Properly shooting a bow requires paying extreme attention to form. Standing straight, keeping a firm grip on the bow, nocking the arrow properly, aiming and smoothly releasing the arrow contribute to more precise and accurate shots.
- Adopt a straight stance
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel. Turn your head to look at the target perpendicularly. The head should be turned at a right angle without tilting up or down, as tilting diminishes accuracy. Pull the shoulders back, and tuck in the hips.
- Grip the bow with the non-dominant hand
If you are right-handed, hold the bow with the left hand, and vice versa. Don't grip the bow as you would normally grip an object; instead, push the wrist downward so the knuckles only curl partially over the bow. If there is a wrist strap, fit the bow hand through it.
- Nock an arrow
Fit an arrow on the string just below the nock point, which is a small metal knot on the string. The index feather, which is colored differently from the other two, should point toward you when fitted on the string. Place the arrow flush with the bow on the shooting side.
- Assume shooting position, and partially draw the arrow
Lift the bow so the arrow is at eye level. The bow arm should be partially extended with the wrist still bent downward. It should almost feel as though you're pushing the bow rather than gripping it. Place the first three fingers of the shooting hand just below the arrow, making sure the string is beneath the small knuckle. Straighten the fingers and wrist so there is a straight line from the middle of the fingers to the elbow. Keep the elbow high, and let the point of the arrow rest slightly below the target. If a bow sight is attached, allow it to settle on the target.
- Bring the bow to full draw
Pull back the string until the fingers are just below the jawline, using the back and shoulder muscles for primary force. The jawline is the anchor point; other possible anchor points include the ear or nose. Place the string flush against the face. When drawing the string, simultaneously push the bow forward while maintaining wrist position.
- Loosen the arrow
Once you feel comfortable and on target, quickly and smoothly extend the fingers holding the string. Wait for the arrow to leave the bow before lowering the bow arm.