What is an Anchor Point in Archery and Best Way to Find Your Anchor

In Archery, Archery Tips, Bowhunting, Compound Bows, Longbows, Recurve Bows, Traditional Archery by Vineet Jain4 Comments

A novice archer may not be able to bring consistency because position or arrow in-reference to target may vary

A common problem that new archers face is they are unsure how much the arrow needs to be pulled. Thus, either they don’t pull the string far enough, or they may pull it too far. What it does is it causes variation in the shots.

Anchor position is one of the unique aspects of archery. While it may look easy, it does require some understanding in order to become a better archer.

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What are Anchor Points and What is Their Use?

Anchors provide consistency to your archery

Anchor point has 1 very important function to serve in archery. That is to provide consistency to your shots. If you have the ability to replicate the same kind of shot every time you pick up a bow, then you can correct your mistakes, and thus becoming more consistent with your shooting and hitting the target more frequently.

When you have no frame of reference then you will never know when to stop drawing the bow, and where to put the string. And every time you will try to shoot an arrow, you will have differences in how much you draw and exactly where the arrow is in reference to your face.

Anchors restrict movement of the arrow in horizontal and vertical axis

Anchor point provides this frame of reference for you. Where you draw back and stop, and where you place your arrow/string. This will allow you to alleviate the variation in horizontal and depth axis of your arrow.

Generally speaking your arrow will go where you will point it. However, without an anchor point you won’t know where you are pointing at. You need consistency with every single shot so that you always know where your arrow will go.

Read: The Archery Anchor Point: Find It and Remember It

How to select anchor points?

There isn’t one single correct anchor point. Which anchor point you use depends on your shooting style and your preference. Let’s look at some in detail:

  1. Most common anchor point is corner of the mouth.  (left corner if you hold your arrow/string with your left hand, and vice versa). This is a very easy position to remember. Using this anchor is just touching the corner of your lips with your index finger while you draw the bow.
    • Some people fear the string and thus avoid this. String will not hit you and you won’t hurt yourself, so you can use it safely.
    • If you are complete beginner and start using this anchor point, you’ll notice your arrows are going above the target. This happens because you are aiming at the target with the tip of your arrow. Now your anchor point is about 4-6 inches below your eye level, and when you aim the arrow tip with your eye, then your arrow is raised a bit because of it. Thus your arrow is actually aimed about 15° angle upwards. To correct this, aim the tip of your arrow below the target.
  2. To compensate this, some people start using a higher anchor point. They start using the corner of their eye and pull back their arrow on eye level. This can be a bit dangerous due to proximity of string and arrow with your eye. A small mistake can cause a severe injury.
  3. Cheek is also a bit higher reference point. If you can always pull your arrow at the same point every time, this can be a good option as well as correct some of the aiming issues you may face with the anchor point near your mouth. Bare-bow archers use this one commonly.
  4. For archers who use sight, the preferred anchor point is under the jaw. That is, resting their thumb below their jaw. While this increases the gap between the eye and the arrow, sight removes that issue altogether. This is commonly seen used by professional archers.
    • The reason professional archers prefer low anchor in comparison to high anchor is because low anchor is more accurate. It provides more contact, thus providing more repeatability in recreating a shot.
    • It is also more stable and more natural for an archer to pull the arrow backwards. The lower the pulling hand it, the easier it is, and stable it’ll be. In fact, pulling something at your chest level, or even stomach level is much easier than at your face level.
    • You have 3 reliable points of reference when you pull your hand below your jaw. Firstly, the back of your hand is touching your jaw. Secondly, the string is touching your lips. Thirdly, the string is touching your nose.
    • With these 3 anchor points constant, there is very little chance of variation in your shots.
Archery Form: Recurve Anchor Point

Compound bows and anchor points

Anchors are important regardless of aiming aid you are using

If you are using a compound bow, you have a peep, and sight. But sights and peeps only fix one end of the shot, the other end has to be fixed with the reference points. You use release aid for compounds thus the anchor points are a bit different, but vitally important for consistency. If you use the below the chin anchor point, it works very well with the compound bow.

TIP: For anchor points to work well, you must train yourself so that your head is always in the same position when you anchor your shot. If your head is tilted or not aligned properly when you draw your bow then it’ll produce inconsistent results. So, keep your head still, and pull your bow to the anchor points. Don’t adjust your head to accommodate your anchor points, that defeats the purpose.

How to Anchor Properly to achieve maximum accuracy with a compound bow: John Dudley of Nock On

Conclusion

Fixing your anchor points is the first thing you should do when you start archery. Without using anchor points, your arrows will not go where you want them to because it will always be a different angle and alignment each time you’ll draw a bow.

Only when you start becoming consistent with your anchor, things will start falling into place. You’ll be able to adjust your shots based on distance and will be able to correct mistakes in your shots.

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