How To Shoot A Long Bow (Learn the Basics)

Accurate longbow shooting depends on an archer’s persistence in practicing fundamental techniques to improve. Most things in shooting traditional archery boil down to consistency; thus, learning the best methods from the beginning is the only way to become successful.

In the best of circumstances, obtaining precision with a longbow may be challenging, and for archers who are new to the style, it can be intimidating.

Don’t worry because here you’ll learn these techniques as I shed light on the basic steps in shooting traditional archery.

Begin with Proper Long Bow Archery Technique

When you are new to long bows and traditional archery, the best way to address archery is to follow a series of steps. You can break down the act of firing into a series of discrete actions that you need to perform and refine over time.

The following are the main steps for traditional bows: stance (or posture), nocking and aiming, release, and follow-through. We’ll go over each stage in detail one by one below. You may also want to check here the guide on how to shoot a traditional bow.

The Proper Stance

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Correct posture is essential for successful archery; if you work your posture correctly, you will use your arm and shoulder muscles more effectively and shoot more accurately.

Face the target with your body and hips side-on. Position your non-dominant foot in front of the dominant foot. If you’re using a right-handed bow, your non-dominant foot should be on the left, and your feet should be around shoulder-width apart.

Move your head in the direction of the objective. This will put your chin over your bow arm’s shoulder (the arm holding the bow). The feet, hips, and shoulders should all be at a 90-degree angle to the target.

You should keep your shoulders down, and your back and knees should be square. As you begin to draw, allow your shoulders to move freely and completely. Allowing your lower back to arch or thrust your chest or hips forward might throw you off balance and make it difficult to aim precisely.

The Correct Positioning of Hands

Before you start drawing, make sure your hands are in the proper posture. The positioning of your hands plays a large part in improving your aim. You may rely on your personal choice – as you gain skills, beginners will find it a lot easier to apply some basic rules until they gain confidence.


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Place the rounded section of the handle on the webbing between your thumb and index finger and hold the bow in your left hand. Relax your palm part just below your thumb on the bow and loosely wrap your fingers around the handle with a gentle grip.

Maintain a 45-degree angle with your knuckles. Gripping the bow too tightly might induce torquing and cause you to be inaccurate.

Correct Nocking

Begin by holding the arrow behind the feathers at the rear end, with the front end resting on the arrow rest. To keep the arrow from falling, you must tilt the bow slightly to the side.

At the bowstring’s ‘nocking point,’ attach the nock on the back end of the arrow to the string. Remember that the appropriate spot depends on the bow.

Next, place the index vane, often known as the odd-colored fletching, facing you and away from the bow.

When you correctly place the arrow, the nock will ‘click’ into place. The nock may be too wide if the arrow falls off or slips.

Finger Placement

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You should hold the string with one hand and as you draw back the arrow. On the string, position your index finger above the arrow and your middle and ring fingers below it. Bear in mind that your fingers should merely grab the string.

You can start with three fingers below the arrow since it makes a beginner’s draw easier. You should tuck your thumb away from the string; you may point it towards the palm of your hand.

Observe Proper Draw Sequence

Lift the long bow to the point where it is vertical to the ground. During the draw sequence, keep your bow arm elbow bent, so it’s facing straight down.

Begin the draw procedure with your drawing arm parallel to the arrow shaft and your head upright. There are two approaches when it comes to drawing: one is to keep everything straight while drawing back, and the other is to rotate the drawing.

I recommend you use the rotating method since it engages more back muscles as the sketching arm and elbow spin around while remaining more or less at the same height. To prevent torque during the shot, keep minimal pressure on the draw fingers.


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The anchor point is a central focus where the draw sequence brings to a stop at a defined area. There are numerous variants of anchor points and what works best ultimately boils down to personal opinion.

The side anchor is the most popular method, in which you should tuck your index finger into the corner of your mouth. The trouble with this method is that the mouth corner consists of delicate tissue that shifts.

Many archers will additionally use a draw check gadget to indicate when they’ve hit the peak draw. These devices are convenient and can assist in a variety of ways. 


