April 01, 2012Such a simple task of grabbing your bow can turn into such a problem area. For years this has plagued me with problems causing inconsistencies in my down range arrow placement. It was these problems that triggered me to hire a coach to help fix my torque problems. While picking apart my archery, bow torque became the focus area. All caused from holding my bow improperly. The advice I learned has stuck with me forever.
My bow hunting obsession has taught me many lessons about proper form. The most important is that using the proper archery form will lead to great success. Simply put, a well-placed arrow kills!
BowGrip: Minimize and tension and movement in your bow hand to eliminate bow torque.
Equal Big Problems
Every archer knows that bow torque causes problems. Torque is caused by turning a bow in your hand. This can be caused by several factors. The number one problem is gripping the bow too tightly, rotating the bow in your hand. This often results in rolling your hand or putting pressure on the bow. Any contact with a bow can cause movement or tension. Since it is impossible to remove your bow hand, minimal repeatable contact is the next best solution.
Even further repetition within gripping is very important. Let me say bow torque is not good. That being said it is hard to reproduce the same amount of torque every time. That is why bow torque causes inconsistencies in flight. I used to put arrows in two locations depending on my torque problem. I constantly missed in the same location or hit a bullseye. In this situation my torque was being repeated but continued to cause me problems.
In the end bow torque means arrows are launched differently. The bow moves slightly kicking an arrow off course. Removing all torque is the archer's ultimate goal.
I cannot seem to get rid of any of my timeworn bows. These older bows show the appearances of older technology. I believe I've kept them around for the memories of those younger years in the woods. More importantly these bows remind me about how far we have advanced in the past twenty years. My oldest bow, which was a top runner back in the day, has a big fat grip. This is three times bigger than those of the current day.
Today bows are outfitted with skinny grips designed to lie within an archer's hand. Over the years custom grips get smaller. Some of the best shooters remove their grip and shoot with only the riser, which has provided them with torque-free shooting. This is not far from reality, some of the new 2012 bows have a small grip attached to either side the riser. Then the hand face is simply the riser. That is providing the ultimate skinny grip. Minimal contact eliminates rotation within the hand, a big portion of torque.
Newcomers to the world of archery often grab a bow with a death grip. There is a need to hold on like a steering wheel. Furthermore many are afraid the bow will jump out of their hand. This much contact is disastrous; it is easy to rotate in your hand and provide too much tension.
Today there are a few grips which have become highly favored among professional archers; high grip, medium grip, and low grip. There are slight differences between these that cause big changes in arrow flight. Holding a bow with a high wrist means an archer is holding the bow higher in his hand. This consists of straightening the wrist to the point that your hand is straight. The bow is being held by only holding it in the webbing between the index finger and thumb. Medium grip is setting the bow farther down the hand on the life-line. The bow falls into the hand slightly fitting into the hand. The low grip consists of pushing the base of the hand so the wrist bone and life-line crease in the hand contact the grip. Most importantly is to repeat the same grip position over and over.
From The Top
Start out by reaching forward with your bow hand and pretend to push against the wall. Make sure your body has a center of gravity. Set the bow along the life-line within your hand. Decide on a high, medium, or low grip. I prefer to set the bow within my hand for a medium grip. This places the bow between the meat of the palm of my thumb. This is a place that I have found a consistent hand position. It falls there consistently and feels very comfortable in the hand. Regardless of the weather conditions or gloves I can find that spot within my hand. It is a repeatable location that provides me with the same grip position over and over.
Once this is chosen then continue to work on a loose grip. In my early years I failed here. I had a loose grip but it was not consistent at setting the bow in the exact same location in my hand. Many choose an open hand grip which is leaving the hand open, fingers extending forward without any fingers touching any portion of the bow. Many others touch the tip of their index finger to the thumb with all other finger straight out. I choose to roll my pinky and ring finger over into the palm of my hand. What this does is force them out of the way and when I feel them against my palm it
is an indicator my grip is right. Then I relax my index and middle fingers over the front of the grip. Most importantly do not roll, grip tight, or grab the bow through any portion of the shot or even afterwards. Bows today do not jump so there is no fear of having it fall away. If anything bows will hang or roll slightly forward or back after the shot.
Regardless of which you choose stay loose. A relaxed hand allows the bow to sit properly. A tense hand cause unnecessary tension on the bow. These grips described will provide torque-free shooting that feels comfortable in the hand.
The right grip makes arrows fly more consistently. The overall goal is to become torque-free. Torque causes odd arrow flight and missed opportunities. The spring months are the right time to work of perfecting archery form. Find the grip that works best, keep it relaxed and repeatable. The improved accuracy from these small changes today will translate into bigger scores in the field.