Practising on the range is awesome but if you are serious about becoming a better archer you need to keep that routine up when you are at home. I personally do a lot of holding exercises with the bow but that is only half the shot process. Incidentally, my own weaknesses come in the back tension and release. Precisely the things we can’t practise with the bow alone. Stretching bands are useful, but it is not quite the same as shooting a bow. Some archers have a place where they can train at home whether it’s a target mat inside a room or a mini range in the shed or the backyard. But, what happens if you don’t have the space? This is the Astra Shot Trainer. It comes in a re-sealable plastic bag containing the Shot Trainer itself and the instruction manual. The instruction manual is clearly written and contains plenty of visual references. The Astra website also features a YouTube video on how to set up and use the trainer. Which makes it very easy to learn and use. The Shot Trainer comes in two parts, The sleeve and the strap. The sleeve goes over your arm. There are two sizes available. The size 1, which fits most arms and a size 2 for particularly large arms. The material is stretchy and comfortable. The elbow straps should be equally spaced so that they sit nicely around the elbow. The other strap is looped around the bowstring beneath the nocking point. The clip goes on to the sleeve strap. The strap can be adjusted so that there is around an inch of spacing between your fingers and the bowstring when the strap is taut. Getting this spacing right is important as the wrong spacing will mean that the string won’t release as the strap slaps your jaw or arm. Now you are ready to go. Do a complete shot process and release the string. When you release the string, the strap snags it. The string only travels an inch from your fingers preventing a dry fire. This is what makes the Astra Shot Trainer, a great tool. It allows you to practise as if you were doing a real shot which includes the crucial release part of the process. In fact, the Shot Trainer has two advantages. The first one, is that it allows you to train indoors without a target and it’s particularly useful if you are in a hotel room or you are travelling. The second advantage, is that it forces you to use correct back tension. Many beginning archers struggle to maintain back tension in the shot process. Because the strap is secured around your arm the weight of the bow will pull you forward unless you maintain that back tension. The Shot Trainer, can be used with an arrow. Since the string is caught by the strap the arrow will only fall 1 to 4 metres away. Any further means that you were collapsing on your shot. The short distance means that you can practise shooting arrows in a small space, such as your backyard. The hook is easily snapped off so that you can retrieve your arrows. The manual lays out several practise drills such as filming releases with and without the Shot Trainer and using the Shot Trainer as a target to introduce a distraction in order to replicate a real shot. But, without having to walk 70m to pick up your arrow. As a cherry on top, the Astra website provides a free excerpt of hooking technique from Kisik Lee’s Total Archery book. I happen to have this book and it is a definite recommendation. Now, you can only use the Shot Trainer with a recurve bow. The whole snagging thing, will probably cause your cables to derail off your compound bow and that is bad. However, you can still practice using your compound release aid. The Astra website has a page for compound release drills recommending that you purchase a cheap recurve bow for this exclusive purpose. Now for the big question. Price? The Astra website prices the Shot Trainer at US$59.99 which is around AU$64. However, Astra charges over AU$30 for shipping overseas which brings the price up to well over AU$90. Even if you can get it locally for around 80 bucks there is still the local shipping charges, which brings it to around 90 dollars anyway. But, is it worth it? The Astra Shot Trainer is a fantastic tool. It has lots of positive reviews and Astra currently sponsors the US Olympic archery team. Personally, I found it to be a great training tool. It’s easy to setup, comfortable to use and it helps you to get in to the mentality of going through a smooth shot process, with correct back tension and a proper release. You can use this as a warm-up exercise before you shoot or you can use it as a stand-alone short training session. I think it is one of the things on the top of your list if you are looking for something to help with your archery form. This gets the thumbs up from me. Anyway, hope you found this useful, and I will see you next time.