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Form Deep Dive: Grip Pressure

How you grip your bow can have an impact on where your arrow lands. Your bow hand is the only point of contact with the bow, and if you grip the bow inconsistently, your shot placement will be inconsistent as well. Bow grips come in many shapes and sizes, but regardless of the style you choose, being able to consistently place your hand on this grip is the key to successful shooting.

You should choose the bow grip that’s most comfortable for you. It should promote a relaxed bow hand — this will come from pressure being properly distributed by the grip into the palm. The pressure point should generally be in the “meaty” part of the thumb pad. Most of the pressure should be felt about midway between where your wrist connects to your palm and the V shape formed between your thumb and index finger. This will vary slightly from archer to archer, but in general, this is a great starting point.

If your pressure point deviates from this position, you’ll start to see some errant shots on the target. “Heeling” the bow is a common problem where the archer pushes with the heel of the hand, moving the pressure point to the lowest point of contact on the grip. This usually makes the arrows hit high due to the offset pressure that is much below the throat (deepest part) of the grip. Conversely, putting too much pressure on the throat of the grip can produce a downward force that sends arrows low on the target. Arrows will go left or right if you change the pressure point by having too much tension in your fingers or your thumb.

A good bow hand is a relaxed one that you can repeat for each shot. When the arrow is released from the bow, the bow hand should stay relaxed for as long as possible, which will allow the bow to propel the arrow forward without interference from the archer. The bow’s forward jump should be stopped only by the finger sling, not the archer’s fingers. This will ensure that the bow hand remains relaxed throughout the duration of the shot, and that because of the relaxed hand, proper grip pressure was maintained. 

An easy way to tell whether or not your grip pressure is consistent (without looking at arrow placement) is to take note of how the bow is jumping out of your hand. Inconsistencies in the reaction of the bow will give you a good idea of how consistent your grip pressure is. Good coaching and video review – plus a ton of practice – will help you get it perfect. 



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Learn the basics here, from the different styles of archery to how to choose the bow that’s right for you.


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