I was thinking about throwing and holding style recently and happened upon a couple of good articles I wanted to share…
The image above is a pretty good representation of the problems of teaching people how to throw with an atlatl without a dart rest. As you can see in the picture, as the throwing motion begins, the dart flexes upward. The most common mistake people using an atlatl without a dart rest make is to hang a finger over the top of the dart (like a saddle on a horse) and not let go soon enough. Even a person who rightly just holds the dart with the tips of a finger and a thumb can hang on too long. The person above waited to long to release the dart. She should have let the dart loose before her elbow passed her face or more to the point, just as soon as she started the forward throwing motion. To the good, she is not dropping her elbow.
The “Right” Way to Hold a Dart with a Non-Dart Rest Atlatl
Note the dart itself is resting on the three fingers and held in place using the tips of the one finger and thumb. The trick is to hold just tight enough to be able to keep the dart on the spur until the forward motion begins … then let go, let the dart slip out from between the tips of the finger and thumb as soon as the forward throwing motion begins.