When someone tells you to hook the bowstring he means that you place the bowstring in the first knuckle joint of your fingers of your draw hand.
This way you get a good grip on the string and it won’t shoot forwards uncontrolled. You are the one who will decide when you let the bowstring go.
To save you some pain I highly recommend using a finger tab or shooting glove right from the start.
If you don’t, your fingers will hurt after only a few shots which can take away the fun.
Read more about finger tabs and other equipment in my article about protective archery gear.
Please take a look at the picture below to see how the bowstring is hooked correctly:
As you can see in the picture above, only three fingers hold the bowstring: the index finger, middle finger, and ring finger.
The index finger is traditionally placed above the nock of the arrow, the other fingers below it.
(There are forms in archery that place the fingers differently, but the way explained here is the most commonly used one.)
These were the basics of how to hook the bowstring, but I want to tell you a bit more about the importance of your draw hand:
When I see beginners shooting their first arrows, I notice that they are often very tensed and not relaxed.
This is a very common archery mistake and absolutely normal, but you can try to avoid it right from the start.
One of the most important things, when you hook the bowstring (and later draw the bow), is, that you keep your drawing hand as relaxed as possible!
The whole tension should rest on your three fingers. The rest of your hand stays relaxed.
Please try and practice this right from the beginning, so that you don’t get used to a bad style and need to unlearn it again later.
I am glad you asked! 😉
At this point, you have to make sure that you get the right grip on your bow.
Place the grip of the bow inside the meaty part of your bow.
Close your hand. The thumb of your hand has to point at the target.
Again, try to keep this hand as relaxed as possible, too. If you grab your bow too tight, you won’t get good results when shooting with the bow.
You might have seen professional archers that use a sling and when the arrow leaves the bow, their bow will tip forward and is held by that sling.
You can see from that example how loose they hold their bow and what great accuracy they achieve by doing this.
Awesome! Another step in this training is completed and we are about to learn how to raise and extend your bow arm.
This will be the last step that is rather easy before we get to the “real stuff”!
After that step, we will finally draw the bow and then we are almost at the point when we actually shoot the bow.
Important Note! If you don’t feel comfortable with this way of drawing, there are a couple of other ways.
I am discussing additional ways of pulling the string here.
Just be sure to not skip any part of this training.
All the steps are crucial for your success in archery.
Only when you know exactly what has to be done in each phase of the whole archery movement, you will succeed.
Let me know what you think about this step and if you have any questions, please ask below in the comments and I will help you quickly.