Shooting a Compound Bow:
Set-Up = Raising the Bow Shooting a Compound Bow: Set-Up = Raising the Bow

Raising the bow – called “set-up” – is the first real “movement” step in shooting a compound bow. This step might seem easy, and you might think no description beyond “raise the bow” is needed, but it’s crucial to do this step properly to ensure you set up your shot for consistency and accuracy.

If you raise the bow too much, you risk limiting flexibility and possible shoulder injury – and if you don’t raise it enough, you’ll struggle with aiming properly during the shot. The easiest way to learn how to shoot is to take a beginner lesson at your local archery store, where you can get in-person guidance. This article is a great resource for reminders following your first lesson, or to just get you hooked on shooting for the first time!

To raise the bow, add a little pressure in your bow grip and then hook your release onto the string. Photo credit: World Archery

To raise the bow, you first must add a little pressure in your bow grip. This activates your triceps on your bow arm, which will help with a steadier shot. If you didn’t do so already during the hooking and gripping step, hook your release onto the string. Learn how to properly hook here. Once you’re hooked on, extend your bow arm in front of you toward the target, but keep your arms low. This will naturally add pressure in your bow grip.

Next, start raising the bow while being careful to keep your shoulder low as you raise up. Your goal is to raise the bow slightly above your shoulder’s height while maintaining proper posture, an activated core, and a relaxed bow grip. Remember: A clenched grip puts tension on the bow and causes arrows to fly left and right instead of straight ahead.

Raise the bow while being careful to keep your shoulder low as you raise up. Your goal is to raise the bow slightly above your shoulder’s height while maintaining proper posture, an activated core, and a relaxed bow grip. Photo credit: World Archery

In addition, your draw arm’s elbow should never be lowered or pointed at the ground. Make sure it’s in line with or slightly above your draw arm’s wrist, but without raising the shoulder. In other words, when viewed from the side, the archer’s elbow should appear level, or slightly above level, when compared to the wrist.

When viewed from the side, the archer’s elbow should appear level, or slightly above level, when compared to the wrist. Photo credit: World Archery

Raising your bow, if done correctly, should feel easy. It aligns your release hand roughly in line with your nose, and places your elbow in a position that allows maximum leverage when drawing the bow.

This sets you up for the next step in shooting a compound bow, which is drawing the bow.

Mastering the stance, posture, and set-position basics creates a foundation for successful shooting. Practice setting your stance and raising your bow outside or in the comfort of your home. You’ll be ready to draw your bow in no time!

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