Best tip for archery beginners (it’s a bit paradoxical)

Once I was asked, from all those tips I learned through in my archery journey, which one would I choose to share as the most important tip for beginner archers. I think this one is the key one.

If you are a beginner archer, the best advice I can give to do target practice is to not use a target to practice. It may sound weird, but continue reading and you will understand why. Not only that, but you will also agree with me on this.

Target archery without a target? Why?

A plain backstop without a target is the best to start

One of the first things people want when they start archery (myself included) is to have a target in front of them (either a competition-type target, a 3D figure, or whatever) and shoot arrows at it. However, most archery instructors agree that this is not the best practice. 

When you start, there are a lot of things you should learn to become adept in archery. Among them, we can name a proper form, how to hold the bow, how to draw, having a good anchor point, to name a few. These kinds of things are a pillar to have a good improvement curve in archery. If you don’t pay enough attention, you can get injured, or slapped by the string

If you start practicing with a target, a goal in front of you, you’ll want to hit the center for sure. It’s normal to think that, if you have an objective to focus on, you’ll improve your aim. This is not entirely true. Focusing on that will make you forget most of those things you should put your attention in.

How to practice archery without a target?

To avoid focusing too much on the target the best tip is to get rid of the target. Don’t worry, just a few sessions until you get used to the proper form and can do it at an unconscious level.

In this stage, the best is to use the backstop. A plain, unmarked zone where your arrows can nail on is more than enough. 

Just point at the backstop and focus on all the steps involved in the shooting process.

If you practice at home and have one of those targets sold on archery shops, where the target is drawn on it, try to find something to cover it. The easiest way is using a large, black (or any other color) plastic bag to put on it.

In case you are starting 3D archery, try to find a plain target to practice your form first. Or you can try to build your own backstop.

One additional tip when you start using targets

A tight grouping can lead to a broken nock or a vane

Once your form is good enough, and your practice is such that you do not have to think each step of the shooting process, you are good to start using a target. At last!!!

For that, you can choose whatever type of target you want. In the beginning, perhaps you want to save a couple of bucks and make the target by yourself. I promise I’ll upload a tutorial on how to build a target real soon (If you want me to upload it, please leave a comment below).

As days pass, you’ll increase your aim, and your grouping will be progressively tighter, which is excellent. However, if not dealt properly, it will lead you to a lot of headaches, especially when you start breaking vanes, nocks, or worse, Robin Hooding an arrow.

Breaking nocks or vanes is not so bad. They are not too expensive to replace. However, in the case of vanes, you must have the fletching jig to do it yourself or take your arrows to an archery shop. Too time-consuming.

My best solution

A plain backstop with several crosses marked

To avoid this, the best is to shoot at different parts of the target. One way to do it is to get a multi-spot target. Another option, in case you have one large target, you can make small markings in different regions, like using duct tape or a marker. Even more, if you have the backstop previously used, you can directly do small tape crosses on it, like the one I use at home to practice. 

That way, you’ll aim one arrow at each marking instead of several arrows to the same spot. By doing this, the lifespan of your arrows will increase, trust me. 

How to measure your progress with multi-spot targets?

When using multi-spot targets, it may seem difficult to measure the progress of your grouping. But don’t worry, it’s not difficult at all. You’ll see.

To better quantify it, the multi-spots (or tape markings) should be as similar as possible. Then, imagine if you can cut out each spot and overlap them. Then, you’ll have all your arrows marking in one final averaged spot. And that’s how you can measure your grouping without risking your arrows.


Archery is beautiful. It’s an awesome sport, for both adults and kids. However, it’s best to do it with the proper training to optimize the learning curve, as well as reducing the risk of injury and damage your gear.

Now you know this tip. Perhaps it’s not much, but I think it’s key for all that I mentioned in the previous sentence. So, I recommend you follow them, and you’ll maximize your learning while minimizing risks.

What’s the best tip you learned in your journey? Please, share it with us by \leaving a comment below.

In case you are a beginner, I recommend you to read also our beginner’s guide and the most common mistakes beginners make, and tips to avoid them.

Keep safe and good arrows!!!!!!! 






6 responses to “Best tip for archery beginners (it’s a bit paradoxical)”

  1. Judith Molloy Avatar
    Judith Molloy

    Wear an arm guard…string slap is very painful.😁
    Don’t close one eye to sight target.. shoot both eyes open..

    1. Luciano Darriba Avatar
      Luciano Darriba

      Hi Judith! Thanks for your contribution. You are absolutely right! That’s an excellent tip. In fact, there’s a post in the blog exactly about that, I don’t know if you already read it (

      Keep safe and good arrows!!!!!!!

  2. Mason Smith Avatar

    My daughter is getting into archery right now and these tips could really help her excel. We need to find a local range nearby that she can practice. It’s interesting that you touched on not shooting at your own targets until you can go through the process of shooting without thinking about everything.

    1. Luciano Darriba Avatar
      Luciano Darriba

      Hi Mason. Thanks for your comment. I think this is a really important tip that some people aren’t aware of. I remember that, when I started, this was the reason I got most nagged for. I tried to aim at the targets and, because of that, ended up shooting with a terrible form.

  3. Thomas Clarence Avatar

    My father and I are thinking of purchasing some bows and a couple of targets so that we can both get into archery. It was really interesting when you explained that it is a good idea to shoot at different spots on the target. My father and I will have to make sure that we aim at different spots on the targets we get so that we don’t run into any problems.

    1. Luciano Darriba Avatar
      Luciano Darriba

      Hi, Tomas!

      I´m glad that not only you but also your father wants to get into archery.

      I´m also happy that some of what I share turns useful to some people. Keep going!!!

      Good arrows!!!!!!!

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