be standing upward or downward and have to focus the target from there.
Yes, you need a lot of practice for mastering this format but still, it’s not very difficult if your basis which we discussed above are cleared.
When you are just starting out, I suggest you should rent the archery equipment instead of buying, or purchase the used bow and arrow.
After some practice, you can only see things clearly and can buy the equipment according to your choice.
During the practice, you have to note your mistakes which you are making during the shots and try to improve as minor changes can make the big difference in your shots.
What else do you need to know about “Archery for Beginners”?
I’d really like to know what you guys think about starting Archery? Any advice for beginners?
Do you disagree with any of the points I’ve made above?
Please Leave the comment below as I’d love to hear your ideas!