How To Draw a Compound Bow Correctly

How To Draw In A Compound Bow Correctly

To start drawing a compound bow, there are many steps that need to be followed. The goal of this article is to help you correctly follow these steps in order to have the best possible chance for success in your draw.

Step 1. Check Your Draw Length

Before doing anything else, it’s important to ensure that your draw length is correct. As with any physical activity, if you do not use the full range of motion available then you are cheating yourself out of being able to perform at your highest level. Since everybody is different, having an incorrect draw length could lead to injury or inaccuracy when shooting.  

To check your draw length, first, locate the markings on the cams (the spinning wheels) on your bow. The markings will be something like 31-31½, 32-32½, 33-33 ½, depending on the bow’s draw length. Then measure your arm span in inches while holding your arms out to your sides at shoulder level – this is done by standing with your feet about hip-width apart and then stretching out both of your arms so that they are parallel to each other (see picture below).

If your arm span comes up to an even number when measured in inches, then your optimal draw length should be one inch longer than what it was measured at. For example, if you stand with arms outstretched and it measures 34in., you would go for a draw length of 33in.. If your arm span is odd (35in., 36in., etc.) then your optimal draw length would be one inch shorter than what is measured.

For example, if your arm span is 36in., then your optimal draw length would be 35in..If after checking your draw length you find that it is incorrect, don’t worry! It is easily fixed by adding a simple bow at the end of your arrow. The bow adds just enough weight to ensure that you are pulling back with the correct amount of force so that when shot from your compound bow, the arrow flies directly to where you aim at the target – creating maximum accuracy and consistency!.

Bow Weights

A good rule of thumb for setting up bows is every 10lb increment in the peak weight of the bow, add 1-2′ of arrow length. So a 60lb peak weight compound bow would use a 66-68″ arrow. If you have an odd number draw length (35in., 36in., etc.) then go up to the next even number.

Step 2. Set Your Draw Length And Axle Height Correctly

After finding out your correct draw length, adjust the settings appropriately to ensure that everything is in order for when you draw back your bowstring. The axle height refers to how high or low on the cams the string sits and varies depending on your draw length. Don’t worry, your compound bow’s manual should have all the correct axle height settings for each cam on the bow.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to set up your axle height so that at full draw there is one gap between the arrow rest and the underside of the string (see picture below). This will ensure that when drawing back your bow, you are pulling with enough force to keep everything stable – including your sight pin!  

If after setting up both axle heights you find that this gap doesn’t exist then it means there is something wrong with either the draw length or how far back you are drawing on the cams. To fix this problem, trial and error is your best friend. Simply adjust either the draw length or axle height as needed until you have achieved the correct spacing as just described.

When everything is set up correctly, you shouldn’t need to use any additional accessories such as a nocking loop for more accuracy and consistency – assuming your bow’s specifications are within range of course!.

Step 3. Draw And Hold At Full Draw For 30 Seconds Without Wiggling Or Letting The Bow Drop

Contrary to popular belief, drawing back a compound bow with the trajectory settings properly adjusted doesn’t require much effort at all! All that’s required at this point is patience and understanding of your weapon’s limitations. Now that everything has been set up correctly, it’s time to learn how to draw with maximum accuracy. To do this, you need to learn how to draw and hold at full draw for 30 seconds without wiggling or letting the bow drop.

Be sure to watch your sight pin closely as you are drawing back – if it moves out of place then it means that either your weight distribution is off or there is too much strain being put on your bow’s cams. If something like this happens, simply lower the draw weight by 5lb increments until you notice that everything is stable again. You should never be putting more than 70% of your max draw weight on your cams!

A great way for gauging whether or not you are using the correct amount to pull back on the string is to ensure that your arrow and rest are resting on the string at full draw. This is what you should see: If everything looks just described, then chances are your draw length and weight settings are correct! Now it’s time to start practicing shooting arrows from a standing position in front of a target. As with any sport, practice makes perfect.. After practicing for an hour or so with these settings, you will notice massive improvements in both accuracy and consistency.

Bow Draw Weight

When using a compound bow, always make sure that you do not exceed more than 70% of your peak weight when drawing back – otherwise, you could cause irreparable damage to your cams! (If however, after years of shooting and you find that your peak weight is way over the 70% mark, then by all means lower it down to this percentage to help preserve your compound bow.)

Bow Draw Length

To set your draw length correctly, you should watch a video on how to do so. If no videos exist, then simply follow the instructions provided with your compound bow’s owner’s manual. Alternatively, here are some general guidelines for setting up different types of bows:

Short Draw Lengths (Bow Weight Range: 40-50lbs) = 22″-27″ Draw Length

Medium Draw Length = 26″-31″ Draw Length

Long Draw Lengths (Bow Weight Range: 50-60lbs) = 29″-34″ Draw Length

Arrow Rest

Arrow rests should be placed such that the arrow is touching the bowstring during the full draw. If it isn’t, then get a new rest and adjust accordingly until this is achieved.


