How To Draw A Bow (In 8 Basic Steps)

By Andy Ryan


Posted at
woman aiming her target

There are a number of well-defined steps that you need to follow to correctly draw a bow and shoot an arrow. It takes more careful balance and execution of these proper steps to draw recurve bows as compared to compound bows.

The following steps will guide you through the fundamental steps of properly drawing a bow with an in-depth explanation of each as recommended by our archery pros.

1. Stance

The way you stand–your posture–can make all the difference between hitting the bull’s eye. Proper stance can make it much easier to aim and shoot calmly and flexibly.

One of the most common stances among archers in the open stance. In this stance, the archer puts the foot in the string side for forwarding to their bow side door opening their hips. This stance requires a slight anterior pelvic tilt to properly balance the torso and the shoulders. This stance is particularly preferable to archers who have clearance problems in their shoulders and chest. (1)

The one thing common to all good stances is the alignment of the feet with the target. The front of the feet should be such that if you were to draw a line joining the front of your feet and extended it to the target, it would hit the target.

Such a stance allows you to aim without having to twist your torso which would result in better accuracy.

Since different bodies have different postures, it takes time to develop a posture that is perfect for you even with these tips. Patience is the key.

2. Hook

It is absolutely essential for recurve archers to learn how to hook the bowstring. Hooking refers to where you put your fingers around the bowstring. There are two good ways to hook the bowstring and they both have their advantages and disadvantages. These two are, namely, the shallow hook and the deep hook.

The shallow hook refers to gripping the bowstring closer to your fingertips. This allows for easier release that may contribute to the accuracy of the shot. However, it is harder to apply to pull the string with your fingertips with much force. This leads us to the deep hook.

The deep hook refers to pulling the string by curving your fingers in the shape of a hook. This hook allows for a much greater force to be applied but may impact the accuracy since it requires more movement to release.

3. Remember Your Grip​

It is important to maintain a firm yet relaxed grip of the bowl as you draw. A lot of archers keep a good grip before they draw but start Death Grip as they start drawing. It’s best not to do this. Hold the bow with just the right force that it doesn’t wiggle, but do it in a relaxed manner.

Gripping the bow two tight is known to commonly result in an adverse welt on the inner side of your bow arm. It also diminishes the accuracy of your shots. To avoid this undesirable effect, grip the bow calmly.

4. Bow Position, D-Loop Clip, Focus

Maintaining the proper bow position can be critical to a shot especially when you’re hunting. The simple and effective way to position your bow perfectly is the following:

1. Get a good grip and place the bottom can of your bow on your thigh.

2. Now use your bow release to hook your d-loop up.

5. Draw

There are hundreds of variations of the way archers draw their bowstrings. The technique used to draw a bowstring is important because a proper technique can allow you to use your arm and back muscles in harmony and apply the maximum amount of force possible. A proper technique also ensures the safety of your muscles.

Korean archers draw in a particular way. They use what’s known as a linear draw: they draw such that the bowstring is drawn without having to move left or right. It is drawn in a straight line.

Among American archers, on the other hand, angular draws are more popular. In an angular draw, the bowstring is first moved away from and body and then back towards the anchor.

Both of these methods are effective in engaging your back muscles allowing you to full easily.

6. Expand/Execution

There are many ways you can come through the clicker but they all are a specialization of one the three basic ways which are: push, pull, and both at the same time. People who start archery usually learn to pull because it’s quite simple as compared to other methods. Most archers find this way the most effective when learning to use a clicker.

Pushing the clicker is a little bit tricky and requires some expertise. The bowstring is held near the face fully drawn and the raiser is pushed away activating the clicker.

7. Follow-Through

Archers don’t pause once they hit the clicker, there is a proper follow-through motion that they do with their bow. A good follow-through is indicated by the string arm moving away from the bow and the characteristic post-shot archer pose. Good follow-ups increase the accuracy and the consistency of the shots. Talk to your coach about follow-through as it is hard to learn without actually doing it.

8. Let the Bow Release: Fire the Bow

One important thing to note is that you should not try to do anything to the bowstring once it’s released. You certainly should not try to push the allow forward hoping it would speed it up, or try to turn the arrows while it’s being released try to minimize the effect of Archer’s paradox. These things would increase inconsistency without doing anything you intend them to. (2)

More Tips…

If You Find Yourself Listing Upwards During the Draw​

Check if your bow is intact and if your bowstring is intact. It might also be the case that you’re applying more tension to the bowstring than it can handle.

An Important Aspect of the Draw: The Correct Draw Weight​

While it is true that bows with greater weight offer less drop, more power, and faster arrows, it is absolutely not a good idea to use a bow with a greater weight than you can handle. A bow that is too much for your muscle strength will only affect your accuracy negatively.

Mind Your Bow Arm and Your Bow Arm Elbow​

While drawing, remember to make the best use of your back muscles while causing as little strain on your bow arm and bow arm elbow as possible. These muscles are fragile and you may get injured.

There are 8 steps to properly drawing a bow, namely, Stance, hook, draw, expand/execution, and follow-through. While some of these steps require practice to excel at, knowing about each step and following the proper guidelines is important not only for improving your archery skills but also to avoid any injuries to yourself.

(1) anterior pelvic –
(2) paradox –