Hello people, this is NUSensei. I often get this question: why do Olympic archers drop their bows? Firstly it’s not just
the Olympic target style recurve archers that drop their bows. Barebow target
archers also drop their bows and some compound archers will do the same. Why do
they do that? There’s a very simple explanation:
they don’t actually grip their bow. You might be wondering: why would you not
want to hold the bow? Don’t you want to control it? And that’s
actually the point. Gripping the bow causes a loss of control and I’ll show
you why. This is more apparent in a light barebow. Many beginners who do archery have a habit called the death grip.
They’ll grip the bow really really tight like choking the life out of the bow
tight and you see this a lot on the line. It’s quite a normal thing. You see some pull back at full draw and the hands are like white knuckles showing. It’s really tense
and what happens when someone does that is that the shot becomes very shaky.
The tendons in the fingers and the hand counteract each other and you have shake,
you have torque. It’s quite unstable. The complete opposite of that is not
holding a bow at all, so what you find is the Olympic style archers will do this.
They’ll pull the string back and they’re not holding the grip at all. The fingers
are in fact off the riser. With no uneven pressure on the grip what should happen is that the bow should sit naturally in the hand. There is a problem if I let go.
The bow is going to come flying out of my hand. That is why people use slings.
They can be finger slings or wrist slings and the point of the sling
is to wrap around the riser so it catches the bow when it drops. The bow is
meant to drop. That shows us that you’re not applying any pressure on the bow.
This is important because for an archer, there are only two physical contact
points: the bow grip and the drawing hand. Most of the mistakes that happen are due
to one of these factors. When people start shooting freestyle they might get
a little nervous. So, you often see people, even with the finger sling on, still
hold onto the grip and they’ll shoot like this, fingers still on the grip and
they’ll hold onto it like that. That’s a fairly normal thing and it’s kind of
hard to train out the habit of hanging on to the bow because there is no way
you can shoot with the same consistency if you’re still gripping the bow. If
you’re shooting like this and especially shooting target you really should be
teaching yourself to let go and let it drop. As long as your sling is correctly
applied the bow will not fall down and if it does fall down then you’re doing
it right. Unfortunately, the bow might not like you for it. So, a proper shot process
and release and follow-through should look something like this. There are several different ways
people let the bow drop. Most archers will let the bow drop in front of them
so it swings out this way. Other archers will let the bow swing outwards or let
the bow hit their leg. It largely depends on several factors such as your
preference or the way you were trained. Again, some people naturally expand and
swing outwards others prefer to keep it in line and swing it inwards. The
important thing is that the follow-through and the bow drop should
not be a conscious action. It’s not a flair. The archers are not intentionally
doing this for the camera. They’re doing it because when they don’t grip the bow,
that’s what naturally happens. Also note that if you’re shooting barebow,
the bow might actually tilt backwards rather swing forwards. Most barebows
tend to be back heavy unless you put on a lot of front weight. The only way to
get that majestic swing is if you’re using a full stabilizer setup with the
Olympic recurves. Also note that the follow-through
doesn’t affect the shot itself. It doesn’t matter if you twirl it twice, do a 360 spin and brush your hair back. The arrow has already left the bow so it’s
going to hit where you pointed the bow at, not what you do after the shot. For
that reason, you may see some archers deviate from their normal follow-through.
For someone who is a top-level shooter who might be always swinging inwards and
twirling around, some shots might involve them actually popping out this way
suddenly, and it may be because of a different level of tension in their back.
They might be forcing a shot through a certain way. They might be counteracting
wind, but their shot is still on target. The follow-through doesn’t matter for
the archer. They may have recognize that they have done something different and they will
internally reflect on that shot process, but the shot already happened. What they
do here doesn’t matter. The lack of follow-through is more evident
with compound shooters. You will find that many club level compound shooters
will make use of a wrist sling. Some target compound shooters will use a finger sling
but many compound shooters don’t bother with sling at all. The arrow will leave
the bow far before you actually do something with the bow itself. You won’t see many compound shooters with that swing. That’s why many people
recognize it as more of an Olympic recurve technique, even though it technically
isn’t a technique. it’s just a consequence of the shot process. If
you’re not shooting Olympic recurve there’s no need to replicate the twirl.
It doesn’t add anything. It’s really just superficial. For those shooting other
styles, what you should keep in mind is to make sure your grip is as relaxed as
possible. For those who are starting out shooting and wanting to learn good form
and good grip, often they just use two fingers around the grip so that way they
don’t grip the entire bow, but they still retain it without using a finger
sling. Many archers will be told to use the sling to get them used to the
correct grip. If you’re shooting barebow and you’re not competing you still might
want to give a finger sling a try. Many of your form faults may be caused by the
bow grip and you might not realize it. Anyway, I hope that answers your question.
Thank you for watching. This is NUSensei. I’ll see you next time.