Go Here to See a Live
Demonstration of Proper Hand Position
Perhaps one of the most annoying things a beginner archer experiences when shooting a bow is having the
string slash against your bow arm. If you use your fingers to shoot the arrow, when you release the arrow the
string does not go straight back to its original position. On the contrary, the pressure of the fingers releasing the
string actually makes the string bounce from side to side. This is an oscillating horizontal movement, as it pushes
the arrow forward. The string then hits your arm and causes minor to serious pain. Here are four steps which
should help to avoid anymore painful encounters with the string.
Step 1: Start by inspecting your hand position
Examine the fingers on the left. Make sure that your hand is not too far inside. This can be determined by
seeing if a straight line from the grip down goes across the hand. If a large portion the hand is within that line,
then you need to adjust your grip. This type of grip puts too much of an angle on the wrist, pushing the arm
further into the plane of the string. The exact opposite of being too far in is being too far out. Many people
believe that if they stick their hand out really far to the side, then they wonít hit the string. That is not the case
unfortunately. This grip puts too much pressure on the thumb and the hand could slip out of the grip. A correct
hand position is obviously in-between the two. The grip should feel natural and it should be just inside the lifeline
on the hand.
See a video if you
need a visual (requires RealPlayer).
Step 2: Move on and Check the Bow Arm Itself
The best bow arm position for a clear release is to rotate the elbow inward, or, down slightly to get the arm
out of the way of the string. If you rotate the elbow slightly in a downward motion, the arm should avoid contact
with the string. This angle of the arm keeps the string farther away, providing a larger area between the arm and
string. This position is especially helpful to those archers who are not double jointed. Make sure not to
over-rotate and keep the position of the hand steady. It is a slight rotation so the arm lies flat and provides greater
room for the moving string.
Step 3: If the First Two Steps were Successful
but still having Trouble getting Clearance, Consider Opening the Stance
By opening up the stance, an archer gives more space between his or her bow arm and the string. This
basically creates a larger triangle between the anchor, bow shoulder and bow hand. To obtain an
open stance, start out with a basic
closed stance that has both feet aligned perfectly to the target. Then move the back foot
forward just a bit. Now the archer is in an open stance. It has been recommended that the archer should first
learn with a closed stance and then progress to an open stance if the problem canít be corrected with the past
two steps. This open stance is also suggested for women who have trouble because the string hits their chest
Step 4: If the Past Three Steps have Failed
Time and Time Again, the Archer should Evaluate their Form to See if They are
Anticipating the Shot.
A lot of times, especially with archers who use clickers, just before the arrow is let go they predict their follow
through. Many archers try to extend their arm before the shot is let go from the bow. This action will throw the
arm directly into the path of the string and leave the arrow far short of the target area. Always let the shot
complete before you release and let it out NATURALLY!!!
Donít be discouraged if you fail a few times. No one is perfect and it just takes practice. Even the best archers
in the world need to wear arm guards to protect from burns. The main thing that you want to avoid are serious
burns that can really sting. If problems still continue after a lot of shots, go to a professional archery store or
teacher and ask for help.
Go to the