How To Hold A Bow And Arrow Correctly

How to hold a bow and arrow sounds like an easy archery lesson.  We’ve all seen it done in the movies so it can’t be too hard, right?

how to hold a bow and arrow ace

Well, you might find yourself surprised at the archery range if it’s your first time trying out your new bow.  Some beginner archers might miss a few of these important steps!

The Three Main Bows

Bow:how to hold a long bow
how to hold a recurve bow
Recurve Bow
how to hold a compound bow
Compound Bow
Average FPS:160 FPS200 FPS320 FPS
Pros:Classical bow loved by many and fun to learn.Faster arrow speeds with a more compact, often lighter bow.Many attachments and fine modifcations for incredible accuracy.
Cons:Often requires instinctive aiming.May require more upper-body strength.Restricted use in some archery ranges.
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Having the Proper Stance

Archery stances are one of the first things a beginner archer should learn.  There are many different kinds of archery stances in the world, especially the cool ones we see in movies, but we’ll go over the three most popular stances.

Having a proper stance can also prevent the bow string from hitting your arm.  Consider purchasing an archery chest guard to give an even clearer path for your bow string to travel.

Make sure to read our Guide to Archery for Beginners for more archery tips!

how to hold a bow and arrow stances

Square Stance
A quick and simple stance.  Your feet are aligned with the perpendicular archery line.  You can find many Olympic archers using this stance.

Open Stance
The most natural feeling stance for most people.  Your forward foot is away from the line and facing more towards the target.  This position gives more bow string clearance to avoid hitting your arm.

Closed Stance
The closed stance is where your forward foot is further in front compared to your rear foot.  It is an unnatural stance, but can also work for some people.

Always remember to keep your hips aligned with your feet.  Avoid twisting your hips as you begin your draw-cycle.

We recommend beginner archers to wear an archery arm guard while practicing, to minimize injuries.  The best archery stance depends on you!  Pick the one that feels the most comfortable!

How to hold a bow and arrow correctly! Improve your accuracy with longbows, recurve, and compound bows!

How to Hold a Bowhow to hold a bow and arrow vertical

Make sure to keep the bow vertical against your palm when practicing how to hold a bow and arrow.

how to hold a bow and arrow 45

You’ll notice that the first illustration is the most natural and sturdy for your bow hand.  Compare the degrees of the above and below images for further to hold a bow and arrow torqueMany thanks to the great artists at Jessica Emmett for sharing archery tips with cool pictures!

Did you know that a bow wrist sling can help increase your accuracy?  Read our Bow Wrist Sling Guide to learn more!

How To Hold A Bow And Arrow CorrectlyArchery Stances when you learn how to hold a bow and arrow

How to Hold an Arrow

Everyone has their own favorite way to pull back the arrow.  We’ll go over three popular options you can do yourself!

how to hold an arrow three under

3 Fingers Under
Many beginner archers who use the arrow as a guide while aiming at the target may prefer to use this technique.  It’s also great for instinctive aiming with traditional bows!


how to hold an arrow split finger

Split Finger
This form is good when using sights on your bow.  You will likely be taught this method when joining an archery club, but always use what works best for you!


how to hold an arrow release

Archery Release
Some archers might have a D-loop on their bowstring.  This allows you to attach an archery release aid to the d-loop to draw the bow.  This method can make every shot more precise and accurate.

How to Hold a Bow and Arrow with No Arrow Rest

With traditional bows, instead of placing arrows onto a standard arrow rest or whisker biscuit, you will instead have to use your bow hand as the new arrow rest.

how to hold a bow and arrow no rest

All of the basics still apply, having a proper stance and draw-cycle.  Other than that, the bow will be slightly tilted which utilizes gravity to assist in keeping the arrow on your hand.

You may even use your index finger to keep the arrow in place once it’s nocked onto the string.  It is VERY IMPORTANT TO ALWAYS lower your fingers when you begin to draw back your arrow, keeping them safely away from the arrow tip’s path.

how to hold a bow

It is highly recommended to wear a hand and arm guard for your bow hand as there can be a chance the fletching may accidentally come off of the arrow, causing damage.

Compound Bows & Crossbows

Compound bows are incredibly similar in functionality as traditional bows.  The main difference being all of the customization options, as well as, the popular use of bow sights.

how to hold a compound bow

So if you know how to hold a bow and arrow with recurves and longbows, you will find it just as easy with a compound bow.

Please read our Archery Guides for Compound Bows and Crossbows to learn more about these modern bow innovations.

Conclusion To: How to Hold a Bow and Arrow Correctly

It is very important to know how to hold a bow and arrow correctly, but the most important thing to remember is the proper condition of your bow! 

You must make sure the bow string, the riser, and your arrows are all in very good condition for your safety and for the effectiveness of your arrow shots!

The Archery Steps to Remember:

  • Proper stance.
  • Proper bow hand position.
  • Proper arrow hand position.

We hope you now know the proper way to hold a bow and arrow!  Check out our Guide to Archery for Beginners for more quick and easy bow & arrow tips!  Thanks for reading, visit the Archery Shop and follow us on Pinterest!