July 03, 2017
By Levi Morgan
If you know archery, you know how important a consistent anchor position is. Most people think of anchoring as a single thing, but the truth is, having a repeatable anchor position involves three major components. Everyone's anchor involves — or at least should involve — the following: release-to-hand contact, hand-to-face contact and string-to-face contact. If you have these three components down, you will have a solid anchor position.
Release-to-hand contact is very crucial in all parts of your shot, but none more so than your anchor. If you are shooting a handheld release, that importance doubles. You can literally change your draw length and entire form just by positioning the release differently in your hand from one shot to the next. It is critically important to find a comfortable spot in your hand where the release just seems to fit.
It's not a bad idea to even mark that on your hand with a marker or tape while you practice. Make a conscious effort each shot to place that release in your hand exactly the same. Soon, that will be the only place you can comfortably place the release, and any slight change will be noticed immediately. At this point, the marking and/or tape is no longer needed.
A consistent hand-to-face contact point can be a little trickier. I've seen guys and girls mash their hands into their faces, and I've seen them completely avoid any contact with their face at all (both are disasters). You want to find a comfortable pressure point somewhere along your jawbone. I like to slide my jawbone between my first knuckle and middle knuckle. I don't mash my hand to my face.
I just very lightly touch my hand to that spot on my jaw so I can execute my release properly. I've found that the more pressure I put on my face, the harder it is to execute the shot. On the other hand, no contact — or a "floating anchor" — are even worse, in my opinion. How can you ever know when you are anchored if you can't feel any contact with your hand?
The final piece of the anchor is the contact between your face and the string. While you need this contact, you absolutely can't press on the string with your face, as this will cause nightmares with shooting consistency. The absolute best and most repeatable string-to-face contact point I've found is to very lightly touch the string to the tip of your nose. If you use your cheek or the side of your nose, it's hard to put the string in the exact same spot every time. The tip of your nose is always in the same place.
Just like every other aspect of archery, there is no right or wrong anchor — if you can repeat it from shot to shot. Having the correct draw length is very crucial in comfortably anchoring with the method I've just described. Assuming your equipment fits you perfectly, this three-part anchor method is, in my opinion, the best way to go about fine-tuning your archery game. Always remember your release-to-hand, hand-to-face and string-to-face contact points. Stay consistent with all three, and your anchor position will never fail.