“Three Fingers Under” is for Beginners, Right?

There are tremendous advantages to a “three fingers under” string grip for beginners. Its only disadvantage is a loss of distance/cast. Consider the photo below.

Christine Bjerendal of Sweden (2016 Olympics)

This is Christine Bjerendal of Sweden. She competed in the 2012 Olympic Games (London) and she is currently competing in this year’s Olympics. Please note string grip.

Yes, there is a loss of distance/cast with this grip but there are also offsetting positives. Just because we start beginner’s with this string grip does not make it a “baby grip,” a grip adults would be embarrassed to use.


Filed under For All Coaches

6 responses to ““Three Fingers Under” is for Beginners, Right?

  1. George Zimmerman

    Just as you say we start new shooters off with the three under grip but I see a lot of traditional archers use this grip also. It is a must if you make use of string walking as a method of distance control.


  2. James

    I suppose if the bow os tillered correctly, then most of the drawbacks of shooting three-under are sufficiently compensated for.

    I shoot three-under on my barebow setup mainly to use string-walking. The only draw back I can see is when I shoot longer distances. Since i cannot place my fingers any higher on the string I’ve tried transitioning to split-finger shooting but this completely changes the angle of the arrow making it shoot much higher. So I have to choose between aiming above the target and shooting three-under or aiming below the target and shooting split-finger. Alternatively I could also change my anchor point, but I’d rather avoid that.


    • You describe the normal state for a Barebow recurve archer. Yes, string grip affects tiller. And split finger (on above, two below) gives more cast, etc. Actually I have tried split finger (two above, one below) and it gives even way more cast. The point I was making is that if one uses a bow sight, on does not have to drop the 3FU string grip. You do not have to use a split finger grip. The split finger grip and all of its attendant difficulties and issues is only needed if you can’t make distance otherwise.

      Both the split finger string grip and the low anchor are needed by archers shooting very long distances. Barebow recurve archers rarely shoot such distances which is why they can shoot with a high anchor and with 3FU. My point was that you can shoot longer distances (the Olympic distance is 70 m) with a sight and still get away with 3FU.

      The ideal situation for a Barebow recurve archer is to have one anchor and a point on of their maximum shooting distance and a set of crawls that are stable and will cover all of the closer distances. Quite a few Modern Barebow archers can create such a setup. Those who cannot have to include another set of crawls based upon an additional anchor point.


  3. David Beeton

    Steve,  Why does the “barebow” draw give a loss of distance/cast compared to the “mediterranean” loose?  Surely the draw length is practically the same in both cases? Dave B

    From: A Blog for Archery Coaches To: dgrb@rocketmail.com Sent: Tuesday, 9 August 2016, 17:31 Subject: [New post] “Three Fingers Under” is for Beginners, Right? #yiv8563936147 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8563936147 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8563936147 a.yiv8563936147primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8563936147 a.yiv8563936147primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8563936147 a.yiv8563936147primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8563936147 a.yiv8563936147primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8563936147 WordPress.com | Steve Ruis posted: “There are tremendous advantages to a “three fingers under” string grip for beginners. Its only disadvantage is a loss of distance/cast. Consider the photo below.This is Christine Bjerendal of Sweden. She competed in the 2012 Olympic Games (London)” | |


    • Think about it; if the line of sight to the target is just across the arrow point (using point of aim technique) and the string hand is in the same anchor position, the rear end of the arrow with a split finger string grip is lower by the thickness of the top finger.

      For example I did an experiment on a target at 10 yards. I shot arrows at a 122 cm target with both 3FU and split finger (SF) string grips. The SF group was approx. 6.5 rings higher on the target butt than the 3FU group. (No adjustments/tuning, etc. were made.) This is a large difference in impact points.

      This is why when we have a young archer trying to shoot at longer distances for the first time, we switch them from 3FU to SF. It is fast and gives them a great deal of distance. Cranking their bows up to a higher draw weight takes longer and getting lighter faster arrows is much more expensive.

      On Thu, Aug 11, 2016 at 2:08 AM, A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:



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