Mathews Inc.
Straight-arm shooting
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
RD in WI 09-Dec-21
RT 09-Dec-21
Sivart 09-Dec-21
RD in WI 09-Dec-21
LINK 09-Dec-21
Grey Ghost 09-Dec-21
Bowaddict 09-Dec-21
Bowaddict 09-Dec-21
Bowaddict 09-Dec-21
Grey Ghost 09-Dec-21
Bowfreak 09-Dec-21
Grey Ghost 09-Dec-21
Ambush 09-Dec-21
Bowaddict 09-Dec-21
Grey Ghost 09-Dec-21
Bowaddict 09-Dec-21
RT 09-Dec-21
Corax_latrans 09-Dec-21
Butcherboy 09-Dec-21
drycreek 09-Dec-21
Grey Ghost 09-Dec-21
midwest 09-Dec-21
SIP 09-Dec-21
RD in WI 09-Dec-21
Bake 10-Dec-21
Shiloh 10-Dec-21
x-man 10-Dec-21
x-man 10-Dec-21
LINK 10-Dec-21
Shiloh 10-Dec-21
Grey Ghost 10-Dec-21
12yards 10-Dec-21
x-man 10-Dec-21
x-man 10-Dec-21
Bowaddict 10-Dec-21
Bowaddict 10-Dec-21
Bowaddict 10-Dec-21
Bowaddict 10-Dec-21
Corax_latrans 10-Dec-21
Dino 10-Dec-21
Corax_latrans 10-Dec-21
Corax_latrans 10-Dec-21
TonyBear 11-Dec-21
Mike Ukrainetz 11-Dec-21
WapitiBob 11-Dec-21
RD in WI 11-Dec-21
chillkill 12-Dec-21
SteveB 16-Dec-21
WapitiBob 16-Dec-21
Ermine 16-Dec-21
RD in WI 16-Dec-21
Grey Ghost 16-Dec-21
midwest 16-Dec-21
RD in WI 17-Dec-21
wyobullshooter 17-Dec-21
scentman 17-Dec-21
WapitiBob 17-Dec-21
Ermine 17-Dec-21
WapitiBob 17-Dec-21
DanaC 18-Dec-21
From: RD in WI
09-Dec-21
I shoot my bow with a straight arm. I find a straight arm more repeatable and wonder how a person can achieve the exact same elbow bend at each shot, while still pushing the bow toward the target. Is torque-free shooting possible with a straight arm or am I torquing the bow, unaware of its presence, and not achieving my full potential by shooting with a straight arm? Thank you for any advice anyone is willing to give.

From: RT
09-Dec-21
Some of the best target shooters not only straight arm but lean back a smidge as well.

From: Sivart
09-Dec-21
I've thought about adding draw length to a straight arm, but I fear it will won't work with cold weather clothing.

From: RD in WI
09-Dec-21
Thank you for the input. I hunt cold weather in Minnesota and Wisconsin and haven't had any issues with the string hitting my arm.

From: LINK
09-Dec-21
I have to have some bend to get my muscles out of the way. ;) Actually I could get by straight arming if I wanted. My grip is what moves my forearm out of the string path. A consistent anchor makes for a consistent arm bend.

From: Grey Ghost
09-Dec-21
I was taught proper shooting form by a Vegas 3-spot champion. He explained it this way. First, a true back tension release should be a "push and pull" affair between your bow arm and your shoulder muscles. With a straight bow arm, you are only pulling, while your bow arm is locked in place That makes it more difficult to hold the pin steady.

Second, with a locked bow arm, the only direction your bow can follow thru is to the left (assuming a right handed shooter), which introduces torque. This is especially easy to see when the archer is using a long target stabilizer. Their stab will swing to the left after every shot. With a slightly bent bow arm, the bow can naturally follow thru straight towards the target free of torque, and the stabilizer will remain pointed directly at the target during the follow thru.

When I first met my mentor, I was shooting a 30" draw with a locked bow arm, and I would lean back slightly. When he convinced me to shorten my draw to 29", and bend my bow arm slightly, it straightened up my torso and made aiming so much easier. Everything seemed much more in balance, and my target scores immediately began to improve.

Since then, I've helped hundreds of archers improve their shooting by showing them this simple technique. Of course, there will always be exceptions to these rules. I've met some pretty darn good shooters who had some of the worst form relative to conventional wisdom, but they were anomalies. Just like in golf. There are a handful of pros with very unconventional swings, but only a few.

