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Fundamentals of a Recurve Anchor Point

Archery is all about consistency. If you can do the same thing over and over, your arrows will hit the same spot.

“Archery form” describes how you position and adjust your body during the physical process of drawing and shooting a bow. Each aspect of your form, from your grip to the arrow’s release, must be repeatable.

A vital step in that process is consistently bringing your drawing hand to the same place on your face, which is called the “anchor point.”

Archers achieve consistency in their anchor point by using the same points of contact for every shot. These contact points differ by the type of bow you shoot.

An Olympic recurve is a common bow type. An important note: Although it’s called an “Olympic recurve,” that doesn’t mean only Olympians use it. Many recreational and competitive archers use Olympic recurves for fun and local tournaments.

Olympic recurve archers use their jawbone as their primary contact point by using their index finger or a tab shelf to touch their jaw. This low anchor point provides the trajectory for shooting the 70-meter Olympic distance.

As a secondary contact point, archers touch the bowstring to the tip of their nose. To further improve accuracy, Olympic recurve archers line up the bowstring with a reference point on their riser. This technique is called “string alignment,” and improves horizontal consistency.

The common recurve bows are “traditional” and “barebow.” These bows have no sights or stabilizers, and archers use a different anchor point than what they use for Olympic recurves.

Barebow archers use their index finger or middle finger to line up with the corner of their mouth. Photo Credit: ATA

A typical anchor point for barebow archers is to press their index finger to the corner of their mouth or on the canine tooth. Some archers choose a higher anchor point, which helps them aim with the tip of their arrow. An example is to touch your middle or ring finger to your canine tooth. Barebow archers also align their bowstring to increase consistency.

Traditional and barebow anchor points vary by personal preference, shooting style and face shape. That’s why archers experiment with anchor points until finding one that suits them.

The best way to discover your anchor point is to take lessons from an archery instructor. Click here to find one near you.



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Learn the basics here, from the different styles of archery to how to choose the bow that’s right for you.


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