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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was shooting an American Longbow today, with my usual relaxed barebow grip, and noticed a lot of after shot movement and twist of the bow in my hand. This made me wonder what the correct longbow grip is? Are you supposed to grip it firmly? How hard do you hold it?
 

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Hang in there. I asked the same question a few years ago and got some nice pictures posted from some of the experienced longbow guys. You will find folks that will say hold lightly (like I do), and some that say they shoot better with tight grip. Either way, place the bow along the life line on the side of the thumb pad. I good way to check to see if you are in an acceptable position is to take your opposite finger and press along the line where the bow sits while gripped. You fingers should not move when you apply pressure. Movement of this sort under load will torque the bow.
 

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Well, with any bow at release the bow and bow hand move forward and to the left. Not much to the left with a heavy recurve. But that is the natural reaction to the need to hold the bow somewhat in front of us. Other wise our body would be in the way.

With the longbow there is much less mass to absorb and dampen this effect. That may be all that your are noticing. But, to answer your question, I believe it is best to relax the thumb and forefinger and let the weight of the draw settle lower in the palm than with a recurve. The great man Howard Hill held his bow with his last two fingers. I favor the middle two, gently. - lbg
 
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lbg,

Lightly, like my golf pro used to tell me to do. Then one day I held the club a little too lightly and threw it out onto the range. It is possible to have too much of a good thing. I am still trying to get over the instinct to grab the bow since I am used to shooting a recurve with a finger sling.
 

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the way i do, is to hold the bow by the string with my right hand and with my left hand in a "suitcase grip position" i lift the bow up into my left hand. this puts my palm where it should be and is a natural no torque hold. that is on a r/d modern longbow with a recurve like grip. but i hold an english longbow the same way with a firmer finger pressure
 

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I grip the bow the way Larry describes and use a light grip.

I shot a heavy Hill bow for a few years with a firm grip because I didn't know better,then ended up with tendonitis as a result.

I expect a longbow to jump about in the hand more so than a recurve,but after a day or so shooting I don't really notice it much,plus by the time that does happen the arrow is well gone anyway.

John.
 

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I was told by a former longbow champion shooter that "a longbow is supposed to be gripped". I have found that my longbows behave better with a firm yet relaxed grip. I use all 4 fingers but the apply more pressure with the first 3, and the pinky lightly touches the grip.

I will add something else I learned recently, and have found it to be good advice. A high anchor is better suited to a low grip, and a lower anchor to a higher grip. I have found my longbows to be more sensitive to how I grip them (versus my target recurves).
 

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Since I went through similar issues with my Hill bows, I'll cut-and-paste (please forgive!) my mini-lecture discussing how I found my satisfactory grip.

The Paste:

I shoot a variety of bows with radically differing grips. After having similar frustration with what you mention, I took a different approach to gripping the bow.

I let the bow tell me the grip it likes. One way I get into the bow's ballpark is to hold it over my shoulder, limbs parallel to the ground, and allow the grip to balance into my hand where it seems to want to be. I bend my elbow to differing angles and hoist the bow about ... up and down and laterally backwards and forwards. I am looking for the natural fall of the bow into my fingers and palm.

I then replicate this grip with an arrow nocked and draw hand applying slight pressure on the string as if getting ready to lift the bow to take a shot. The grip hand may settle into a slight variation of the "over the shoulder hoist" at this point. I keep all my fingers touching around the grip loosely, yet securely ... none of the open hand or finger tactics.

Another tactic to observe a natural grip is to simply hold the bow comfortably by your side as if resting after a shot, with the string up, usually resting against the arm guard. Here's the catch ... using your comfortable grip from the "over the shoulder hoist", notice the natural way the bow wants to lean by your side without forcing the limbs to be parallel to the ground. Some bows will indeed naturally hang parallel to the ground, yet others may like to tilt forwards in varying degrees with the upper limb closer to the ground. This can reinforce the feeling of the natural grip for that particular bow.

I solved my Hill longbow grip conundrum by combining these two tactics. The traditional straight longbow grip had been giving me fits. One day I was holding the bow by my side and began noticing that it felt uncomfortable to carry with the limbs parallel to the ground. Further study showed that as I let the bow hand naturally relax, the upper limb would tilt closer to the ground. I readjusted my grip to fit that natural tilt, brought the bow to shooting position, and then readjusted my elbow angle to complete the feel. Bingo.

Which brings up the elbow bend. I'm not gonna step on conventional recommendations here, but in my case the elbow and grip hand must blend their natures. You can experiment with this on a bow using extreme angles to get a sense of what I am saying. The high-wrist grip (which I have abandoned) will easily allow for a very straight arm, including the not-recommended hyper-extension of the elbow forwards into the string path. As the grip moves in degree from high-wrist to low-wrist, I find that the straightness of the arm and angle of the elbow wants for a bit more "relaxation" ... in my case. I highlight "in my case" for each individual has differing bone, muscle, and tendon structure and my circumstances and comfort zones possibly do not apply to someone else ... and may actually be detrimental to them.

I observe the spectrum from Olympic, flat-handed, high-wrist, open fingered, straight arm shooters all the way over to the longbow, full-palm, knuckles-up, bent elbow shooters (crouching like a lion ready to spring upon its prey is optional!).

Your bow grip is somewhere between those two extremes. I hope my observations may help you find more comfort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks to all for the suggestions. I always go back to Longbow when I have issues with form, because the Longbow soon sorts me out. I've applied some of these grip techniques to barebow, and smashed my previous PB today. Cheers
 
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