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I have a question about teaching completely new to archery kids. These kids are 9 to 12 years old, and I haven't had the opportunity before last night to teach kids that young who have never shot before. Anyway two girls and one boy, and they all had the same initial problem. When they began to pull the arrow back nearly to anchor they would start making a fist, knocking the arrow off of the rest. Is their a technique or skill exercise that you may know that I can use to teach them to keep their last knuckles straight throughout the shot? Any advice is appreciated, thanks!
 

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have them shoot 3 fingers under, not split finger. have them hold slightly under the arrow. They will get it.


Chris
 

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I teach them flat hand hook with a stretch band before they pick up a bow, including practicing a relaxed loose by hooking the stretch band under their foot then releasing the band under tension. Before they release, you can go down the line of students and form individuals hands into the streit hook that they need. Grabbing the string with a fist is one thing lots of new archers do, including adults. I also do a demo with an arrow, no bow, drawing it down vertically (as if the students are looking up from the ground at a note being drawn and demonstrate how and why making a fist torques the arrow but a straight hand doesn't.

I can't say that any one method or demo makes all the difference, but going back to a stretch band for some exercises can't hurt. We've had pretty good luck addressing this issue - as a recreational club we teach a lot of complete beginners. Sometimes we'll use 3 under as a problem solving tool, but generally as a last resort, even with kids, and you'll still want to get them to use flat hands not a fist even with 3 under. (Nothing wrong with 3 under as a trad hook, but we wanted to streamline the instruction and we just haven't needed to go there as a temporary hook for recurve.)
 

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Happens a lot. I always teach 3 under for newbies. How much time you have will dictate how you address it. If it's ongoing classes, taking the time with exercises is a must. Just like Warbow said. I'll have students drop their arms down by their side and carry their bow, by the string, in their hook. Just like carrying a bag of groceries. Have them grip and ungrip to the preferred looser hook, and they will see which is the more natural and comfortable position. This also demonstrates the flat back of hand and wrist, as a more natural position.

If you don't have time, like me this morning with a one-off, 90 minute girl scout group, just do a Gumby. "Let me show you how to hook the string", as you unfurl their death grip on the string and place the fingers correctly. ;)
 

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Happens a lot. I always teach 3 under for newbies. How much time you have will dictate how you address it.
Yeah, with the quick, one off classes you have to triage what to teach. I've not had to go the 3 under route yet, but I can totally see how it could be a smart way to go. Lots of stuff goes out the window, including open stance, rotational ("angular") draw...

Since we do go with split finger off the bat, I'd put our priorities for quick new archer lessons as safety, flat hand hook, hyper extended bow arms straightned as needed, anchor. Alignment, foot position, etc. become "nice to haves" that we model but don't spend a lot of time on. (And of course we work on cross dominant head canting and other significant stuff as needed.) Some day I'll hope to be good enough to teach better by teaching less, teaching just what is needed, at the right time.
 

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I string the bow with a regular string, then also string it with a shock cord string. This allows the students to draw and anchor with the shock cord so they can demonstrate grip on bow, string, anchor point, etc, without any real resistance. Once they get the idea, I take the shock cord off, and proceed with actual shooting. I use a 4 or 5mm shock cord I got from a craft store. I just served the ends of the cords to make tight loops. I also like Ms. Speedmaster's idea of holding the bow by your side with the correct hook. I usually don't have death grip on the string problems, but death grip on the bow problems.
 

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I always teach the split finger to new archers. If one or two of them don't get it or have trouble, I give them one more shot with some extra instruction. If they still have problems, it's easy to switch them to the three under. I figure if they can get started with the split from the start, that's one less thing we have to reteach later. Some of them take to it very quickly and don't have any issues.
 
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