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For months now, I've been struggling with my bowstring catching on the edge of my arm guard. It wasn't slapping me, it was just flying forward so close to my left arm that it would catch on the back edge of my arm guard (if that hadn't been happening, I'm sure my arm would have been getting slapped). I've tried several different things to remedy this situation: a different arm guard (didn't help), keeping my bow shoulder down (helped some, but the string was still catching more often than not), consciously using back tension (again, it helped some, but didn't really take care of the problem). While focusing on things like back tension and keeping the bow shoulder down and back helped my form, my string was still catching, which robbed my arrows of both speed and consistency.

The last couple of nights when I've shot, however, I adjusted my grip on the bow and it's made all the difference in the world. I shoot a red oak board bow with a Hill-style handle, and before this week I was holding it with my left hand vertical, the heel of my hand fully in contact with the belly of the handle. This week something finally clicked and I tried rotating my left hand clockwise -- not to cant the bow, but to get my forearm out of the way of the string. It worked! As soon as I got those first couple shots off without catching the string on my arm guard, I realized that this was what Moebow had been trying to explain to me when I posted a question about this problem a while back. Even though he directed me to some photos and illustrations, I hadn't really understood until this week the idea of positioning the handle so that it contacts my hand in between my thumb and my lifeline.

Suddenly, after months of frustration, I have arrows leaving my bow cleanly, without being robbed of power by a catching string. I can hear the difference when they impact the target -- when the string catches on the arm guard the arrow hits with a hollow thud, vs. a crisp snap when the string clears the arm guard cleanly. I'm still not 100% successful at this -- the string still catches once in a while, when I let my grip start slipping back into its old position -- but the difference is like night and day. For the first time, I'm shooting groups. They're nothing to write home about (3-4" @ 5 yds. and 4-6" at 10 yds.), but they're groups! They're also nowhere near where I'm aiming (off by 8-12"), but I'm sure that will come with time. Before, some days I felt like I was lucky to keep all the arrows on the bale.

Anyway, I'm just feeling really good tonight, that I was finally able to figure this out and get past this hurdle. And Arne, thanks again for your tips before -- it took me a while to catch on, but I think I finally got it. :thumbs_up
 

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Archery is like a mosaic, it's a big picture made of tiny individual pieces. You have to fit each one into place and then cement it. Only once you've done that can you step back and enjoy the entire thing.
It's good to hear you've fit another piece.

-Grant
 

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I've had a similar problem but when wearing heavy "hunting clothes". Incorrect alignment or grip might get you in trouble with warm weather clothes but it doesn't take near as much in heavy clothing.

For the last few weeks or so, I've been shooting with just a little bend in my bow arm elbow. I'm not sure yet whether my bow arm is as stable this way but, if I can't dress for 15 deg F and still shoot well, it doesn't matter.
 

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JD,

I'm very glad you have found a solution and that my pictures may have contributed to it. I would suggest too that along with the "new" grip, you look to your bow arm elbow and be sure it is turned in towards the bow too. A quick check is when you hold the bow out towards the target, if you bend your elbow, the bow should come around in front of you and NOT go up over your head. This along with the new grip should give you still more arm clearance.

Arne
 

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Archery is like a mosaic, it's a big picture made of tiny individual pieces. You have to fit each one into place and then cement it. Only once you've done that can you step back and enjoy the entire thing.
It's good to hear you've fit another piece.

-Grant
Great post...:thumbs_up
 

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It's a beautiful thing when problems get solved...and just as a side note?...I've encountered the string catching the back of the armguard deal as well...many times....initially?...(and if it only happened on random occasion)....I'd typically write it off as a "Pluck" and move on...but if it continued repeatedly?..."My Grip Position" was the first place I looked...but here's the sneaky one...

As there have been occasions that nether focusing more on a clean release or grip manipulation would cure it...and this one took me awhile to figure out...and what it was?....was this...

