How To Get Started in Archery: Complete Beginners Guide


Getting started in archery can feel overwhelming; there are a lot of different factors to think about. But with research and understand the basics about shooting and which bow is for you, the sport becomes much more enjoyable.

Starting archery is a great way to gain upper body strength, improve focus, and hand-eye coordination. Archery is one of the oldest forms of hunting and now has evolved into a sport practiced around the world. It also makes an excellent hobby for anyone looking to try something new and exciting.

This article will explain all the beginner topics about archery, from how to find the right size bow to the different types of arrows. Following this guide can help understand the sport and the different terms and equipment that might be needed.

How To Pick Out A Bow

When first starting archery, it’s important to get the correct sized bow to ensure you are properly shooting and also staying safe. Having the wrong sized bow can lead to bad habits forming and not developing the correct skills.

There are many different types of bows and different factors that go into finding which size bow is for you. There are two main types of archery bows for beginners being a recurves and compound bows. They both are unique, with different ways they work and shoot.

Each bow also has its requirements for picking out the right bow. These tips will be covering recurve bows because they are the easiest for beginners to learn and use.

Be sure to check out the bows we recommend in our Archery Gear Review Section.

Bow size

The height of the archer will influences what size bow to get, a shorter shooter will get a smaller bow, and vice versa with a taller shooter. This chart is a general sizing chart for the average recurve bow.

Archer HeightBow Size (inches)
Up to 5’6”64 inches
Up to 5’10”66 inches
Up to 6’ 2”68 inches
Over 6’ 2”70 inches

The bow should feel comfortable and not too heavy when holding it up; if the bow is too heavy, getting a smaller bow will be best. If the bow is heavy, you would be able to hold it still or hold it up as long as you’d like; your arms will get tired.

There are exceptions to this guide; some taller people might not be as strong to hold the bow, so that should go down in size. It’s about what feels the most comfortable and is the safest for you.

Draw Length

The draw length is the measurement of how far you pull back the string on the bow. This is important to get the tightest pull and then the fastest arrow shot.

The draw length is almost always measured in inches. The recurve bow does not have a set draw length, meaning they can be fired from any length they pull back on (Draw Length).

One of the easiest and simple ways to learn a shooter’s draw length is to measure their wingspan. Have their back against the wall and measure finger tip-to-tip, making sure not to stretch out. Take that number and divide it by 2.5; that will be the easiest way to find the draw length.

Also, any archery store can find your draw length and show you the best bow for your size. To make sure you have the best bow for yourself to enjoy.

Weight of Bow

The weight of the bow is very important; if you can’t hold the bow up and steady, you won’t be shooting accurately. When shooting, you have to hold the bow steady, so the arrow can shoot straight ahead. If the bow is too heavy then the shooter can’t hold it still or make many shots.

Luckily there are many different types of materials that bows can be made out of, reducing the weight. Materials such as fiberglass, carbon, or wood can be used to create a bow; these materials can help lighten the weight of the bow.

Age can play a factor in what size bow is right for you, a beginner child, and a beginner teenager will have different weights. One of the main rules for getting a new bow is that lighter is many times better, and will be more comfortable.

This graph will show the average weight and age for beginner archers (Bow Weight)

AgeWeight
8 to 1310 – 14 pounds
14 to 1712 – 16 pounds
18 to 2012 – 22 pounds
Adult Women16 – 26 pounds
Adult Men26 – 30 pounds

When starting, it can be beneficial to go to an anarchy shop and try different size bows and weights to make sure you get the right weighted bow.

You also have to factor in the weight of the arrows and any accessories you might be adding on, those will also add more weight to hold.

Types Of Archery

There are two main types of archery that beginners tend to start on, target and field shooting. Target shooting tends to be the main form that beginners lead towards because it’s much more simple. But field shooting is a more thrilling experience and involves different forms of terrain.

Target archery is one of the most popular forms of archery with both indoor and outdoor shooting, including at the Olympic games. This is standard, the shooter stands still with shooting, aiming at the target.

It might sound simple and easy but increasing the distance between you and the target can add a new level of hardness.

While in-field shooting there are multiple targets across courses that cover different terrains. This shooting involves more skill and understands about the shooting, due to the angles and shadows that could be present.

Field shooting can be an individual sport or in teams, which is great to find more archer friends (Field Archery).

Target shooting is one of the easiest ways to get into archery, and much more available to practice shooting. While field shooting is harder to practice doing unless you have a local archery club that has a field range.

There are other types of archery, such as 3D archery, flight archery, clout archery, or ski archery. These types are not as popular as the main two, but still can be a great way to explore and branch out to experience these different ways.

Different Types of Bows

There are four types of bows, but most beginners start on either compound or recurve bows. Each bow looks different and has its purpose for shooting. The recurve bow is much simpler and tends to be a cheaper option than a compound bow.

The recurve bow is one of the oldest styles of archery bows; it’s even the bow used in the Olympics. This bow is great for beginners because it uses less strength to pull the string back. It is also very simple and not too complicated to understand. These bows also tend to be a cheaper option for beginners.

Compound bows are a newer bow and are much more complicated; it involves a pulley system and is much heavier. This type of bow is used by many hunters because they can shoot farther, faster, and with more accuracy. It’s also a different process to find what size bow and drawstring than in a recurve bow.

