This blog post is all about the basics of archery. Archery is a sport that requires patience and discipline but can be very rewarding for those who are passionate about it. I will share with you 10 steps to help you get going with archery and give newbies tips on what they should look for when starting.
Now, without further ado here are my tips:
Try Finding a Club
Try to find an archery club with experienced coaches to get the most out of your time spent practicing.
You could definitely learn archery by teaching yourself, but it is better to have a coach teach you the basics. That way, you won’t have to “relearn” all the things you picked up on your own…
A coach will help you to improve your technique. Archery clubs typically offer beginner classes that will give you all the basics of shooting so that you can practice on your own when you’re done.
Or maybe attend a coaching lesson every once in a while to check on your progress.
Do NOT Buy all the Equipment Beforehand!
Most, if not all, archery clubs will allow you to borrow their gear for the first few times you visit.
However, I recommend that archers buy a bow and arrows when they’re confident about what kind of style suits them best. Plus all the other stuff you need (plus all the stuff you don´t need but still want).
To find out what’s right for you, this equipment must be tried out beforehand! It doesn´t make sense to buy a compound bow if you find out later you enjoy shooting recurve more.
That´s just the way it is: some people might prefer shooting recurve bow, others might prefer compound bow, or maybe crossbow.
The choice is yours!
However, when you make the final decision to purchase your archery equipment, I recommend that you go for quality just as much as price.
I have seen people buy cheaper bows to end up with arm problems like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis because of bad material (and by using the wrong technique!).
Work on the Basic Techniques
Stance, finger placement, hand placement, bow arm, drawing, anchoring, holding, aiming, release, and follow-through.
That is it. Sounds simple right? Well, actually, it is not. I found that each of the steps for itself is not impossible to master, but you have to do them all. And at best without thinking.
This is something that you may be able to do after months of practicing. One thing at a time, one step at a time.
You can always move on from one technique to another when it feels right for your own development as an archer.
Consider Improving your Physical Condition
Archery is a sport! Drawing a bow takes strength. Drawing a bow hundreds of times a day can be exhausting.
Don’t let yourself get tired as fast. Work on your physical strength. We wrote an article about conditioning and strength training for archers.
And do not forget: Stretches before and after practice might make a difference. You don´t want to pull a muscle or, worse, injure yourself! Warm-up and stretch.
Be Patient with Training
In the beginning, you will see improvements pretty fast, but as your proficiency with archery grows, the time and effort it takes to improve will also grow. Stick with training!
Stay determined, and don´t give up too early!!!
Be patient about learning from mistakes: Learn what went wrong and how you can avoid this in the future. Keep practicing these steps until you master them.
Select the Right Equipment
This one is important. Don´t go and buy a high-end compound bow right away – don´t go and buy some cheap-o-bow either!
You can easily spend a fortune on some new gear, but the best thing to do is buy what you can afford and learn with it. Also, make up your mind what you are plans are. Bowhunting? Target shooting? Recurve? Compound?
You also want a bow that suits your physics. If possible, get advice from an archery pro or someone who has more experience than you have when buying gear! Or, as a start, read our beginner buying guide.
Be sure to choose arrows that are good enough for you. If they´re too heavy or light for your setup, it will affect your experience.
Practice Makes Perfect
As with basically everything, the more you practice, the better you will get! Try to practice as often as possible. But listen to your body!
If something doesn’t feel right or you’re experiencing pain – make the necessary adjustments and keep going until you find what works for YOU!
I mentioned it before. I strongly advise that you take some lessons to get the technique right. Well, you still won´t do everything right… but at least you know the basics.
Take Notes to Monitor your Progress
Take notes. Every single time you practice. I found it highly motivating to see how much I improved from month to month.
Actually, this point deserves a spot further up on this list. Enjoy yourself, have fun. That´s what it is all about! Yes, you can participate in tournaments – but for me, it is all about the process of archery.
I can’t tell you how much I love to go back to the range and shoot arrows without any particular goal in mind. It is just about the enjoyment while being aware that it is a time for practicing my skills.
Know when to Call it a Day
You are tired. Your concentration is gone. So it’s time to call it a day and do something different. I know, that’s easily said. I usually have a hard time calling it quits myself…