How to Grip the Bow
The bow arm (or bow hand) is the arm that holds the bow up. It is sometimes referred to as a dead-post because it doesn’t really do anything special, other than hold the bow. That being said, your bow arm has a great effect on accuracy. This applies to both traditional and modern bows.
Steps to Properly Grip the Bow
1. If you are right-handed, grip the bow with your left hand. First off, you’re not really “gripping” the bow, you’re simply holding the bow and pushing it forward as you draw back. If you grip the bow too tightly you’ll torque it from side to side, causing you to miss left or right.
The best way to avoid torque is to lightly touch the tips of your thumb and index finger together and allow your other fingers to remain relaxed.
2. The bow’s grip should settle in the “throat” or “V” of your hand (between your thumb and index finger.) The grip should also line up just to the thumb side of your “life line.” In other words, the bow is supported by the big, fleshy part of your lower thumb.
For maximum support, keep your wrist straight and in-line with your forearm bones (as seen in the photo above). If you allow your wrist to bend outward it will cause the bow to settle at the base of your thumb, which causes movement. As you relax your grip on the bow, you will feel the bow settle at a balanced fulcrum point in the throat of your hand.
3. The most common mistake for beginner archers is to allow the elbow to bend downward. This increases the chance of slapping your arm with the string. Therefore, you must draw with your elbow up and bent slightly outward.
4. As you draw the bow back, your bow arm pushes the bow forward. Remember, your back muscles are doing all the work. As you squeeze your shoulder blades together, your bow arm and your shooting arm apply pressure in opposite directions. This is called “pulling the bow apart.”
On the shot, both arms continue in opposite directions. This is called “follow through” and will be covered in a future post.
Click here for Step #3: The Release Arm