Ripcord Arrow Rests
Thumb Buttons, Back Tension, and Flyers
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
aDrenalinJunkie21 13-Feb-20
butcherboy 13-Feb-20
Dave B 13-Feb-20
aDrenalinJunkie21 13-Feb-20
WapitiBob 13-Feb-20
JTreeman 13-Feb-20
Dino 14-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 14-Feb-20
altitude sick 14-Feb-20
midwest 14-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 14-Feb-20
x-man 14-Feb-20
x-man 14-Feb-20
x-man 14-Feb-20
SJJ 14-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 14-Feb-20
CCOVEY 14-Feb-20
elkstabber 14-Feb-20
Ermine 14-Feb-20
deerhunter72 14-Feb-20
midwest 14-Feb-20
x-man 14-Feb-20
midwest 14-Feb-20
bb 14-Feb-20
x-man 14-Feb-20
Bowfreak 14-Feb-20
wyobullshooter 14-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 15-Feb-20
Hank_S 15-Feb-20
rjlefty3 15-Feb-20
midwest 15-Feb-20
bb 15-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 15-Feb-20
Turtlebuc22 15-Feb-20
skipmaster1 15-Feb-20
x-man 15-Feb-20
BC173 15-Feb-20
longbeard 15-Feb-20
Mike Ukrainetz 15-Feb-20
13-Feb-20
Im writing this with a slightly bruised forearm and from a point of extreme frustration.

I've shot my bow with an index finger release forever; I would draw, anchor, rest my finger on my trigger, and slowly squeeze the shot (like a rifle).

That being said, I felt like I hit a ceiling with how well I could shoot - my best groups at 20 could be less than 2 inches (even though that's not consistently my groups - more like 4 inches at 20) and get marginally larger until 50 - that's when the wheels fell off. So, I got myself a thumb button and tried to shoot it with back tension/pulling my arm back instead of using my finger to squeeze a trigger like a rifle.

The results so far have been...inconsistent to say the least. some arrows ending up right where I wanted them. Some ending up multiple feet from the bullseye. Just when I would start to think I'm getting the knack of this new style of shooting, I send a flyer down range, I whack my forearm with the string, and then get frustrated.

Other than venting my frustration, here's my question; am I just over tinkering? Is it worth going down this rabbit hole to be a "better shot" when I can actually be better at doing what I'm doing now?

Thanks for sticking with me if yall got this far.

From: butcherboy
13-Feb-20
Stick with what you know. A 4” group really isn’t a bad group if it’s consistent. I tried a thumb release once and it was incredibly awkward and made me a terrible shot. Went back to an index release pretty dang quick.

From: Dave B
13-Feb-20
If you are missing by feet you are punching and flinching. I still drift back to that anxiety filled shot from time to time. For me, I go back to practicing at close range and work on my sequence/engine. Dont worry about aiming, just the firing sequence. Bam, it goes off. Once i have something consistent i back up the yardage. It's a consistent struggle for me on targets, live targets not at all, probably has something to do with going into kill mode. I am more accurate with my hinge and thumb trigger than I was with an index release so for me the switch was worth it.

13-Feb-20
To be more specific; what happens is I aim the bow, I decide that I'm ready to start executing, and repeat "pull" to myself and then I a) flinch (and then let down) b) punch the trigger and then only jesus knows where the arrow is going or c) I actually execute and the arrow ends where I want it to. Usually if a happens, I pull for so long and I have no idea why the shot hasn't gone off yet. I've tried putting the release in a different position in my hand, and my thumb on a different position on the trigger. I'm not sure if my thumb is slipping off the trigger or if maybe I haven't built my muscles up enough to feel sturdy for the length of the shot

From: WapitiBob
13-Feb-20
Nothing wrong with the way your executing the shot, you simply have an anxiety issue that you need to overcome. You do that by shooting at a target at close distance then moving back over time. You can prove it to yourself tomorrow by closing your eyes and shooting the bow; anxiety and punching goes away.

