Best Archery Books for Beginners

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A comprehensive beginner guide to the best archery books for UK archers

Hopefully you’re already making use of this website to learn everything you need to know about the shot sequence. However, it never hurts to compliment the information on with some additional reading materials. That’s why we’ve gathered a list below of the best archery books available today.

This list has been curated to avoid books that focus on bowhunting, as this is illegal in the UK. We’ve also ignored some very basic beginner books that would not really tell you anything that this website doesn’t already.

The books below will not only teach you about archery, but deep dive onto the more advanced aspects of the sport. Aside from tips on ‘how to do it’, they focus on everything from the science, artistry, history and culture of archery.

Take a look below and happy reading!

Archery: The Art of Repetition” by Simon Needham (2012). The best overall archery book.

Well known British archer and coach Simon Needham has written perhaps the most comprehensive UK archery book available today. It offers a holistic approach to archery training; covering various essential topics in the sport. It doesn’t go into detail of the shot sequence, but provides everything you would need to know around that theory.

Content overview

  • The first few chapters offer guidance for starting out in archery. Around 40 pages in however it gives a detailed analysis of archery equipment. Everything from selecting the right gear, setting up the equipment and fine tuning it. Needham has been involved in the development and refinement of a number of archery equipment. Therefore his insights in this area are invaluable.
  • It then goes into the depth of archery fitness. Highlighting how you can improve your strength, endurance and flexibility in archery. There are also pages on nutrition and the psychological aspects of archery.
  • Getting into advanced areas, there is a lot of coverage of archery competitions and training methods. Arrow selection and preparation, as well as how to fine tune your equipment, is all covered.
  • The last few chapters also focus on practical tips and tricks to shooting methodology. You’ll learn advanced techniques for improving your shooting skills.

What makes it stand out?

The inclusion of chapters on mental strategies and nutrition sets this book apart from others in the category. It helps to highlight the multi-dimensional nature to archery, as both a physical and mental sport.

You can pick it up here.

Archery Anatomy: An Introduction to Techniques for Improved Performance” by Ray Axford (2017). The best archery book for understanding how your body works in archery.

This archery book covers everything about the bio and physical mechanics of your body as they apply to archery. It’s best for readers who are already familiar with basic archery techniques and are looking to get ahead.

Content overview

  • The book is divided into two sections: “Body and Bow Anatomy” which is all about the human body, and “Technique Analysis” with dives into the nitty gritty of the bow
  • In the human anatomy section, it’s like a deep dive into how our body is built for archery. It talks about how our bones aren’t just there to keep us upright, but they’re like the framework that handles all the pressure when we’re shooting arrows. It gets into the juicy details about our joints and muscles – ever wondered how your arm moves the way it does when you draw a bow? This book has got you covered
  • It also explains how to use your muscles properly to handle the pressure of the bow, as well as stress distribution
  • In the bow analysis section, there is an expectation that you know a bit about bows already. But it’s fascinating how it breaks down the design and all the little bits and pieces that make a bow, well, a bow. It talks about everything from training bows to olympic recurve, plus how sights and stabilizers work

What makes it stand out?

What makes this book stand out is how it marries detailed anatomy lessons with practical archery mechanics. It’s not your everyday archery manual. It’s a deep dive into the science and the physicality behind the sport. Whether you’re an archery nerd or just starting out, this book takes you on a fascinating journey.

You can pick it up here.

Total Archery: Inside the Archer by KiSik Lee and Tyler Benner (2019). The best archery book for Olympic coaching.

KiSik Lee is a highly respected figure in the world of archery. He has over 30 years of coaching experience, including coaching Olympic gold medallists from multiple countries. His extensive experience and global influence makes him a leading voice on archery technique. The book’s philosophy focuses on archery as an art form and medium for personal growth. It is the best coaching manual for those looking to get olympic-level tips on the shot sequence.

Content Overview

  • The introduction of the book covers archery’s transparency and honesty as a sport. It gives a thorough guide on the philosophy and mental approach to olympic level shooting.
  • Entire chapters are dedicated to each part of the sequence. Everything from stance, posture, hip alignment, hooking the string etc is covered. However there is more detail on the angular motion of the draw, and the ‘loading’ of the muscles in this phase. There are also chapters that detail the ‘rhythm’ of the sequence and the transfer and expansion of energy during the release and follow through.
  • Theres advanced sections on breathing techniques as well as the timing needed for aiming. Body awareness and control as well as the focus of your eye, are also covered. The conclusion of the book even covers areas of the psychological and emotional state of the archer.

