Recent Thoughts on Release Aid Technique

In an email from a student he observed that “(In the most recent World Cup Compound Finals) Russian Woman Albina Loginova had problems during the team finals and switched to a different release in the middle of it. Russia lost and she also lost the Gold single final as well.

This brought any number of thoughts to my mind. For one, release aids do not have a 100% reliability ratings. I had a release aid stop working during a competition. After repeated attempts to get the thing to go off (it was my last arrow and I just wanted to be done), I had to borrow a release from another archer to finish the tournament.

In another instance I found out that water in a release can jamb the works up (I heard this happened recently from another archer.), and in another case, my release rope broke during a shot and I had to switch to my backup (fortunately and amazingly the arrow scored well when the rope broke). All serious release aid archers carry a back-up release with them while shooting.

I also want to emphasize that there is nothing you can say regarding release technique that is an absolute, maybe other than you do not want the release aid to be moving around during the loose of the string. What kind of release an archer favors is somewhat dependent upon their personal psychology, and that can change. While someone may be shooting along brilliantly using a hand-held release with a thumb trigger, they may struggle and could very well benefit from switching to a triggerless release, and vice-versa. There are all kinds of techniques. Which can be used is a matter of personal psychology. Some are fine with triggers, others not so much. One professional field/3-D archery carried a pouch of six releases with him. Each one was set at a different speed, one was set to not go off at all. This he did for quite a few years to be able to shoot without anticipating the release going off (a major aspect of target panic).Carter Insatiable Release Aid

While I am on this topic, let me re-state that there is no such thing as a “back tension release” even though this term is widely bandied about in compound-release circles. Think about it; there is no way a release aid can know what muscles are being used to operate it. A hinge release only trips and looses the string when the hook is held in place (by the D-loop or release rope) being attached to the bowstring and the body of the release aid rotates far enough (this is an adjustable setting). The release cannot tell whether it is being rotated by the archer establishing good full-draw-position and rotating their draw shoulder, thus swinging their elbow into line with the plane of the arrow (a highly recommended technique) or whether the archer is manipulating the release by rotating it in their hand using their fingers (a commonly used technique, even by elite archers). One technique involves the use of back tension in the process of shooting, the other does not. So, if you are interested in a release aid because you think it will help you utilize your back muscles, well, you are just wrong. If someone is trying to sell you such a release and using that argument, reach down and hold on to your wallet, turn 180° and walk away.

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