Archery | Anchor Point
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Archery | Anchor Point

August 15, 2019

Hey guys, this is NUSensei and today, we are going to walk through another crucial concept in archery. The anchor position. The anchor position, is one of several unique elements of archery and while it may look easy, it does require some understanding in order to become a better archer. Let’s look at some common beginner mistakes. The first thing that often happens, is that the beginner is afraid of the string. Only pulling it back half-way. Sometimes, this is accompanied by a lunging motion perhaps giving the impression of launching the arrow. Once given some instruction, beginners will feel more confident in drawing the bow further back. However, contact with the face is often not made with the string being too far forward, or too far to the side and sometimes too far back. A problem faced by new instinctive shooters is that they skip too many steps of the shot process. Including, not using an anchor point. An instinctive shooter doesn’t need to hold and aim but that doesn’t mean you have to be sloppy with your form. While this sort of shooting might work for short distances, it will be frustrating to pull this off at longer distances. Most people who start archery, have some idea as to what archery should look like. So, the act of drawing the bow, may seem very obvious, however, the questions soon start popping up. When do I stop drawing? Where do I put the string? This is why you need to understand anchor position. The anchor point is a point of reference. Where you draw back and stop, that, is your anchor point. Generally speaking, the arrow will go where you point it. However, without an anchor point, you don’t know where you are pointing it. That’s why you simply can’t just pull it back and let go because you have no idea where you are aiming. There is simply too much variation in your shot to make consistent groupings and consistency, is the key. You have to touch the same spot, with every single shot. There isn’t one single correct anchor point. Which anchor point you use, depends on your shooting style and your preference. The most common anchor taught to beginners, is the corner of the mouth. This is a very easy position to remember and is well suited for barebow shooting. Using this anchor is just a matter of touching the corner of your lips with your index finger. What stops people from getting this right, is a fear of the string. Don’t worry about this, the string won’t hurt you. It also helps if you don’t talk or open your mouth during this process, since that will change your anchor point. While we are on this topic, if you are just starting out you may notice that your arrows are going too high or even over the target. Now don’t worry, I’ve not given you bad advice. This is actually, very frequent with beginners and there is a reason for it. Many archers start out by using the tip of the arrow as a point of aim and align the tip with the centre of the target. While this may seem like the right thing to do it ignores the parallax effect. While you are lining up the point with the target you have to remember, that the arrow is not in line with your eye and is actually angled upward because of your anchor point. This gap between your eye and the arrow will make you believe that you are on target but you are in fact pointing above the target. This is why instructors may tell you to aim at the bottom of the target. This is simply to compensate for the parallax effect and get you into the bullseye even though you might think you are aiming at the ground. Because of this, it is not uncommon for some archers to use a high anchor point to bring the arrow closer to the eyeline. Anchoring at the cheek is sometimes used. Some people anchor next to the eye however, this is often not recommended as the proximity of the string and arrow may cause eye injuries if something goes wrong. Also, the higher anchor point may not be possible if you wear glasses. For archers who use sights, such as Olympic style archers the preferred anchor point is under the jaw. Whilst this increases the gap between the eye and the arrow the fact that you are using a sight removes the need to compensate for parallax. You simply adjust your sight for the distance. Your anchor point, therefore serves, as a rear sight and getting this consistent will allow you to align your shots perfectly, every single time. The reason the low anchor is preferred over the high anchor is because the low anchor is stronger. Stronger means more contact along the jaw which means more points of reference which means, more consistency. In fact, by using the under the jaw anchor, you are able to get these points of reference. Firstly, because you have your top of your hand underneath your jaw and full contact means very consistent placement. Secondly, when you draw the string the string will come across your lips. And, as a third point of reference, you have the tip of your nose on the string. Therefore, when anchoring in this position, you have three reliable, points of reference. You have under the jaw, you have the string across your lips and you have the string on the tip of your nose. Getting these three reference points right each time and feeling it in the right place, means you have good alignment and that means more consistent shooting. While you can use this position for a barebow, the low position increases the gap between the eye and the anchor and that means it feels less natural and more difficult to shoot. If you are a compound shooter, you do have a peep sight and that does act as your rear sight. However, that makes your anchor even more important because the entirety of your shot process is based on your sight picture and alignment. The anchor point will be different because you are using a release aid. But, having the same point of reference across the lips, the tip of the nose, will help you align that peep sight a lot easier and give you much more consistent string picture. This also means that your bow’s draw length must be set correctly. If you are pulling back on your bow and you have to move your head to get the right sight picture then, it’s going to ruin your consistency. The most common mistake with the anchor point, is simply, not being consistent. One of the more subtle problems is angling the hand. This introduces a gap between the hand and the jaw which increases variation between each shot. Ideally, it should be a very close fit but not everyone has the right jaw shape to get this to work. So you should strive to have as much contact as possible to maximise consistency. Some people are unable to get the string on to their nose. This is also ok, but it does remove a reference point. Head position is another common fault. The anchor relies on exact head positioning and many archers have a habit of turning their head to the side or tilting their head back, changing the anchor point. You must train yourself to replicate your head position. Even a few millimetres off, will change the velocity of the arrow and therefore, the point of impact. Also remember, to keep your head still and draw to your anchor. Don’t move your head towards the anchor. The anchor point must be one of the first things you learn when starting archery. Without using an anchor point, your arrows will not go where you want them to because you have no idea what you are pointing at. Only when you start becoming consistent with your anchor, will things start to make sense and only then can you start making adjustments. Remember, as with many things in archery, the key to a good anchor, is consistency. Anyway, this is NUSensei, hope you found this helpful? Thank you for watching and I will see you next time.

