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Re: seeking advice on release problem (kinda long)

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  • Sol
    Thank you to everyone who responded to my questions. Your answers and suggestions were all very thoughtful and thought-provoking. My apologies for being so
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 15, 2005
      Thank you to everyone who responded to my questions.
      Your answers and suggestions were all very thoughtful and
      My apologies for being so slow to follow-up.
      If you only knew the time lag to write the original post…
      Anyway, on to a compilation of feedback and my responses:

      Nest wrote:
      > Do you have the string at the first knuckle of your finger? Maybe you
      > could try moving it further toward the tip of your finger so it is half
      > way between the joint and the tip of your finger. There would be
      much less
      > distance for the string to travel before a release is achieved that way.
      > Maybe the knuckle is kind of locking, adn making it hard to release.
      > it would help. Maybe not. It is just a thought.

      > I have arthritis in 2 of the 3 fingers I use to hold the string, and it
      > seems to make me less likely to hold the string longer because it starts
      > to hurt. This by the way is a problem which I can see getting worse with
      > time. Does anybody have any arthritis tricks?

      People watching have suggested that it looks like the string is held
      at the knuckle joint;
      however, when I remove my shooting glove the red, sore bars across my
      fingers lie between the ball and the knuckle joint. I hold the string
      about as far out on the finger as I can without it slipping entirely
      off the end. I understand that hooking the string behind the knuckle
      is a common fault and so I've always tried to avoid that.

      I've been advised to oil my glove so that it conforms better to my
      hand (or else get a new one), since it was the position of the glove
      that gave the appearance of using the knuckle to draw back the string.
      I tried this last week and I think it helped a little. In general I
      find gloves to be too large for me, leaving a gap at the end of my

      Regarding the arthritis, I believe it is Kinjal who previously posted
      using a thumb ring to shoot, which allows him to circumvent the
      difficulties of shooting due to arthritis. I have always been
      planning on learning the thumb ring method, since that is more
      appropriate to my persona. It will allow me to just avoid dealing
      with this release problem. But I don't have a bow to learn the thumb
      ring draw technique with, since it seems funny to draw on the off-side
      of a modern recurve with cut-out arrow shelf.

      Carolus wrote:
      > As for your shooting problem, I have more insight. your problem would
      > appear to be psychological and is quite common. The solution, however is
      > not simple. The more you worry about it, the worse it will become. The
      > first thing to do is to go back to fundamentals, the second to work
      on your
      > mental game. Begin the process of correcting this by examining your form
      > starting with your foot placement, balance and orientation to the
      > target. Be sure you are comfortable, balanced and always consistent.
      > sure you wear hoes with similar heel configurations every time you
      > shoot. Wearing sneakers with flat soles one time and boots with heels
      > another will introduce factors which need to be compensated for.
      Make sure
      > you are well rested, relaxed, and not hungry or thirsty (I know, this
      > sounds elementary but you would be surprised how many people do not pay
      > attention to this aspect). Make sure your equipment is properly adjusted
      > and stand with it at the ready but relaxed on the line. Take several
      > breaths and observe your target view. Go over the shot in your mind
      > picturing a perfect shot. Once you have the shot firmly envisioned, nock
      > the arrow and draw it back confidently and quickly to the anchor
      point you
      > have established in your mind. Be sure your back is providing most
      of the
      > power for your draw. You should only have to make slight adjustments at
      > anchor. If it doesn't feel right, let it down and start over. Keep the
      > tension on your string hand up and draw through your anchor,
      relaxing your
      > grip at the point of anchor and let the tension of the string snap your
      > fingers open. Your hand should end up next to your neck, below your
      > ear. Hold your bow arm steady in your follow through until you hear the
      > arrow hit. Then relax and lower your bow. Take ten long slow breaths and
      > count to 20. Now begin the process again starting with analyzing your
      > stance. It is slow at first, don't worry about picking up the pace, just
      > go with the flow. You will find your confidence improving, you release
      > smoothing out, and You overall shooting improving. As you become more
      > confident, your speed will pick up but don't worry about it. For the
      > the speed end will simply become a faster version of your normal
      form and
      > you accuracy will remain high even if you don't get off the most
      arrows on
      > the line and the higher score will make you pull ahead.

      Yes, I don't doubt that part of this is a head game. I have been
      following much of this advice already. I tend to wear the same
      clothes, shoot at the same time of day, and drink during practice. I
      also try to blank my mind out, check my stance, relax, exhale, inhale
      and draw the bow, slowly exhale while looking only at the gold and
      release about midway through the exhalation. Because of the ongoing
      problems, my bow sometimes jerks up at release, rather than holding
      steady then the bow arm relaxing at arrow impact. My draw hand ends
      up all over the place due to the performance inconsistencies.