Matt

From: Bowaddict
09-Dec-21
Straight arm is fine, over exaggerating by locking out too hard can be bad just like too much bend is bad. Too much bend and you’re using all muscle to hold steady and aim=shaking. Everybody’s bow arm is a little different, some have to bend more for clearance. Too much of either way can bring negative results. I lock mine out softly, more repeatable also.

From: Bowaddict
09-Dec-21
And you still easily achieve the push/pull with good follow through with a straight arm as long as it’s not locked hard .

From: Bowaddict
09-Dec-21
And you still easily achieve the push/pull with good follow through with a straight arm as long as it’s not locked hard .

From: Grey Ghost
09-Dec-21

Grey Ghost's Link
Here's a good article by Randy Ulmer that touches on shooting with a slightly bent bow arm.

Matt

From: Bowfreak
09-Dec-21

Bowfreak's embedded Photo
Bowfreak's embedded Photo
I shoot a straight arm too but different strokes.....

This guy is one of the best archers on the planet.

From: Grey Ghost
09-Dec-21

Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Levi Morgan, who is a pretty decent shooter too.

Matt

From: Ambush
09-Dec-21
^ ^ ^ And he's shooting a mechanical! But that's 'cause he can't tune worth a $h!t.

From: Bowaddict
09-Dec-21
Bent arm straight arm… kinda one of those areas where there are a lot of different opinions. Bottom line if you’re doing too much of either, it’s not good. A relaxed bow arm is the goal. If you feel pressure in the arm muscles at full draw your probably bending too much. Feel pressure in your elbow joint your probably trying to straighten too much. problem is you tell someone to bend there arm chances are they’re going to do it too much. Watch someone with a noticeable bend shooting, gonna be some shaking happening.

From: Grey Ghost
09-Dec-21
Bowaddict,

Care to share your credentials that give you confidence to give advice contrary to the world-class archers who have been mentioned? The topic is about a straight bow arm, which means a locked elbow, versus a slightly bent/unlocked bow arm. Not taking both forms to the extreme.

Matt

From: Bowaddict
09-Dec-21
I probably shouldn’t have used the term “locked” but I was at work and doing too many things! Straight and relaxed is not locked! I think my last post cleared that up. There are outliers on both ends, but how can you argue against a relaxed bow arm?! I’m sure I’m not worthy, but have been shooting a very long time! Competitively locally (I have a 40hr a week job) and a sucker for everything archery and have read that same ulmer article and listened to Levi talk about his elbow also. Ulmer also has talked about letting the string creep forward upon release, not exactly perfect form but works for him! Rd asked for opinions, you gave yours and I gave mine. I see more problems with people shooting with too much bend than straight! And I have no problem with good follow through or form or draw length! But again, I’m sure I’m not worthy! As for credentials, I’m happy with my personal successes and am fine with keeping them in my hunting room for my personal memories. Have a good day, and RD I hope you could take some of any of the above advice from everyone and apply it or trash it:)

From: RT
09-Dec-21
Just shoot against Baldwin, that should clear it up for you.

09-Dec-21
It’d be interesting (to me, anyway) to know if the “correct” technique is different according to let’s say Brady Ellison vs Levi, since Recurve vs Compound….

I might have been born under the right sign for shooting a stickbow, because where most people seem to have hyperextensible elbows, mine don’t extend a full 180 degrees, so my “locked” arm is actually not quite…. Locked…. Straighter than Levi’s, though….

And so my only option for pushing the bow into the target is to expand from the shoulder outward…. And it works great. I just have to remember to DO IT on every shot…

From: Butcherboy
09-Dec-21
I shoot with a straight arm. It’s not “locked”. It’s not bent. I’ve tried the bend at the elbow thing and holy smokes my shooting went to sh*t really fast. I don’t use a stabilizer or a back tension release.

Idk use back tension when shooting my stickbow but it’s not the same as the push/pull method people use with a compound. I draw, anchor, aim, then drop my shoulder back till I feel the muscles in my back tighten and “pinch”. Then the release happens and my hand drops back to my shoulder. I can really tell when my shot sequence is off.

From: drycreek
09-Dec-21
Almost too shy to post lest I arouse GG’s ire about MY credentials, but shooting a bow is kinda like making love. It ain’t the same for everybody, and if what you do works keep it up………

From: Grey Ghost
09-Dec-21
I like that, drycteek. Credentials mean something.

Matt

From: midwest
09-Dec-21

midwest's embedded Photo
midwest's embedded Photo
Dan McCarthy doesn't have a bend in his arm and seems to do okay.

From: SIP
09-Dec-21
GG, u should change your handle to Fifty Shades of Grey Ghost cuz there aint a subject that you arent more credentialed to help with than everybody else in the room. I kid…i kid….

