The point of contact called “Grip.”

Posted: 2014/05/09 in From the perspective of an Archery Coach.

Over the years that I’ve been shooting, I’ve shot Traditional, Olympic and Compound bows, and I can say that each offers a completely different level of complexity to become proficient. However, beyond the rudimentary arguments regarding what is or is not proper technique or form, there is the points of contact with your equipment that many spend countless hours perfecting to something they can call consistent, structured and repeatable, and among them is gripping the bow.

The standard think today is…

You must relax your bow hand into a non-grasping position as not to allow tension, and that consistency in regard to accuracy depends on it.

However, let’s break this down just a little. Are you pressing into the web or fleshy part of your hand with a high-wrist or are you healing to the base of the wrist? Are you trying to push into the flat of the hand, along what is called the life line? Perhaps, you may be using an edge on the bow to guide your hand into what you perceive to be the same position for every shot. And, ALL of these are done.

Here’s how I see it. The hand is a very complex device in its structure. It is articulate and flexible, it can be formed and shaped but it also has a natural or relaxed position when at rest, and it’s when its at rest, that shape, that I’m most interested in. The hand is sensitive to touch, it can provide feedback to the brain in regard to pressure and through this tactile function it can be locked into a position, seemingly rigid but relaxed nonetheless.

Now, let’s go back to this concept of a loose grip providing increased accuracy. Will it with a Traditional bow? There will be some out there that will claim so, but me? I wouldn’t shoot any Trad bow without having a comfortable grip on the bow. Am I choking the living shizzle out of it? No, but I do have it gripped to prevent a couple of things from happening at the point of release. One, I don’t want the upper limb to fall back toward me, and two, some bows like to do a lateral rotation on release and I don’t want my bow to turn away from my wrist. A Traditional bow does not have attached stabilizers or weight systems to stop reaction forces at release, so, the solution is to grip the bow.

However, that said, I’ve done something to my Trad bow to ensure that I’m gripping the bow in the same manner for every shot taken. I carved a groove into the grip. This is something that my index finger and knuckles can slide into and the tactile feel tells my brain when I’m in the right position.

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Now, take all of this and apply it to the different techniques of Olympic Recurve or Compound bows. (I’ll get smacked for this) These styles are far more similar in nature than either camp will want to admit, so I’ll only show what I’ve done to my compound as I no longer shoot an Olympic bow. As with the Trad bow, I’ve created on the grip of my compound a number of guides to send tactile messages to my brain that I’ve established the proper grip. There is a groove for my thumb, a pressure pad for my thumb, a flat shelf for my index finger, a pressure pad for my index finger and a pressure pad for the palm of my hand, near the base of my wrist. Sounds complex, I know, but it’s all been positioned to keep my hand in the most relaxed position possible while at the same time creating a rigid support platform, on which the bow can rest.

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So, the long and the short of it is, even though it may appear that I’m not gripping the bow, I am. I, for one, do not believe that letting the bow fall out of your hand is a sign that you’ve executed a relaxed shot and in some cases, it may be quite the opposite.


Any thoughts or comments, what do you do to ensure consistency?

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