Both a recurve or compound bow are great options for beginners; they teach the basic skills of archery. For children, the recurve is a better option because it is much lighter in weight and not as complex.

But for adults, it would be a matter of personal preference and how much you’re willing to spend, given compounds are much more expensive.

There are other types of bows, such as crossbows or longbows, that are much more difficult to use. The longbow was used in the medieval era and is much more difficult to shoot and aim with because of the longbow of it.

While the crossbow is primarily used for people that don’t have a lot of experience with traditional shooting, it’s also commonly used for hunting, but it’s important to note that crossbows can be illegal in certain regions.

In a lot of regions, it’s only legal to hunt during a certain season; it’s important to check with local regulations before getting one.

Check out the bows we recommend in out Archery Gear Section.

Which Arrows to Pick?

What arrow to pick is almost more important than what type of bow you choose. An arrow that’s too heavy or too light will not perform as well. To find what arrow is best, you need the draw length and draw weight (Beginner Archers). There are also different materials that arrows can be made out of wood, carbon, or aluminum.

Wooden arrows are some of the cheapest arrows you can buy, but they do not last as long as other materials. Because they are made with wood, each arrow can be a little different, meaning each time you shoot, the arrow could perform slightly differently.

Carbon arrows are much heavier and stiffer than other arrows; they are also some of the more expensive. They are used by hunters for being heavier and thinner, ideal for killing game.

Aluminum arrows are used by both beginners and experienced archers, costing more than wooden, but much cheaper than carbon. These arrows also last much longer than wood and are ideal for target shooting due to being more sturdy.

When buying arrows from manufacturers, there are numbers to label the arrows, and each arrow has its number. Wooden numbers tell what weight bow you should use for these arrows (4045) between 40lbs and 45lbs.

Aluminum arrows number refers to the diameter of the arrow, while carbon arrows tell you how much they bend when pulled back (Arrows). For example, a 300 would bean it bends 0.300 inches!

When buying arrows, if you are confused about the materials or the sizing, asking the store employees is a great way to get advice and help you understand.

We have a full Which Arrows To Choose article if you want to know more.

Basic Shooting Rules

Due to the basics of archery, there are some essential rules for any novice shooter; these rules are in place to ensure the shooter and watchers are safe. Many people think archery is dangerous, but by following the rules, it can be a very safe sport.

The number one rule of archery is to not aim or shoot an arrow at people or towards people; always shoot at a target.

Similarly, making sure any spectators are behind you when your shooting can also ensure their safety and way from the arrow. This is the main rule to ensure everyone’s safety!

By wearing the corrective protective clothes, it can help ensure your safety; loose clothes can interfere with shooting. This means not wearing loose jewelry, such as necklaces or long bracelets, also having long hair pulled back. You don’t want those things to get caught and possibly ripped away.

Also, do not shoot any broken arrows. This can result in the arrows breaking mid-air and sending fragments around, which is very dangerous. While there are basic universal rules of archery, many ranges have their own sets of rules that also need to be followed.

Being aware of your surroundings when practicing is one of the easiest ways to be safe; following the rules or ranges rules can help assure a safe and run practice.

Best Beginner Equipment

With just starting with archery, it can be overwhelming with what equipment or accessories to purchase. The first thing any beginner archer needs is a bow and arrows; there are many different types of arrows and bow styles. Do research to understand which is best for you as a new archer!

You can also find great bows at second-hand stores if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a new bow set. This is a great option for children also, getting a used bow that is much cheaper in case it gets broken by your kid.

The basic equipment that needs to start shooting is a bow and arrow! It’s simple to start practicing, and overtime adding accessories and other equipment can add to the success and fun of shooting.

Arm guards are one of the most important pieces of equipment to own as a new archer, these guards are used regardless of bow type. This piece of plastic is attached to your forearm and protects your arm from getting hit by the bowstring (Archery for Beginners).

Bow releases or tabs can help protect your fingers when you’re first starting, these tabs help you pull back the string. It can take a lot of time to get your fingers strong and calced to be comfortable pulling back the string many times. These tabs help ease the pain when first starting.

Great things to purchase as a beginner are bag or block targets, these are targets that you can set up and shoot at. See the Archery Gear we started with.

These are great options if you don’t have an archery shoot ranging to visit, set these up in an open area and practice. Most targets are the same size, this allows for practice aiming and shooting at different distances.

Archery Benefits

Archey has great health benefits, from increased physical strength to better mental strength, proving it’s important for all ages. Regardless of when you start archery as an adult or child, or a beginner or pro, these benefits are still amazing.

One of the biggest benefits of archery is the ability to increase your focus, using focuses on a target, and focusing on shooting. It’s a great way to improve concentration and being able to ignore activity and noises around you is key to get performance.

Similar to focus, archers need high levels of patience and staying calm, this sport takes a lot of practice to get the right skill level.

These skills can also be applied to the outside world and are great in high-stress situations. Learning how to have good breath control to stay calm is another vital part of archery (benefits of archery).

While not viewed as a very athletic sport, archery requires a lot of upper body strength and arm strength to hold the bow steadily. Shooting over and over again requires strong muscles to hold and shoot the arrow many times in a row.

Connecting with people from around the world is one of the best benefits of archery. With this sport being so universal, getting involved means you could meet and become friends with many people that also love archery. Getting involved in archery tournaments and clubs is a great way to meet people also.

Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

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