Archery | Using the Clicker
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Archery | Using the Clicker

August 13, 2019

This is the clicker. It clicks. The clicker is a strip of aluminium or carbon, that sticks out from the riser like this, and it goes over the arrow like this. Now, a lot of new guys ask, does this thing help keep the arrow in place? And the answer is, well, no it doesn’t. The arrow in fact should stay on by itself. So, the clicker has nothing to do with that. The purpose of the clicker is to provide a reference point for a consistent release. It’s an essential item for a target archer and a very important training tool for the Olympic style of archery. As far as technique goes, one of the hardest things to recognise is the correct consistent draw and tension. Now, as a barebow or traditional shooter, this is something which your body has to pick up. But a target archer has the advantage of using the clicker. When the arrow is pulled past the clicker, it clicks. When set up properly, this allows you to have audible reference to know when you have reached the consistent point for release. Now with training and practice, the clicker becomes the mental trigger. Prompting you to release, the moment you hear it. Setting up the clicker is easy. Clickers either screw into this hole on the riser, or they are stuck on. The clicker can be adjusted to suit your draw length and the arrow length as necessary. The tip of the arrow should be a few millimetres off from the clicker, when you are in the holding position. Most risers come with clicker extensions that attach off the riser. If the arrows are too long, you will need to cut them down, or get shorter arrows. If you are using a clicker, it’s critical that you use arrows of the correct length. If they are too long, or too short, or they are cut to different lengths, the clicker is unusable. Also, your bow might be set up in a way where the clicker doesn’t actually hit the riser cleanly. If you are using an aluminium clicker, you can bend the strip around the arrow so it makes better contact. Additionally, if you need more space you can get clickers which are mounted on to the sight bar, to give you more space to work with. To use the clicker; lift the clicker, nock the arrow and place it on to the rest and then place the clicker over the shaft. If the arrow slips, or the clicker goes off prematurely during the shot process, you can reset it by lifting it over the arrow again. Manipulating the clicker with your index finger becomes second nature fairly quickly. Draw the bow to your anchor point and look at the target. Then squeeze the back muscles and keep the expansion going. When the clicker goes off…..release. Using the clicker can be tricky. For such a simple piece of equipment, it can be an archer’s godsend… or, it can be a recurring source of chronic problems. First, you need correct, consistent form. It’s no good using the clicker if you can’t draw and anchor correctly. It does take some trial and error and some experience to build yourself to the point where you can draw to the same point on your face each time. There are differing opinions, on when to use the clicker. A lot of people recommend that you stay away from it, until you develop that consistent draw and anchor. But, some coaches will use the clicker as a tool, to teach you, when know you have reached that correct point. Exactly how you use the clicker depends greatly on your training and your level of skill. If you watch the pros, you see many of them, more Draw right on to the tip of the clicker…. hold for the perfect alignment… and then squeeze through for the perfect shot. Now, this can be done. But it does require a tremendous amount of fine muscle control. Which is built up through years of training. Just to show again one more time a close up… What you see some archers do, is to draw right to the tip of the arrow and then, with one very subtle movement they squeeze the back muscles and get through. If you are starting out using a clicker and it is really hard for you what you should do instead, is to think about it this way. Give yourself a bit of extra length. Your objective is to get through the clicker as cleanly and smoothly as possible. So, rather than go at the tip of the clicker, which is very fine control. Give yourself, maybe, half an inch more. So when you draw to the clicker, you are drawing to about…. there. Then, you complete the process smoothly, in one shot. Now your first