Archery: Is it a Good Idea to Practice without a Bow?


Everyone wants to be an expert in his or her hobby from the first day you start doing it. The problem is it is impossible as for you to get better it takes practice, and the same applies to archery. You need to be target shooting regularly to become a pro at it. However, one of our regular followers asked us the following question. Can you practice archery without using a bow? Strange thing to ask and we are going to answer the question for you. So make sure to read on.

The truth is it is not archery if you are not using a bow and arrow. However, you can practice your skills without using the arrow and your bow or archery targets. The problem is for practicing archery you need to draw the bow back. Furthermore, you need to get on target quickly, or you will lose the shot. Having this feeling of waiting too long gives you different emotions.

In turn, it leads to adverse things happening with your form. That is why it is vital to use the bow tip in your bow practice sessions. You need to feel confident when taking your competition or bow hunt shot. The problem is you lose faith in yourself and this affects your form, and you start to shake. Therefore, this is where you can use your bow for practicing shooting without using the arrows.

How Do You Practice With Your Bow without Using Arrows

The most important thing to remember is that you must never dry-fire your bow as it can cause damage to the bowstring and other parts of the bow. Nevertheless, you can practice using your bow alone to give you uniform consistency. Here is how you can do it:

  1. You do this by drawing your bow back and settling the pin on the target for as long as you can do it accurately.
  2. Never touch the release and do not shoot the arrow.
  3. Once the pin starts drifting all over the place, let the bow down and take a break.
  4. Also, take note of how long you hold the pins steady to compare it later on.
  5. You can repeat the process up to sixty times a day for a couple of times throughout the week.

By doing this, your body slowly starts to get comfortable with aiming without the pressure of shooting. By the end of your practice, you will notice you can hold the pins stable for a long time and dead center without drifting.

Furthermore, you can get yourself some stretch or resistance bands, mainly if you are limited with space. These bands are affordable, and you can place both your hands inside it and draw the band back. Securely attach the band to the hand you usually hold the bow to prevent it from slipping.

These are the two most important techniques you can use to practice your archery without using a bow or the arrow.

Basic Archery Techniques to Improve Your Skills

To improve your skills you need to incorporate a skill-building drill into your practice to give you accuracy and confidence. Furthermore, you need to set some goals to help direct your time during practice. Whether you are shooting only for a few minutes or longer a day the drill and goals help to improve your skills to shoot better.

You need to build a shot plan and once mastered it becomes second nature to improve your shot placement at the same time. So what is the shot plan? The method is a couple of steps you can run through each time you make a shot. No matter whether you are, shooting with a compound bow or a precision air rifle you can adapt the plan to suit your needs.

  1. Star by stepping up to the firing line. Checks if your feet are where you want them and if not adjust them.
  2. Now take a deep breath to release the tension in your back and shoulders.
  3. Look at the target and nock your arrow.
  4. Now breathe deep and make sure to place your release correctly in the hand while organizing to connect it to the d-loop.
  5. Connect your release to the d-loop, adjust the bow for a draw, and look at your target.
  6. Take another deep breath and draw the bow back efficiently.
  7. While holding back and locating your anchor point release your breath and continue increasing back tension between your blades, and shoulder a little at a time.
  8. Now take another breath and slowly let it out as you look at the target. Keep focusing on the front sight.
  9. Make a small hold pinch if not level and keep focusing on the front sight pin while applying back tension without breathing in.
  10. Now release and follow through without forcing the bow and do not crane your neck to see the shot.

By following these steps, it becomes a natural process throughout your practice, and you can even apply it in competitions as well.

Alternatively, you can also follow these archery drills as well to perfect your shooting skills.

practice archery

Improve Aiming With a Recurve Bow

Start by drawing your bow, stand twenty feet away from the target, and aim the recurve bow directly at the bulls-eye or X. Make sure to hold your aim as long as you can. Now bring the bow down and relax. Repeat the process up to three times and once you feel comfortable move away further and repeat the drill.

The Ace Drill

With the drill, you can improve your accuracy and precision at the same time when making a shot. Take the ACE of cards and attached it to the target. Step back ten yards from the goal and draw your bow. Now shoot towards the card to hit it in the center. Count how many times it takes you to hit the mark and as you improve step further away.

The Bow Hand Check Drill

To improve consistency with your bow hand position this drill is useful.

  • Take a small piece of tape and place it on the bow handle above the section where you would typically put your hand.
  • Now place your hand in the normal position.
  • Take an extra piece of tape and place it on your hand next to the other section that is on the handle.
  • Shoot a round of six arrows and check each time to make sure the tape on the hand and the one on the bow match up.

The Mirror Drill

The drills are done to improve your muscle memory and elevate your form. You can also do the exercise without using an arrow.

  • Stand in front of the mirror at a 45° angle.
  • Draw your bow back and check your form in the mirror by shifting your eyes towards the mirror without moving the head.
  • Now relax and repeat it up to ten times before stopping.

Frequently Asked Questions

As you can see, there are ways you can practice archery without the use of your bow or an arrow. However, we found that our dedicated readers also have loads of other questions on their mind.

Why do I drop points on easy archery targets in competitions?

Why does this happen even if my bow is tuned well to my capability and scoring well at the club?  The common failing is the sight not on the bullseye when you release. The best way to identify the cause it works with a coach or you can make use of the aiming drills mentioned in the article.

I freeze off the dot or choke and find it difficult to hit the X zone?

You are suffering from target shooting panic and happen to all archers. Luckily, there is no need for purchasing training aids or new release aids. You can quickly cure the habit by following the drill mentioned where you practice without using arrows in the bow.

When competing I tense up, choke, and cannot relax what can I do?

Stress is a significant competition destroyer, as you need to approach your shot line with a relaxed stress-free condition. You can do various relaxation techniques or use the shot plan in your practice. The program comprises of a lot of breathing and thinking before making the shot.

Alternatively, you can ensure your training is to your satisfaction and try to approach the competition with a positive attitude. Make sure your archery gear is in top conditions and record all the measurement related to the equipment to check it if needed.

Furthermore, study the venue and the competition itself before the time and be organized leaving you without last minute surprises.

Can I practice archery in my backyard or garden?

Most states in the USA don’t prohibit this, but sometimes there can be local laws restricting what you might be able to do in a public place or on your own home property. It’s best to check first. If you aren’t allowed to shoot arrows, the other ways of practicing without using arrows as described above might be helpful.

Final Thoughts

Luckily, there are different ways available to practice your archery skills without using a bow or arrow. Furthermore, by following some of the drills and setting up a shot plan that fits in with your needs can help improve your techniques. We hope you found the information provided helpful. So head out to the archery range and start training your archery today with all of the information available in your arsenal you will not be disappointed.



I'm Isaac Murphy and at the moment I am a student. I took up archery as a hobby about 3 years ago and built this blog to share some of the things I have learned and to help those starting out in this sport. Check out my bio here

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