I am sure, whether you are archer or coach, that you have heard a great many statements regarding the “musts” of archery. Sometimes these are framed as “shoulds” or “need tos” or “ought tos.” Unfortunately all of these are dead wrong. All of them.
Take, for example, “you need to shoot with back tension.” Well, do you? Obviously not since so many people shoot without it. Similarly, you need to shoot “with a surprise release.” A number of very successful compound archers are also release trigger punchers, so no surprise there.
The only “musts” that are valid are those associated with what you have committed to (or your student has committed to). If you or they have committed to shooting their compound bow using back tension with a surprise release, then there are certain “musts” that apply. If they haven’t committed to those techniques, those “musts” absolutely do not apply.
I am not just saying you need to “watch your language” or “do not use statements containing ‘must’ or ‘should’.” I am saying that those kinds of statements have to be linked to the goals committed to by the archer in question, either you or your student.
You can clarify such “must statements” by saying things like “If you really want a surprise release, then . . . we need to set up your release aid differently (or whatever).
I realize this is cumbersome and you may only want to use such phrasing early on in that commitment, but there are other reasons for speaking thus. One of them is archers are famous gossips. If in a session you tell one of your students “You must do x, y, and z.” someone nearby can hear you and then “quote you” as saying “everybody needs to do x, y, and z.” (If you are old enough to remember the E.F. Hutton TV commercials, you know what I am talking about. If you aren’t, they usually involved two investor types sitting around talking and one says “Well, my broker is E.F. Hutton and he says . . .” where upon the entire room hushes and everyone nearby leans in to learn what Broker Hutton was recommending.)
This isn’t exactly a “loose lips sink ships” situation, but the number of times I have heard Recurve advice given to Compound archers and vice-versa, well that is not a small number.
Context is important. And teachers, including us coaches, need to reinforce through reiteration . . . a lot.