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  1. I recently started using an anchor point at the back edge of my jaw because my trainer said it's good for when I lated shoot long distances as a stringwalker. Does that sound like a good plan?

  2. You made some very good points in this video. Your explanation of parallax for bare bow traditional was spot-on. You also touched one of my personal issues: hand angle. I always anchor to the same spot, middle finger on the corner of my mouth, with pointer and ring finger touching above and below, but I can be inconsistent with my hand angle unless I pay attention to it. If you get sloppy, that very slight bend in the string can become several inches by the time the arrow reaches the target.

  3. I notice that when you anchor in the corner of the lip you move your hand up slightly, is there a reason for this? Is this maybe because (No offense meant, sorry if it does offend you) you are somewhat shorter? Thanks for the great vids, they've been really helpful

  4. This is without a doubt the most descriptive and most comprehensive video I have seen regarding the anchor. This and the back tension video you made recently have helped me tremendously in improving my form. Keep up the amazing work!

  5. I've solved my anchor point problems by using two anchor points, the tip of my nose and a kisser button.

    Now I've just got all my other form problems to deal with.

  6. Trad instinctive archer myself but a solid anchor point is crucial!

    good shooting boils to:
    good stance
    back tension
    repeatable anchor
    clean release
    and practice

  7. I've never had formal training and so far my anchor has been touching my thumb to the back of my jaw is that ok or should i change my form?

  8. There are some styles that doesn't use an anchor point per say. drawing past the ear for instance like what mongolian archers often did doesn't seem to have a reference to easily anchor at except for maybe having the string somewhere on the face

  9. hey,i was wondering if you can help,this really doesn't have anything to do with ur video ..i have been shooting 70 m for quite a while now,unfortunately i just can't get the arrow where i want it to be,my score is terrible,to make things worse i have a competition coming up around next week,can you please give me some advice..?thank you..

  10. Hi, is the side of the face Okay even for Target Recurve? ? ?
    I'm not currently anchoring to the tip-of-the-nose that I used to do in the past.
    To show what it's like, Recurve Cadet Men Gold – Youth Championships 2013 – WUXI (CHN)
    @ time = 1:41 and time 6:17 you can see Sanzhar MUSSAYEV anchor to the side of his nose not the tip.

  11. All Olympians shoot with the under the chin anchor point?
    My anchor point is the corner of my mouth. Is the under the chin position really that much better?

  12. Only been shooting for a few weeks and just wanted to say that I really appreciate your videos. Watched this last night and tried it today and can already feel a world of difference. Thanks for all your archery videos!

  13. I've been shooting recurve for nearly 3 years but in the last year I have had (and still battling) a bad case of target panic. In my case i'm finding it a struggle to get to my full anchor point, as far as I'm aware the string is touching my nose, my string hand is positioned under my chin but the kisser button hardly touching my mouth. Also I find it tricky to hold for a few secs without flinching and end up just letting it go without getting into the proper form.
    I know one tip is getting someone to film/record you shooting but in the long run it's all well for that as the problem for the archer to try and overrun the brain/thoughts i.e thinking of the thought of proper form, reference points, holding on for a few secs etc…
    I would dearly appreciate some advice.

  14. my daughter and I watched this video. we also watched your video on sights. so informative! Here is a video of her after we put a kisser button on her recurve.

  15. Great video! Explains high shots…hey I feel most comfortable with using my chin as an anchor…more consistent shot placement and all…is that taboo for recurve bows? Would I look like a douchebag (more so than usual) if I went to range and used chin as anchor? Thanks

  16. Hey NuSensai. I just had a session at home and my consistency was pretty… not consistent. It might have just been a bad session but I think I had some form issues, so I'm re-thinking my corner-mouth anchor point for the chin anchor. I don't yet have a sight and I don't know when I will get one. I noticed you said the chin anchor is ideal when you have a sight as you correct for the gap between arrow and eye. I know this is a subjective question, but is the chin anchor still viable without a sight?


  17. I mainly shoot barebow, and am trying to branch out into shooting Olympic as well, but I find I get clearance problems when going to the chin anchor. I get a lot of contact between the string and my chest, which never happens when I use a corner of the mouth anchor. Anyone else experienced this?

  18. Ok, youve just made me want a sight even more than before. I was looking at a 3 pin hunting style sight because the smaller profile and ease of use. Would you advise against this and instead recommend a traditional olympic recurve target sight instead?