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[You’re doing it right if your shoulder and arms are relaxed after release]

After you’ve reached anchor, use your sighting method to focus on the location you want to strike. Whatever strategy you use, you should only concentrate on the subject for a few seconds before releasing it; any longer, and your concentration will most likely shatter.

The release is the most straightforward of all the processes to comprehend and the most difficult to perfect. Archers, spend a lifetime honing their release. In simple terms, the release refers to relaxing the fingers to let go of the string, often known as a ‘dead release.’

More shooters are employing back tension these days, and they’re getting better outcomes. This type of release involves moving the elbow back more throughout the shot while using back tension till the shot goes off.

If you perform it correctly, the string will just roll off your fingertips without any effort on your part, and your hand will proceed back to the shoulder.

Follow Through

Avoiding any unnecessary movements is the best way to define follow-through. The hand extends to the shoulder after the release, but you may want to avoid any needless motion. You must not move after the release.

The majority of individuals will “peak” at the arrow to see where it lands, and I highly recommend that you avoid this. 

When shooting traditional long bows, you should try to keep them as still as possible. Before looking at the outcome, I always recommend waiting until you hear the arrow hit. Any movement at the release point can cause the arrow to deviate from its intended path.

Longbow Shooting Tips

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Self-taught archers who are ready to practice and study can achieve excellence. We’ll go over some of the best longbow shooting tips for beginners who want to learn how to shoot longbows accurately.

Tip #1: Your Posture

Beginners regularly find that the proper posture ‘feels wrong at first. This is because of the point that it is new and uses muscles in ways they haven’t been using in daily life. Sustaining the stance will involve considerable time and effort; try to be conscious of your posture at all times until your muscles get the patterns. (1)

There are some exercises that can assist tone the right muscles and make handling a bow a little simpler; training at home and improving your core can also help.

Tip #2: Maintain Your Bow Hand’s Position

Relax the bow and start over if you need to adjust your bow hand while drawing or shooting. It would be best to keep your bow hand from moving around on the bow until you launch the arrow after it is in the proper position.

Tip #3: Always Evaluate Your Posture

These large motions will feel unusual to a beginner archer, and you may find yourself changing your posture to compensate for underdeveloped muscles. Tilting your head or drawing up your shoulders are common concerns at this point, so it’s worth taking an instant or two to double-check your posture. While drawing the bow, keep your shoulders down and your head up and facing forward.

When you’re drawing, make sure the string doesn’t get behind your armguard. To prevent getting hit by the string, you may need to twist your bow arm at the elbow, but first, examine your posture: bending or leaning back your body can direct the string to your arm when you launch it. (2)

Tip #4: Keep Your Position

Lowering the bow down or away before the arrow is fully released is a common rookie mistake. Moving too quickly can influence your aim, and it is a poor practice to develop, so resist the urge to drop the bow or move it to one side or the other to see the arrow fly. 

Maintain a straight posture and a high bow. A decent rule of thumb is to keep your position until the arrow lands on the target.

Tip #5: Safety is Vital

Long bow archery requires a lot of practice to master, and there’s a lot to consider when you first start, but safety should always be your top priority when using these traditional bows. While nocking and aiming, always maintain your arrows pointing downrange. This is also useful if you need to modify your stance, grip, or position in any way. While drawing, stop, relax the bow, withdraw the arrow, and begin again.

If you’re looking for places to practice your archery skills, here’s an article guide for you if you decide to do it on public land.

(1) muscles –
(2) examine your posture –

You may want to check the video below;

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About Andy Ryan

How To Shoot A Long Bow (Learn the Basics) 7Certifications: Sc. Kin. - Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology
Education: University of Denver
Lives In: Denver

My name is Andy and I am the author and creator of Archery Power, I have been in the archery industry for many years and it’s my true love and passion. I am an instructor and maintain a Certification. It all started as a kid where me and my dad used to go hunting with a crossbow, since that time I have been obsessed with the sport.