If you choose to be a puller, pull with the tip of the elbow but, draw length, loop length , and timing needs to be right. If you pull with a wrist strap, you pull thru the strap if that makes sense; the hand comes back as you pull but the release and strap stay in place causing the trigger to move.

From: JTreeman
13-Feb-20
I am not a terrific shot, and certainly am no coach/guru. But I’ll throw my 2 cents in anyway. I suspect your draw length is too long. I prefer to pull through a thumb release although I certainly struggle at times. But draw length, thumb/trigger position, and loop length are all important and it really doesn’t sound like you know where you are on those items. But I could be very wrong...

—Jim

From: Dino
14-Feb-20
Buy a tension release. Follow John Dudley. Unreal accuracy and loss of target anxiety will follow.

From: Grey Ghost
14-Feb-20
Classic target panic. I’ve seen it wreck archery careers. You either have it , or you don’t. There’s plenty written on the subject, but no magic cure all. You just need to find the one that works for you.

Good luck, man.

Matt

14-Feb-20
Or a hinge release with or without a thumb safety

Like a Scott Honey 2

Another target panic technique is to get close to the target and aim by focusing on a tiny object Like a previous arrow hole.

Keeping both eyes open. Anchor, look through your BLURRY sights and focus only on the tiny object on the target. Not the sight.

Check utube for this technique

From: midwest
14-Feb-20
Start here....

From: Grey Ghost
14-Feb-20
I once shot a national 3D tournament with a guy who had TP so bad, he had to forewarn the others of us in his group ahead of time. I thought he was just joking around until he stepped up to the first target. Sure enough, he did 3 draw/flinch/let down sequences before he finally got a shot off. And this wasn't your average flinch, this was more like a full body tremor. He was a decent shot when he finally got one off, but it was painful to watch. I felt so bad for the guy, but I knew there was nothing I could say or do to help him.

OP, based on your description, it sounds like your draw length is too long. The string should never smack your bow arm. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes I see beginning archers make. With the proper draw length, your bow arm should be slightly bent at the elbow at full draw. If your bow arm is fully extended at full draw, your draw length is too long. My advise is correct that problem, first, so that's one less thing to worry about on your shot.

My only other advise is to seek the help of a good target archer at your local range. Work on form at close range, first (like 3 yards from the target butt). Don't be concerned about where the arrows go, instead focus on how the shots feel. Close your eyes if you have to. Think about pinching your shoulder blades together as you pull thru your shot. Once the mechanics of a back-tension release become second nature, you're over half way home to beating TP, and you will be a much more accurate shot.

Good luck,

Matt

From: x-man
14-Feb-20
I'm going to echo Matt and Bob. This is TP, plain and simple. Except it's NOT simple to fix.

In my opinion, you don't need to buy a different release. Get your favorite wrist strap release and learn to pull your limp arm/wrist through the strap with your finger wrapped around the trigger.

Back tension works the same regardless of the style of release. Actually thumb triggers are the hardest to use with BT. Especially if you have to "pull" the trigger with your thumb.

If you want a training aid for your situation, get a "can't fire" safety wrist strap hook (True-Fire makes a good one). "shoot" a round of "arrows" with that every day with that untill you can squeeze that trigger stem without flinching every time. Then use your real release at a blank bale for a while to help build that muscle memory and confidence before shooting at a target again. (this process can take months)

From: x-man
14-Feb-20

From: x-man
14-Feb-20
Yikes! dreaded triple tap .

From: SJJ
14-Feb-20
Joel Turner & Tom Clum have a ton of information along these lines

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TazqREpxaNY

From: Grey Ghost
14-Feb-20
"Back tension works the same regardless of the style of release."

This is so true. If/when you become comfortable with true back tension shooting, it won't matter what release you use, it's all the same principle. The actual shot should surprise you EVERY SINGLE TIME. If not, you are consciously punching the trigger, and TP will eventually rear its ugly head again.

