The world melts away at full draw, and your focus narrows on the bull’s-eye. The pin settles into a tight float around the 10-ring as you apply pressure to the release’s trigger. While you focus on the 10-ring, the release goes off and the arrow rockets to the target, striking its center.
A good release happens without anticipation. If you anticipate the release, you’ll generate slight movements as you brace for the shot. Those tiny movements cause big accuracy issues. To avoid that subtle “flinching,” archers strive for a surprise release. How you consistently achieve surprise releases depends on personal preferences and the type of release you use.
A wrist-strap release is a common style in which the archer uses an index finger to press the release’s trigger. Unfortunately, archers often “punch the trigger” on these releases. That sudden move activates the trigger inconsistently, which hurts accuracy. It’s far better to lightly touch the trigger without setting it off, and then slowly applying pressure until the trigger “breaks” to release the shot.
A hinge release is a handheld release with no trigger. Instead, it fires by rotation. To get it to go off, archers rotate the release from their index finger to their ring finger. The basic principle is to draw the bow with most of the weight on your thumb and index finger, and then transfer the weight onto your middle and ring finger until the shot breaks.
Archers use several methods to rotate hinge releases. The technique you use depends on personal preference. One technique is to relax the back of your hand. As your hand relaxes, the release naturally rotates to unleash the arrow. Another technique is to transition the weight from your index finger to your middle and ring fingers, and then continue applying backward pressure by pulling your elbow behind and around your head.
A thumb trigger is a handheld release in which the archer’s thumb activates the trigger. To set it off, apply pressure to the trigger using your thumb. You can also use techniques like those used to activate hinge releases. For example, archers relax their hand to subconsciously increase trigger pressure.
These techniques will get you started, but seek expert coaching to ensure you learn to use a release aid properly. You can find a nearby archery coach by clicking here.