Hey guys this is NUSensei and today we are going to cover another fundamental part of archery and that’s the release. Most of us know that archery has a lot in common with other sports, especially shooting sports. However, there are several unique things with archery including back tension, anchor position and of course the release. The release looks easy. But there are many complexities which are overlooked and as a result, many archers have problems with their release. For the purposes of this video, I won’t really be focussing on the hook, or the position of the string on the fingers. I’m generally talking about the release component of the shot process. Now, there are some variations in the way people hold the string. Some use split finger, others use three under but generally speaking, if you are using a finger release the release is more or less the same for most people. I want to start this discussion by looking at the primary fault that plagues beginners and that’s something called plucking the string. For some reason or another, a lot of people imagine that shooting a bow has to be strong and full of action. As a result, beginners tend to over emphasise the release, resulting in a lot of tension and a bit of flair. This is actually really bad. Instead, what you want to achieve, is a smooth flow. This is achieved by relaxing the fingers and letting the string come off by itself. Adding extra motions, would disturb the movement of the string and ruin your shot. This is the same, regardless of whether you are shooting traditional or modern recurve. The specific action of the release, looks like this. Yes, it’s very simple. In fact, one of the exercises you can do is to hook your fingers together and practice relaxing the fingers. Another practice tool you can use, is a bag. This could be a sand bag with a handle, a bucket with water, or an empty bow case. Hold the straps as you would hold a bowstring. Then, drop the bag. That’s it. It’s that simple. The action of relaxing your fingers and letting the bag go, is the same as letting the string go. You don’t have to force the bag to drop. You might be wondering, wait, that looks nothing like a bow release. A release is elegant and precise. This is just dropping a bag. What you are thinking of, is actually the follow through, not the release. However, because a smooth, clean release results in a natural follow through, I am going to mention it here. When drawing a bow, the weight of the bow will pull you forward. To pull the string back, you need to apply a greater force than the bow’s weight. This motion, should not stop once you reach your anchor. You should be continually expanding. The movement of the hand and the follow through is not a conscious action and it shouldn’t be. It is a natural motion that comes as a result of letting go. A clean follow through, reflects a clean shot process. Now, a good follow through doesn’t guarantee a good release. But mentally, it helps. Remember, that the shot process doesn’t finish at the release. It finishes at the follow through. If you mentally aim to complete the shot process past the release and actually aim for that point at the follow through, you may find that you will get a cleaner, more consistent releases. Instead of treating the release as the apex of the shot, treat it as part of the entire shot process. So, instead of going, haw, I’m done. Think of it like, going through the motions coming up, draw, anchor, release follow through and that is your cycle. That’s when you know you have finished the shot and if you can maintain this flow. That’s when you do get consistent shots. One of the common form faults, especially in modern archery, is having a static release. A static release, is when you come to your anchor and you relax. But, you don’t let your hand move past your neck in a natural follow through, so you keep it next to your anchor point. This isn’t always a form fault, in fact in traditional archery, this is a lot more common. Some of the best trad shooters, shoot with a static release. That said, in modern target archery, this generally isn’t taught. The reason is, having a static release tends to breed bad habits. A shot should maintain flow and expansion. So when you come to your anchor, you should be continuing the expansion through your back muscles and when you release, you tend to follow through in a natural motion. A static release, especially in the hands of a beginner who doesn’t really know how to use it properly. They will come to their anchor and stop. The flow stops, the expansion stops and what would happen often, is that they will collapse. So, a static release mentally stops you from expanding. Now this isn’t always the case, if you know what you are doing, you can continue the shot process and do a static release. But, when you are teaching someone, it just adds a lot of complexity in your mind. What you should be doing is, come through, flow and relax. That static release is frowned upon in modern target archery because it’s really hard to maintain good shot execution with a static release. If you are using a heavy bow, this is particularly problematic because when you come to your anchor, you will find that by clamping here and stopping your muscle expansion. You begin to shake and you begin to collapse and this very subtle collapse is a result of, again, not continuing the flow. By looking at a dynamic release, you will tend to maintain the flow a lot better. Whereas a static release when clamping it here, would tend to lead to weaker shots as your lose control of the draw. In contrast, the dynamic release in which the hand moves past the anchor point generally encourages better use of your back muscles and better flow and expansion. Instinctive shooters, tend to pick this up a lot better. People who use sights, or people who aim with the arrow, are often fixated on that sight and forget the shot process and in fact, by having that static release you can identify the form fault. If they are aiming too hard, they have lost the expansion, they are going to collapse forward or they are going to stay stuck here. Instinctive shooters will tend to go, up, back, release. Up, back, release. Up, back, release. In a very smooth natural motion. Which is one of the advantages of shooting instinctive. So, dynamic releases have a lot of advantages. Static releases also work. But, they tend to be very hard to do well. Additionally, a dynamic release tends to release the string a bit cleaner. A good clean release depends on the fingers opening up at the same time. If you don’t open at the same time, the string will catch on to a part of the finger in the split second before the string leaves the hand completely. So, with a static release. If you are not doing it consistently and you are doing a very jerky manner, you will find that the string won’t come out as cleanly. It’s very hard to get all your fingers to open up with that much consistency. It’s a very small thing, very subtle. But it can cause problems with your release. In contrast, a dynamic release allows the string to roll off the fingers. So, instead of having to rely on the string coming off neatly, it allows it to come off more cleanly because you actually are, allowing the string to roll off the finger tips, rather than forcing it off. This may sound confusing because it seems like there is more motion in a dynamic release. In fact, there isn’t. The motion involved, is re-directed towards your natural line of motion, so it rolls back behind you. Compared to a static release, what tends to happen is is more jerky, it’s more stress involved in getting a clean release. Now, people can, with practice, get it right without forcing the string off in the wrong direction. But, it’s simply much harder. By the way, if you are having trouble developing a good clean release, there is an exercise called blind bale shooting. What you do is stand really close to the target where you can’t miss and you go through the shot process with your eyes closed. Now, the purpose behind this, is that it removes all visual distractions. People who are aiming at a target have a tendency to lose concentration and their form breaks down. So rather than going through a clean release and a clean follow through, they are fixated on the target and their release becomes stressed and jerky. It’s normal for an archer in training to use blind bale shooting as a warm-up and a warm-down activity. This is because you want to start and finish with the right feeling. Additionally, an archer who is struggling in the middle of a training session, may use blind bale shooting as a tool to reset their form problems. So in short, a static release while it can be executed well tends to be discouraged. It’s very easy to foul a shot and you tend to lose your tension line. If you are getting instructions from a coach, or you are getting feedback from people online, people will generally point out that you should be using a dynamic release. That encourages better flow and a more natural motion which in turn results in cleaner releases. However, you have to remember that with a dynamic release, the follow through is a natural result of what you have done. It’s not something you add on as a flair. A good release and a good shot, has flow. If you find that your motions are jerky and forceful the you are likely plucking the string. Obtaining a good release is harder than it looks and it relies on good practice and good muscle memory. Otherwise you will find yourself being very stressed with your releases. The end goal is to have your release become effortless and natural and not stressed. Because, if you are stressed, you are not going to shoot well anyway. If you are mentally stressed and physically stressed the nothing will come out the way you want. Archery is about relaxation and that is seen especially in the release. Anyway, hope you find this helpful? This is NUSensei, thank you for watching and I’ll see you next time.