Better Archery Part 2: Grip

Posted by Dalton Vaughn on


Hey guys, it's Dalton Vaughn with Better Outdoors and in today's video, we're going to explain to you just the right way to hold that bow. Grip is a really deep subject, and like I always say with a lot of things, there's a lot of ways to do it and a lot of ways to do it right and a lot of ways to do it wrong. We're going to show you in today's video the way that we teach, the way we trust, and the way that performs for our shooters. 

Alright guys, I'm here on the range now and I'm going to show you some examples of what I consider a bad grip, and a grip that's not going to be consistent.

You've got the baseball grip, which is as you would hold a baseball bat (tight), we've also got the hand forced open as hard you can to keep torque off the bow, which that doesn't really keep torque off the bow. We're also going to show you as to why you don't want your grip to extend past your lifeline right here. You want to be on this thumb pad. We're going to get to why that is real quick. And once we get done, we'll show you what we consider the right way. 

As y'all seen in the past three clips we've done the baseball grip where you hold it as tight as you can, we did the fingers pushed open as hard as we can to keep from torquing the bow, and then we did what I consider to be the correct way to grip your bow.

So if you ask, "well, how do you get in that position?" Easiest way is to put your hand out as if you were going to make a stop sign to the target. Gonna have this towards it at a 45-degree angle as your knuckles are. So gonna take that 45-degree angle and that stop sign, push it out there, put the bow in the stop sign, to where we're on this side on the thumb pad, rather than over here on the lifeline. 

We don't want to get past the lifeline. The reason being is all the tendons in that lifeline are passed that lifeline for controlling each individual finger. When you get under stress or under pressure, what's going to happen is that's gonna break down. As you break down, you're going to hold it tighter or looser. You're going to vary your grip under pressure so shooting 3D, hunting, anything like that, what you're going to run into is some odd shots under pressure and that's one of many things, but it is a thing to keep in mind as to why maybe under pressure you don't shoot quite close to how you shoot when you're not under pressure. Which is fair enough.

Gonna set that hand up, just like that stop sign. We're going to make sure at the very top of our grip, set that stop sign up. We're gonna tuck these three fingers here loosely, no pressure in those, and we're gonna wrap the index finger and the thumb just softly around the grip as well. We're not gonna push on them.

The reason you wanna do it like this over just holding it loose like that is because if you anticipate your shot and push the bow and grab the bow, you're only going to grab it with these two fingers rather than all of em.

We have a tough time tuning that out, and what you'll see, especially tuning is where grip really comes into play, is you might bare shaft or paper tune your bow using one grip, and then when you get under pressure use a completely different one. So everything you've just done has pretty much went out the window. So if we do it the same all the time, it's consistent, easy to get into, natural feeling, you'll be able to do it every time. And that's what archery is about is repeatability, which you guys all know that already.

So once we do that, we're going to draw back and shoot. When the bow recoils, it'll recoil straight in here, the palm of your hand on the thumb pad.  When that happens the bow lines up perfectly with you and just falls straight away instead of kicking one way or another.

So that's one some of the ways to get into the correct grip a little bit easier. That's the way that I teach it every day here in the shop.

We've got one more little segment to go.

There's one more thing to all this grip talk that we want to cover before we're done here today and that's the main thing I see out of new people is holding the bow too tight, such as the way you hold a baseball bat as we covered earlier in the video. 

So when you do that, what you're actually doing and the reason a lot of new guys burn their arm (and gals) burn their arm with the's not really draw length, it's not really draw weight, it's not really stance all the time. Now all those contribute, for sure. 

But if the draw length's reasonable, the draw weight's reasonable, and you're standing at least halfway correct in a natural stance, 90-degrees to the target, what's usually the culprit is when a shooter holds that bow too tight. 

What happens when you hold the bow too tight is that string torques around into your arm every time due to the way you're holding the bow, because as we talked about, getting past that lifeline is a big no-no. This is another reason why. When you grab that bow tight, it pulls right into it so when you draw back to shoot, as soon as you pull the trigger, it's going to kick left and go straight down your arm.

Now of course, when you're left handed it's going to kick right, but it's the same principle. If you hold that bow tight, it's gonna get your arm every time. So just watch out for doing that. Hold that bow loose, have the right across the lifeline, don't get passed it on the thumb pad, 45-degree angle, and look how much clearance you have right here. You have a ton of clearance. 

The next time you guys pick up a bow like that, have a new shooter shoot, keep this video in mind and keep what you've learned in mind to keep them from burning them and keep them away from archery, that's the number one way to keep someone from shooting a bow is to let em hit their arm the first day out. 

Hope y'all enjoyed this video. I really enjoy making these for you guys and we're trying to bring you all we can. So stay tuned for the next video and we'll see you next time.


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