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.
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.
Good luck, man.
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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!
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.
Bingo...we have a winner!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Frustrating as hell, especially when it comes to wounding the animal I have targeted.
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!!!!!