From: RD in WI
09-Dec-21
Thank you to everyone who offered advice - I really appreciate it.

From: Bake
10-Dec-21
I shot with too long of a draw length for years and had a straight arm. I struggled mightily to be consistent at 40-50 yards.

Then I got some coaching from an indoor shooter, shortened my draw. Got some form coaching.

I still struggle mightily at times, but I’m a much better shooter than I was then.

Straight arm may work for some. It did NOT work for me

From: Shiloh
10-Dec-21
Pick up a dumbbell and hold it straight arm and then with a little bend. See which way allows you to hold it more steady.

From: x-man
10-Dec-21
Several things to add here.

First and foremost, target shooters don't have to shoot broadheads. Tuning is not as important as repeatability for them. They do exactly the same thing over and over and over.

Secondly, my bow arm is what I would call "locked" even though it looks bent from above. I use zero muscles in that arm from the shoulder down. At least that's the goal. Wrist relaxed, elbow relaxed, forearm relaxed and fingers relaxed. Bone on bone with the proper alignment is critical WITHOUT hyperextending the elbow. When viewed from above the elbow points out to the left(right handed shooter). Just like Levi. The push-pull comes from the back/shoulder muscles, never the arm or hand muscles!

From: x-man
10-Dec-21
Shilo,

You're thinking about that wrong. That's a different direction of resistance than shooting a bow. Think of it like this...How do you hold your arm when you do pushups? Imagine doing pushups while on the gymnastics parallel bars(closely resembles the bow grip hand position).

From: LINK
10-Dec-21
Dry creek if your not doing the lazy dog then you’re definitely doing it wrong… but I don’t need to see your credentials.

From: Shiloh
10-Dec-21
The point I was making was that it is easier to hold steady with a bent arm. I feel like I have more control of up and down movement while trying to settle pins on the target. Maybe that's just me??

From: Grey Ghost
10-Dec-21
Josh,

It's not just you. The vast majority of archers benefit from a slightly bent bow arm. I'm not saying it's the only way to shoot a bow. I'm saying it's how most top archers shoot, so. there's probably good reasons for that.

Matt

From: 12yards
10-Dec-21
Is Levi's arm straight or bent there? Not sure what we are calling it. I have to have mine pretty straight. Arthritis in my left (bow) shoulder requires no bend. If I put bend in my bow arm, I'm using more muscle to stay at full draw which gives me more pain and less stability to hold at full draw. It's maybe not ideal, but it is what it is. Seems I used to shoot with more of a bent left arm, but no more.

From: x-man
10-Dec-21
Levi's arm is locked in the "proper" position which "looks" bent. The important thing to remember is that "locked" and "straight" are NOT the same thing. If the inside crease of your elbow is point in an upward position, you are hyperextending and that is not good.

Shilo, it seems we were talking about the same thing and I just miss-interpreted what you were saying.

From: x-man
10-Dec-21

x-man's embedded Photo
x-man's embedded Photo
Here's an example of correct and incorrect elbow rotation. Top photo-Wrong. Bottom photo Correct. This is a lefty so right handers should mirror this.

From: Bowaddict
10-Dec-21
What a lot of top archers call bend in elbow equates to a very very minimal change in draw length if they straighten their arm. As said, there are some at both ends of that equation. X-man explained lining the bones up in bow arm well. If you shoot well with enough bend to change DL more than around 1/4 inch+\~ at full draw great! Don’t change a thing, you’ve got a strong steady bow arm! Most will benefit from a relaxed straight arm. Again my opinion and what I’ve seen, but I’m not worthy…gotta work on my credentials:) :)

From: Bowaddict
10-Dec-21
What a lot of top archers call bend in elbow equates to a very very minimal change in draw length if they straighten their arm. As said, there are some at both ends of that equation. X-man explained lining the bones up in bow arm well. If you shoot well with enough bend to change DL more than around 1/4 inch+\~ at full draw great! Don’t change a thing, you’ve got a strong steady bow arm! Most will benefit from a relaxed straight arm. Again my opinion and what I’ve seen, but I’m not worthy…gotta work on my credentials:) :)

From: Bowaddict
10-Dec-21
Sorry for double post, at work and signal is bad and slow.

From: Bowaddict
10-Dec-21
Sorry for double post, at work and signal is bad and slow.

10-Dec-21
WHAAAAAT???

Hollywood got it WRONG???

From: Dino
10-Dec-21
Find John Dudley on You Tube. Follow his School of Nock…amazing coaching from a stud of a shot, and all for free!