The main thing is, as x-man said, don't expect to cure yourself of TP overnight. No one ever does. Be satisfied with a few well executed shots each practice session. If/when the flinching comes back, stop immediately, and find something else to do. The whole process is about reprogramming your mind and muscle memory to execute the shot correctly. TP is like quitting a bad addiction. You can't occasionally slip up and return to your bad habit. You have to stop it completely and forever.

Matt

From: CCOVEY
14-Feb-20
Some good info above. When you stop caring where the arrow goes and start executing a "perfect shot" it'll all go away. Sound simple, but as most know its not. Sometimes i feel "the perfect shot" happen and my arrow might be a couple inches right or left, oh well it happens. Let the pin float and pull through and 9 out of 10 shots will go where you want them to. I still struggle with small forms of TP here and there and when i feel it coming i grab my hinge or tension style release and shoot some indoor. I think breaking up your shooting helps the mind rest. Its a mind screw so treat it accordingly. Good luck!

From: elkstabber
14-Feb-20
John Dudley podcasts and youtube videos discuss how to get control back from target panic.

From: Ermine
14-Feb-20
I’m not a back tension or thumb release guy. It can help with practice I prefer index for hunting

From: deerhunter72
14-Feb-20
Been through target panic. It’s just something you have to work your way through. I’ve was started out at 12 years old on a thumb release and never have been able to switch to anything different. It’s all in what you know and are comfortable with.

From: midwest
14-Feb-20
There's a reason the vast majority of pro target archers are shooting handhelds.

From: x-man
14-Feb-20
"There's a reason the vast majority of pro target archers are shooting handhelds."

Right, mostly because they're easier to tuck away between shots and between ends. There's also an unwritten "stigma" that goes with wearing a wrist strap at a pro event. But I should remind everyone that Vegas has been won with a wrist strap recently.

The best of the best can shoot any release accurately.

From: midwest
14-Feb-20
I'm including hinge releases in my definition of handhelds. That would account for many of the target archers.

From: bb
14-Feb-20
I would bet that you are punching the trigger with your thumb. I did the same thing. I found that any time I had to manipulate a trigger with a finger whether thumb or index finger, I punched the release. What worked for me with the thumb release was to rotate the trigger barrel so it was at it's closest position to the release. The goal was to get the trigger away from the end of my thumb and contacting the base of my thumb where it meets my hand. That effectively eliminated the urge to squeeze/punch the trigger and allow it to release entirely with back pressure. If I punched the trigger with that thumb release the arrows would consistently impact a foot to the left. With pure back tension they group on top of each other where I'm aiming.

From: x-man
14-Feb-20
It's probably important to emphasize that no matter which finger/thumb you're using, the trigger needs to be as close to your hand as possible. The farthest away from the tip/end.

From: Bowfreak
14-Feb-20
All good points. One thing to also consider is that if your release is at times firing within an acceptable amount of time with an acceptable amount of tension and then at times it won't fire. When it doesn't fire you seem to be pulling your guts out but it just won't go. More than likely when this happens you are letting your front shoulder rise. This soft shoulder acts as a draw "lengthener" and will give you fits trying to pull through the shot. If you are already shooting a draw length that is too long then you are doubling down on your issue.

14-Feb-20
"I'm going to echo Matt and Bob. This is TP, plain and simple. Except it's NOT simple to fix. In my opinion, you don't need to buy a different release. Get your favorite wrist strap release and learn to pull your limp arm/wrist through the strap with your finger wrapped around the trigger.

Back tension works the same regardless of the style of release."

^^^^That! I fought a world class case of TP for 20+ years. I quit shooting leagues and tournaments. It was horrendous just shooting by myself, but if I saw a vehicle at the range, I'd turn around and go home. As I was driving to the range, I could feel the anxiety building up before I even got there.