What makes it stand out?

The books collaboration with Tyler Benner, who trained under Lee, brings a depth to the sequence not seen elsewhere. Benner’s perspective as a student and his ability to articulate the essence of Lee’s teachings. It creates a type of conversation for the book that de mystifies the technicality of Lee’s advanced methodology, making it more accessible for beginners.

You can pick it up here.

Shooting the Stickbow: A Practical Approach to Classical Archery by Anthony Camera (2020 edition). The best archery book for traditional archery.

The most well-rounded book that primarily focuses on classical archery. If you’re shooting with a traditional recurve or longbow, this is the book for you. It’s even a great book if you are shooting modern recurve bows. However it won’t be of use for compound bow users – try the next book in this list for that! It is however a quite dense book and must be read slowly!

Content Overview

  • The first section covers the fundamentals, including equipment and shooting. What’s nice about this section is a healthy part that corrects common errors. It also has a dense section on the initial steps of tuning the bow and arrow
  • Next it covers traditional bow design, arrows, fletching, and bowstrings. This is essential for classic archery users as it gives a real focus on constructing your own arrows and bows
  • There are also details on the shot sequence that are more applied to larger bows. In particular the correct back tension, breathing, technique and physical fitness required. It goes far beyond the basics!​
  • It even concludes with some nice chapters on the golden age of archery and the life and legacy of Earl Hoyt Jr., the father of modern Olympic archery. It offers a historical perspective and personal reflections, adding depth and context to the technical aspects covered earlier in the book​​.

What makes it stand out?

There is a lot of first-hand practical examples to follow in this book. It adds to the authors writing style which is clear, engaging, and accessible.

Pick it up here.

“Core Archery: Shooting With Proper Back Tension” by Larry Wise (2004). The best archery book for compound bows.

An excellent choice for anyone looking to delve deeper into the intricacies of compound bow archery. It specifically focuses on the use of back tension during the shooting process. As compound bow releases are different to any other type of bow, it requires a dedicated book like this to master the shot sequence.

Content Overview

  • The first sections of the book focus on the biomechanics of shooting a compound bow. It explains how the body works, and the core muscles used during the sequence. It explains the theory in an accessible way despite the detail and technical language involved
  • There are detailed step-by-step guides to implementing back tension into the shot sequence. This includes exercises to strengthen the relevant muscles and drills to practice the technique
  • There are also sections on the mental aspect of using a compound bow. This is particularly shown in the release phase and the user of trigger releases.

What makes it stand out?

It offers a deep dive into mastering back tension and consistency in shooting with compound bows. It includes plenty of diagrams and illustrations as well as real-life practical examples.

Pick it up here

Honourable mention for other great archery books

Here’s a brief list of some other archery books we can recommend in addition to the above:

  • “Zen in the Art of Archery” by Eugen Herrigel (1948)
    • A classic text that explores the philosophy and spirituality of archery. It draws parallels between the practice of archery and Zen Buddhism. It is a unique and brilliant book however it is more about Buddhism than it is archery.
  • “Archery Fitness: Physical Training For The Modern Archer” by Ashley Kaly (2016)
    • This book focuses on the physical aspects of archery training. It offers exercises and routines to build the right strength and endurance for archery. It is however at times more like a workout book than an archery book!
  • “Archery Fundamentals” by Teresa Johnson (2nd edition, 2014)
    • This covers all of the basics of archery, similar to this website, but has fantastic presentation. It’s another great archery guide if you feel this website has not given you enough!
  • “Controlled Process Shooting: The Science of Target Panic” by Joel Turner (2016)
    • A focus on target panic; specifically addressing the causes for it and the techniques to overcome it.
  • “Precision Archery” edited by Steve Ruis and Claudia Stevenson (2004)
    • A compilation of expert advice and techniques from various archery professionals. It’s distinctive in the range of diverse perspectives and insights it has, but it is not a clear guide for beginners.
  • “Instinctive Shooting” by G. Fred Asbell (2nd edition, 1993)
    • Though this booked is aimed at bowhunters, it is perhaps the best archery book to cover instinctive shooting.
  • “Archery: The Technical Side” edited by C.N. Hickman, Forrest Nagler, and Paul E. Klopsteg (Reprint edition, 2007)
    • A compilation of technical papers on the science and mechanics of archery. Unique due to its scientific approach, however it is quite a dense read for anyone just starting out.

That’s it! Happy reading!