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A sport like archery can go in two ways: either leave you with amazing and happy memories or leave you crying in a corner, wishing you never took it up in the first place. 

For beginners, archery can seem like a very interesting yet complicated sport/hobby. It is something that shows the need to have incredible hand-eye coordination and an immense knowledge and control over accuracy and precision. 

It is quite natural for people who have never wandered into the world of archery before, to excitingly pick up a random bow and strings, only to be met with confusion over the countless foreign terms and instructions. The world of archery can indeed seem a little too overwhelming sometimes. 

However, we assure you that there is nothing to be apprehensive about when it comes to archery. Like every sport, the confusion and hard work associated with archery can also be overcome with extensive practice and by remembering some key points throughout your journey as an archer.

In this article today, we are going to cover some of the archery basics for beginners. Keeping beginners in mind, we will break down archery into bits and pieces so it is easier for our readers to understand the entire concept of archery as whole. 

Even though there might be a lot of key notes to take in here, we are hoping that by the end of the article you will have a clear idea about this intense yet fun sport in your mind. So without wasting any more valuable time, let us get started right away!

The Main Equipment: A Bow

The first and foremost equipment to associate archery with is definitely a bow. Ask anyone, and they will tell you that a bow is the first thing to come to mind when archery is mentioned.

Now, taking it step by step, let us discuss the kinds of bow you can find for archery. In simple terms, there are various different kinds of archery bows on the market, which range from Japanese Yumi bows to longbows to crossbows, etc. 

However, choosing the kind of bow is the second part of archery. The first part is to get to know the type of archery bow. There are basically two types of archery bows that you can choose from, and they are either recurve bows or compound bows.

Compound Bows:

If you are someone who plans on taking bowhunting as the main sport, then a compound bow is the one you will want to invest into. 

Compound bows are known to show incredible bouts of power and stability when used for hunting sessions. They shoot at amazing speeds without creating too much room for human error. 

The best and easiest way to recognize a compound bow is by paying attention to its structure. A compound bow will have limbs that point inwards, that means the limbs will point towards the archer. 

There are also rounded wheels on the top and bottom of the limbs. These wheels are known as “cams”. The cams hold in the strings of the bow while also working to provide the bow the force and pressure that is needed in order to push or shoot the arrows forward.  

Recurve Bows:

On the other hand, recurve bows are basically the ones that pop into our heads when we think of archery. Does not ring a bell yet? Well to provide you with a more visually receptive idea, recurve bows are the ones that Olympians tend to use in the Olympics. 

This kind of bow tends to be more sleek and graceful looking in appearance, with limbs that stretch out further away from the archer’s body. 

Even though some hunters will opt for recurve bows for hunting sessions, this type of bow is more famous for being used in target shooting sessions, in the comfort of a closed off space in a range. 

For beginners, a recurve bow is a much smarter choice than opting for a compound bow. It is quite natural to get tempted to invest into a compound bow, given its cool and mechanical look. 

However, compound bows are also harder to operate if you are only a beginner. Most of the times you will see only experienced professionals making use of compound bows.  

Breaking Down The Bow into Parts

Next, let us separate the bow into separate pieces and discuss about them individually. 

The Riser:

This is the most important part of any kind or type of bow. The riser is also known as the foundation of the entire bow, from where other parts of the bow emerge or are connected to. The riser is also where you have to place your hand on when shooting. 

For compound bows, the riser comes with a containment rest whereas for recurve bows the riser has an elevated rest which is basically just a platform or free space on which the arrow being drawn sits on. 

The Limbs of The Bow:

After the riser, the limbs are the most important parts of a bow. These limbs are also attached to the riser. When it comes to the limbs of the bow, you will be met with options as well.

More often than not, we are faced with the term “Takedown bow”. Take-down bows are ideal for beginners as they allow you to separate the limbs from the riser. This is also a great feature if you want to test your strength and accuracy out. 

Another bow term is known as a One-Piece bow. This term goes mainly for recurve bows. With a one-piece recurve bow, you will not be able to take down any piece separately. Hence the title “one-piece”. This is usually a great bow if you feel like you have gained enough experience as an archer. 

The Nock of The Bow:

This point on the bow string is where you place your arrow while drawing. For enhanced accuracy and power, the nock point is required to stay in the exact place every single time so that an archer can shoot precise arrows consistently. 