10-Dec-21

Corax_latrans's embedded Photo
Corax_latrans's embedded Photo
At least my technique works part of the time…

10-Dec-21

Corax_latrans's embedded Photo
Corax_latrans's embedded Photo
At least my technique works part of the time…

From: TonyBear
11-Dec-21
For me it's not so much about the straight or bent arm but being able to position the bow arm shoulder so it doesn't roll during the release.

11-Dec-21
A definition of a “straight arm” at the start would have helped. Does it mean a tensed up tricep muscle and the arm as straight as possible? Or an unlocked elbow with a slightly relaxed tricep muscle which causes a slight bend in most people. And then some people have a hyperextended, elbow when the tricep is flexed with a rotated elbow in the way of the bow string and a completely straight, locked, looking arm when relaxed. You can see that their tricep isn’t tensed up though.

I actually agree with Grey Ghost on his description on how it should be. Well said! I don’t need credentials to agree do I?

From: WapitiBob
11-Dec-21

WapitiBob's embedded Photo
WapitiBob's embedded Photo
Just shoot like this guy, and he doesn't "push".

From: RD in WI
11-Dec-21
Thank you again for everyone who offered advice and commentary. In response to Grey Ghost, when I follow-through at the shot, my bow arm does move to the right (I shoot left-handed) instead of directly toward the target. If I am reading the judgments that were offered by many who commented, this likely means that I am shooting straight-armed and possibly not achieving the greatest possible accuracy. Thank you again for the advice.

From: chillkill
12-Dec-21
A article written by a person who gets paid to write crap for a monthly rag.. If you are over drawing, then your alignments are out.. You can have a straight but unlocked bow arm and if your bow arm is moving off target at release then go get some lessons on how to shoot said bow..

From: SteveB
16-Dec-21
Seems to me that if a draw is fit to the arm bend that you prefer and you use that wall and draw to it every time you shoot, that position becomes 100% repeatable. Am I wrong about this?

From: WapitiBob
16-Dec-21
Kind of. You end up with different front end pressure especially up/down hill. It all comes down to what works for your body and shooting style.

From: Ermine
16-Dec-21

Ermine's embedded Photo
Ermine's embedded Photo
Kyle Douglas is on fire. Winning a lot of tournaments. Look at his arm. He also “punches” the trigger too!

From: RD in WI
16-Dec-21
Thanks again for people who have posted pictures showing the varied bow arm straightness used by a number of successful archers. I guess a possible answer may be that the method used can be different and accurate - it just have to be repeatable with only a small degree of variance.

From: Grey Ghost
16-Dec-21
One off examples of archers who are successful with atypical methods doesn't prove anything. If Douglas actually "punches" the trigger, get back to me in a few years and let me know how that's working out for him.

Matt

From: midwest
16-Dec-21
Kyle won Vegas 2 years in a row so he's not like a fluke. Tim "The Hammer" Gillingham and Cam Hanes are also "punchers" and have been their entire careers.

It won't work for me or probably most archers but it obviously works for some at a very high level.

From: RD in WI
17-Dec-21
As I understand it, a "one-off" is when something happens only once and is not repeated. Showing multiple archers using unconventional methods to achieve outstanding results over time is something, but not likely a one-off.

17-Dec-21
An extremely small percentage of those that shoot a bow are “world-class” shooters. Of those, there is likewise a small percentage that shoot unconventionally. It may not prove anything as to what we mere mortals can do, but it does prove that there are certainly exceptions. Very successful exceptions.

From: scentman
17-Dec-21
I have not read many of the posts on this subject, but when I do shoot a complete straight arm I can hit the knocks off the previous arrows... now the string hitting my forearm... thats another dilemma.

From: WapitiBob
17-Dec-21
Most higher level shooters don't preach the "this is how you need to do it"; they know there isn't just one way. Mediocre shooters tend to fill facebook and forums with all kinds of instruction.

From: Ermine
17-Dec-21
Grey Ghost- well Douglas has been command shooting (punching the trigger) and seems to be winning a lot. He’s too of the game right now !! Tim Ghillingham is another target shooter who shoots that way.

I don’t shoot back tension. I find I shoot much better with a trigger command style that I do with a back tension.

The point is everyone does it a little different. There isn’t one way that is better than others.

From: WapitiBob
17-Dec-21
Levi doesn’t shoot a surprise shot, not many do.

From: DanaC
18-Dec-21
For me the problems begin when I rotate the arm so that the elbow turns down and into the path of the string. (Recurve.) Result is string slap on elbow. I take a relaxed grip and worry about the 'pull' side rather than the 'push'.

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