How can I improve my bow's grip to improve my... uh.... grip?
May 16, 2018 2:39 PM   Subscribe

I shoot barebow recurve. I'd like to use plumbers' putty or Sugru to change the grip, and want to make sure I'm doing it right.

As my bow is now, I have a low grip; my wrist is straighter than I like, I'm not getting pressure on the correct part of my hand, and the webbing between my thumb and index finger hurts after a while. I'd like to build up the bow's grip so that my wrist is more bent. Like here: currently I've got the "high" and I think a medium-to-low grip would be better for me.

I've seen some good videos on how to do it, like this one from Last Chance Archery, but I'm unclear how to do it so it lowers the grip. One person I asked about this said the pivot point needs to stay clear so I can use it to tune my bow, but he's a compound guy and wasn't sure. Should I do a wedge and leave the pivot point clear, or does it not matter? If I do leave the pivot point clear, will the corner at the top of the wedge bug me? What's the best way to figure out how much of a lift I want? Should I just jam Sugru in there and not worry, since it's removable?
posted by The corpse in the library to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a little confused here.

When we talk about a 'low grip' and a 'high grip', we're normally talking about the wrist positions as labelled in the photo you linked. A 'low' grip (the part you hold) promotes a low wrist position, and a 'high' grip (the part you hold) is built up to support a higher wrist position.

That's why when you talk about building up the grip on the bow to give you a 'lower' grip, I can't get my head around what you're asking. You can't physically add to an existing bow grip to give a lower wrist position. The only way to get a lower wrist position would be to change the grip, or to remove material from the grip you have (which may or may not work).

I'm not sure what your friend means about the pivot point. It's not involved in tuning a recurve in any kind of tuning process I'm familiar with. The pivot point of a full olympic recurve setup with stabilisers is normally just in front of your hand; for a bare bow without stabilisers, it's somewhere behind your hand. In neither case is the pivot point really on the bow itself.

I think the first step I would take is to ask an experienced coach to take a look at your bow hand, to make sure you have good hand position and bone alignment. Then maybe look at adding some modelling clay to experiment with different shapes (you can wrap it in masking (painter's) tape for a better feel. Make sure that when you shoot, the new hand position doesn't lead to canting of the bow to one side or the other. Once you're happy with the shape, replicate it in something like plumber's putty or Sugru.
posted by pipeski at 4:10 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


You might ask Michael Frank at Occoquan Paleotechnics for some advice, link goes to contact information. He is super knowledgeable about this stuff, well beyond the "historic" stuff he has on his site.
posted by gudrun at 5:07 PM on May 16


> You can't physically add to an existing bow grip to give a lower wrist position

I might be using the wrong terms. You see what the person has done here? I'm wondering if I can build up more at the top (under my index knuckle) instead of the bottom like they've done. That would make the knuckles of my hand closer to vertical.

> In neither case is the pivot point really on the bow itself

I mean the deepest part of the grip, like here.

> I think the first step I would take is to ask an experienced coach to take a look at your bow hand, to make sure you have good hand position and bone alignment

I don't -- a coach pointed that out. I tried someone else's bow and that grip, which was lower, was more comfortable.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:25 PM on May 16


Thanks for the clarification - it helped a lot (as did a proper night's sleep).

It's very unusual to want to make the knuckles more vertical - most archers try to achieve a grip where the knuckles make a 45 degree angle out from the bow - as in this diagram. But I'm not sure we're thinking of the same thing - maybe you're talking about 'vertical' knuckles when viewed from the side of the bow.

I think the pivot point is wrongly labelled in that diagram. some people would call it the 'throat' of the grip, or just 'the deepest part' of the grip. But that's not important - changing the shape of that area slightly won't have an effect on tuning the bow. It might have some knock-on effect on the way the bow moves at the end of the shot, so you may need to revisit any stabiliser setup you have, perhaps adding a small weight to the uppermost stabiliser point. No way to know for sure without some trial and error.

I can't see any reason why you shouldn't add some material to that top part of the grip, if that's more comfortable for you. Although if you're getting pain in the web between finger and thumb, I think it suggests that you might be pushing your front hand forward to the point where the lower part of your hand may be lifting off the bow. That's a common problem that can cause in pain in that area, as well as overextending the front shoulder. But without seeing you shoot, I can't be definite.

Short version: try it and see!
posted by pipeski at 2:26 AM on May 17


> if you're getting pain in the web between finger and thumb, I think it suggests that you might be pushing your front hand forward to the point where the lower part of your hand may be lifting off the bow

Yup, exactly. The pressure is on the webbing and not on the meaty bit like in the top row. I'm thinking if my bow-grip was shaped better, my hand-grip would be more comfortable. Interesting about the shoulder, I hadn't considered that.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:30 AM on May 17


I think this is one of those situations where a few photos or videos from different angles showing how you hold the bow (preferably during an actual shot) would help a lot. By all means memail me if I can help any further. It's so hard to work on these things through a wall of text without just throwing ideas out to see what sticks!
posted by pipeski at 4:53 AM on May 18


> you might be pushing your front hand forward

I think that was the problem. I've been working on my grip and on pressing more with the correct part of my hand (lined up with my elbow) and things are much better now.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:45 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


« Older dealing with a bad life coach?   |   How to best bed for a year? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments