5 Common Archery Mistakes That Beginners Make

Jordan McDowell

Archery is a skill that takes time to master, and making mistakes is a part of the process. However, knowing what to avoid prior to practicing can help you improve your approach and make your journey easier. So what should you avoid? Here are five common archery mistakes beginners make and what you can do differently.

1. Believing That Tools Trump All

As an archer, making sure that you’re investing in the right equipment (high-quality hunting bows, carbon arrows, etc.) is important. But one of the biggest archery mistakes that beginners tend to make is believing that tools are everything. Your bow and arrow are simply an extension of yourself, and your accuracy is mostly dependent on you. Don’t just invest in the best bows and arrows; invest your time in practicing so that you can master archery and avoid other common bow-shooting mistakes ahead of time.

2. Choosing the Wrong Draw Weight

You know what another common mistake in archery is? Choosing the wrong draw weight (the amount of force you need to pull back your bow). Some archers will choose a draw weight that’s far too heavy and attempt to simply muscle through it. This leads to rushing shots because of how difficult it is for you to hold the bow at full draw.

Don’t make the mistake of shooting a bow with a draw weight that isn’t proportional to your physical ability! Start with a bow that’s easy to draw. Archery uses a lot of back, shoulder, and arm muscles, and the more you practice with a bow that’s comfortable to draw, the more you’ll train those muscles and be able to hold heavier draw weights.

3. Choosing an Improper Draw Length

An archery mistake that goes hand-in-hand with an incorrect draw weight is choosing the wrong draw length (the distance you need to pull back the bowstring for a full draw). If you have a draw length that is too long, it’ll have a noticeable effect on your accuracy. You may even experience string slap (when the bow string hits your inner forearm when released). Meanwhile, a draw length that is too short can impact your form and cause muscle fatigue.

Thankfully, this bow-shooting mistake is easy to avoid. Simply stretch your arms out, have someone measure you from fingertip to fingertip (this is your wingspan), and divide that number by 2.5. This will give you your ideal draw length so that you don’t put yourself at risk for injury or make using your bow more difficult than it should be.

4. Gripping the Bow Incorrectly

There’s one archery mistake that sounds simple but happens frequently: gripping your bow incorrectly. This not only makes it difficult for you to make accurate shots consistently, but it can also lead to tuning issues, string slap, and more.

To grip the bow properly, slide your hand all the way up the arrow shelf until it’s unable to go any further. This place is known as the grip’s “throat.” Turn your hand 45 degrees outwards. Maintain a loose grip and keep the bow between your thumb and your lifeline (the line on your palm closest to your thumb) — this grip keeps hand torque to a minimum and doesn’t require as many muscle groups. Finally, make sure your hand is relaxed, which improves consistency and reduces torque.

5. Using the Wrong Stance

It’s important to note that unlike the other archery mistakes on this list, there are several stances that archers can take when using a recurve bow. However, some archers may not know what good posture looks like. This can lead to bad habits that get reinforced every time you draw your bow.

Archery Mistakes

The most popular correct stance to adopt is the square stance. To get in the square stance, turn so your body is perpendicular to the target, then turn your head to face it. Spread your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. Keep the side of your foot facing your target and make sure that your feet are aligned with your hips and your shoulders. Keep your shoulders aligned As you draw your arrow back, keep your shoulders aligned, your pelvis beneath your spine, and your core tight (as though you’re preparing to get punched in the stomach). When you’re confident in your aim, release.

Archery Mistakes Can Be Avoided by Being Proactive

Fortunately, mistakes are part of the bow-shooting learning experience. Taking the time to address them before they become a problem is how you become a better archer. This art has been practiced for thousands of years, and you too can master it.

If you’re looking for high-quality archery apparel, strings and cables, crossbows or even youth bows, choose top products designed by hunting enthusiasts to equip and prepare you for your bowhunting and archery journey. You were born for this. Prioritize the things that matter most.

Author Bio: Jordan McDowell is a writer and second amendment rights advocate. As a proud advocate for responsible gun rights nationwide, he writes about recreational hunting as well as the latest developments in state and national legislation.