Archery form involves many components working in harmony to produce consistent shots. The grip is one of the easiest aspects of form to master, and improving your grip can quickly increase accuracy.
The fundamentals of a good grip are the same whether you shoot a longbow, Olympic recurve or compound bow. A proper grip imparts little influence on the bow while providing strong support.
Getting a Grip
If you grip a bow like a baseball bat, it easily twists side to side. That’s called torquing the bow, which causes errant shots. Your goal is to grip the bow in a way that generates minimal torque.
A good grip, in fact, isn’t much of a grip at all. A loose bow grip reduces torque.
To grip your bow, relax your hand and place it on the bow’s grip. Slide your hand up the grip until it can go no farther. The web of your hand should be in the throat, which is the deepest part of the bow’s grip.
Next, set your hand so only the area between your thumb and the palm’s lifeline contacts the grip. As you look at your hand, your knuckles should be set back and at a 45-degree angle to the riser.
Point your thumb toward the target, and rest your other fingers on the front of the bow. If you find yourself squeezing the bow’s grip, tuck in your fingers so they don’t touch the bow. If you use the tucked technique, you’ll need a finger or wrist sling to prevent the bow from dropping. You can buy a sling at an archery shop.
Apply slight pressure to the bowstring to set your grip into place, and keep your hand relaxed throughout the shot.
Archery shops are excellent sources for professional instruction on the finer points of shooting a bow. Working with an instructor significantly shortens your learning curve. Archery 360 has a listing of ranges, archery shops, and instructors in your area, which you can find here.