How To Draw A Bow In 10 Easy Steps

January 20, 2022
by Dan Skewes
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In archery, the 'drawing' of a bow refers to the action of pulling back the string. There are multiple factors to consider to draw your bow as efficiently as possible, including your grip, the positions of your arms, the position of your bow, and overall just making sure you're drawing the bow in one smooth motion. So, how do you accomplish this?

The following article will outline exactly how to draw a bow successfully and briefly explain all the other steps to using a bow. Altogether there are 10 steps- drawing the bow is number six.

Drawing A Bow: The Basic Motion 

Once you've got your stance correct, your arrow nocked, you've grasped the string, your bow hand is readied, and you've raised your bow arm (and we'll go into all those prior steps shortly), you're ready to draw your bow. Put simply, all you have to do at this stage is to pull the string backward past the side of your face. But there's a lot more to it. 

The first thing to remember is that your head must be straight. It can be easy to bring your head further from the bowstring than you need to or lean your head too close to the string. Keep your eyes on the target and keep your head as straight as possible while you draw the string towards your face. 

Keep your shoulders relaxed and low, and remember: you'll be using your back to achieve good form as much as you'll be using your arms. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together to get a full draw. Make sure the wrist of your drawing hand is as flat and straight as possible. Your wrist to your forearm to your elbow should be a straight line. 

Keep your bowstring lined up with the bow's center, rather than slightly to the left or slightly to the right. When at full draw, take stock of your positioning. Your index finger should be nearly touching the corner of your mouth, and your chest should be perpendicular to the target. Your elbow should be right behind the arrow. 

Overall, the most important thing to remember is that you should be drawing the bow in one smooth and continuous motion. 

Drawing A Bow: Perfecting Your Grip 

It's important to concentrate on your grip when drawing your bow. It doesn't matter how good the rest of your technique is; if you're holding your bow too loosely or too tightly, you'll throw off your whole draw. Your grip should be tight enough that the bow isn't shaking but should also be relaxed. A grip too tight will not only mess up your draw, but it can also result in a welt on your inner bow arm.

Draw Weight 

Something else to consider is whether your bow has an appropriate draw weight. Draw weight is the amount of force you'll need to pull back the bowstring. If your bow's draw weight is too low, you could overdraw, which will mean your arrows will be less fast and less accurate. If the draw weight is too high, you'll need a lot of force to draw the bow, resulting in you developing bad habits or even an injury. 

Bow Arm And Bow Elbow Positioning 

person drawing a bow

Whether you should lock your arm when drawing a bow or not lock your arm is still debated in the world of archery. But it's widely accepted that if you're new to the sport, you should probably be locking your bow arm. 

If you're double-jointed, be sure that you're not hyperextending your elbow, as it could get in the way of your bowstring, which would be remarkably painful once you've released it. 

All The Steps To Using A Bow

As well as actually drawing the bow, there are 10 total steps to properly shooting an arrow. You can find detailed instructions for each of these steps online.

Step One

Your first step is to make sure your stance is correct. It's an often overlooked step, but if you've got the proper stance, it'll improve your draw.

Step Two

Next, nock your arrow. Nocking the arrow is getting it from the quiver onto your bowstring.

Step Three

The third step is to grasp your bowstring, and there's more than one ideal method for this step.

Step Four

Ready your bow hand, ensuring it's relaxed but firm.

Step Five

The fifth step is to ready your bow arm- make sure your shoulders are relaxed, and your arm is steady.

Step Six

We've already covered this step, drawing the bow. This is the first step in the process where you're actually using your muscles.

Step Seven

The seventh step is to find your anchor point, which is the place on your face where your bowstring hand should touch when you're at full draw. 

Step Eight

Next: aim. You can either use a bow sight or instinctive shooting (shooting without a bow sight).

Step Nine

Then release your arrow in one fluid motion.

Step Ten

The final step is to review your shot. Try to figure out what you did wrong and what you did right. 

Related: What Is Fletching? And Different Types Of Fletching

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding How to Draw a Bow

man drawing a bow and arrow

Should I Draw My Bow With One Eye Open, Or Both Eyes Open?

It tends to be easier to have only one eye open when drawing your bow because you're using your dominant eye, but it's really down to personal preference. Trying to aim with both of your eyes open will mean that your eyes will be fighting for control of your vision. If you're in low light and aiming with both eyes, you're far less likely to get a good shot. 

It's important to remember that there's no one right way in archery. What works for someone else might not work as well for you. Trust that trial and error and regular practice will guide you to your ideal draw. 

Conclusion: How To Draw A Bow

The most important thing to remember when drawing a bow is that it needs to be one single, fluid motion. It can take a little practice to lock down the drawing process, but if you focus on your grip and positioning, it'll be second nature before long. 

The only other thing that could impede your draw is an unsuitable draw weight, so make sure your bow's draw weight is neither too low nor too high.

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