I kept putting off facing my demon, since even though life was miserable, I kept killing animals in spite of it..until. I sent an arrow literally feet over a nice bull at 22 yards. I knew right then I had to address the problem or quit hunting.

These days, there are many resources to help defeat the TP demon. For me, it was the combination of a Carter Backstrap release and Bernie Pellerite's book "Idiot Proof Archery". As x-man pointed out, overcoming TP isn't a quick fix. It takes time, dedication, and above all, you have to admit to yourself that you have a problem and commit yourself to correcting it. The first day I started Bernie's program, I couldn't float my pin on a golf tee without quivering like a bowl of Jello...from 2 1/2 yards! I committed myself to the program every day, and 5 weeks later I was able to float my pin on the target until the release fired...with zero anxiety.

A couple things to keep in mind. It doesn't matter what type of release you use: thumb, tension, hinge, or index finger...the key to reaching your full potential is developing a surprise release. In simple terms, you LET the release fire, you don't MAKE the release fire. The other thing is, you can shoot close all day long, eyes closed or not, and life is good. The problem is, if you suddenly move back to "normal" shooting/hunting distances, the anxiety will rapidly rear it's ugly head again. The great thing about program's such as Bernie's, it shows you how to slowly allow your brain to adjust to moving back. He refers to it as a bridge. From someone who was as deep into the abyss as one can get, you can climb out, but it won't be a quick, easy fix.

I've been shooting an index finger release for years now, and I NEVER squeeze the trigger. I simply pull through the shot. Although I don't hit the exact spot I want every time, I expect to. Even when I don't hit the exact spot, not only is it close, but even more important, I'm in control of the shot rather than the other way around. Good luck!

From: Grey Ghost
15-Feb-20
Great post, Rob. I'm sure it helps TP sufferers to know they aren't the only ones.

I think the true surprise release is the key to fighting TP. To some it seems counterintuitive to not control the exact moment when the shot goes off, but that control is exactly what causes the TP.

Thankfully, I've never suffered with TP, but I've helped several people who did. Back in the day, I'd hand them a 2-fingered Stano hinge release to give them a feeling for the surprise release. Most guys absolutely hated the sensation of not knowing when the shot was going off, at first. Then, gradually their focus shifted from triggering the shot to just aiming, and letting the shot happen when it happens. That's when their TP usually went away.

Matt

From: Hank_S
15-Feb-20
"Then, gradually their focus shifted from triggering the shot to just aiming, and letting the shot happen when it happens. That's when their TP usually went away."

Bingo...we have a winner!!!

From: rjlefty3
15-Feb-20
I was a slow finger pull (like you say) instead of true back tension. Really struggled for a while with TP and it was a long road back. My pin would always float low, but it was like my bow was 1000lbs and I could never lift my bow to hold on the actual target. I'd eventually get somewhat near and I'd punch.

It may be weird, but what helped me was shooting longer distances. I finally said screw it, I'll burn through arrows if I need to (fully expecting to miss) and started backing up. Once I was shooting at 60-70-80 yards, it made 20-40 that much easier. Mentally, I felt I was able to hold on the target forever. I always was able to, but mentally something didn't click.

I used the same release throughout my process, but it always had way more trigger travel than I really wanted. I decided to switch and try a thumb release, but it felt awkward and messed up my anchors so I ditched it. I ended up buying a different index release with a really crisp trigger and this winter am working on making that automatic. There is definitely a noticeable different and I'm able to pull through - something I couldn't on the other release due to the amount of travel.

From: midwest
15-Feb-20
Carter Like Mike is a great index finger release. Double sear, adjustable travel and pull. Like breaking glass.

BTW, I have a Carter Backstrap (mentioned in Wyobull's post above) for sale if anyone is interested. Carter no longer makes them....$75 tyd. PM me.

