You may have been on YouTube, watching an Olympic archery competition where you noticed an archer drop his bow. Why do archers let the bow drop as this should make them lose control of their grip? This is not a show-off or trick. There is a reason behind it.
You may be new to archery or just a curious bystander with dozens of unanswered questions. Have no worries as we have designed this article to let you have a peek into a Pro-archer’s mind. Slide into the main body of the article, and let us show you what information they have and you don’t.
Is it bad when the archer lets the bow drop?
There are no general reasons why you shouldn’t drop your bow. You should also note that dropping your bow depends on the kind of bow you are using. However, there are some disadvantages you should consider in some specific situations, let’s look at them.
You may be in a competition where you are required to hit several targets that are just 15 yards away. This requires several rapid shots in a relatively short period. In this situation, dropping your bow is a bad idea as it will slow you down. So, in short-range shooting competitions, letting the bow drop is not good.
In a situation where you are using a compound bow, you don’t need to drop your bow. Compared to the regular or recurve bow, a compound bow does not put much tension on your arm. Moreover, a compound bow does not require a follow-through action which is what a bow-drop basically is.
Also, if your bow doesn’t come with a sling, you must never let it drop. The sling helps you hold the bow even after you have let it drop.
Why do archers let the bow drop?
Why do archers have to drop their bows? There are several reasons why dropping the bow is not only good but also wise. Some of them include steadying, ease of tension, the arrow’s wobbling effect, precision, and accuracy.
We take a more detailed explanation of the above tips in the following paragraphs.
As you release your arrow, you may notice that it wobbles a bit as it launches free. There is a big possibility of the arrow running into the bow. Your arrow veers and may go off course. Dropping your bow is very helpful to take it out of the arrow’s way.
Ease of tension
Letting the bow drop is not supposed to be a meditated action since it is naturally meant to drop. This is because you’re to only support the bow and not choke the life out of it in one tight grip. Gripping the bow as you pull the string causes a lot of tension on your arms, causing them to shake.
Precision and Accuracy
You are not meant to hold the bow. That is why you need the sling. Having a firm grip on the bow causes a lot of tension to build in your arms, resulting in shaky, unsteady hands. So, you support the bow in position with your hand while your sling does the holding.
This increases the stability and control you have on the shot, thereby, increasing your shot accuracy. In any Olympic archery competition out there, precision is the biggest factor that fetches you points.
Can you damage a bow if you drop it on the ground?
Your bow can be damaged when it drops on the ground depending on if it fell hard, or if it fell on a hard or soft surface. You may be lucky to pick your bow with no damages if it mistakenly drops from your hand onto the floor. Also, you may have minor damages.
However, your bow most likely wouldn’t be damaged by a mere drop on the floor.
Why is gripping a bow bad?
In archery, gripping a bow comes with several consequences including tensed hands and poor aiming. When you grip your bow, you tend to clench muscles in your hand, wrist, fingers, and forearm. This causes your hand to shake, you don’t expect a bow to be steady in your shaking hands.
The tension this puts in your arm will alter your aim and accuracy even if your arm doesn’t shake visibly. Consequently, taking shots at a target in a long range can never be accurate. With targets that are sufficiently far away, an inch veer can cause several feet wide deviations. The slightest movement can even make an archer lose an Olympic competition.
How to hold a bow in place without gripping it?
Knowing how to hold a bow without gripping it is a very key anchor point for your overall accuracy. The ideal way to handle a bow is by letting it rest between your forefinger and thumb. Let’s take a step-by-step approach to handle the bow below.
- Your palm should be placed around the grip so that the grip is around the part of your hand just below your thumb.
- Make sure that the grip is resting in between your index finger and your thumb.
- As you raise the bow, check and ensure that your thumb is positioned such that it is pointed forward.
- Gently curl the four remaining fingers around the grip, making sure that it isn’t clenched. Keep it relaxed.
- As you raise the bow, make a downward 45-degree rotation of your bow arm fingers.
- The hand you use in holding your bow should be opposite your dominant eye.
How to Fix Common Archery Issues?
There are several problems related to archery and its causes. While some of these issues affect our overall performance in the act, some can result in undesirable effects. In this segment, we will consider these problems and how to avoid, and where possible, fix them.
When you dry fire, you simply pull and release a bowstring without an arrow in it. You may see no danger in the act, as almost anyone can do it for fun. What you intended as a joke can earn you severe physical damages, why?
When you engage the string of a loaded bow, you introduce a huge amount of potential energy into the system. This is evident in the tout string and the creaking bow limbs. Releasing the string transfers all that energy into the arrow as kinetic energy, sending it towards the target.
When a bow is drawn without an arrow, the same energy is generated. The only difference is that there is no arrow to absorb most of the energy when you release the string. The release will cause the bow to vibrate and possibly break, sending splinters in all directions. The flying parts can get you severe injuries or even get into your eyes, you may lose your sight.
Bad Standing Posture:
Many archers make the mistake of ignoring their stance when they are taking shots. Poor stance not only means your feet are positioned wrongly, but your center of gravity is also off-balance. Also, your stance impacts your balance, strength, and ultimately, the aim of your shot.
To perfect or correct your stance, make a cruciform on the ground using arrows if you are outdoors. If you are indoors, use tape. The middle of your back foot sole should touch the top of the cruciform with the bottom pointing at your target. You should then place your front foot in the area to the left of your cruciform.
Also known as bow torque, this happens when your hand gets twisted in its grip. This causes random right-left hits also known as wrist slaps. Not only do you feel does this causes pain, but you can also sustain bruises if your forearm is not covered.
To fix this, you’re to hold the bow just as if you are holding a pistol. This kind of grip forms your hand into a fist, bringing the string closer to your arm. Thereby, making you able to twist the bow in the right or left direction.
Bad Elbow Rotation:
When involved in an archery session one very important skill to master is having the ideal elbow rotation. The right elbow rotation involves you keeping the elbow of your bow-arm as straight up and down as possible. A wrong elbow rotation can cause the arrow to veer sideways and bruise your inner elbow.
To fix this issue, we recommend that you start with rotating the elbow straight before raising or engaging the bow. Once you have achieved a proper position of your bow-arm elbow, it’s easy to maintain the position while taking shots.
This kind of issue is associated with using a compound bow. Irrespective of if you use your index finger or thumb to mechanically shoot, punching the trigger is almost unavoidable. Beginners and pros alike actually do this, wanting to have complete control over the shot.
Punching simply means you are slamming your finger on the trigger as you shoot the bow. Instead of activating the release as intended, punching the trigger sets it off with a sudden jerk. To correct this, activate your release by pulling the string with your whole arm. This method helps you to have a more natural and smooth shot.
Tight bow grip:
It is a very common practice where archers clench a firm grip on the bow. Such archers believe it gives them control over the shot, while just the reverse is the case. Pulling your bowstring with your bow arm fingers tightly gripping the bow causes tension. The tension causes the arms to shake and in turn, ruins your aim.
To correct this, wear a sling on your finger or wrist to ensure the bow doesn’t fall off after shooting. Then hold the bow with your fingers relaxed, engage the string, and shoot.
Why do archers let their bow drop? With a lot of reasons contributing to this, one that is most relevant is the accuracy and precision it provides. You should also note that they don’t drop the bow on purpose. The bow drops on its own since they don’t actually hold it in their hand, but with a sling worn on their wrist.
Also, remember not to drop your bow if you are using a compound bow, or you are not wearing a sling. This article has not only answered the above question, but it also contains valuable information for archers. Additionally, some common unhealthy practices and habits associated with archery have been discussed with proffered solutions.