The Anchor Point - What's best?
by PSECaptnKirk

Every time you shoot your bow, you strive to shoot exactly the same way every time, shot after shot. Accuracy with a bow means repetition. Doing the same thing exactly the same each and every time you shoot. Your best bet for such a repeatable action is a solid anchor point that you can reproduce no matter what the conditions and circumstances are.

An anchor point that is never the same, sometimes the same or most times the same spells trouble for the archer. Accuracy will suffer and the archer's confidence level will go down accordingly. The best way you have to make each shot the same is with a consistent, repeatable, comfortable anchor point. This is one of the foundation blocks for accuracy with a bow.

Which anchor point is best for you?
Your anchor point affects things like your draw length, release-aid alignment and finger placement against the jaw and/or cheekbone, and also what you see through your peep sight. It's hard to tell just by looking at a person exactly how they should place their hand against their face for the perfect anchor.

There are many factors to take into consideration including your facial features and bone structure. There are just too many variables to take into consideration to just jump to conclusions without thorough regard taken. Unless you have a qualified archery coach helping you the best you can do is go with what's typical and what tends to work for most. With this in mind you may only need to change your style a bit to find the anchor point that works best for you.

In hunting circumstances it can sometimes be tricky and at times almost impossible to duplicate your anchor point exactly each time unless you have perfected it before hand. Shooting at targets is more exacting than shooting at live animals. Target shooting is where you work on your consistency so in hunting situations anchoring the string comes naturally. Most animals won't hold still for you while you ready yourself for a shot. Your backyard targets or 3-D's at the range, they stand still when you prepare to shoot at them and you shoot these while you're relaxed. Wild animals have a tendency to get your adrenaline going causing anything but relaxed shooting conditions. Even some situations on the 3-D range will get you blood pumping harder than you would like.

Bulky hunting clothing is a common deterrent to less than perfect anchoring in field conditions. Practice with what you will be using in the hunting conditions you will encounter. Make sure to wear an arm guard when you hunt with long sleeve shirts and if you have a thick hunting jacket on use a chest protector of some kind to keep the bulk of the garment away from your string when you release the arrow. For the tree stand bowhunter your safety harness will serve a dual purpose in this instance, holding the excess material away from the bow string when the arrow is drawn and keep you safe from a nasty fall at the same time.

Consistence, How to get it?
Different shaped faces will need different anchor points. Going over tiny details to find the "perfect" anchor may seem like painstaking labor for some, but it's hardly a waste of time if you expect and desire consistency in your shooting. Your buddy's anchor may work fine for him but it probably will not work as well for you. You must work to find your own anchor point and even when you think you've found it, work some more to convince yourself that it's as good as it can get. Confidence in your equipment and yourself is needed to achieve your accuracy potential.

Make sure you have solid bone to bone contact between you drawing hand and the side of your face. A floating anchor is the result of not having any contact between the draw hand and face. This position is almost impossible to repeat with any accuracy and consistent for shot to shot repetition. Use a solid anchor position with at least one knuckle of the drawing hand in solid contact with the jaw.

Another thing that produces a floating anchor is not having the tip or side of your nose touching the bowstring at anchor. Touching the bowstring on the tip or the side of your nose is a sound, consistent way to produce accuracy from correct anchoring. Your nose touching the string is a proven checkpoint in combination with your string hand knuckles having bone to bone contact with the side of your face, and the peep sight centered with your shooting eye. When your nose just touches the string this is also consistent with correct draw length and not a draw length that is too long for you. With three points of contact to hone in on this is a solid base for accurate shooting.

The importance of a peep sight
A bowhunter not using a peep sight in conjunction with a sight on a compound bow is at a great disadvantage when shooting at varying angles (up and down) and using different shooting positions (sitting, standing, kneeling). A tied-in string peep has the potential to aligning your eye and the bowstring exactly. A peep sight allows you to centre the shooting pin even in touchy situations and still shoot well. Before tying in your peep sight make sure it's where it needs to be.

To check to see it your peep sight is in the right position you should draw your bow back with eyes closed and when opening your shooting eye only you should be able to see through the peep sight without moving your head even slightly. The peep sight should be centered to your eye, and then you've got it positioned in the correct, natural way in accordance to your shooting style. If not, move it till you can draw, open your shooting eye and see through the peep sight clearly every time without moving your head. This is very important for consistent accuracy.

Bowhunters must be able to see through their peep sight in low-light conditions. Make sure the hole is large enough for this by testing it at dawn or dusk. If it is not big enough to see through, make it larger or get a larger peep sight and install it as above.

Finding your "perfect" anchor point isn't hard to do and it really is super-important for every archer out there. Whether you shoot at target, a 3-D or a live animal the important thing is the accuracy of the shot and how consistently you can make it. Take your time, play with various aspects of it and eventually you'll know whether or not you've found it. When you do or if you already have, then you know how comfortable and nice it is to shoot consistently day after day and not just shoot arrows and hope they hit the target. When you repeat your anchor, reliable accuracy is never far out of reach.