From: bb
15-Feb-20
I have read numerous accounts of target panic over the years. The thing that is apparent is the symptoms are similar from person to person although not all the same symptoms, just a range. The cures vary from person to person. Some say blind shooting from close range is the cure, some say just concentrate. The list goes on. The common theme is one cure may wok for some but not others.

I have read countless books, tried all the devices, some worked for a period of time but never solved the problem. My symptom was not being able to put the pin on the target and hold it there. I would always settle low. You could hold a gun to my head...I would not be able to will myself to raise the pin to the target. The minute I took my trigger finger out of play, I was fine. regardless if it was the index finger or thumb. It was almost comical to watch.

I would draw the bow and hold the pin on the target. As soon as I moved my index finger toward the trigger, my bow arm would drop. The speed at which this happened was in synch with how quickly I reached for the trigger. When I removed my finger from the trigger the pin would come up and settle on the target. That's when I realized I needed a release without a trigger. I purchased a release that was strictly back tension and it was like I was re-born. I then purchased a similar release but had a thumb trigger. That was the key for me because I was able to grip the trigger in a way that took any trigger finger out of the equation. You can do it with an index finger release and use back tension to fire but for me it was easier to take the trigger finger out of the equation entirely by using the thumb release, which was the only thing that worked for me. The minute my trigger finger comes into play I go right back to TP mode.

From: Grey Ghost
15-Feb-20

Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Here's the release that I used to help several guys get over their TP. It was the release that John Willig used to win the 1983 Vegas 3-spot Tournament. He gave it to me when he was mentoring me in spot shooting. That was back before d-loops were popular, so you'd loop the sting on this release under a standard nock set. Stanislawski later came out with the type head that clips onto a d-loop, but the hinge mechanism was the same. Most modern hinge type clones are based on this same simple design.

It took some practice, and a few errant pre-releases, to get used to, but it sure seemed to help cure TP. I knew several top pro shooters who'd carry 3 identical hinge releases in their pockets, all set to different roll-over settings. That way, they'd never know which release they were using on any shot, thereby insuring a surprise release every time.

Matt

From: Turtlebuc22
15-Feb-20
I bought a SCAT release to cure me of my target panic. You cannot command this release to fire - it fires after a period of time, while the shooter concentrates on aiming. Good luck

From: skipmaster1
15-Feb-20
Get your aim and forget about it. Then Focus 100% on your shot activation movement. Increasing back tension. Don’t let your site picture trigger your shot. Check out Joel Turner and ShotIQ

From: x-man
15-Feb-20
That's the same 2-finger Stan that I started with.... Only a few black eyes...

From: BC173
15-Feb-20
I had terrible TP. On my brothers suggestion, I bought a 3 finger Stan. and practiced everyday religiously. Usually at no more than 5 yds. I can’t tell you how many time I busted myself in the mouth or the number of arrows I destroyed, over the first 3 weeks or so. But as soon as I felt my first surprise release, I became hooked. Although I hunt with a thumb release, I do ALL my practicing with the same Stan. It has helped me immeasurably.

From: longbeard
15-Feb-20
I’ve been dealing this for a couple of years now. My symptoms are very much like bb’s and lefty’s in that I have a very hard time raising my bow to the bullseye or in a hunting situation, where I want the arrow to hit for a quick clean kill. I just can’t raise my arm to place the pin where it should be and when I do, I end up punching the trigger as my arm/the bow is rising. The result is usually a high shot, which ends up flying over the animals back or a high hit/wound. To make matters worse at the moment of executing the shot, I sometimes twitch, which also results in an arrow flying to god knows where.

Frustrating as hell, especially when it comes to wounding the animal I have targeted.

15-Feb-20
WOW! It’s no wonder so many guys quit archery with all the confusing, contradictory information above!!

With the obvious Target Panic you have, DO NOT Stay with an index finger release, or even a thumb release, shoot a tension release and follow John Dudleys School of Nock on YouTube!!!!!

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