What's an Anchor Point? Hint:
It Keeps You Steady What's an Anchor Point? Hint: It Keeps You Steady

Anchoring. No we aren’t talking about docking a boat. We’re referring to the position your draw hand takes as you pull back a bowstring. No matter who you see shooting a bow, no two archers’ anchor points are identical. One person might anchor their draw hand on their cheek. Another might anchor it near the jaw. But either way, each person’s chosen anchor point must rest on their face in the same spot, shot after shot.

Now, we don’t just automatically know our preferred anchor point and start there. That would be impressive. No, to reach our anchor point we must first take our stance, nock the arrow and start pulling back. Let’s examine what makes anchoring so crucial!

Anchoring occurs when you pull your bow to full draw, align your arm and shoulder muscles to hold it solidly in place, and “anchor” your release hand on your face in a consistent place. Photo credit: World Archery

Anchoring occurs when you pull your bow to full draw, align your arm and shoulder muscles to hold it solidly in place, and “anchor” your release hand on your face in a consistent place. Photo credit: World Archery

How to Anchor

Anchoring occurs right after you pull the bowstring to full draw. Think about aligning your arm and shoulder muscles to hold it solidly in place. Anchor your release hand, the one you’re pulling with, on your face in a spot that feels comfortable and repeatable. Archery is all about consistency, and anchoring is vital for achieving it.

A consistent anchor point is critical in shooting a compound bow. Slight variations in your anchor point cause huge variations in where arrows strike the target. “Wandering” anchor points also cause frustration because they make your shots feel inconsistent. Therefore, a good anchor point is repeatable and feels natural.

A good anchor point is repeatable and feels natural. Photo credit: World Archery

A good anchor point is repeatable and feels natural. Photo credit: World Archery

Consistency is Key

If you can’t find your anchor point consistently, the problem might be your equipment. Maybe you’ve grown, or maybe you bought a bow that’s too big or too small for you. Or maybe you must raise or lower your peep sight’s height to ensure a solid, consistent anchor point. A peep sight is a small, doughnut-shaped ring installed on the bow’s string. You look through the hole in the center to aim at your target. A peep sight sitting too high or too low on the bowstring can force you into awkward holding positions and inconsistent shots. We don’t want that. To make it easier on yourself, ask for help at your local archery shop.

Bring your release hand to your anchor point while maintaining consistent tension in your back muscles and bow arm when pulling your bow to full draw. Photo credit: World Archery

Bring your release hand to your anchor point while maintaining consistent tension in your back muscles and bow arm when pulling your bow to full draw. Photo credit: World Archery

Other Helpful Tidbits

When shooting a compound bow, you anchor so the string touches the tip of your nose at full draw while you look clearly through your peep sight. Aiming clearly and exactly is a great benefit of shooting a compound. The peep can greatly improve aiming clarity. That isn’t possible if you can’t find an anchor point that lets you see clearly through to the front pin and target!

When pulling your bow to full draw and hitting its “back wall,” you bring your release hand to your anchor point while maintaining consistent tension in your back muscles and bow arm. The “wall” is where the bow reaches it’s natural stopping point. It can’t be drawn any farther, and you feel the let-off of the bow’s pulley system. That let-off relaxes the bow to a percentage of the draw weight, making it feel lighter. This allows archers to take a moment to consider where they must place their hand for a consistent anchor point. Super nice of your bow, don’t you think?!

Be assured, anchoring is easy. It’s a personal preference where you anchor your release hand. Your chosen anchor point will work fine as long as you can see your target clearly when you start aiming! Now go out there and get your anchor on!

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