Nearly everyone can relate to this experience, String slap. It happens to newbies and bow shooters alike. For most people it’s a nice souvenir and for others it’s a battle scar. There are several causes for string slap, and this article will focus on a few of them.

  • Don’t hold the bow in a death grip. Keep the pressure nice and loose. Keep your fingers relaxed and don’t over grip the bow. Also don’t forget to not put your fingers too far around the bow (riser) or the other way around as these are key factors in causing string slap.
  • The second factor that is also very important to new and experienced archers is how to rotate your elbow. The correct position is to have your arm extended and rotate your elbow outwards without rotating your shoulder or your wrist. With practice you can avoid making this mistake. An exercise that you can practice is: putting your hand on the wall, straight palms flat against the wall, and rotating your elbow without moving the palm of your hand, or your shoulder.

Some people teach that putting a bend in your elbow is important to avoid string slap. But this teaching varies from archer to archer as well as from cultural preferences. The problem with this is that your stance and your arm is less stable than it would normally be, and that it is harder to remain consistent with your posture, positioning and draw length. If you’re shooting, with a bent elbow or a straight elbow, the key is to make sure that you are not putting pressure on the elbow joint. Bone alignment, your skeleton takes the weight of the bow, not necessarily your muscles as most people assume. You want to achieve a good balance of skeletal force and muscle force. Elbows vary person per person, so everyone needs to figure out their best stance themselves through trial and error.

How to Prevent Strip Slap?

  • Solid but not too tight grip. It is important not to hold the bow too loosely, as the bow will rotate around your grip and can bring the string closer to your forearm.
  • Armguard – Armguards can block most of the damage from a string slap, this is the main reason archers use them. Even experienced archers get hit by string slap from time to time.
  • Experienced archers may succumb to the string slap problem as well. This will be due to one of the problems discussed. It is important for experienced archers to go over these points and try to discover what the problem is and work on solving it.
  • Many people are first taught to shoot using a square stance. To help prevent string slap what you can do is stand in a wider stance with your feet slightly more apart. Remember not to bend backwards when you are pulling.
  • Avoid fatigue, fatigue causes bad posture and in turn can easily cause string slap. It’s important to use good posture which requires you to use your skeletal structure more than just your muscles to hold the bow and bowstring in place. With a good stance and knowing how to lock your muscles, you can pull on the bow with much less fatigue than you normally would otherwise.
  • Sometimes you are just using a bow that is too heavy to pull for you. If this is the case, you have two options. The first is to increase your upper muscle strength or the second option is to use a lighter bow

I hope this article has taught you a little bit about the phenomenon known as string slap. Most target archers prefer armguards that are as small as possible. For beginners who are truly scared of getting slapped by the string have the possibility of using the largest armguards possible that cover the whole arm. Some people also prefer not to use armguards at all and think a bow and arrow should be used as the forest guardian intended it to be used – naked.

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