      I've read the descriptions of the draw techniques, in terms of the
      push-pull and feeling it in the back and I need to practice that
      because I'm not sure if I'm doing that properly, i.e. I don't have the
      feel of it. I haven't done the visualization exercise, so I will
      definitely try that. I understand that visualization can be a
      tremendous boost to performance. I read about a study of high school
      basketball teams; the team that practiced visualization exercises
      performed better on average at free throws than the team that
      physically practiced free throws. So I'll work harder on going back
      to basics and going slowly.

      Baron Talmon wrote:
      > GREETINGS sol: There are two sugestions that you might try, One is the
      > bow hand, Are gripping The bow too tightly? I find that if I try to
      > the grip so tight that it throws my arrow all over the target. Try
      > your palm parellel to the ground after you have reached full draw.
      This will
      > help you relax your grip,plus it removes your arm from the arrow and
      > path.
      > The other thing is try using a finger tab to draw with. It falls away
      > after the release but falls back in place as you reach for your next
      > arrow.You might try not to move your feet after you start shooting.
      Just get
      > relaxed and face the target. Half draw your bow and line up with the
      > Close your eyes and just swing your upper body to the left and
      right. then
      > do the same thing back and forward, open your eyes and sight at the
      > with out moving your body, this will tell you if you are straning your
      > stance to line up the bow.

      I don't believe I'm gripping the bow too tightly. I understand that
      this is another common fault. I use my thumb and first finger to
      apply the pressure that holds the bow, the rest of the hand is just
      along for the ride. I rarely bother with an arm guard anymore, since
      my stance pretty much keeps the entire arm out of the string path. In
      fact, if I find the string getting too close to my arm, it's
      invariably a sign that my Flemish bowstring has lost tension and needs
      to be twisted a few more times. Turning the palm parallel to the
      ground sounds interesting. I'll definitely try it and see how it feels.

      I pretty much don't move my lower body once I'm in position and
      shooting an entire end of arrows. I stand with my feet parallel, my
      body perpendicular to the plane of the target. I'll try your exercise
      and see what happens.

      Jon Stewart wrote:
      > As far as releasing, I had that problem once but in a different
      > way. I would snap my fingers open, which jarred the bow (and it
      > didn't help that my elbow was too low, which screwed up my follow
      > through). One of the more Zen of the archers advised me to time my
      > release with my breathing, exhaling as I drew & found my aiming
      > point, then, in the moment between breaths, to relax my fingers. He
      > also had me practice this with a weight on a string, like a lead
      > fishing weight, so I could practice the feel of it without the
      > weight of the bow's pull working on me. Also, one of the pros at a
      > local archery shop & range here has advised me to buy a well-fitting
      > glove, soak it with water, then keep it on until the glove dries.
      > He swears by this as a good shooting glove, especially after he cuts
      > the rest of the glove away to make a three fingered shooting glove
      > form it.
      > Don't know how much use this will be, but it's what I have. I
      > hope it helps.

      It all sounds good. I do sometimes snap the fingers open, which tends
      to jar the bow as you describe. That isn't my usual release, it's
      just one of the variations of the problematic release I've been
      experiencing. I am trying to be very conscious of timing the release
      with breathing, but different from what the Zen archer describes. I
      release partway through the long , slow exhalation. I get this from
      tai chi: inhale slowly with the opening move and exhale slowly at the
      end of the move; weight lifting: exhale slowly while lifting, inhale
      when lowering the weight. So maybe I got the breathing backwards for
      archery and should follow your friend's advice.

      I'm having a hard time picturing the weight on a string exercise. Is
      the string secured to the ceiling or some other point overhead?

      I tried soaking an earlier shooting glove in water so it would conform
      itself better to my hand. I used to do the same thing occasionally
      with my fire boots. I don't know if it was so successful with the
      shooting glove, it seemed to prematurely wear it out. Maybe that's
      because I actually shot with it before it was dry. Oiling a worn
      glove and using it seemed to help a little.

      I use only 2 fingers to draw, so someone recently suggested that I
      start using 3 and that I change my anchor point from the corner of my
      jaw to the corner of my mouth. I'm reluctant to do that, since I like
      using 2 fingers and 3 just feels strange and I like my anchor point.
      Maybe I am suffering the first faint twinges of arthritis, who knows.
      I'm beginning to think that it's a combination of factors that are
      perpetuating my problem: old glove, incipient age, loss of strength,
      head games…so new glove, visualization, alternate grip, practice
      coordination of release and breathing, build up my strength again, and
      keep practicing despite the frustration until some day I get back into
      the zone. And get the nice horsebow and start working with my thumb ring.

      Thanks again for the helpful suggestions.

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