Complete Beginner’s Guide to Archery

By Andy Ryan


Updated at

We totally get it if you’re interested in archery but don’t know how to start. It can be confusing with all the different terms and equipment. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back! We’ve put together a guide to help you get started and introduce you to the basics of archery, step by step. Whether you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity or aiming to become a competitive archer, this guide will assist you in making informed decisions, selecting the right equipment, and finding the best ways to practice and improve your skills.

Benefits of Archery

Archery is an enjoyable and rewarding sport that offers numerous benefits to beginners like you. One of the main advantages is its ability to improve your fitness. Drawing a bow requires energy, which helps burn calories and tone your arm and back muscles. Plus, walking to the shooting line and then to the target to collect arrows adds to your daily step count.

Another significant benefit of archery is the improvement in hand-eye coordination. As you practice holding the bow and arrow, your hands work together to achieve a perfect shot. This skill transfers to other aspects of your life, sharpening your overall coordination abilities.

Archery also fosters mental growth by training your mind to improve focus. While aiming and shooting, you need to overcome distractions such as wind, distance, and noise. This heightened focus will eventually translate to other areas, enabling you to maintain concentration as you tackle various tasks in your daily life.

Last but not least, archery instills discipline within you. As a beginner, you will learn the importance of continuous practice and the value of honing your technique over time. This acquired discipline will positively influence other aspects of your life, teaching you valuable lessons in perseverance and dedication.

Overall, by engaging in archery, you can enjoy a myriad of benefits, from physical and mental development to establishing a strong sense of discipline. Your journey as a beginner in archery will not only be fun and rewarding but will also contribute to your overall growth and well-being.

Learn more about surprising skills that archery teaches you.

Who Can Start Archery?

Archery is a fantastic sport that offers numerous physical and mental benefits, making it an excellent choice for people of all ages and fitness levels. One of the most appealing aspects of archery is its inclusivity, as nearly anyone can pick up a bow and start learning.

You don’t need to be incredibly strong or athletic to begin your archery journey. As you practice and develop your skills, your muscle strength and flexibility will naturally improve. This gradual advancement means that even if you have never participated in sports or physical activities, you can still enjoy archery and experience its benefits.

Age is not a barrier in archery either. Many clubs and training facilities cater to a wide range of age groups, from children as young as 8 years old to seniors who are looking for a low-impact, enjoyable hobby. In fact, many archers enjoy the sport well into their retirement years, thanks to its low joint strain and adaptability to various physical abilities.

In summary, if you’re looking for a new hobby that is both enjoyable and beneficial for your overall well-being, archery is the perfect choice. Regardless of your age, fitness level, or experience, this sport is accessible and welcoming to all. So grab a bow, find a local club, and start exploring the world of archery – you won’t be disappointed!

Can I Learn Archery at Home?

Yes, you can learn archery at home! It is a convenient and flexible way to start your journey in the exciting world of archery. All you need is some essential gear like a bow, arrows, and a target, which can be easily acquired.

There are many resources available to help you learn archery basics at home, such as online guides and video tutorials. You can practice on your own time and fit it into your schedule, making it perfect for those with busy lives. However, consider taking archery lessons as well, as they can significantly shorten your learning curve and provide valuable feedback from experienced instructors.

When starting out, focus on perfecting your shooting form. This ensures a solid foundation for your archery skills. To avoid developing bad habits, consider setting up a small practice area in your home or backyard. Ensure you maintain a safe environment, taking into account the space and surroundings. Remember to make sure that it’s legal in your state to practice archery in your backyard.

Remember, while learning archery at home is possible and enjoyable, don’t hesitate to explore local archery classes and clubs to further enhance your skills and meet fellow archers. You’ll find a welcoming and supportive community that can help accelerate your progress towards becoming a skilled archer.

Choosing the Right Equipment

When starting your archery journey, having the right equipment is essential for a positive and successful experience. In this section, we will guide you through selecting a bow, finding the perfect arrows, essential accessories, and the cost of equipment.