few attempts may look a little crude, but this is a normal part of learning. You raise the bow, you draw as normal and when you reach the anchor point you squeeze a bit further… and the clicker goes. As a beginner, it can be very difficult to get that fine muscle control in your first few goes. Instead, focus on the process and the motion. Remember the expanding motion when you are doing your shot. Again, it’s going to look a little clumsy, if you are not used to using your back muscles. Over time, you will become better at drawing to the exact spot each time using the correct amount of tension and expansion and the clicker becomes an automatic reflex. It’s ok if you are lacking finesse to begin with that comes with practice. If you are just starting out, there are two immediate problems that people have when using the clicker. The first one, is when they draw, the arrow comes off the clicker before they are ready. In that case, what you should do is to move the clicker closer, towards you. That will give you more space to draw and you are less likely to trip the clicker before you are ready. If you are drawing back, and you can’t get through the clicker at all then push the clicker forward, away from you, so that you don’t have to draw as far. After some trial and error, you will find the most comfortable, consistent draw length and position for your clicker. There are a few things to watch out for, when using a clicker. Make sure your anchor is consistent. Because the clicker is set for a very specific length even a few millimetres, can make it very difficult to execute a good clean shot. If you are in the habit of touching a different part of your face each time you have to rectify that fault before you use the clicker. Not only that, if you over draw you will set the clicker off prematurely. If you under draw, then it’s going to be a lot tougher to get through that clicker. Remember to expand using your back muscles. Your anchor should be locked in and should not move. When you do the shot, you are finishing the expansion by squeezing your shoulder blades together. That’s the final part of that shot process. You shouldn’t try to get through the clicker by moving your hand backwards. The third thing to keep in mind, is to maintain the direction of the draw. Try to get your shot through in one clean motion. Try to avoid having the tip of the arrow moving back and forwards like this. If this happens, what that shows us, is that you are collapsing on your shot. So rather than coming through and being solid you are coming through here, and then you are collapsing forward. So, what you may see in some archers – especially pro archers – they will hold the shot right on the tip. Now you can do that. But it requires you to hold your back tension. If you are doing this and you are creeping forward, you have failed your shot. Not only does this make it really hard for you to get a good clean shot if you are moving backward and forward like this. But it also contributes significantly, to fatigue. Now, there will be times when the clicker goes off before you are ready. In this case, don’t let it go. It may sound a bit contradictory, but if you know that you are not locked in, your tension is wrong, you are not aiming in the right place, then don’t do the shot. It does take some discipline to recognize when your body is in the right alignment, in the right position and to actually not shoot. You have programmed your brain to shoot with the clicker but if you know you are not ready, don’t do the shot. Just let it down and reset it. Ironically, perhaps the best tip in using the clicker is to ignore it! If you start conditioning yourself to anticipate the clicker you are in for a really hard time. If you focus your mind on the clicker you will start developing clicker panic. That’s when your shot is controlled entirely by that clicker. What you should try to do, is to not anticipate the clicker but to continue the shot until it goes off. By the way, if you accidentally shoot through the clicker, before it goes off, you will probably tear off a vane. As a footnote, remember that clickers are only used in the open freestyle ‘Olympic’ classification. If you are shooting in the barebow classification, even though you may use a bow like this one you aren’t allowed to use a clicker. If you are shooting traditional, then of course, it is out of bounds. Anyway, this is NUSensei. I hope you have found this helpful and I will see you next time.