The String:

Pretty self-explanatory, the string of the bow is what basically connects the bottom limb to the top limb. Strings can be of various different materials, however nylon is the material most sought after. Nylon strings for archery bows are known to be very durable while providing enhanced flexibility as well. 

The Sight:

If you are familiar with a rifle scope, you already have a clear idea of what a bow sight can be like. Nonetheless, we will describe it thoroughly anyways.  

The sight on a bow is what lets an archer adjust the aim at a target. This target can be at a close distance or further away from you. The bow sight will allow you to make adjustments accordingly so you can make the perfect shot every time. 

The sight of a bow is sometimes attached to the riser of it, from where you can easily attach or detach it again as per requirements. Some bows however will come with pre-drilled holes for the attachment of the sight. 

Selecting a Bow 

Once you know which features to look out for when shopping for your first ever bow for archery, it is necessary for you to know which bow would be the right one for you based on its measurements. 

There are basically two kinds of measurements you need to always keep in mind when it comes to an archery bow, these are the draw weight and the draw length of it. 

Draw Weight:

The draw weight is the measurement which determines how far back you can pull the bow string. This measurement is usually done in pounds. 

To make it easier for beginners to understand, a bow with a draw weight of around 15 pounds will be very easy to work with, whereas a bow with a total draw weight of approximately 45-50 pounds will be very difficult to pull and shoot with. You will need to exert a lot of strength and power to work with bows of such draw weight. 

For beginners, it is a better idea to always opt for archery bows with a draw weight of around 5 to 15 pounds in the beginning. As you grow older and gain more experience as well as strength and capability, you can slowly keep increasing the draw weight to a maximum of 25 pounds or so. 

Draw Length:

The draw length is similar to the previous feature. This measurement deduces how far back you can comfortably pull the bow string as well. 

However, unlike draw weight (which focuses more on the power), the draw length determines how accurate your shot will be. You will be required to shoot the same spot every time, which is where the draw length comes into play.

You can easily measure draw length in the stores where they have a tool called a draw length indicator shaft. This arrow like tool has the required measurements on it. 

Another way is to take your rounded height in feet and inches. So if you are 5 feet, you are 60 inches in other words. Then you have to divide 60 inches by 2.5 (this number is used for every draw length measurement). Hence, we get 24 inches. If the calculated number comes in fractions, make sure to round it up. 

This means, a person of 5 feet in height will have to get an archery bow with a draw length of 24 inches approximately. Quite simple to understand really, don’t you think?

The Arrows

You cannot have a fully functioning bow without its arrows. There are three different types of arrows: wood, aluminum and carbon.

Wood Arrows:

For traditional archery bows, wooden arrows are the most sought after ones. You can use wooden arrows for recurve bows as they are not too strong for compound bows.

Aluminum Arrows:

Great for beginners, aluminum arrows are perfect for both recurve and compound bows. They are strong and durable at the same time. 

Carbon Arrows:

Lastly, we have carbon arrows. Carbon arrows are usually what hunters opt for due to their enhanced compatibility with compound bows. Comparatively more costly in general, carbon arrows are also much lighter than wood and aluminum arrows. 

Now on how to perform with an archery bow, you will need to follow a few simple steps.


To form the perfect stance, you have to stand shoulder-width apart, sideways to the target on the front. Keep your toes at a 90 degrees angle to the target. Make sure that your legs or back is not bent as you have to stand completely straight.


Place the nock of the drawn arrow on the string of the bow, and then push on to the string until you hear a click to it. 


You can hold your bow however you like or feel comfortable in, but the general way in a competitive arena is to hold it like how you would usually hold a coffee mug. Use your pointer, middle and ring finger to hold the bow but make sure to keep the thumb lowered. 

When drawing the arrow, your hand should sit close to your face, somewhere below and along your cheek and mouth so that your eyes do not have anything in front of them. Simply relax your hand to shoot. Lower down the bow only when the arrow hits the target. 


With that being said, we have reached the end to this article on Archery Basics for Beginners. Archery can prove to be quite a daunting sport unless you know its basics. 

With extensive practice and the right formation, you can easily master a sport like archery within a very short time. We hope you had a fun time reading this long yet descriptive article and that it proved to be of great help to you and to your future archery endeavors. 

Thank you for taking the time to read through this article on Archery Basics for Beginners. 

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