How to Shoot a Recurve Bow

How to Shoot a Recurve Bow | Basic Guide for Beginners

When starting my training to learn how to shoot a recurve bow, I remember I made sure to study the forms and techniques well beforehand on the first day to be ahead of my class.

However, soon it made me realize how much attention you have to pay to almost every single thing you do while shooting. While that may sound overwhelming, in my experience, it was incredible, trust me.

The way your body synchronizes to shoot an arrow is a form of art, and after years of learning, I think I am now capable of sharing the techniques and ways you can start learning the right way as a beginner. So if you are ready to learn, then keep reading head.

Beginners’ Guide to Shooting a Recurve Bow


Whether it is your first time shooting recurve bows or not, if you are able to follow this guide and its instructions properly, then you will definitely get a satisfactory result as a beginner, so let us start!

Choose a Stance:

To learn how to shoot recurve bow, firstly get into a stance for shooting. There are actually two stances you could follow: open stance and square stance.

Open Stance.

Stand straight and take your right leg a step or half back to get into a stance. Turn your left foot so that it is facing the direction of the target.

This is a great stance for when you are standing on uneven ground to gain more stability.

Square Stance.

Stand with your feet being perpendicular to the target, and make sure your feet are wide apart at almost shoulder length to get into the stance.

Nock Your Arrow:

How to Shoot a Recurve Bow

The nock of an arrow is the notch at the end of the arrow for you to engage the arrow with the bowstring. And the process might seem obvious, but for learning to shoot a recurve bow properly, there is a way to do this.

Hold the arrow with your dominant hand or the hand you want to shoot the arrow. Now place the arrow on the arrow rest. If you are shooting with your right hand, it is better for the arrow rest to be on the left side of the bow and vice versa for more accurate shooting.

Carefully pull the arrow back and push the nock into the bowstring to secure it in place. While doing so, make sure not to hold the arrow with your other hand holding the bow. The key is to rest the arrow on your hand for stability without hurting your hand when shooting.

Hook the Bowstring:

Hooking the bowstring with your fingers uses a simple method known as the Mediterranean Draw. This is an excellent method for aiming a recurve bow.

For that, use three of your middle fingers to grip the arrow after nocking. Place your index finger on top of the arrow, and the rest two, middle, and ring finger underneath the arrow and hook your fingers around the string and arrow to hold it in place.

Hold the Bow:

Next is how to hold a recurve bow. Don’t hold the bow in a gripping manner but between your thumb and palm where the padded part is. In other words, hold it in a way that your knuckles are at a 45-degree angle to the bow.

Prepare the Shooting Form:

You are close to shooting the arrow now. For that, you need to get ready with a proper archery form recurve or shooting form for recurve bows.

Make sure the arm you are holding the bow with is straight and at shoulder height. Your other hand pulling the bowstring should be slightly above your shoulder and straight in a line with the arrow.

Since pulling the string using your arms can tire you out easily, especially as a beginner, there is a practiced recurve bow drawing technique you could try.

While drawing the bow, practice squeezing and tightening your shoulder blades. Using your back muscles is a great way to reduce the strength used by your arms.

Release the Arrow:

How to Shoot a Recurve Bow

Now you are all set to shoot the arrow. Don’t tense up or grip the arrow tightly before shooting. Also, don’t pull the arrow back quickly, do it slowly to build up momentum and aim at your target carefully.

The proper way to shoot a recurve bow is to bring back the arrow till it is near your ear. You can either rest the arrow under your chin or place your thumb near your mouth for stability. However, do remember to lift your chin before shooting the arrow, or it can graze your skin.

After releasing the arrow, relax your hand and let it hang down. Your bow should tilt forward naturally as you should release all the tension from your body after shooting the arrow.

Recurve Bow Shooting Tips:


While perfecting your aim is important for shooting the target, perfecting your nocking form plays a very important role in speed shooting.

The faster and precisely you can nock the arrow to your bow, the faster and more arrows you can shoot. There are many archery speed shooting techniques involving different nocking forms.

One of the most common is to hold the arrow underneath rather than the top and between your index finger and thumb near the nock of the arrow. Then, you need to slightly rotate your wrist in the direction of your hand and pull back the arrow to the bowstring.

The more you practice the form, the less you will miss nocking on the first try, and you could also maybe learn instinctive recurve bow shooting in the process.



Frequently Asked Questions


Is a recurve bow hard to shoot?

Recurve bows depend heavily on you and your arm strength; hence it can be hard to get used to shooting with it at first.

However, if you want to learn how to shoot a bow, it is a great practice as it will strengthen your form and posture while shooting, which is very important in archery.

How far does a recurve bow shoot?

On average, a recurve bow can shoot up to 10 to 35 yards. But it almost entirely depends on the strength and skill of the archer while shooting. Plus, a lot of it also depends on the weight of the shoot bow and arrow.

Can you shoot a recurve bow with a release?

Yes. Since the mechanism of shooting a recurve bow is simply a bow, bowstring, and arrow, using a release aid is possible and can make it easier to shoot. For that, you need a D-loop and replace it with the nocking points.

Final Words:


I hope you understood how to shoot a recurve bow from this article. It might be difficult at first, but archery is all about practicing to perfect your form and shooting technique, so don’t give up early if you want to learn.

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