Selecting a Bow

Choosing the right bow for you depends on your preferences and the type of archery you want to pursue. A beginner should start with a recurve bow, as they are simple and cost-effective. As you improve, you can opt for a compound bow, which offers more advanced features and precision. Read on the differences between recurve and compound bows

Visit your local archery shop and tell them your budget and interests. They will measure your draw length and make several bow recommendations based on your preferences. Don’t forget to test different bows to decide which one feels the best for you.

For more details on how to choose a perfect recurve bow for you, check out our full guide: The 8 Best Recurve Bows in 2023 (Buying Guide) 

Finding the Perfect Arrows

The right arrows are crucial for accurate and consistent shooting. Arrows come in various materials, lengths, and spine ratings. It’s essential to choose arrows that are compatible with your bow and match your draw length.

Ask for professional advice at your local archery shop. They can help you find suitable arrows based on your bow type and shooting style. Try different arrow materials and spine ratings to see which suits you best.

To read about the best arrows for a recurve bow, click here

Essential Accessories

There are a few essential accessories that can enhance your archery experience:

  • Arm Guard: Worn on the forearm to protect it from the bowstring.
  • Finger Tab: Worn on the fingers to protect them from the bowstring and to provide a better grip.
  • Bow Sling: Helps secure the bow in your hand.
  • Quiver: A container that holds the arrows. It can be attached to the bow or carried separately.
  • Sight: Helps you aim accurately by providing a reference point.
  • Bowstring wax: Used to lubricate the bowstring and prevent it from fraying.

For a compound bow, you will also need a bow-mounted quiver, a stabilizer to balance your bow, and a release aid.

Cost of Equipment

The cost of archery equipment varies depending on the type and quality. A recurve bow usually ranges from $100 to $200 for beginners, while compound bows can cost between $500 to $1,000. Arrows and essential accessories also have a wide price range, so it’s essential to consider your budget when selecting your equipment.

As a beginner, you don’t have to invest in the most expensive gear. Start with the essentials, and upgrade your equipment as you progress and become more comfortable with the sport.

See here for a detailed article on the archery equipment price from an expert.

Taking Archery Lessons

Taking archery lessons is an essential part of your journey as a beginner. You’ll learn proper techniques, form, and etiquette to help you succeed in this exciting sport. In this section, we’ll cover where to take lessons, joining a club, important things to know before your first lesson, and how to choose a good instructor.

Where to take archery lessons?

Lessons can be found at archery ranges, specialized training centers, and even local parks and recreation departments. Some options to find lessons near you include searching online or asking at an archery shop for recommendations. Be sure to choose a location that is convenient and has a safe environment for learning.

Joining a Club

Joining an archery club can be a great way to connect with other people interested in the sport, gain access to experienced coaches, and attend club events. Many clubs offer beginner lessons and can provide guidance on selecting the right equipment. To find a club near you, check the websites of local archery organizations or ask for advice at archery shops.

Things to know before your first lesson

Before attending your first lesson, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with some basic terms, equipment, and archery styles to be prepared. You should also:

  • Wear comfortable, athletic clothes and footwear.
  • Remove or secure any loose jewelry or accessories that could get in the way.
  • Arrive early so you can get acquainted with the range and instructors.
  • Bring a note-taking method to help you retain important information and tips.

How to choose a good instructor

When selecting an instructor, consider their qualifications, coaching style, and experience working with beginners. A good instructor should:

  • Be certified by a recognized organization, like USA Archery or the National Field Archery Association.
  • Have a friendly, patient, and supportive teaching style.
  • Be able to tailor instruction to your individual needs and goals.
  • Have positive reviews or recommendations from other students.

By following these suggestions, you’ll set the stage for a successful and enjoyable entry into the world of archery.

Ongoing Growth and Practice

As you continue improving your archery skills, it’s essential to focus on ongoing growth and practice. This section will cover setting goals, participating in events, competitive archery, bow hunting.

