As the title suggests, this article will be a short article that will explain the basics of how to shoot a compound bow. The first place to start is with your stance (assuming you have already put the arrow on the string. If not please nock your arrow by placing the odd colored fletch faced away from the bow and firmly pressing the arrow against the string. Now, rest the arrow on your arrow rest). In general, your feet need to be about shoulder width apart and you should be facing perpendicular to your target as shown below.
Once you have your feet in the correct position, it’s time to think about the upper body. For a compound bow, creating a line directly down the center of your body as a center of gravity is where you want to be which is also demonstrated in the above photo.
Next, we will discuss your arms. I will be describing this portion in regards to a right eye dominant person. For the most part, someone who is right eye dominant will also be right hand dominant. For those of you that are left handed, do the same process using the opposite arm/hand/body part. Assuming you are right handed, your left hand will be responsible for holding the bow while your right hand/arm will be pulling back the string and releasing the arrow.
To hold the bow with your left hand, you want the grip of the bow to be held along the meaty portion of your palm on the thumb side. This sounds really confusing, so see the picture below to help line up your grip. It’s really important that when you are holding the bow for a shot, you do not put a vise grip on the handle. Instead, keep a relaxed grip. In fact, I don’t even actually hold my bow once I have pulled the string back.
Pulling the Bow String Back
Depending on whether or not you have chosen to use a release or not, the next step is to pull back the string to begin aiming. If you have chosen to use a release, simply hook your release on to the D loop (that little string loop that somewhat resembles the letter D on your main bow string which should be surrounding the nock of your arrow) and pull back. If you are going old school and using fingers, place your index finger above the nock and your middle and ring fingers below the nock. Use the first crease in your fingers as a solid consistent spot. This will make it easier to do without thinking as you build muscle memory.
Now that you have pulled the string back it’s time to aim. In order to be consistent with where you hit the target, you have to make sure to come to a set position the same way and in the same place each and every shot. I choose to use 3 different points of contact to help ensure that I am in the same spot each time and even then, I notice a few inch difference at 40 yards if I fail to get the right points of contact. The first point is the knuckle of my thumb resting at the edge of my jaw bone. Second point is my index finger knuckle; it rests inside my ear. Finally, my third point of contact is the tip of my nose resting against the string as you can see in the picture above.
Okay, so we have successfully drawn our bow and are now looking through the peep site at our target. I could send you off at this point, but I want to add a couple more tips to help get you started. Another way that you can tighten those groups up right away is to keep your site ring the same size as your peep site ring. More simply put, when you are looking through your peep site, you shouldn’t be able to see the outer ring of your pin site. That outer ring of the pin site should line up perfectly with your outer ring of your line of site inside the peep site. Another easy thing you can do that will help limit the amount of torque being applied during the shot is to tighten up your release trigger. My release, the TRU FIRE finger release, has two positions that you can have the trigger in to change up where the trigger lines up with you hand. If yours does also, I suggest using the tightest position you can so that your trigger finger is able to come all the way around for you to use the middle of your finer rather than the tip. This is simply the basics of how to shoot a compound bow. In order to be more accurate, there are a few others things to consider. To learn more about how to improve your accuracy, check out this article that include the top 5 archery accuracy tips.