Bow release - help needed!

Emmadragon

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Hi, another fairly noob question, I think...
So, I just recently put a v-bar and short rods onto my bow. Now, my riser is itself very light, less than 1 kg, and all the extra hardware, even without any weights on the ends, has added at least another 500g.
When I release, although I don't grip the bow up to the point of release, within a very quick interval I grab the bow rather than let it fall.
(We videoed it to make sure I wasn't grabbing prior to release, but it is a very quick post-release reaction.)
With all the extra weight, I'm now finding that this quick grab action has resulted in a nasty flare-up of tennis elbow.
So, working through the release action with the aid of my husband, who's a very experienced sportsman and no slouch when it comes to diagnosing muscle strains and causes, we've determined that the best way to combat this (after resting at first to reduce the immediate pain, we're having a holiday which should give me the break I need) is probably to move to a proper Olympic style release where the bow falls. I don't need the full, theatrical swing, but just to not grab.
Psychologically, I think I've conditioned myself so thoroughly over the course of 18 months of shooting this way, that I'd really appreciate any tips on how I can work on this...short of saying don't grip, don't grip, don't grip in my head, which of course will mean that all the rest of my form will go to pot. :scratchch
I haven't yet got to the point of unconscious capability where everything is completely automatic.
So, my question, really, is how should I combat this overwhelming desire to not let the bow fall? I do use a bow sling, btw. Does anyone have anyway that they train new archers to let go?
 


LionOfNarnia

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LOL I still need to remind myself - often - to let go of the bow on release.

- but I'm still pretty 'grabby' a lot of the time :(
 


ThomVis

Member
Does anyone have anyway that they train new archers to let go?
Yep, we teach them to not grab the bow in the first place. Knuckles at 45?, index and thumb toward the target, and relax wrist and fingers completely. Let your fingersling catch the bow. What it does afterwards is up to you, but let it fall in the fingersling first.




Take all the weights off and try this. If your elbow hurts, stop shooting. Shooting through the pain will not help your form.

With all the extra weight, I'm now finding that this quick grab action has resulted in a nasty flare-up of tennis elbow.
It's not the grab action that has resulted in the flare-up, but too much tension in your lower arm.
 


geoffretired

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Supporter
I would shoot the bow with long rod only, so it wants to tip forward, but is not too heavy.
Then, shoot at close range 4y or so. You will be so close that aiming without a sight will be no problem.
After a couple of shots, start to look at your bow hand all through the shot process and watch how the fingers stay relaxed.
It can help, if you start with stiff fingers sticking out where you can see them all. Get used to the feel of the bow jumping onto the sling and keeping your hand with fingers in view.
It is all about getting the hand to stay as you set it. If it starts stiff; it has to finish stiff. As you get used to the feeling that the jumping bow does not require you to grab at it, you can slowly allow your hand to start off slightly loose; the objective then is for it to finish slightly loose. As you are watching the hand all through the shot process you can see if it starts grabbing, and can avoid it more easily next time.
 


ben tarrow

Active member
The original post says "bow" sling!
If that's the one that fastens to the bow and you put your hand through, then no wonder you grab. Throw it away and get a finger sling! Bow slings attach to the bow below the centre of gravity, so the bow naturally wants to turn upside down, hence the need to grab.
Other opinions are available, but they are wrong 😁
 


Timid Toad

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I put an empty matchbox between finger(s) and thumb. Keeps the fingers open. You can squeeze all you like but the bow will still react and fall and you'll get used to it's movement. Eventually the bow will pop forward and knock the matchbox out of your fingers, because you'll barely be holding it, and then you can lose the matchbox altogether. Yes it's a faff. But it will completely distract your brain from grabbing or catching the bow.
 


ben tarrow

Active member
I put an empty matchbox between finger(s) and thumb. Keeps the fingers open. You can squeeze all you like but the bow will still react and fall and you'll get used to it's movement. Eventually the bow will pop forward and knock the matchbox out of your fingers, because you'll barely be holding it, and then you can lose the matchbox altogether. Yes it's a faff. But it will completely distract your brain from grabbing or catching the bow.
Tie a bit of string to the matchbox, so you dont have to keep picking it up.
Alternatively, use cocktail sticks between your thumb and first finger of your bow hand. You wont grab twice then
 


KidCurry

Well-known member
... even without any weights on the ends, has added at least another 500g.
...With all the extra weight, I'm now finding that this quick grab action has resulted in a nasty flare-up of tennis elbow.
I don't think the tennis elbow is due to grabbing the bow. It's more likely the sudden extra 1/2kg
I would shoot the bow with long rod only, so it wants to tip forward, but is not too heavy.
Yep, really important to reduce risk of TE. This will also make your next task easier. The hand position...

