Understanding A Proper Grip - November 2010

Question: I purchased a new compound about a year ago. My problem is that when I release the bow it is jerking to the left, throwing my shot off. Can you help? -- Steven Raiford, Franklin, Va.



Almost certainly, the problem lies in your grip. It will really feel strange at first, but if you will discipline yourself to take the correct grip on the bow each time you shoot, you will be much more consistent and you won't throw arrows any longer. Here is what you need to do.

Hand placement: Placing your hand on the grip is not a simple task that should be taken lightly. Rather, it is one of the most important steps you take. The primary pressure point between your hand and the bow's grip should be perfectly in line with the center of the two bones that make up your forearm.

You can find this exact spot easily. Bend the wrist of your bow hand slightly and use the index finger of your other hand to press firmly on the palm at various points. Stay relaxed. Your wrist will tend to fold or hinge when you press on every spot except the one that is perfectly in line with the forearm. That is the point that should feel the most contact pressure against the grip at full draw. Any other hand position will introduce tension and torque.

Relax: Let your hand relax fully as you aim. If it is properly positioned on the bow there is absolutely no need for tension. This tension not only has the affect of turning the bow when you release the string it also creeps into your bow arm making it more difficult to hold a relaxed and steady aim. Let your fingers hang naturally. Trying to force your hand to stay open will create just as much shot-destroying tension as clinching it closed.

Consistency: Be very diligent in making sure you place your hand on the grip in exactly the same way every single time. Spend the extra two or three seconds to feel your grip to make sure it is repeating. Eventually this will become instinctive.


I see many archers buckle their wrists and even slide their hands around on the grip as they pull the string and then again when they reach full draw. This may put them in a more powerful position for drawing the bow, but it does great damage to consistent shooting. It's impossible to be consistent when the bow hand or wrist moves at any point after being carefully placed on the bow. Once your hand and wrist are set in place, leave them alone. If you can't do that, you're shooting too much weight.

There are only a small number of fundamentals that can't be compromised or sidestepped if you want to become a better bowhunter and archer and the way you grip the bow is primary among them.

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