The 10 steps


First thing’s first: Eye Dominance

Before learning how to shoot a bow it is important to decide which hand will hold the bow and which will pull the bowstring. As there are right-handed and left-handed people, so there are right-handed and left-handed bows. But what decides if you are a right-handed or left-handed archer? Well the initial answer is your eye dominance. A person who is right eye dominant should hold the bow in their left hand and pull the bowstring with their right hand. The opposite applieseye.GIF for a person who is left eye dominant. The reason behind this is to align the dominant eye over the arrow for aiming.

It can become difficult when a person is right-handed, but with a left eye dominance or vice versa. What hand to use then? I would have that person use a right-handed bow, based on their right hand shoulder being naturally stronger than their left. The only problem then is to control the aiming with the right eye, rather than the left. The person will probably have to keep their left eye shut, until learning to use their right eye for aiming. How to test your eye dominance.

As shown in the picture, hold your hands out at arm’s length and with both eyes open, look through the hole formed by your hands at a distant object. Keeping that object in view, slowly move your hands towards your face until they touch your face. The hole formed by your hands should be over one of your eyes. This eye is your dominant eye and will control your aiming. Another quick way to test your eye dominance is to point your index finger at a distant object with both eyes open, then close one eye and see if your finger appears to move away from what you are pointing at. If your finger does appear to move, then the eye that you closed is your dominant eye. Try again with your other eye and your finger should not appear to move. In some cases, a person may be right-handed, but left-eye dominant or vice versa. In these cases, the Coach will assess that person’s co-ordination and strength to decide whether they should shoot right-handed or left-handed.


The 10 Steps

The 10 basic steps to shoot a bow are:

  1. Stance
  2. Nocking the Arrow.
  3. Setting the Drawing Hand.
  4. Setting the Bow Hand and Bow Arm.
  5. Predraw and Drawing the Bow.
  6. Anchor.
  7. Holding and Aiming.
  8. Release.
  9. Follow Through.
  10. Relaxing

Currently being updated to the latest and greatest methods outlined in Archery Australia’s “Introduction to Archery” manual.

If you want to take a look now here’s a link to the Archery Australia website. Take a look at Parts 10 to 20 for the ten steps.


Author: Graeme Jeffrey

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This page last revised : 2013-03-23