Yep, we teach them to not grab the bow in the first place. Knuckles at 45?, index and thumb toward the target, and relax wrist and fingers completely.


My preference is for pinky, ring and middle finger curled in... that's option 3 in the middle row above. It's not quite relaxed to start as you need to force the three fingers to stay curled in. But for use with a finger sling it's great. Make sure the sling is not too tight or too loose.
 


Corax67

Active member
Probably not helpful but I had exactly the same issue as does a fellow shooter at our club, we both changed our bow hand to a form where the fingers are rolled under much like a lightly close fist thus preventing the grab action and only shoot with a long rod to get the bow weight down a lot - I formerly had a 4? extender, vee-bar, 30? long rod, 2x10? side rods all with multiple weights and dampers plus a 4? rod on the front of the riser above the centreline.

Off came the weight and away went the elbow pain.

I do shoot with a bow sling (arthritic fingers) on recurve and compound and have not had any issues to date.



Karl
 


jonUK76

Member
There is a training aid I have which helps force you to use a proper grip and prevents you from grabbing the bow. Search "Neet True Shot Coach" - it's fairly cheap. It works, it's possibly along the same lines as the matchbox idea (I'm struggling to visualise that ATM) but on the downside it's rather tricky to use with a finger sling.
 


Rog600

Member
I'm not a coach, so I'll preface this with "this works for me but might help you too but defer to your coach"...

Bit of a mind thing. I'm sure how we talk about things and the words we use can influence how we do things. Sometimes saying the same thing with different words helps us understand things differently.

We call it a grip but we don't want to grip it. Think of it as a pad to push against.
Or maybe think of your bow arm and hand as a forked stick between the bow and your shoulder, into which you're pulling the bow.

You could also ask someone to pull your bow forward out of your hand (forked stick) against the finger sling so that you can feel how not gripping it feels. Imagine the bow following the arrow down range... Coach demonstrated this with a training bow; bow clattered to the floor but it was a great 'visual'. Or, even better, do it for yourself (with an already less than perfect bow).

Telling's not teaching so actually try stuff like this.

And blank boss helps; tell yourself it's only there to save you walking too far and there's no points to score. Or even no boss if it is safe to do so. Mental focus returns to you; focus entirely on feeling the bow pulling against your finger sling. Over and over.

I think that there can be a tendency to nip the 'grip' between thumb and top part of the first finger when using the fingers-curled-under method, which still interfers with the bow, but worth trying nonetheless.

But I love the matchbox idea! That is brilliant 👍

And don't worry about "over theatrical". Why would you worry about what you look like if your arrows end in the middle? You will make the mental link between letting the sling catch the bow and your arrows grouping better. If the bow ends up in the sling, and your sling is loose enough, your bow will swing. If it swings, you have achieved in not gripping it. If a desire to not look theatrical is the mental block that's causing you to grab the bow, then address that first; perhaps you could channel your inner luvvie when you are at the field on your own and go for it; let the bow swing without the self-consciousness of trying on a busy club night.

Nobody looks at an archer and says, "pah, look at that fantastic technique, what an idiot" but they do say, "that looks smooth and unfettered, I want to shoot like them because their arrows always group together".

This is maybe just a general confidence thing. But as much as I'm not a coach, I'm not a psychologist either.

If dressing like a clown would help me hit more golds I'd be the first to paint my face and wear big shoes.
 


