BY: JOHN DUDLEY
Consistent shot execution is so important in archery. There are fractions of a second in a shot cycle that really add up to either big points or big misses. Those fractions of a second are when the release is first fired. A common mistake is to make a shot, and then want to watch the shot. This is what I refer to as quitting the shot. By doing this, you are increasing the potential for misdirecting the arrow from the improper motion of your release hand. For those of you who have ever shot fingers, you certainly understand the importance of finishing the shot and following through properly.
What I always teach is to continue to build pressure and pull through until your release fires without you knowing when it is going to fire. To do this, use your back muscles for driving your elbow back to the wall behind you until the release fires. Then, as the release fires, you need to consciously focus on continuing to contract the bicep muscle to help pull your elbow back bringing your release hand back and over your rear shoulder. This motion keeps your release hand from moving down or away from your face, both of which are very common problems that have a negative effect on accuracy.
I am continually asked if some of the top archers with very dynamic “explosive releases” are for real. The answer is most of it does come from the explosion of the shot but there is a certain part of the motion that is an exaggerated motion to help ensure that the shot is finished and the release hand comes back straight, ending over the shoulder, preventing misdirection of the arrow. When you see it done right, it is obvious it is being done right, and for the right reasons. Focus on finishing what you started with a proper follow through to add big points to your scores.