Boost your traditional archery shooting with Back Tension!
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Boost your traditional archery shooting with Back Tension!

August 17, 2019

Hey, Joe McClane here from
with another traditional recurve archery tip. Today, we’re talking about back tension and
how to use back tension to give yourself a nice little sweet boost in consistency and
accuracy. So, it’s been I don’t know a week and a half
since I’ve been out here shooting, or actually shooting at all. I haven’t been out here in
this long range ditch, that I get to shoot in, for months. I don’t know, a long time.
Guess what, hunting season is like next week here in Southeast Texas, so I had better kick
off the rust and start getting this thing in gear. My schedule has just been too busy
so I thought, I had an opportunity today, and the rest of the weekend is going to be
super busy. I’m going to bring out the old faithful nerf ball out here and give it a
shot. I’m shooting today around 27 yards, and just
trying to really work on form. Focusing on form, trying to get my form back to where
it needs to be in order to feel confident to take that hunting shot when I’m in the
woods here soon, anyway. And this nerf ball is perfect, because the
shape of the nerf ball really mimics the window that you have on a whitetail deer in order
to make a clean, ethical shot. Which is what I hope to do. Which is why I train so much.
Because, I don’t want the animal to suffer any more than it has to. And, if it’s going
to sacrifice it’s life to feed my family then, I should pay the respect it is due to give
it a good, clean shot. So I need to be out here working my tail off. So, anyway, I wanted to talk about back tension
and the role it plays. You know, this is one of those aspects that sometimes, I just get
lazy and I stop paying attention to that back tension, and it shows up in my shot groups.
You know I can tell because, I’m always shanking my arrows, and it’s just not going to that
point that we are hyper focusing on. Right? But, when I get into that back tension, it’s
the muscles, you know in between your shoulder blades, up into your shoulders, when those
get nice and tight and your shoulders drop down, when you are at anchor, well that makes
a big difference. Because, what your doing is storing up potential energy just like in
the string and the limbs when you are at anchor. It’s got all that nice potential energy. When you release it, the string goes back
to it’s resting place. Right? It releases all that stored energy. The same thing in
your back muscles, when you’ve got all that tension in your back , when you’e at anchor,
and your shoulders are dropped down, when you release, your hand is naturally going
to go straight back. It’s going to pull that hand straight back, and when your hand goes
straight back, what you get is a cleaner release. Cleaner release, means more accurate, more
precise, more consistent shots on to your target, really close to that point. Today, I’m telling yah, I was really trying
to kick off all that rust, it really showed up, and every time that I really had nice,
good back tension, I had a much cleaner release, and my arrows were going where I wanted them
to go. And, ah, old faithful there is a good testament, a good witness to that I think. So, you know, here is an exercise, and I learned
this from Wolfie, another incredible internet archer. He is from the UK… a phenomenal
instinctive archer, I’ve really learned a lot from him. I really enjoy watching his
videos. You know, he talked about putting your hands
together like this in front of your face, and then really pull, pull apart. And, what
you will do is, you will feel how your shoulders drop down, you’ll feel how you’ve got all
that tension in your back muscles. So, try that, if you haven’t already. And let me know
how it goes for you. I know that a lot of really seasoned instinctive
archers will say, “no, pay no attention, just focus on your spot!” Hey listen, that’s great
if you’ve been shooting for 40 years but, for us rookies, who are trying to really hone
our skills and we are still fairly new at this… listen focusing on your form will
pay dividends in the long run. Because, the more you focus on your form,
the more that becomes muscle memory, the more you can get to the point where you are so
consistent that you can then just ignore everything else, and sort of, focus on that point, and
your body and your brain will take over and do everything else. But, until then, practice,
practice, practice! Hone that form, really shape it, really be disciplined to nail it
into place, especially if you are hunting because, the animal in my opinion at least,
deserves your very best. So that’s my tip for today on back tension,
I would love to know your thoughts on back tension. Is this something you pay attention
to in your particular style of archery? If so, leave a comment below and let me know
what you think. If you would like to watch my last traditional archery tip video, click
right here, and do me a favor, subscribe if you like these kinds of videos. I do produce
all kinds of videos, I’m a full time Catholic evangelist, so I do produce other videos but,
ah, I’m a big fan, I love traditional archery and so I also produce traditional archery
videos, so you can subscribe and get the latest one as they come out. Also, give it a thumbs up, let me know that
you like it. So there you go, I’m praying for you, especially if you are also preparing
to go out into the woods to harvest an animal and feed that to your family, praise be to
Jesus Christ! I’ll pray for a successful hunt. And, I hope that you will pray for me too! As always, shoot straight, and until the next
video, May God richly Bless you! Alright, we’re trying some longer range stuff
real quick. That’s awesome! Let’s see, let’s see. 53 yards, honestly, it took me like six arrows.
I’ll flip it around so you can see. Uh, not good shots. The last one was killer. Everything
else, not so good, not so good. Really low. So this is my group, it was really low. And,
of course I had that one. But, ah, that’s that shot right there! God is Good! I’ll see you next time, God Bless