Anchor Point is defined as the place on an archer’s face where the hand is placed consistently with the bowstring at full draw. Proper and comfort anchor points could increase the archer’s accuracy. It plays a great part in aiming and hitting the target. Anchor points are described as " high", or " low". An anchor point on or near the bone inferior and also lateral to the eye is considered high.

Depending on the facial contour and type of shooting, anchor points could differ among different archers. Many field archers, bow hunters, and instinctive shooters use the high anchor point. View the pictures and practice to see which anchor point best suits you. Now don’t worry about it if you can not determine your best fit anchor point. Often, as many beginners progress, they will feel the differences in the different anchor points and figure out which one they would like to use.

The low anchor point is commonly recommended for beginning target archers.

A consistent anchor point must be used, as it locates the string (and therefore the rear of the arrow) consistently relative to the bow for every shot. This must be done for both ‘left and right’ and ‘vertically’: ‘Left and right’ by always lining up the bowstring against the same line on the bow, or along the line of the arrow; ‘vertically’, by ensuring consistent hand contact with your face, either under the chin, or to the side of the face. You should also try and always draw the arrow to the same length before release: the edge of the bow nearest the target is a useful guide (‘freestyle’ archers only may use a mechanical device such as a ‘clicker’).

Face Anchor Point
As stated last time, a consistent face anchor point is a must for accurate archery. In addition, NFAS rules do not allow ‘face-walking’ or ‘string-walking’ techniques (ie where you use different anchor points to aid sighting at different distances), so you must find a consistent face anchor point that works for you: however, ‘where?’ is up to you.

Commonly used is the ‘freestyle’ or ‘centre’ anchor point, of under the chin, with head tilted sideways, and string touching centre of chin and nose. This can give better long distance ‘sight marks’ for those with low poundage bows, but does not feel comfortable for everyone, and may not suit spectacle wearers.

Alternatives are various ‘side of face’ anchor points, utilizing the side of the chin, mouth or nose: whichever method you use, keep it simple and easy to do, and use it consistently: common variants are:
Full ‘side of face with the head turned, the string to the side of the chin, the string touching the corner of the mouth, and the tip of the first finger under the jawbone.
Compound bow archers shooting with release aids must also have a consistent anchor point. Again, ‘where?’ is up to you, although your equipment (e.g. style of release aid, or use of peep sight may both dictate and/or simplify your choices).

Anchor Point
The anchor point may be the most vital element of the bow shot. This point -- the spot where you hold your string hand each time you shoot -- must be precisely consistent. A variation up or down will change the trajectory of your arrow. A variation forward or backward will change the amount of thrust on your arrow. Moving it away from the face will send arrows to the left for a right-hander, to the right for a left-hander.
The anchor point, like many things in archery, should be what works best for you. Find a way of positioning your string hand at your face consistently. This usually means touching your index finger or mechanical release to the corner of your mouth, a point on your jaw, or just under your eye.
Your hold at anchor point must remain rock-steady through your sighting and release.

What Beginners Do Wrong...and how to do it right
You don't always anchor in the same place

It is vital that you draw the string back to exactly the same place every time, or you'll never get a consistent grouping. The easiest way to do this is to let your fingers rest against the underside of your chin, with the string touching the exact center of the front of your chin.
Drawing to some indeterminate part of the air in front of your face will mean that your draw length varies from shot to shot, and the vertical grouping will be poor. Drawing to some randomly chosen part of your jaw line will, unless you can feel that your fingers are in exactly the same place each time, lead to a nice horizontal line across the target.

Always anchor with your fingers just underneath the center of your chin. (So important it needed to be repeated in a paragraph of its own.)

If you're using your chin to anchor, you obviously need to make sure your chin is in the same place every time. An easy way to get your head at a consistent angle is to let the string rest against the tip of your nose while you're at full draw.

This whole hand-chin-string-nose system should only come together at one particular angle, and it's easy to feel when you've got it right. It also seems to be one of the things our inexperienced archers are worst at remembering, so it could be the easy way to improve your shooting.

Obviously you need a good, consistent face reference point, but current thinking is not to worry about where that is. It's at least as important to have a relaxed string hand and drawing arm aligned with the arrow, and the latter tends to take most people towards a side anchor, at least for a while. The same can be said of nose/chin referencing, particularly combined with a center of chin reference. Like most things, it's dead useful if you can do it comfortably, but counterproductive if you can't. Most beginners shooting short bows can't do it easily. You will, though, see that good side anchor shooters almost invariably use nose contact, and nearly all top archers use a lot of face contact, including center of chin by various means.