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  1. Interesting that you say to set the clicker with 1/2" left to come through – I was told the opposite (ie to have about 2mm left to come through). Do you not find that it makes it a lot harder to pull through with such a long way to expand? I'm not sure I could get 1/2" through the clicker without just pulling my hand back and moving off my anchor completely

  2. I like your videos, they help me very much, especially when I'm learning how to properly shoot a recurve in a club focused on traditional archery 😛
    Are you planning any video about proper stance, difference between open stance and perpendicular- pros and cons of each, etc? That would really help me!

  3. Hold up. I learned to NOT allow the clicker to trigger the shot. The clicker indicates when the draw length is correct. At that point the shot could be taken or not. If you allow the clicker to dictate when you shoot, hearing someone elses clicker might cause you to shoot too soon. That's the theory anyway. It's actually happended to me, or I pulled through a little too soon and shot before I was truly ready. Now if I pull through at the wrong moment, I'll either let down or continue to hold until the right moment.

  4. Hey, there is a clicker that a barebow shooter can use. It mounts to the limb and has a string or a chain that connects to the bow string. The reason why some clickers can't be used is because they could potentially be used as a sighting device.

  5. Great video! I was wondering about the clicker extension on the riser. I've read that the clicker should be as vertical as possible, yet I see pros using clickers that are at a high angle, touching the very end of a long clicker extension.  I would think that ideally arrows should be cut so that the arrow tip is at the edge of the riser when the clicker clicks. Is there a good reason for having longer arrows that require a long clicker extension?

  6. Korean seem to start clicker training immediately. Personally, this idea seem sound. I'm a logical person, clickers are logical.

  7. I remember my first time using a clicker, so much pain on my back muscles in my first day. After a couple weeks it became a God send. Years ran from my eyes from pain

  8. Thank you for your explanation…please let me ask you…after a long walk to find the proper bow , I have finally bought my brand new bow, but I wonder if I should start shooting without the clicker and then incorporate it to my shooting once my shoot is consistent, or I should use it from the very beggining…. What do you think i s best way to go!? …much appreciateball your comments and guidance.

  9. hi nu sensei, i finally got used to the sight, now i'm thinking about getting the clicker
    one problem is i have samick sage and as you know, it doesn't have the clicker plate
    is there any alternative for that?

  10. how close can the tip of the arrow get to the button (at draw) before concidering the arrow to be too short?
     Is there an optimum length? I usually see the tip of the arrow at the edge of the riser. Its hard to find info around this subject.

  11. Hi. I'm just learning to use the clicker and a lot of what you have shown and said resonates with my experiences. I think it's all a lot clearer having seen your posting. I'll give it a go. Many thanks.

  12. Before I got used to the clicker, I had two problems with my form and draw.

    When it went off too soon, it was usually because I had drawn incorrectly with my back, and I often leaned backwards to help the arrow get through the clicker. This will of course cause an inconsistent form and it's not good for your back.

    When I couldn't get the clicker to click, it was often because my shoulder was to high. Then it's better to take down your bow, start over and make sure that your shoulder is put in place. 

    I wouldn't advice anyone who's just starting with a clicker to adjust the clicker after every shot, whether it's because it goes off too soon or doesn't go off at all. It would be smart to get someone to look at your form before you adjust it so you don't mess up the consistence. 

    For me, at least, starting to shoot with a clicker was like crawling to hell, but it's really worth it!

  13. hello i bought a Compound Rubber Bow Stabilizer, 3.5", 4.6 Oz i bought it for a ragim matrix and was wondering if it would fit on right

  14. Awesome advice on clicker panic, I see you're point on ignoring the clicker and will try putting it into practice big thumb's up

  15. Once again, you touch on a timely topic. The "aha" moment for me was around 5:58 and forward. In a word, it's one's release.. Could you address the position of one's elbow? I see some experienced archers where their elbow forms an obtuse angle with their string arm. Others seem to have theirs nearly perfectly aligned with the string pulling arm. Of course, there are variations on this theme. What say you oh great Sensei? Your comments are appreciated.

  16. one in my club uses a mirror instead of a clicker.. a little mirror where he see the tip of the point he is 63 years old and shoots 570-580 indoors in this way with 28 pounds and a fiberbow riser and borderlimbs

  17. I've been shooting for about 9 months and have been using the same carbon clicker as featured in your video for the past 3-4 months. Despite tightening it as much as I dare, I find that over the course of 6 arrows it creeps approximately 1-2mm towards me requiring that I am continually checking and adjusting every other shot. I was wondering if you (or any followers) have any experience of this and have found a solution or is this something I have to live with?

  18. "This is a clicker.. It clicks" hahahaha
    So how to know witch arows lenght is the best for someone ?

  19. Great video…been learning a hole lot …i just got into recurves and all of your videos have been for me very useful…. Keep up tbe good work!!!

  20. Only found your site yesterday, but very pleased I did !! I have just started to use an Olympic Recurve bow as I have been shooting compound for three years and wanted a new challenge, I am very impressed with your knowledge and skills within the world of archery, thank you for taking the time to put these very informative videos together, I know 99% of people will get a lot from them, just ignore the few "Dick heads" that you will always get, I am a photographer of 25 years so I know what the public can be like !!! keep up the great work.