"Too Closed Of A Stance"

As in my efforts to "Get Inside The Bow"?...and achieve a super close to the body alignment?...I found I have a tendency to drop the rear foot back more than it should be and despite my best efforts of remedying the string catching the back of my armguard via concentration on clean release and proper grip position?....it still would. :(

These days I make a conscious effort at maintaining a square stance (if not a touch open)...cause while that super closed stance can be seductive in feel?....it can cause a couple problems...one being the string snagging my armguard and the other being over-drawing my form and that's when the string starts clipping facial features including my lips and nose.

Just figured I'd mention that as well...glad you got it figured out and yes...Arne is one of the Crown Jewels of internet forum coaches....he's helped me out tremendously as well. ;)

But trust me on this....as..."this" is NOT your "last hurdle" :laugh:

L8R, Bill. :cool2:
 

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JD,

A quick check is when you hold the bow out towards the target, if you bend your elbow, the bow should come around in front of you and NOT go up over your head. This along with the new grip should give you still more arm clearance.

Arne
thats a great way to put it and very easy to visualize. never having any formal instruction it never ceases to amaze me how easier things may have been for me the last couple decades if i had learned from someone other than myself. im a fairly accurate shooter and successful hunter but had i had a solid form and instruction my bowhunting life probably would have been a lot easier. i used to wear out an armguard about every year due to string strikes with my compound. im going to try to scrounge up your posts Arne and see what other advice you have posted, i like how you word things, makes it easy. thank you
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, guys.

JD,

I'm very glad you have found a solution and that my pictures may have contributed to it. I would suggest too that along with the "new" grip, you look to your bow arm elbow and be sure it is turned in towards the bow too. A quick check is when you hold the bow out towards the target, if you bend your elbow, the bow should come around in front of you and NOT go up over your head. This along with the new grip should give you still more arm clearance.

Arne
The elbow position has never been a problem for me -- it takes effort to force my bow elbow into a position where bending it would bring my hand up, so I just let it lay in its natural position and I'm good. Thankfully, that's one issue I haven't had to struggle with. Thanks for the tip, though.

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"Too Closed Of A Stance"

As in my efforts to "Get Inside The Bow"?...and achieve a super close to the body alignment?...I found I have a tendency to drop the rear foot back more than it should be and despite my best efforts of remedying the string catching the back of my armguard via concentration on clean release and proper grip position?....it still would. :(

These days I make a conscious effort at maintaining a square stance (if not a touch open)...cause while that super closed stance can be seductive in feel?....it can cause a couple problems...one being the string snagging my armguard and the other being over-drawing my form and that's when the string starts clipping facial features including my lips and nose.
Thanks for the tip, Bill. I probably need to work on that a bit as well.
...
But trust me on this....as..."this" is NOT your "last hurdle" :laugh:
Oh, I'm well aware that this is not my last hurdle. :teeth: But it still feels good to be past that one and looking for the next.
 

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Sounds like you have it worked out. I like to fold my ring and pinky fingers alongside the handle and have my pointer and middle finger loosely wrap around the bow and touch my thumb. That forces my hand into about a 45* angle and also assists in getting my bow elbow in the right position. Something to try.........
 

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Your having mentioned the board bow and Hill-style handle…it kinda follows that hand position might come into play. I had an old friend call last night…who is no longer able to shoot…and for the umpteenth time he told me that he will never get rid of the longbow that I reworked and leather wrapped the handle. Before that, and although he was a very good shot with a recurve, he had given up hope on ever being able to shoot the bow well…and afterwards, he loved it….killed deer and won events with it.

Usually, one of my cardinal rules for purchasing a bow is how it fits my hand…‘though sometimes Beauty bests the Beast…so I have a couple of bows that force me to be aware of my hand position…and have been spared the chopping block…maybe.:confused:

Good on ya for working through the problem. When we stop learning we may be still be breathing…but we’re essentially dead. Live on and Enjoy, Rick.
 
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