Recurve Archery Techniques

Written by c.a. rubino
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Recurve Archery Techniques
The recurve bow is more susceptible to improper form and technique. (David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The recurve bow is a particular type of archery bow that has been around for hundreds of years. The recurve is distinctly shaped, with the ends of the bow curving slightly away from the archer. This gives the bow additional power than what a straight bow of the same size would have. While most of the fundamentals of archery still apply to using a recurve bow, it is much more susceptible to improper form or technique.


The major difference between a recurve bow and a compound bow is the holding weight and the way the power in the bow is loaded. The compound bow increases the weight of the draw to a certain point until the load is taken over by the system of pulleys that make up the bow. The compound bow is held at full draw with a much lower holding weight. The recurve bow's draw weight increases the further the bow is drawn, as more tension, and thus power, is stored in the bow's limbs. When the recurve bow is fully drawn it has a much higher holding weight, making the bow much more difficult to control, especially if the archer is using improper technique.


In the standard square stance the feet should be slightly wider then shoulder width, with the feet aligned in a straight line. Some archers may slide the rear foot forward slightly for greater stability, forming the open stance. Weight is evenly distributed between both feet. The shoulders should be kept perfectly in line with the hips and the spine kept straight. The head is turned toward the target with the neck muscles kept loose. Changes in orientation are done by rotating the pelvis while keeping the upper body straight and in line with it. This stance utilises major muscle groups and reduces muscle strain, allowing greater control over the recurve bow.


There are several proper techniques used in the pre-draw and draw stage. Each technique is suited for different body types and personal preferences. Outside these techniques there are a few fundamentals in drawing a recurve bow that remain consistent. The hand holding the bow should be perfectly straight, and the elbow joint of the bow arm should also be kept as close to the bow string as possible. The drawing elbow is pulled directly back and is held parallel to the floor. In a recurve bow the drawing hand will also rotate naturally to be held vertically against the cheek or chin.


The release of a bow should be smooth and relaxed. The recurve bow takes a lot of energy to hold fully drawn, so care must be taken to avoid letting any of the resulting tension transfer into the release. To release a recurve bow the fingers should be relaxed rather than opened. The built-up power in the string will naturally push the fingers out of the way as the fingers are relaxed. If muscles are used to open the hand the path of the arrow could be greatly affected.

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