  21. I have a question. I am considering obtaining a clicker. I noticed that you have a small bar there that makes the clicker sound. my issue is that is where I have my stabilizer. Would that be a problem?

  22. I am thinking of cutting my arrows shorted but does cutting it for about 5cm or two inches effect arrow flight and grouping much?

  23. I have to ask …when you were shooting this  video did you have to concentrate hard  not to release the arrow when the clicker went off ,or do you have a wall with holes  in it  lol

  24. Just started using a clicker today, and Damn! my draw before was really frickin' inconsistent. My groups have already tightened a heap, but I can tell I've got a long way to go to get used to this. One benefit, I reckon, will be to improve my draw consistency for when I am shooting a more barebow, traditional, instinctive style. I'm hoping that shooting with all these different "training wheels" will actually make me a better traditional archer down the track.

  25. I recently bought a better clicker, but it always vibrates after i reach full draw, and doesn't make a 'clean' clicker. Any suggestions?

  26. How is it a good idea to cut your arrows if you need them at a longer length for your draw length? I need 31.5-32" arrows and cant just cut them down if the clicker doesnt engage. Isnt it better to have the right length arrows then the option to use a clicker?

  27. Wow thanks for the tip re: ignoring the clicker. I just had mine. My coach had me go through like four months of form and release training before I get my clicker. I the first time I tried it I was like "oh my gosh, it's not going off" or "oh my gosh, it went off even before I reached my anchor". She said the same thing that I should condition my mind not to think of the clicker and instead keep doing what I do and just let it click

  28. I had problems with clicker.. Sometimes after the full draw, I didn't relise that tip of the arrows is already being click.. I cant sense when its already click..

  29. you guys know there other kinds of clickers like some that are limb-mounted and string tension activated

  30. Helpful video, thank you. Information was clear and well presented. The final comment about when clicker use is allowed would probably have been best placed at the start. I look forward to watching more in the series…

  31. wish i could use one. i autistic and i hear to much surrounding noises. the more i have to focus/concentrate the more details in sound i pick up. hit average of 9, wich is fine with me though.

  32. Hi NUSensei, I am a recurve archer from the Philippines and I have a question in mind regarding the difference of a straight clicker and a clicker with an angle or a bend. Does it have any applicable and practical differences?

    Anyway. Thank you very much in advance. More power to your channel.

  33. I have been shooting for 4 years. I just stopped growing and cut my arrows as they were originally uncut and am now using a clicker, my accuracy improved immediately

  34. I've never shot a bow in my life. But for some reason these videos keep showing up and for some reason I still watch them

  35. Thanks for yet another insightful video. I noticed on another video that you were using a clicker mounted on the Shibuya sight-bar. Can I ask what model it was? I've looked at a couple of sight-bar mounted clickers but the blurb says they're not compatible with Shibuya sights.

  36. Over time, can the clicker do any damage to your arrows (by scuffing/scratching the shafts, during the draw, for example)?

  37. I want taught that with my recurve! I was told not to immediately release the arrow once the clicker clicked as that would develop a bad habit.

  38. Releasing on the clicker becomes pretty instinctive – dangerously so. I remember when I was a schoolboy practicing drawing my bow by myself in the back-room (instead of doing my homework); I decided to try it with an arrow nocked to get a better feel, the clicker went off and I loosed without thinking. The arrow went right through an expensive lampshade and 1cm into the wall behind. I spent the rest of the evening trying to cover-up the damage before my parents found out (which they never did).

  39. Go Monash. There was no archery club at my campus when I was a student there back int he day. Tried getting into archery years ago but then we had a child and suddenly there just wasn't enough time in the day. Now that he's old enough to try a bow I'm trying to introduce him to it slowly and get back into it (for casual shooting, not club level stuff). Your videos are gold 🙂

  40. Haha. It's ironic that apparently a lot of recurve shooters won't or don't shoot compound bows because they're too fiddly. No clickers for me, or sights, or stabilizers, or etc. KISS for me. 😉

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