Emmadragon

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You are all stars, thank you so much. Lots to think about there...
I know I need to work on my general conditioning for strength and such. I love the extra stability that the v-bar and short rods give me, but I'm really not loving the extra weight...but that's at least partly because I try to avoid exercise like the plague in general. The sofa is my friend!
I really like the matchbox idea, that sounds great. And no worries about looking a fool in front of others, very often my husband and I are the only ones on the field, and he won't laugh at me, so plenty of room to try the luvvie approach. Over theatricality maybe wasn't the best way to describe it, but it sometimes looks a bit over exaggerated. I know one chap at my old club who does grip the bow, but once he's loosed his shot, he THEN does a swing of his bow forward which had nothing to so with the loosing action. Got absolutely nothing to do with releasing the bow, but he does it so quick that you have to really look hard to notice that he's doing it as a conscious action post-shoot. I started watching him really closely because I was so impressed that he already had that action - or so I thought.
Once the elbow's rested again, and I know it will go away because I've had the TE before, then we'll go down to the field, get a nice close boss, and try all the things you've suggested. I'll take some cocktail sticks too, sometimes my head's a bit stubborn!
Thank you all again,
Emma.
 


ben tarrow

Active member
There is a training aid I have which helps force you to use a proper grip and prevents you from grabbing the bow. Search "Neet True Shot Coach" - it's fairly cheap. It works, it's possibly along the same lines as the matchbox idea (I'm struggling to visualise that ATM) but on the downside it's rather tricky to use with a finger sling.
Thats neet!
 


LionOfNarnia

Supporter
Supporter
There is a training aid I have which helps force you to use a proper grip and prevents you from grabbing the bow. Search "Neet True Shot Coach" - it's fairly cheap. It works, it's possibly along the same lines as the matchbox idea (I'm struggling to visualise that ATM) but on the downside it's rather tricky to use with a finger sling.
I'm most amused by the name of the company that makes it - Don't Choke Archery. At less than ?15 it's worth considering, for sure.

Shame about the finger sling issue though - I already find that the most irritating single aspect of the whole 'beginning-and-end-of-end' process (I use one of these) just due to the extra time it takes compared with the barebowers, who are usually 2 arrows in by the time I'm attached (having large stabilisers doesn't help) & halfway down the range before I've freed m'sel from it's grasp.

I'm beginning to understand why many of the 'top guns' just use a bootlace!
 


Emmadragon

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Supporter
With the finger sling, I put it on while I'm waiting for everyone else to get themselves ready to shoot (for some reason, I'm always the first one ready to go), and then I take it off on the way back to the equipment line. Never takes me more than 3 walking steps to take it off, so again, always ready to go...but I'm very keen. :poulies: Takes ages to get set up at the start, but once done then I'm a well-oiled shooting machine...apart from the aches and pains, obvs. My old coach always said if she was at Agincourt, she'd pick me over any other archer 'cos I could get all 6 arrows off while everyone else was still on their third, but I have slowed down now. I must admit, I had fewer aches and pains when I was faster, maybe I should go back to it. :mind-blow
 


LionOfNarnia

Supporter
Supporter
As I'm usually the last archer to loose the 6th arrow, the 'three peeps' happens before I even get my bow back on the stand.

The same is true after retrieval, I can't exactly sprint back due to my FMS & arthritic knees, the 'peep' sounds as soon as I cross the firing line, hence why I'm 2 or 3 shots behind by the time I pick up, attach the sling, get my tab on & get set on the line.

But I REFUSE to speed up my shots!

We're 'given' 40 seconds/arrow so to use less than 3/4 of that is just short-changing yourself.

During a smoke-break on Sunday I timed the coach & captain - they averaged 11 to 13 seconds between shots.
 


paul4be

New member
As a newbie still finding my way with all aspects of each shot, for what it's worth, I don't think there is another way initially other than directly thinking about and focusing on this part of the release. If you are "unlearning" a previous style, then it will take specific concentration initially at least.
 


fbirder

Supporter
Supporter
To get used to not gripping the bow on release, I've found that its useful to get the archer to hold the bow at about 45 degrees, pointing towards the gound with no arrow, then drawing back just a few inches - enough to settle the handle into the correct position in the hand, then release so the bow drops and is caughr by the finger sling.
Do that a dozen times and it feels much more natural to do it as part of a proper shot. Certainly seems to reduce the time before you don't have to conciously think about it.
 


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