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  1. Nice shooting, and happy hunting. Hopefully you will get some fresh meat to bring home to your family. There is no bow hunting for me while I am stationed here in Germany since its not allowed. On the bright side that gives me another two years to really hone my accuracy and skill. I do notice that after I have been shooting for a while that muscle fatigue will start affecting my form, and my draw will slowly get shorter and shorter. This is normally the time that I have to stop and take a break. I have found that proper back tension helps keep the bow arm a lot more steady and the release is a lot cleaner. I do wish that

  2. Hey so I had a chance to take that new glove out shooting a few days ago — I gotta say it takes a little getting used to. The canvas makes it really slippery compared to the glove I have been using and I released too early a few times. But It does provide a cleaner release which is great and the glove is nice on the fingers. I definitely like it more than my old one. Thanks again, and good job on that last shot!

  3. Good stuff. The back is key, especially if you want to shoot heavy bows without injury. I see you have a GoPro, you can set it for 240 FPS (Frames per Second) for awesome SloMo. Thanks for posting and keep them coming.

  4. When it comes to back tension, I've learned from Clay Hayes. How he taught me is imagine a hand on the back of your drawing arm when anchored pushing, and use your back muscles to push your drawing arm back, also imagine your bow arm pushed forward slightly. I hope this helps.

  5. Not religous myself, but I love your archery videos, mate. The way ypu explain techniques and such-I think you have some of the most informative advice on youtube in terms of traditional archery. Keep it up, mate.

  6. ive never gotten the hang of back tension. i have read and researched on google and watched wolfie and jeff kavanagh and grizz jim, but i just dont even comprehend back tension. how in the heck do you draw with your back? i just dont get it at all

  7. Back Tension is not the best choice of words, Archers think if they just get tension in their Rhomboids they got it right. If you think in terms of Scapula motion it's a little more accurate description of what needs to happen, you need to get that loading but you also need to power it through the shot to get the real consistency, so what your doing is powering through the shot with those muscles and not just holding/maintaining tension there. Good video.

  8. Im a very new shooter yester day was my 8th time to the range and was getting frustrated and might have pushed myself and now my shoulder is sore I know it's because I was using bad forum.

  9. Yep Joe, pretty sure you've got it. I've been able to fix my back tension issues just a few months ago. An experienced archer at my club pointed out my elbow was too high, and when he pointed that out I realised I locked my shoulder and there was no movement left in there. I lowered my elbow to a proper position, and now there's room to move my draw arm back, I don't get tired nearly as quickly. I've been hitting 9's or 10's consistently at 30m, where as I'd be spreading across the target beforehand

  10. Great tips! and good idea shooting at a small target. I like many other archers am always struggling to maintain consistency through the small practice windows that I get.

  11. Hello friend! So I got into traditional archery 2 weeks ago and you have been a tremendous help in understanding the concept of traditional archery. I'm so glad I ran into your channel! I just picked up a Samick Sage but yes I made the mistake of going with a weight that is too much for me and I have a hard time anchoring in the same spot due to this. I'm ordering a set of limbs at 35# so I can focus on my form. Again, thank you for the huge help you have offered to us rookies just barely getting into traditional archery! Your a true inspiration my friend!

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