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Archery This May Be The Most Important Question

This May Be The Most Important Question

archer gripping the bow getting ready to pull back the string
Non-dominant hand on the grip

This may be the most important question when it comes to archery, “What is the proper way to hold my bow?” My answer is, consistently correct.

Whether you’re left-handed or right-handed, consistency is key for the best performance. It’s no different than other sports. How does a shooter accomplish the same POI, shot after shot? What about a pitcher trying to duplicate the best pitch ever? Positioning their body and using the same force repetitively is the way to accomplish their goals.  

You don’t care about those other sports; you just want to know how to hold a bow! What kind? The Bear Archery Grizzly Recurve or the Bear Legit Compound Bow? The hold is basically the same. 

Proper Stance

  • Upright. How else would you stand?
  • Relax, stop expecting so much of yourself so soon! 
  • Feet should be shoulder width apart, that’s for balance, you’ll need to stay upright after all. 

Where’s the Pressure

With the bow at a forty-five-degree angle toward the ground, place your non dominate hand, (that would be the one you don’t brush your teeth with), into the pivot point or throat of the grip making contact. Next drop your palm onto the pressure point of the grip where your palm, nearest your thumb, can press into the pressure point with the strength coming from the forearm through the wrist. Relax your hand around the grip, curl from the middle finger to the pinky in. Rest your pointer finger around the front of the grip and finally, your thumb should be pointing toward the Big Shot Ballistic 450X Bag target. 

Did you get all that? It’s okay if you need to go back and read it again, I’ll be here when you get done, even if you are a slow reader. 

The Draw and Release

You’ve got the stance, and the non-dominate hand placement, next up the draw. Before you go any further you have a decision to make, again, I don’t care how long it takes you, I’ll be waiting. Do you prefer a mechanical release like the Trophy Ridge Spot On Release or are you a finger shooter?

Do you use a mechanical release, attach your hook or jaw to the D Loop. Using your dominant hand, pull the string back raising your elbow up and straight back forming a T with both arms and your body. The bow string should be near your jaw, when you’ve got your target in sight, gently apply a light continuous pull of the trigger until the release occurs. You should still be in the T position after you’ve taken the shot, follow through is key to consistency. 

archer pulling back the bowstring of a compound bow
Finger shooting requires more

If you are using your fingers, you’re only going to need three. Assuming you have all five fingers, use your index, middle, and ring fingers. If you look at your fingers, you’ll notice they have three segments, the third segment, (the one at the very end of your fingers) from that crease on should be the only thing in contact with the string. Draw the string back pulling your elbow up and back again forming a T, with the top of the index finger in line with your mouth. Don’t straighten your fingers for release, this is a little different so listen up. When you’re ready to release, continue your pull straight back and the string will release itself, rolling off your fingers, your arm should continue in the pulling motion. 

Archery is not for the faint of heart.

Faint of heart: Lacking the courage to face something difficult or dangerous.

Is that you? I leave that up to you to decide if the shoe fits. If you just want to get outside and fling some arrows without expectations of mastering the sport and accomplishing near perfection, no worries, fling away and have fun! 

Would you like to master the sport and one day be like Robin Hood, (minus the tights), there will be ups and downs and a mass amount of accomplishments as well as failures along the way. If you will listen to that still small voice that tells you the right thing at the right time, when the “faint” begins to creep in, you should be able to kick that faintness in the teeth and keep on drawing to release.

Still Small Voice, “It’s okay, keep trying, you’ll get better.” Or “Just keep drawing, just keep drawing.” Or “Get off your backside and try again!” Or “Go back and read that blog again, you’ve forgotten everything TBB told you?” 

archery target
Keep that up!

Bottom line, the less variance from shot to shot helps maintain consistency, consistently doing things right produces perfection.

author avatar
The Bow Bully
The Bow Bully discusses a variety of archery topics and offers tips, advice and the occasional nudge to make you a better bowhunter. With years of experience, and an attitude to match, you'll find the Bully has something to offer both beginners and seasoned hunters.

4 thoughts on “This May Be The Most Important Question”

  1. I like this topic, it would be nice to have more on the subject of proper form. I got a bow last Christmas but haven’t shot it much because I was afraid to develop bad habits as I am not very knowledgeable. The method you described for proper release is not something I knew to do. Does that technique apply to both compounds and recurves?

  2. Hey there 3MeterParaBellum, interesting name by the way. Archery can be intimidating, I get it but hopefully you’ll get out there and get started. It is the same for a recurve, the key is to not add tension to the fingers but keep them relaxed and let the string in some sense push your fingers out of the way. I hope that was helpful. Start somewhere, happy shooting!

    -The Bow Bully

    • Thanks for the tip and the encouragement! There is an archery shop near me that I will have to go to soon to get my bow sorted and get some questions answered, but I definitely want to be ready to lean into archery a bit this Fall when the weather gets better.

      My username was derived from the old Latin phrase, “Si vis pacem para bellum,” meaning “If you wish for peace, prepare for war.” 3 Meter was supposed to refer to my own height and to say that I was prepared for war, but I must have been tired that day because I am not 9 feet tall as it turns out and it should have been 2 Meter Para Bellum. By the time I realized my mistake though the name had stuck on another forum.

      • You’re welcome! I hope your experience is one that drives you to learning more and more and share with others.

        As far as the name, that makes it even more interesting. There’s definitely some truth in that, and the nine feet tall, you can be that online 😉

        -The Bow Bully

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