A bow’s spine refers to its stiffness – which in turn affects how stable arrows fly from your bow! When getting a compound bow, always make sure that you use an arrow with a spine rating closest to the specifications of your bow. For example, if you have bought a bow with a

Arrow Spine

The spine is basically the stiffness of an arrow – if too stiff, then the arrows will fly erratically; if too weak, then they will deflect all over the place! As a general rule of thumb, you should always be using an arrow with a spine rating closest to that of your bow – so if for example, your bow has a recommended spine rating of 350, then use arrows with IBO-Spine ratings ranging from 325-375. However, if your arrow’s spine is too far off from the specifications of your bow, then it will severely affect its performance and cause major inconsistencies and inaccuracy!

Nocking Point

Place your nocking point such that it’s directly below your sight pin when at full draw. Also, make sure to keep a small gap in between the arrow and the nock point for more accuracy.

Nocking Point Drop

This is the height above your arrow rest (measured in inches) at which your nocking point sits. You should adjust this until you find that it makes shooting more pleasant and helps improve arrow flight. If however, you find that tweaking the location of your nocking point messes up your pin adjustments, then simply return it back to its original position and forget about adjusting it any further!

Draw Weight

If you are unable to get the pin to settle down or shoot correctly at your draw weight, then you can simply change it accordingly.. For example, if your bow is too much for you to handle and the arrow flight feels like a rainbow (all over the place), then adjust your draw weight by 10-15lbs.

Bow Weight

One of the most important aspects of any compound bow is that it shoots correctly at its draw weight. If at full draw there are noticeable vibrations or the shots feel “mushy”, then chances are you need to lower down your peak weight because you are exceeding the safe draw weight of your bow.

Riser Length

The riser’s length is one of the most important aspects to consider when buying a compound bow. Generally speaking, recurve bows have short risers whereas long risers are usually reserved for compounds. Make sure that whatever riser length you decide upon, works well with your body size and arm length!

Draw Length

If you are unable to get the pin to settle down or shoot correctly at your draw length, then you can simply change it accordingly.. For example, if your bow is too much for you to handle and the arrow flight feels like a rainbow (all over the place), then adjust your draw length by 1/2″.

Peak Draw Length

The peak draw length on most compound bows is very easy to set – just simply stand up straight with the string pulled back all the way, mark where it touches on your face mask and that’s it! Generally speaking, this should be somewhere between 28″ – 30″.

Valley Draw Length

Just like a normal recurve bow, a compound bow has a “valley” where you have to pull back immediately after shooting. This can be anywhere from 3″-5″, so make sure to adjust it accordingly so that the aim is as steady as possible!

Draw Cycle

A compound bow’s draw cycle can easily be broken down into two general parts – the peak weight and valley weight. In order to get better accuracy from your bow, make sure to shoot within this “valley” as much as possible.. This will ensure smoother arrow flight and more consistent aiming!

Brace Height

When buying a compound bow, keep in mind that choosing the right brace height is very important because it affects both comfort and accuracy! Generally speaking, bracing heights that range between 6-7″ will be fine for people with average arm lengths; anything above this might start getting uncomfortable.

Short Draw Lengths (Bow Weight Range: 40-50lbs)

Follow Through And Release (After Shooting)

When you draw in a compound bow, keep in mind to always follow through with your shot and release the string only AFTER the arrow has left the string! If you fail to do this part, the arrow could be thrown off by as much as 4 – 6″.. this can ruin your accuracy and potentially cause injury!

What is the best place to buy a compound bow?

The best places to find compound bows for sale are through reputable archery retailers and big-box stores, such as Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops. Always check if there are any local dealers in your area so that you can get hands-on with the equipment before buying anything!

How do I fix my draw length on a compound bow?

It is pretty easy to adjust your draw length when using a compound bow – you just need to add or remove modules (and/or spacers) accordingly. Make sure that when drawing in your bow, you do so with both of your arms fully extended!

Can you use a release aid on a compound bow?

A release aid is fine to use on a compound bow – however, make sure to set the distance you want it to shoot accordingly! This will ensure that your shot is accurate and not thrown off by the release aid.


Can you draw a compound bow without an arrow?

It is almost impossible to draw in a compound bow without an arrow – this is because the string stretches back and creates tension which pulls on your arm. The only way it could be possible is if you took all of the tension off by removing the limb bolts, but this will make the whole process much longer.

If you want to really test out how powerful your bow can get, try doing some static shooting with no arrows or pull-back device at full tension! Just remember that when you DO shoot an arrow, don’t hold it in place for too long afterward because it will burn your fingers!

Are compound bows hard to pull back?

The short answer – no! However, the hard part comes when you adjust your draw length and weight accordingly. If it is too much for you to handle, then try changing your bow settings by either adjusting the brace height or the draw weight – that should help out a lot!

When learning how to shoot in a compound bow, remember that there are three key things to keep in mind (and note) at all times. Standing up straight with your chin up, maintaining good form during your “aiming” sequence, and following through after shooting will go a long way- so make sure to always practice holding it correctly!

Should your pulling elbow be positioned high or low during the draw of the bow and why?

During the draw of a compound bow, it is recommended that you keep your pulling elbow as close to your ear as possible so that it doesn’t disturb the natural position of your bow arm. This will help ensure smoother arrow flight and better aiming!

How far away should I be from my target when shooting a compound bow?

The short answer – not very! In fact, you can be as close as 2 – 3 meters away from your target at most. However, the further you shoot, the more forgiving it will be for beginner archers who are still learning how to aim with accuracy.

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