Setting Goals

Setting personal goals is vital for your progression in archery. Write down your objectives and track your progress over time. Whether it’s increasing your accuracy, developing muscle strength, or mastering a new shooting technique, having clear objectives will keep you motivated and make your practice sessions more efficient.

Participating in Events

Joining local archery clubs or associations can provide you with opportunities to participate in various events and tournaments, such as 3D archery, field archery, or target archery. These events allow you to test your skills, learn from experienced archers, and build a supportive network of fellow enthusiasts.

Competitive Archery

If you’re interested in taking your archery skills to a higher level, you can consider competitive archery. There are different categories in competitive archery, including recurve, compound, and barebow. Participating in competitions can help you improve your focus, self-discipline, and ability to perform under pressure.

Bow Hunting

Another option for applying your archery skills is bow hunting. Bow hunting requires a combination of patience, marksmanship, and knowledge of animal behavior. Before venturing into this field, ensure you obtain necessary permits, follow all hunting laws and guidelines, and practice ethical hunting principles.

How To Practice Archery

As a beginner in archery, practice is essential to improve your skills and build confidence. In this section, we will focus on tips and tricks for beginners, what to practice, and exercises for archery. Remember, consistency and patience are crucial for your archery journey.

Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Starting with the right techniques will set you up for success. Here are some helpful tips and tricks for archery beginners:

  • Choose the appropriate equipment: Get fitted for the right bow size, arrow length, and draw weight to ensure your practice is comfortable and effective. You can visit an archery store for guidance.
  • Join a club: Enroll in a reputable archery club to receive proper instruction, connect with other archers, and practice in a supportive environment.
  • Focus on form: Proper form is crucial to improving your skills; it helps reduce inconsistencies in your shots. Practice your stance, grip, draw, and release until they become second nature.

What to Practice

There are several aspects of archery that beginners should focus on during practice:

Practice Area Description
Stance Learn the proper stance to ensure stability and balance while shooting.
Grip Develop a relaxed grip on the bow for better control and accuracy.
Draw and Anchor Familiarize yourself with the correct draw and anchor technique, ensuring your draw arm is parallel to the ground.
Aiming and Release Practice aiming at different target points and work on a smooth, consistent release.

Exercises for Archery

Improving your archery skills requires a lot of upper body strength, particularly in the arms, shoulders, and back. To become a skilled archer, it’s important to develop and maintain this strength through targeted exercises. Here are some effective archery exercises to increase strength:

  • Resistance band pull-aparts: This exercise can improve shoulder stability and strengthen the muscles in the upper back.
  • Dumbbell rows: Dumbbell rows can help to develop strength in the lats, rhomboids, and rear delts, which are essential for pulling the bowstring back.
  • Push-ups: Push-ups can help to strengthen the chest, triceps, and shoulders, which are all used in the archery draw.

By incorporating these exercises into your training routine, you can improve your archery performance and achieve your goals on the range or in competition.

Remember, the key to success in archery is consistent practice, focus on proper form, and patience. With time and dedication, you’ll see improvements in your skills and enjoyment of the sport. Happy practicing!

Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them

As you begin your archery journey, it’s normal to encounter some common mistakes. Don’t worry, with guidance and practice, you can easily improve your skills. Here are some typical issues and their solutions:

  1. Dropping your bow arm: Maintain a strong bow arm until you hear the arrow hit the target. This helps ensure accuracy and better form.
  2. Punching the trigger: Relax your fingers until the arrow naturally releases to avoid sudden movements that can disrupt your aim. 
  3. Over gripping: Hold your bow with a relaxed grip to prevent torque and improve stability. Getting comfortable with the correct hand positioning may take time, but it becomes more natural with practice. 
  4. Inconsistent hand placement: Ensure consistent hand placement on the bow grip, which can significantly affect your accuracy. Take note of your hand placement, and try to replicate it with each shot.
  5. Incorrect stance: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and perpendicular to the target. This positioning provides a stable and balanced base for your shots.

