The aim of this 3rd lesson is to teach you how you should hold the bow, making sure to hold the grip correctly to get the most power and the best accuracy. You will also learn 2 of the most common places to put your fingers on the bowstring before pulling the bowstring back.
Steps To Holding The Bow
There are two common mistakes that beginner archers make when holding the bow. The first is gripping to tight, you should have a relaxed grip on the bow. Secondly when archers release the arrow they move their hand too soon which can alter the shot.
- Place your hand around the grip so that the grip is placed around the part of the hand below your thumb.
- The grip will then be positioned between your thumb and your index finger.
- When you raise the bow, you need to position the thumb so that it is pointing towards the target
- Gently fold the remaining fingers around the grip but make sure they are still relaxed.
- As you raise the bow, you will then rotate the knuckles by around 45 degrees.
Make sure to keep the hand on the grip and in position even once the bowstring has been released.
REMEMBER: You will be holding the bow with the hand that is opposite to your eye dominance. If you are shooting right handed then you will be holding the bow with your left hand.
Two Common Ways Of Holding The Bowstring
There are several ways in which you can hold the bowstring, this does tend to alternate depending on the type of archery you do. This will also change depending on whether you are using a release or not.
Below are the two ways in which beginner archers will often hold the bowstring.
If you are new then this is probably the method that you will be shown to do, it is also the easiest to do.
- Place your first 3 fingers below the shaft of the arrow
- The string of the bow will be positioned in the first groove of your fingers.
The index finger should be pushed up against the nock of the arrow or the nock indicators if your bowstring has them.
Split - 1 Above, 2 Below
If you are looking to do target archery, you will soon want to learn how to hold the bowstring this way.
- This method requires you to split your fingers and place your index finger above the nock of the arrow
- The next two fingers should be placed below the nock
- Ensure that the bowstring is positioned in the first grove of the fingers
You need to make sure the index finger is split enough and not touching the arrow as this could cause the arrow to fall off (You can get finger tabs to help prevent this)
NOTE: Make sure that the back of the hand is completely flat and relaxed. If you curve your knuckles around, you will find the arrow is being knocked off the arrow rest
In both cases the little finger is tucked away and the thumb is positioned down towards the ground to form a straight line.
Things To Consider
Below are a couple of things to consider when you are focusing on the grip and how you hold the bowstring
You want to make sure that you keep in mind your grip when you continue with the rest of the shot. It’s very easy (and I have done it many times) to slightly move your grip when drawing the bow and releasing the arrow.
Moving your grip at any point during the shot, could result in a change in your shot and cause you to miss your intended target. If you find your grip has altered, return your bowstring to the starting position and reposition your bow hand.
You want to make sure that you grip remains the same, from the start of the shooting process to the end of the shot and follow through.
The Hook is when you “hook” the bowstring with the first groove in your finger, placing it here is important for a smooth draw. If it is any further down past the first groove the draw will not be as smooth, any closer to the tip and you run the risk of releasing when not intending to. Not only that but you also strain the muscles, which could result in pain.
Make sure the bowstring is positioned comfortably in the first grove, but don’t lock the fingers too tightly. The thumb is then positioned down to the palm of your hand, whilst the back of the hand is perfectly flat.