Don’t Nock It ‘Til You Try It: Essentials for Archery Beginners

a well-trained archer

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Archery combines the thrill of learning how to use a weapon with the contentious nature of point-based competitions. Whether you want to enter contests or bring a bow on your next hunting trip, you’ll need a few essentials for archery to get started. Use this guide to get started with an instructor.

First: Choose Your Bow Type

There are numerous types of archery bows to support people with different intentions for their sport. Check out what makes them different to pick the best bow for your archery lessons.

Recurve Bow

When you watch videos of people shooting bows in their backyard, you’re likely seeing them use recurve bows. They’re one of the most common bow styles because you can use them as a beginner or an Olympic-level champion. 

You’ll know you’ve found one when the top and bottom limbs curve where the string reaches the nocking points. The bow’s popularity is one of the major factors in the industry’s $443 million in profits in 2022.

Barebow

The barebow is a sibling to the recurve bow. They look nearly identical, except the barebow doesn’t have any accessories. It’s more challenging to use because you can’t fit one with things like weights or a sight.

An over-the-shoulder profile of a man with a bow drawn tight. He aims at a target hanging in front of a wooden wall, surrounded by other hanging targets.

Compound Bow

Try the compound bow if you want a faster, more accurate bow for hunting. It has a complicated-looking network of strings and cams. You won’t be able to dismantle it like a recurve or bare bow, but you might not want to.

The network means you don’t need to be as strong to draw your arrows back. It’s also smaller, making it easier to carry. You’ll have more energy left to aim for ethical kill spots if you’re hunting or the target if you’re practicing.

Longbow

A longbow is the longest archery bow available. It doesn’t have any accessories or stabilizers either. You’ll use a rubber band for sighting at most. It’s more of an old-fashioned bow used by ancient archery enthusiasts and people recreating medieval scenes.

A close-up of arrow fletchings. Most of the arrows have black stems, while the fletchings are all different colors. Out-of-focus targets are in the background.

Try These Essentials for Your Archery Practice

After you’ve chosen your bow, you’ll need to get the arrows that work with the style. You’ll also need these essentials to make your archery experience safer and more enjoyable.

1. Cosmos Arrow Quiver

Beginners may need more time between nocking and releasing arrows. Lining them up in the grass might work for a while, but you’ll eventually need a quiver. They hang on one shoulder and hold your arrows with the nocks up so you can easily reach backward and nock your arrow for your next shot.

2. Archery Arm Guard

Sometimes, people release their arrows and the string bounces back, slapping the inside of their forearm. A guard shields your skin so you don’t get cuts or bruises. It wraps around your arm and secures itself with three buckles, protecting you while leaving enough room for potential long sleeves.

3. Leather Finger Guard Glove

Finger tabs are essentials for archery, but they can feel tricky for beginners. Instead of wearing something just on your fingers while drawing your string, try using a leather finger guard glove. It fits comfortably over your fingertips, snakes along the back of each finger and secures at your wrist.

You’ll have a full range of motion without feeling like you’re wearing a winter glove. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with not getting callouses or snapping the string painfully against your other fingers.

4. Dual-Sided Bow Stand

If you shoot with other archers, you’ll have to take turns. Instead of holding your bow the entire time, place it on a bow stand. A dual-sided stand gives you more options because you can bring two bow styles to your next practice or hunting trip. The lightweight accessory makes archery easier, freeing your hands so you can grab some water or check your phone between shots.

5. Morrell Archery Bag Target

Anyone can print a picture of a target and pin it to a tree. That might work for a while, but your arrows will eventually rip the paper if the wind doesn’t dislodge it first.

Invest in a long-term target with a lightweight field point bag. You’ll get double-sided targets for your practices that challenge both beginners and experienced archers.

6. Right and Left-Handed Sight

It might be easier to start your archery experience with a sight attached to your bow. It ensures you know exactly where your arrow will land by securing to the bow riser. As long as it’s on the same side as your arrow shelf, you’ll easily peer through it while aiming. You’ll also ensure you get the best sight for your needs by getting one that works with both right or left-handed archers.

A man standing in a gray shirt with his wooden bow drawn fully back. He wears an arm brace and appears focused on a distant target. Other archers ready their bows beside him. They're at a shooting range.

Tips for New Archers

When you’re ready to embark on your archery adventure, use these tips to get started. You’ll have a great time and stay safe no matter how you use your bows.

1. Use the Proper Terminology

You’ll sound like a pro if you know the accurate terminology for all things archery. If you hit the bullseye of your target, you’ve actually hit the “gold.” The person in charge of a tournament is the Director of Shooting. The fins or feathers at the nock end of your arrows are called the fletching. Studying these little details will make it easier to understand the sport as a whole.

2. Meet With an Instructor

It’s always a good idea to learn archery alongside an instructor. They’ll teach you proper form, safety rules and pro tips like adjusting for wind. You’ll avoid having major accidents or learning the wrong way to shoot because someone’s with you every step of the way.

3. Turn Off Any Distractions

Archers need to hone their focus when they’re drawing their arrows. You should have proper form and a focus on your target. Eliminate any potential distractions before nocking your arrow, like notification sounds or a song playing on your phone. You’ll have more accurate shots when you’re entirely present with your bow.

A person in a winter coat and white knitted cap sits facing a rushing river with a small waterfall cutting through the middle. The person wears a leather quiver with a few arrows inside it. A winter forest background surrounds the river while a chocolate lab with a leather collar sits next to the archer at rest.

Hit the Gold Every Time

Once you have the essentials for archery, you’ll have a great time learning the sport. Partner with an instructor to learn how to stand while drawing your arrow back and how to aim. You’ll have a bright future in competitions or hunting once you have everything you need to conquer the archery world.


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