Archery | Astra Shot Trainer Review
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Archery | Astra Shot Trainer Review

August 19, 2019

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.

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  1. Possibly a dumb question, but can you use this for LH shooting? I checked out Astra's site and couldn't find any mention of LH or RH so I'm assuming it works for both, but I'd rather ask before buying one. Thanks for sharing the vid.

  2. It seems that this device might alter your release, since your arm is still pulled forward by the weight of the string. I try to maintain a consistent release by finding a second anchor point after release (fingertips back to my ear). Do you find that the tension on your arm forces your hand and arm to follow the string forward, or pull your bow arm back? And what effect do you feel this might have on your shot process? It seems like it would throw me off a little on the follow through…
    Maybe this is more of a concern for traditional shooters than olympic recurve but I would be interested in hearing your opinion, as I am on the fence about purchasing this tool. Thanks!

  3. At 2:20, I believe the carabiner hook is not closed properly?

    I made my own trainer after seeing this video. It is surprisingly easy to make, and mine looks a lot more comfortable (more padding) than this one. Also: I spent roughly €5 on materials, compared to the €60 this product would cost me.

    For anyone who wants to make this at home: either use nylon straps or a strong cotton belt. But it is essential that you use strong nylon thread for the sewing. As a rock climber / backpacker, I've seen too many people make the mistake of using cheap polyester thread for their straps/bags. Your thread should not be weaker than your fabric – a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

  4. This looks very bad for me.

    Either you have to change your form to prevent follow through or it is tough enough to prevent your arm moving, which means it's going to put unusually pressure on your arm and shoulder.

    I suspect 90% of people will unwittingly alter their technique as a result of expecting the jarring.

  5. That's crazy. Last week I met Tyler Benner, one of the designers of the Astra trainer and co author of the book. Gave me a few tips at the range. Didn't know who he was at the time

  6. We used to make similar contraptions from stripes only (without the sleeve) to practice the correct pulling with the back. However during our exercises we did not used fingers at all. I can imagine that sleeve gives a lot of stability especially during release.
    Thank you for great videos !

  7. I am thinking about buying an expensive recurve bow, although I do want to have some archery training before I buy it. I was wondering how much draw weight I can handle and if there maby is a test to determine it because I am going to the gym for a pretty long time now and I do train a lot of back muscles like the trapezius etc….

  8. never seen this , but omg its awsome i really want that trainer tool..i can shoot at my home but only at 3 meters

  9. One way I was shown for practice at home if you have limited space is to put blunts on your arrows, hang an old blanket up, put a rug under it and shoot at the blanket.

  10. So how does the "Astra Shot Trainer" compare to the "String Trainer" (as seen in your resent Back Tension video) for back tension training?

  11. Hi NUSensei. This video is almost 3 years old. Would you still recommend this product? I am a new archer and would like to practice my form while at home and for days where I cannot go to the archery range.

  12. +NUSensei, I would love to hear a follow up on this one. While I like the living room training aspect of this, it seems like extensive use would mess with both the draw hand follow through and the bow hand drop (my two big problems). Have you found this to be the case? Thanks.

  13. Thanks for the video even though it is over 2 years old I found it most useful and ordered one and I am excited anticipating the delivery of the product.  Thanks again I enjoy your videos so keep putting them together.

  14. I practice infront of a man sized mirror to pull the arrow correctly through the clicker.
    This way I perfectly see what my right arme is doing in regards of back tension.
    I now need the astra shot in addition!
    Merry christmas to myself, yall.

  15. As a beginner I was recommended this product but I was wondering what the advantage would be since I do shoot daily at home (I tend to shoot 18 and 25m but can go up to 50m in my backyard)

    Is there benefit to this when you can practice daily anyway?

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