In the world of archery, there are many things to pay attention to: your anchor point, your drawing arm, how you breathe, whether you’re hunting or target shooting… there are a lot of details. But one of the most important things you shouldn’t shirk learning about is your archery posture.
Just like having a good standing posture protects your spine and helps you move, having a solid posture when shooting a bow protects your muscles and helps you shoot more accurately.
If you’re struggling with consistency in your shooting, look at your posture first. Here are a few tips to hone your proper archery stance.
Solid archery posture begins with your feet. There are a few different ways you can stand, so play around with your positioning to find what’s most comfortable for you.
- Neutral stance: your feet are even with each other, perpendicular to your arrow, with your hips parallel to it when at full draw
- Closed stance: your feet are slightly staggered with your front foot ahead of your rear and hips closed to the target
- Open stance: your feet are again slightly staggered but the front foot is behind the rear and your hips are open to the target face
Generally speaking, in a proper archery stance, your feet should be approximately shoulder-width apart with a gentle bend to your knees. Locking your knees makes the rest of your posture too rigid but bending too low makes you unstable.
Your spine and torso should be straight up and down with your collarbone parallel to the arrow. Keep your hips neutral as well (don’t bend forward or backward/into or away from the bow). Imagine a broomstick laid along your spine — it should touch the back of your head, your shoulders, and your tailbone.
Keeping your torso from leaning into or away from the bow is essential for good archery posture. A proper archery stance avoids leaning forward into the shot or back away from it. If you find yourself leaning back, your bow might have too long of a draw.
Both your release and your bow arm positioning are vital for consistency. When you draw, make sure the elbow on your release arm is pointing straight away from the target with your forearm parallel to the ground. Your release shoulder should fall into position naturally. Make sure your bow arm’s shoulder doesn’t shrug up or backward or overextend forward.
Keep the elbow on your bow arm pointed outward (not directly downward) and keep your arm slightly bent. This part of a proper archery stance keeps the bowstring from slapping your forearm during the shot.
Last but certainly not least in a proper archery posture is your anchor point. It’s the place you rest your fingers at the full length of your draw.
Recurve shooters typically use beneath their chin or at the corner of their mouths. Compound bow shooters may anchor along or behind the jawbone or again, at the corner of their mouths.
Your anchor point will vary compared to other archers, and that’s okay. The most important part is finding where you naturally want to anchor and consistently holding there at full draw, shot after shot.
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