Proper Archery Stance: 2021 Guide To Basics

| Last Updated May 2, 2021

You’ve just started your archery journey, and you're wondering how you’re supposed to stand when shooting.

What’s the best way to position your body, so you get the most accuracy? 

Well, the truth is there’s no perfect archery stance because every individual is unique. But don’t panic! We’ll teach you how to find the best position for your body.

Archery Stance Terminology and Common Concepts

Let’s start with the basics you’ll need to understand before learning about your stance:


The position of your body.


Center part of a bow designed for you to hold when drawing.

Nocking Point

Part of the string that holds the arrow.

Anchor Point

Position where the hand holding the bowstring should be on the jaw or cheek.

Shooting Line

Horizontal line 5 to 7 yards from the target.

Bow Foot

Foot on the same side as the arm holding the bow.

Draw Foot

Foot on the same side as your drawing arm.


Feathers or vanes on the arrow.

Index Fletch

The fletching that is a different color than the rest.

What is Archery Stance and Why Is it Important?

Your stance when shooting a bow can help your stability. Proper posture aligns your body for better accuracy and increases your power. 

However, many archers confuse “proper” with “perfect.” No position is best for every person or every situation. Finding the proper stance for your body and your purpose will allow you to make consistently good shots. 

Finding Your Flow

With proper stance, your body flows and feels natural. Over time, you’ll develop your shot rhythm, and your position will become muscle memory. If you don’t stand correctly as a beginner, this behavior will become a habit and your accuracy will suffer. 

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Making Consistent Shots

Archery requires consistency. Having a process that you follow every time gives you control over your shots. If you stand properly, you’ll make consistent shots in any terrain, at any distance, and on any size target. 

Proper Archery Stances

So, what are proper archery stances? There are four main positions archers should learn and adapt to their body and situation when necessary:

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Square Stance

Most people use the square stance. This technique is the first you should learn as a beginner. Stand with one foot on either side of the shooting line, lined up with each other and perpendicular to the target. Your bow foot should be closer to the target than your draw foot. 

The square stance is perfect for beginners because it’s easy to learn. It aligns your hips and shoulders, which is fantastic for your body. Plus, you get fewer variations in your execution when practicing this stance. 

But, standing this way can be less stable. Because your feet are in-line, you might sway more. 

Open Stance

This stance is similar to the previous one. But, the open stance points your bow foot slightly outward. How far you turn it toward the target depends on your body but will usually be between 25 and 30 degrees. 

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Turning your bow foot opens your body more to the target. People find this position helpful if they struggle to pull their shoulders back in the square stance. 

Having the bow further from your chest improves the use of your back muscles. Standing this way became popular because it feels more natural and is more adaptable for shooting outside. 

However, this stance can be harder to learn. Plus, messing it up can mean misalignment of the body and uneven weight distribution, leading to instability. 

Closed Stance

If you find the open stance uncomfortable, this stance might be ideal, as it’s the complete opposite. Your bow foot will be perpendicular to the target, with your draw foot turned away from the target. 

If you need more draw length, try this one. With your shoulders and hips pointing away from the target, you’ll get an extra extension on your arms. Some archers find this position gives them more strength when shooting. 

But, keep in mind you will be more likely to get bruises from the bowstring because your bow is closer to your chest. 

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Natural Stance

The natural stance evolved from the open. In addition to angling your bow foot toward the target, turn your draw foot as well. 

If you enjoy the open stance but want to face the target more, this position is the one for you. Your hips and shoulders will rotate more, opening the gap between your chest and your bow. 

Finding Your Body’s Preferred Stance

Every person’s body is different, so what stance works for them is different too. So, how do you determine what stance is best for you?

First, set up a target and stand on the shooting line. Position yourself in whatever feels natural, then aim your bow at the center. Close your eyes for a few seconds, then look to see where you’re now aiming. 

Move your feet until you find a position that feels natural and your aim consistently remains in the middle of the target. 

How to Improve Your Archery Stance

Once you’ve figured out what stance is best for you, you can work on improving it. 

Practice Really Does Make Perfect

The more you practice, the better your stance will be. Shoot around 30 arrows a session while thinking about where your feet are. Eventually, your stance will become a muscle memory that you can repeat without any effort. 

You can even practice at home without a target. Just create a shooting line and stand as if you were standing with a bow. Doing this exercise in front of a tall mirror will allow you to identify any corrections you need to make. 

Stay Focused

Make sure to focus on the task at hand when you work on your stance. Don’t allow your mind to wander while you let arrows fly aimlessly. If you don’t think about what you’re doing, your form will slip. 

Work on Your Anchor Point

Having a consistent anchor point is vital for accuracy. Try different placements until you find one that you can replicate every time. Typical positions include under the cheekbone, on the top of the nose, and by the bottom of the earlobe. 


You must use a proper archery stance for stability and accuracy. There are four main archery stances that you should learn and try, then adapt to fit your body. 

Once you find the best position for you, you can improve it with lots of practice while staying focused on the task at hand. Get out there and make accurate shots every time by working with your body instead of against it. 

People Also Ask

So, you have more questions? Don’t worry, because we’ll answer them all below. 

Should Your Arm Be Straight When Shooting a Bow?

Your bow arm will have a slight bend when correctly positioned. 

Is Your Hunting Stance Different Than Target Shooting?

When hunting, you should start with one of the four basic stances. However, you may need to modify them. For example, you may need to position yourself differently when on a steep hill. 

Which Stance Works Best For Hunting?

Every person is different when it comes to what stance is best. However, the open stance will typically produce the best shots. 

Which Stance Works Best For Target Shooting?

The best stance will depend on your personal preference. But, the square stance is the most common and the easiest to learn.

My name is Caleb and I am obsessed with hunting, fishing, and foraging. To be successful, you have to think like your prey. You have to get into the mind of your target - and understand Big Game Logic. If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.