Ever thought of becoming Katniss Everdeen yourself? Shooting arrows at enemies or hunting in the wild? Well, way before our “mockingjay” got into the screen, bows and arrows have already been quite popular. Although they are more known as the weapons used in the sport Archery, they could also be used for hunters and for hobbyists, like me. However, there is no one bow for everything; which is why we have different types: the recurve, the compound and the crossbow.
In my own experience with the different types, I can’t really say that one type is better than the rest. However, you can bring out the best in a bow when you know how to use them. And for now, I want to share to you how to shoot a recurve bow and how to make it a part of your life:
Step 1: Be in the right stance/position
Like any other sport, Archery requires you to find the perfect stance before firing an arrow. This perfect stance is a position where you are most comfortable shooting and at the same time, it delivers a great result.
- Position yourself a few meters away from your target. If you are right handed, I suggest that you place your left foot forward and right foot at the back, but make sure that they are shoulder-width apart. This way, you can maintain a balanced position before shooting.
- Now, face the target by moving only your head, but do not forget to maintain your stance.
- Relax your shoulders, look directly at the target, and be confident! Your posture could affect your confidence and can also affect your performance.
Step 2: Prepare for the shot
Now that you are in a balanced stance, it is time to prepare for the shot.
- With your left hand (if you are right handed), lift the bow as high as your shoulders and point it only at your target (We do not want to hurt others, right?). Your grip should be firm, but you have to hold it comfortably for you to fire an accurate shot.
- Slightly turn your thumb and index finger inward leaving the rest of your fingers resting at the bow. Your wrist should also be relaxed.
Step 3: Load the Bow
Loading the bow with an arrow initiates the firing process!
1) Before lifting the bow, load it with an arrow with the arrowhead pointing away from you and the back of the arrow attached to the string. This way, we can prevent any injuries that may arise.
Step 4: Draw
This step is where most people would feel excited as they are closer to firing their arrow! It is not wrong to get excited, but make sure you are still relaxed to maintain your stance and posture.
- Once loaded, you can now lift your bow up to shoulder height. Ensure a firm but comfortable grip just like the previous step. The arm holding the bow should be extended and locked at the elbow. If your elbow is slightly bent, you will find the bow difficult to draw. Keeping your arm straight also allow you to be away from the string for a smooth release.
- Pull the bowstring towards you. Your hands should be as the same level as your jaw bone. Drawing is correctly done if your back muscles do the job for you. These muscles have a greater force compared to the muscles of your arms. By drawing, force is also exerted onto your body so you should make sure that your body is still at the correct stance.
Step 5: Aim and Fire
- Look directly at your target and aim for that bulls-eye! Aim using your dominant eye by closing the opposing eyelid. Your dominant eye is much more reliable when taking aim.
- Once you have locked on to your target, release the string by letting it slide out from your fingers. A smooth and relaxed release will assure you an arrow fired straight to the target.
- As you release the arrow, stay motionless in position until the arrow hits your target. This way, any obstruction of the flight path or trajectory will be avoided. Also, an accurate aim would mean a bulls-eye!
Just a note, these steps have worked for me and my recurve bow. These might not work for everyone, as no method could be effective for all. However, you could definitely use this as a guide to get the right stance and the right way to shoot your recurve bow.
We might not be as skilled as the ones in movies portray, but we can definitely get close to that (except if it involved superpower and such, then there’s no chance!). You should not also forget that even if you know how to shoot a recurve bow, you would not get better if you do not practice. So, read, learn, practice, practice and practice!