High wrist

The last position to be discussed is the high wrist, see figure 8. Now the wrist is held higher than the hand. The hand only makes contact with a small area of the grip. Relaxed hand and wrist are essential, as usual.

The advantage is the small contact area. The chances of torsion and of grasping reduce to a minimum in this way. With the high wrist position the chance of disturbing arrow flight is minimal.

As usual, there is also a big disadvantage. This position requires a large amount of wrist strength and is difficult to maintain over longer periods of shooting, e.g. a FITA Star. When tired, the hand quickly drops to a straight or low wrist.


Final remarks

The previous remarks should give a starting point as to what hand position to choose. Always bear in mind that the best position is the one that suits the build of the individual archer best. Pay specific attention to the amount of movement of the wrist.

It is also worthwhile to see how your stabilisers are set up and how they work with the sling. Usually, a well stabilised bow will jump forward from your hand and rotate only after this has happened. Make sure that there is enough space for this between bowgrip and hand. Not too much or otherwise the bow will slip through your hand and end up dangling from your sight. A space of about one centimetre (a little less than half an inch) is usually sufficient.

It is necessary to experiment with different hand positions. There are different types grips available worth trying.

Remember to always keep the bow hand as relaxed as possible and do this in the easiest and most simple way possible.

Possible cures for grasping

By grasping the bow during or after the shot, the level of accuracy of the shot diminishes. It is evident that you should try and avoid this as much as possible.

It is very easy to see if an archer grasps the bow. An automatic grasping response takes place almost immediately when executing the shot. Another mistake is that an archer grips the bow as tightly as possible, so, that the fingers are tense and the knuckles of the bow hand turn white. Also, a bow hand forced to be open with stretched fingers is also less desirable because of the reduced control over it.
These methods require extra muscle control that makes the short harder to reproduce.

The most simple solution for these mistakes is to isolate the error and work at it. It is best to focus on consciously letting the bow jump out of your hand (using a sling, of course!) and pay no attention to anything else. In this way you can become aware of what exactly happens with the bow when the arrow is released and get used to the reaction.

The best way to do this to draw the bow only a few inches without an arrow, but with sling, and letting the string go. Look and feel how the bow leaves your hand and what movement takes place here. When you are familiar with this movement, start shooting while concentrating on letting the bow jump out of your hand. In the beginning this is hard. Convince yourself that the bow is firmly attached to your arm and that there is no way it can fall. It also does not hurt to try and use a different type of sling, preferably a a wrist or finger sling.

Finally, there are a two less orthodox ways of curing grasping that are too interesting not to mention.

A Korean coach says that an archer cannot get the right feeling of the bow leaving the hand when he or she uses a sling. His method of teaching how to use a sling is therefore the following:

The archer shoots without a sling and keeps the bow hand open and relaxed. After the shot, he just lets go of the bow. The coach lies in front of the archer and catches the bow. In this way, the archer should get the right feeling of the bow leaving the hand without being afraid to let go.

A very drastic measure to prevent grasping is using drawing-pins. Use adhesive tape to attach the pins to the handle on places where the hand grasps the bow. The points should point outwards. Now it becomes very painful to grasp the bow. This method should definitely only be used as a last resort.

Marcelo Müller

Literature and acknowledgements

This is the first of a series of articles I plan to write on archery shooting technique. I hope you like it. Please let meknow what you think of it and mail me at j.m.muller@student.utwente.nl. All comments are welcome: criticism, (dis)agreements or just comments on my english, HTML lay-out or if you found typing mistakes: I welcome it all.

The copyright of this article remains with the author. You are free to reproduce this article, as long as it is done in full and with proper source attribution.