Anchor point has such a tremendous effect on everything to do with shooting a compound. People talk about the dot not holding still or their propensity to punch. This is directly driven by how good the anchor point is. So what makes a good anchor point? A good anchor point with a compound is a passive position. By this I mean you see lots of people moving their heads down and moving them around and trying to get a really tight anchor point and this tends to cause a reduction in the balance between the front and the back end. It leads to a moving off the pressure that one sets up at full draw, which is where a lot of the aiming issues come in. Also, paradoxically when you’re shooting indoors most people have a peep sight height that is too low, and conversely when shooting outdoors people have a peep sight height that is too high.
The peep sight being too low is driven by this desire to move the head forwards, and or down to the string, to make a really, really tight position.
So lets look at exactly what the anchor point is there to do.
The anchor point is there to facilitate being able to see through the peep sight in a consistent manner.
Now that may seem very simplistic and obvious but it is something that is missed a lot. People will sooner move their heads to see through a peep sight than they will move a peep sight. When you draw the bow you are looking for an interaction between hand and the face in such a way that it doesn’t affect everything else that you have set up. So a good starting place is to just draw the bow onto the stops, accepting that you have the right draw length, draw the bow hard onto the stops and place the hand comfortably under, or on the jaw line. If you are shooting a short axle to axle bow, and by that I mean anything under 38 inches, there is going to need to be a movement of the head down towards the string. Now what generally happens is people start to move the head forwards rather than just down, rather than just tilting it, as soon as they feel the anchor point come in, and this leads to the back elbow moving out of position and/or the shoulders climbing up.
So the first thing to do to get an idea of what I’m talking about is draw the bow and just anchor with your hand on your jaw where you want it to be and don’t worry about getting your nose on the string. This is why you see a lot of people, including world class international archers who don’t have a interaction between the nose and the string. I think this is missing out on a good position but it allows them to keep this feeling below the neck of a solid position.
So draw the bow so that it anchors, hand underneath the jaw and the string and the nock will be touching somewhere about an inch inside the tip of your jaw. Just shoot the shot from there. Do it close up an don’t worry about the peep sight. Just wrap your thumb round the trigger or whatever release aid you are using and you’ll find you get a very clean release.
Now, you want to keep this clean release and not feel it affected by looking through the peep sight, or over anchoring as we’re going to call it. For most novices, or people who have issues, the correct anchor point is going to involve a head position that feels very much straighter than normally when they anchor. It will feel very much up in the air, and you’ve got to fight the urge to move the head forwards towards the front shoulder. If Its going to dip so the nose touches the string on those shorter axle to axle bows then that’s fine but were looking for it to come in and fit sensibly on the face, and that’s the important part.
This idea of a soft fit on the face will allow you too keep all of the physical posture that you have been trying to achieve during the draw and set up which can be lost by a poor peep sight and a poor anchor position. Do this and I would suspect that you are going to move your peeps sight higher than you’ve ever shot it before and keep your head up in the air.
Once you’ve got this set and you’ve got this soft feeling on your face then the anchor point is really just a position where you have to bring your hand into a position. A position which is going to bring your hand into contact with your jawline and the string is going to touch, if you’re right handed for example, on the centre to left hand side of your nose but not tightly. People worry if it is a soft position then it wont be consistent but you will quickly see how consistent it can be.
Having done this work you have achieved a repeatable anchor point AND set the peep sight, if you take this out on a target you’re going to see a much better execution and a much better aiming.