Coach Kim Hyung Tak’s 5 keys to great recurve archery technique

Korea won its first Olympic gold medal in archery in 1984 and the man in the box behind was Kim Hyung Tak. He opened his own archery school in 2004 and is widely-regarded around the world as one of the best coaches in the sport. 

After recently releasing his own application detailing his method of teaching archery technique, he’s identified the five most important parts of shooting a recurve bow.

1. Body angle

“This is important from when you first learn archery. If you don’t learn good body angle with stance correctly it’s difficult to have consistent distance to the clicker and keep a 50-50 balance during expansion,” says coach Kim.

“Practise the correct body angle using a bow that’s not too strong.”

2. Hook

The fingers on the string are one of two points of contact between the archer and the bow.

“An accurate hook will make for a precise release and it will ensure stable finger positioning during expansion,” he explains – while pictures show he advocates a relatively deep position on the fingers – adding that the technique is keyed on removing tension and making sure the wrist is not bent.

Make sure your finger tab fits your hand correctly, too.

3. Release

(Check the explanation at around the 14:50 mark in this video.)

“As a beginner, before shooting, you should practise training your release first,” says coach Kim.

Practise the feeling, direction and distance of your releasing fingers, he says – as this first method you learn will remain a habit for a long time.

If you’ve already been shooting a while and want to improve, sometimes it’s best to go back to basics.

4. Clicker use

Learning to use a click is a step-by-step process.

“It’s important to have the correct draw length set with a bow that’s not too strong at first, otherwise you will tend to pull with your fingers and other necessary muscles to activate the clicker,” says coach Kim.

5. Expansion


The most important part of a world-class archery technique? Finishing the shot and sending the arrow flying.

“During expansion, maintain a 50-50 balance between pushing and pulling. You should not change the balance or direction of forces during this stage,” explains coach Kim.

“The time expansion takes will will vary in high-pressure situations like competition or in windy conditions, but the method of expansion should be the same – whether it takes two or seven seconds.”

During expansion, the last millimetres of a shot before the arrow is released, coach Kim says archers should remain perfectly still.

“And it’s important to not use the pulling hand or the pushing arm to execute, but the big muscles in the back,” he adds.

The Kim, Hyung-Tak Archery application is available to purchase for Apple devices now.