  19. Small question Nu, you were talking about the under the jaw anchor for people using sights. Now I've found that's a great spot for me seeing as the tab I use has a ledge that i really like, and I've found your anchor and mine are very similar, yet I shoot instinctive and no sights. I really don't plan on using sights, so would you suggest trying to lift the anchor up closer to my mouth to improve accuracy? Or should I just stick with what I've built and not fix what isn't broken?

  20. i shoot with a low anchor point(olympic style) but i dont know where i suppose to put my thumb, its okay if i use my thumb to complete the gap in my jaw line? (i dont put it behid the neck, i put in the jaw-neck gap)

  21. Personally I used to anchor like most of the instinctive shooters, however I changed it to the olympic atyle. I shoot without sights, but I changed my anchor for a few reasons which I can't write all of them now, but underneath the jaw the arrow is at the same raw with the eye, so I have much less side misses. Still I have hight misses, and I am working on this. Thanks for the video

  22. Love you videos😍. Away from other comments subject (and video itself), I'm not your father but what's that mess in the corner behind you? 😉

  23. I'm a left eye and right hand dominated without knowing I went ahead to buy a right hand rise.

    Can I shoot on my left hand with a right hand riser?

  24. I love reviewing your videos after a shoot.. it helps me realize where I went wrong. 🙂 My anchor point was way to far back and I was shooting something too small, too far, too soon 🙂

    Thank you NuSensei! 😀

  25. Personnaly, i use jaw anchor in instinctive archery, i teach instinctive archery like that to my students. It's a little harder the first ten arrows, after it doesn't make any difference.

  26. I couldn’t get my nose to touch the string. Really stressing about it. And my fingers wound hurt like hell. But the bow was to small, thanks to that observation, I got bigger limbs and it makes such a difference. Thanks!!!

  27. Hello nusensei, thank you very much for all your videos! I'm exploring diferent anchor points for instinctive shooting. I find the corner of the mouth to be the most accurate for me, but the string often pinches my cheek, and hurts. At an archery club they told me that i should use "three-below" for this anchor point, and the problem indeed is fixed. But i would like to use the corner of the mouth with "one-above, two-below", as it seems more natural to me. Do you have any sugestions to solve the string pinching the cheek with this technique?

  28. Thanks for the video. Very good explanation. I do especially like, that you draw the attention to the „little“ possible mistakes, too. That is very valuable for a beginner like me. And of course, thanks for your other videos! I very much appreciate your work.

  29. I'm a beginner and shoot a 40# Bear Montana long bow. This instruction helped me very a whole lot – thank you !

  30. Hey, I am shooting barebow with a 3under grip.
    I am anchoring at the corner of my mouth but im using the middle finger do you see any problems by doing so.
    Best regards from Austria.

  31. NUSensei, Deepika Kumari uses additional anchor point:
    She has a red mark on the string and places it exactly to the lips at the touch.
    Is it completely individual trick?

  32. Great video! Your channel has really helped me out a lot! I'm a beginner compound bow shooter, a 65lb draw with ~75% let off, that I evetually want to hunt with. What is the poundage of the bow you are using in this video? And what is your go to bow and for fun? I want to get into recurve target shooting, looking for a good starting point.

  33. Hey I've been practicing archery for bout a few weeks now been watching your vid, for a couple days now but everytime I shoot my bow it's like my arrow, hits my bow and shoots to a totally different direction

  34. Isnt it better to anchor under the ear than corner of lip to get more speed and longer powerstroke? Should a shorter person use a further anchor point(end of cheek bone or under ear lobe) to compensate competing against taller people with longer draw lengths? Isnt more advantageous for the shot to have a flatter path?

  35. Thanks for this video!! I dont use sights and use a recurve so I use the high position with top of thumb in corner of my lips

  36. Sorry I’m late to the video, I’ve recently just found your channel and am watching all your uploads.

    My “coach” tells me to have a behind the mouth anchor when shooting barebow with the three under technique. I didn’t know if this was correct because it wasn’t really mentioned in the video?

  37. I started doing archery here in Ukraine, but I don't always understand what the coach tells me. I watch your videos and they give me some nice tips to do during training when I'm not too sure what I should be doing

  38. I enjoy your videos very much. I would suggest that you get something for a photographic background. You could pick one up at a photo supply or just get a big piece of dark colored carpet or rug. It needs to be dark so you will stand out as the main subject. Your backgrounds look too junky to me. Keep up the good work.

  39. I asked one of our trainer to make a video while I’m shooting as I struggle with consistency. Was quite good to see that at times I move my head into the anchor position. Slightly but visible. Another issue they mentioned, and now I saw, just before release my right hand move a short bit to the front before fully release impacting the draw length consistency. I saw this video before and thought: oh yeah, beginner faul. And what ? I’m beginner and do the same. Need to work on that one and get rid of it. Thanks for your videos, Nu-先生. They are a great resource.

  40. Just wondering, is the anchor point under the chin also possible for traditional recurve? It feels much comfortable for me, or is it more a method for someone using olympic recurve with sight?

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