You can read on detailed exercises technique here.

As you work on these common mistakes, remember that archery is a journey of personal growth and development. With patience, practice, and a positive attitude, you’ll see improvement in your form and accuracy. So, keep honing your skills, learn from your mistakes, and enjoy the rewarding process!

Total Cost of Starting Archery

Embarking on your archery journey can be an exciting and fulfilling experience. As you begin, you may wonder about the costs associated with this new hobby. Don’t worry, this section will cover the costs of starting archery, including equipment and lessons.

To get started with archery, you can expect to spend between $150 to $500 on the initial equipment, such as the bow, arrows, and accessories. Prices will vary depending on the quality and brand of the items you choose. Here’s a rough breakdown of equipment costs:

  • Bows: $100 – $300 
  • Arrows (12): $40 – $100 
  • Armguard, finger tab, or glove: $10 – $30 
  • Bow string wax, arrow rest, and other accessories: $10 – $50 

Read our detailed breakdown of the equipment with top recommendations.

After purchasing the initial gear, you’ll also need to consider the monthly expenses of practicing archery. On average, you can expect to spend between $10 to $60 per month on range fees and arrow maintenance depending on how often you practice.

Additionally, enrolling in archery classes or hiring a coach can help accelerate your learning and improve your skills. Prices for these lessons vary greatly based on the instructor’s experience and the location, but you can expect to pay around $25 to $50 per hour for private lessons or $10 to $30 for group classes.

As you progress in your archery journey, you may choose to invest in higher-quality gear, like a more advanced bow, which can cost between $1,200 to $2,000+.. Remember that improving your skills and enjoying the sport is far more important than the cost of your equipment.

By carefully considering your budget and prioritizing the essentials, you’ll be able to get started with archery without breaking the bank. Happy shooting!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I teach myself archery?

Yes, you can teach yourself archery to some extent, but it’s highly recommended to join a local archery club or take lessons to ensure proper technique and safety. A good archery club can provide guidance, advice, and equipment to help you get started.

How do beginners learn archery?

Beginners typically learn archery by first joining a club or taking lessons at an archery range. This provides an opportunity to learn proper form and techniques, as well as get advice on choosing the right equipment. It’s important to practice regularly to build your skills and confidence.

What age is best for archery?

There is no specific age that is best for archery. As long as you can hold a bow and follow safety guidelines, you can start learning. Many clubs offer archery programs and lessons for kids, while others cater to adult beginners.

Can I start archery at 30?

Yes, you can start archery at any age. Age is not a limiting factor as long as you have the physical ability to hold a bow and follow safety guidelines. Adult beginners are common and can still develop the skills necessary to enjoy the sport.

Is archery a skill or talent?

Archery is a combination of both skill and talent. While some individuals may have natural aptitude for the sport, consistent practice and training are essential to developing and honing your archery abilities.

What kind of people are good at archery?

People who are patient, focused, and disciplined often excel in archery. A strong mental game is crucial for success, as well as good hand-eye coordination and overall physical fitness.

Is archery healthy for you?

Yes, archery can provide a range of physical and mental health benefits. Drawing a bow can help develop upper body strength, while maintaining proper form and balancing during a shot can improve core strength and posture. Additionally, archery can help with mental focus and concentration.

Is archery expensive?

The cost of archery can vary depending on the type of equipment and level of involvement in the sport. Beginner equipment can be budget-friendly, but the cost may increase as you progress and invest in higher-quality gear. Club membership fees and range fees may also contribute to the overall expense.

Is archery difficult?

Archery can be challenging at first, but with regular practice and proper instruction, you can develop the skills necessary to improve and enjoy the sport. Progress can be slow, but learning archery can be a rewarding experience.

Can I do archery wearing glasses?

Yes, you can practice archery while wearing glasses. Make sure your glasses fit securely, and you may consider using a strap to help keep them in place during shooting. Some archers wear special sports glasses or prescription lenses specifically designed for archery.