After you have learned the basics, then it’s time to practise your new skills. How you practise, when, how often, where and how much will all decide how quickly you will improve your shooting. Muscle strengthening and toning exercises will also help. Practise should be planned. Set yourself attainable improvement goals. Practise quality of shots, not quantity of shots. Each and every shot that you do in practise should be the best that you can do.

Advanced Shooting Form Checklist

The following is the 10 basic steps expanded into a detailed checklist that can be used by any archer who is looking to improve their shooting form. It can also be used by instructors and coaches when analysing an archer’s shooting form.


    1. Feet Position

      • Regular, oblique, reverse oblique, other.

      • Spread – wide, natural, close.

      • Turn – heels in, heels out.

      • Balance – balls of feet, even, heels of feet, other.

      • Consistent position of feet, arrow to arrow, end to end, distance to distance.

      • Consistent footwear, footwear with same fit and foot support, heel height.

    2. Leg Position

      • Knee joint locked, extended, relaxed, bent.

      • Leg muscles – tensed, relaxed.

    3. Waist

      • Rotated left, straight, rotated right

      • Tilted forward, tilted back.

    4. Trunk

      • Rotated left, straight, rotated right, tilted forward, tilted back.

      • Abdomen muscles – tensed, relaxed.

    5. Shoulders

      • Alignment to target – left, centre, right, consistency.

    6. Head position

      • Rotation amount.

      • Tilt – forward, backward, consistency.

      • Movement during draw of bow, anchor position, release.

Bow Shoulder

  1. Shoulder position - high, natural, low.

    • Shoulder muscle – tensed, relaxed.

    • Movement during draw of bow, anchor position, release.

    • Consistency.

Bow Arm

  1. Bow arm extension - locked, tensed, relaxed.

    • Bow arm – bent at elbow, direction of bend, amount.

    • Bow arm – rotated at elbow, amount.

  2. Steadiness during anchor, aiming, release, follow through.

  3. Consistent position – arrow to arrow, end to end, distance to distance.

Bow Hand

  1. Wrist position – high, low

  2. Hand position on bow grip – left, centre, right.

  3. Finger and thumb position – tensed, relaxed, open, closed.

  4. Movement during draw of the bow, anchor position, release, follow through.

  5. Consistency.

(Note: Archery Australia has a great “Bow Hand” guide explaining the biomechanics behind correct hand and arm position.)

String Hand

  1. Finger position on string – consistent position arrow to arrow, end to end.

  2. Finger pressure – top finger, middle finger, bottom finger, even.

  3. Tension – fingers, knuckles, wrist.

  4. Wrist alignment – up, natural, down, bent in, aligned, bent out.

  5. Movement on draw of the bow, anchor, release, follow through.

  6. Consistency


  1. Position – contact points, nose, face, lips, chin, neck.

  2. Consistency of contact points arrow to arrow, end to end, distance to distance.

  3. Pressure at each contact point – light, firm, heavy. Consistency.

  4. Position of teeth – clenched together, closed, open.

  5. Movement during aiming, release.

Drawing Arm

  1. Elbow alignment to arrow – vertical – high, aligned, low.

  2. Elbow alignment to arrow – horizontal – forward, aligned, backward.

  3. Muscle tension – forearm, bicep, shoulder, back.

  4. Movement during the draw of the bow, anchor, aiming, release, follow through.

  5. Consistency.


  1. Length of hold during aiming – time

  2. Steadiness of hold.

  3. Consistency.


  1. Method of aiming – direction of movement to centre of target.

    • Consistency of movement.

  2. String alignment – consistency of position.

  3. Steadiness of aim.

Final Draw

  1. The amount of draw between anchor position to release position

    • Consistent amount arrow to arrow, end to end, distance to distance.

  2. Movement

    • push on bow, pull on string, both push/pull, finger tension.

    • Consistency of movement.


  1. Activated by – aim position, clicker, time or other factors.

  2. Consistency of movement – fingers, release aid.

Follow Through

  1. Bow hand movement

  2. Bow arm movement

  3. Shoulder movement

  4. String hand movement

  5. Drawing arm movement

  6. Stance movement

Check Position

  1. Position of body after Follow Through – consistency.


  1. Rhythm of breathing – in during draw of the bow, half out at anchor or slow exhale from anchor to release.

  2. Holding time during aim and release.

  3. Relaxing between shots – number of breaths.

  4. Breathing – relaxed, tensed, with chest, with abdomen.

  5. Consistency.

Relaxing between shots

  1. Method – distracted, attentive, concentration.

  2. Preparation for next shot.

If you think that the above checklist is too much to do during your shooting practise, consider for the moment what is involved in the simple skill of walking.

If you go through all the steps involved in taking a step e.g.

  1. move body balance point over one leg

  2. contract leg muscle to lift foot

  3. move leg forward

  4. move opposite arm forward at same time to maintain balance

  5. move body forward, shifting balance point

  6. place foot on ground

etc. etc.

If you had to think your way through all the steps involved and which muscles to use and in what order to use each muscle, then you would probably still be crawling around on your tummy.

This is what your brain can do for you. Once a new skill is learned, then it is remembered and programmed into the brain, so it becomes automatic.

The better you learn a new skill and practise it, the easier it is for your brain to run it automatically without you having to ‘consciously’ think about each step, as in walking.

In archery, the steps involved in shooting an arrow will become automatic, with the only thing left to think about should be the aiming.

Author : Graeme Jeffrey

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