How To Improve Your Archery Stance

When doing archery, there are a lot of things to think about, but one of the things that are often overlooked, especially by beginners, is the stance.

Standing and holding yourself correctly can make an enormous difference to your overall performance and allow you to improve your aim.

There are several things that you can do to improve your stance, and you should always make sure that you are working on your stance every time you practice.

In this article, we are going to be looking at the correct way to hold yourself when doing archery, as well as looking at some of the common mistakes relating to stance and how you can fix these.

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Why Is A Good Stance Important In Archery?

You may have heard beginners complaining that they cannot consistently get their arrow into the center of the target. Similarly, if you are a beginner, you may have wondered why things aren’t going quite as you had planned them.

The truth is that if your equipment is working well, then it is likely your stance that is the problem.

Having a good stance when shooting a bow and arrow is vital as this gives you a solid foundation for your shot. In turn, this will allow you to have a much more accurate shot. Furthermore, you will notice that using the correct stance gives you much more consistency and, therefore, fewer missed shots.

A Proper Archery Stance

Before we look at tips to improve your stance, it is important to think about what a proper archery stance looks like. In the main, there are four stances that are considered to be correct. However, you should also think about how you feel comfortable. If you are not entirely comfortable, the chances are that your shot will be off anyway as your mind will be more focused on any discomfort you might be feeling.

It can be challenging to remember the finer details of each of the main archery stances, but there are some basics that you can keep in mind to give you a perfect stance.

  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and you should not be slouched – stand up straight.
  • Try not to lean to one side or another; this can be done by making sure that your weight is evenly distributed between both feet.
  • Make sure that your legs are relaxed and that you do not lock your knees.
  • Don’t let the weight of the bow cause you to lean back or forwards; this can be tempting but try to remain perfectly upright.

Once you have got the basics to a proper archery stance covered, you can begin to look at the four main stances and really start to get a feel for how you should compose yourself.

The Square Stance

This is a great choice for those who are just getting started as it is the most simple. When you begin doing archery, it is crucial to choose one stance and stick with it. You can change this or experiment with others when you are more confident.

The square stance involves standing sideways on to the target. It is essential to make sure that your bow arm is closest to the target. The feet will be perpendicular to the target, and the shoulder and hips side-on.

The Open Stance

Once you have gotten familiar with the square stance, you will likely feel that the open stance is the natural progression from this. The two are very much the same only with the open stance, your front foot will be pointing outwards slightly.

The foot will typically point out at a 25-30º angle, and this will cause the shoulders and hips to open up towards the target a little more. What’s more, when using this stance, archers typically find it easier to keep the shoulders back due to the back muscles being freer to work.

The Natural Stance

This is a good choice of stance for those who want to use an open stance but face towards the target a little more.

In this instance, you will place the feet in a similar position to the open stance but with the back foot pointing more towards the target as well.

Using this stance will open the gap between the bow and your body, which some people find a little easier to work with.

The Closed Stance

For people who find that they need a longer draw length, the closed stance is often a good choice. In this variation, the feet are positioned in the opposite manner to the open stance, with the back foot pointing away from the target.

The Components Of A Proper Archery Stance

Of course, the above stances are a great place to start, but if you really want to get your stance on point, you must practice some of the finer details. It can feel intimidating as an amateur but getting off on the right footing is imperative.

Take a look at these top tips for ensuring that your stance is always spot on.

  • The torso should remain in an upright position so that the collarbone is level with the arrow.
  • If you find that you have problems with leaning forward, backward, or to the side, it may be that your bow doesn’t fit you correctly, so you should be seen at an archery shop.
  • The head should be facing downrange, and your chin should always be level with the ground.
  • The release arm elbow needs to be pointing directly away from the target, and the forearm should be parallel with the ground. The bow arm elbow must be pointing outwards and slightly down.
  • The shoulder should position naturally if your arms and elbows are positioned correctly. But it is essential to make sure that your shoulders are not leaning forward or backward as this can drastically affect your shot.
  • You will also want to think about your anchor point. The type of bow you are using will have an effect on this. If you use a recurve bow, your anchor point will be on the chin, or the corner, whereas those using a compound bow will anchor along the jaw.

Archery Stance Mistakes And How To Fix Them

If you begin your archery journey without ensuring that you are using the correct stance, this can lead to your overall performance being affected every time you shoot.

Whether you have fallen into bad habits from the get-go or want to make sure that you don’t develop any from the beginning, it pays to be familiar with some of the most common archery stance mistakes.


One of the biggest problems that archers face is that they do not use a consistent stance. Imagine trying to write your name with a different hand or even different fingers every time; you can imagine that the results would vary immensely each time. The same is true for your archery stance.

It is important to find a stance that you feel comfortable with and stick with it. Your center of gravity will change with even the slightest adjustment of the feet, so it is vital that you practice staying in the same position for every shot.

If you struggle to do this, you can place some tape on the ground where you normally practice, and this will give you a reference point for each foot. You won’t always need this. After you have practiced for a while, your stance will become second nature for you.

Elbow Rotation

The elbow may seem like a small and even insignificant part of the body, but it is one of the most important when it comes to archery.

You should always make sure that your bow arm’s elbow rotates straight and not at an angle. Not only can this have an effect on your aim and accuracy, but you could also stand to become injured shooting this way.

The best way to ensure correct elbow rotation is to rotate it before you raise your bow; this way, it will be in position from the off. This will also help the rest of your upper body remain in the correct position.

A Strong Shot

It is not uncommon for archers to aim too soon and, therefore, sabotage what could have been a very effective shot. This happens when you do not produce a strong shot, and in turn, you will notice that your arrow flies lower or veers off to the side.

What’s more, this is something that can be easily resolved. Many archers find that the cause for this is that they are focused too much on their aim and omitting to concentrate on moving in the correct way.

All you need to do is shift your focus, and you will likely find that the problem does not persist.


Your hook relates to the finger position on the bowstring, and this is an important part of your overall stance. It is a good idea to pay attention to where you place your fingers rather than blindly grabbing at the bowstring.

Doing this will ensure that your shots are always accurate and will prevent you from developing blisters on the fingers, which can be uncomfortable at best, painful at worst.


There is no denying that there are plenty of intricacies involved in archery and getting everything lined up correctly is the secret to a good shot.

But while beginners could be forgiven for thinking that how you hold your bow and how you fire are the most important things, it is a lot more simple than that. The way that you stand, or your stance, is one of the most important parts of archery.

There are several different stances that are commonly used, and it is important to find one that feels comfortable and works for you. However, it goes further than merely your feet; your entire body will need to be perfectly aligned to make sure that you achieve consistency, accuracy, and the best performance.

About Brad Harris