Archery instructors believe that force distribution (FD) between the hand and bow grip can have a considerable effect on arrow flight, but there is no empirical support for this speculation. This study examined FD on the bow grip in experienced archers and explored the possible relationships between FD, performance, and fatigue. FD was quantified for 15 experienced archers (8 highly skilled [HS] and 7 less skilled [LS]) using 15 unobtrusive force sensors as each archer completed 72 shots. Arrow position relative to the target center, estimated net moments and moment arms about vertical and horizontal axes through the grip, and shot-to-shot variability in the estimated moments and moment arms were computed for three blocks of six shots. Results demonstrated that (a) estimated moments and moment arms were not consistently related to observed vertical or horizontal deviations in arrow position, (b) there were no systematic differences in FD between HS and LS archers, (c) fatigue had no quantifiable effect on FD, and (d) HS archers displayed less shot-to-shot variability in vertical FD than LS archers, but similar variability horizontally. Results did not support the above-noted common belief of archery instructors.
P.E. Martin is with the Dept. of Exercise Science & Physical Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0404. G.D. Heise is now with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. The research was conducted at Arizona State U.