Nearly every recurve archer on the international circuit shoots with a clicker. Few recurve archers, however, start out with one. They hone their form at short range, and then progress to fartherdistances. It’s then they attach a clicker to their bow.
Let’s discuss how a clicker helps recurve archers. Recurve bows can be drawn back as far as the archer can pull the string. The farther the archer draws, the higher the poundage on their fingers and arrow. More poundage transfers more energy to the arrow, which makes it hit the target higher than the aiming point. The arrow strikes lower if it’s not drawn as far. A clicker eliminates that problem by telling archers when they’ve reached their desired draw length.
Clickers are a thin flat piece of carbon, plastic or spring steel that rests on the arrow while it’s nocked to the bowstring. When the archer pulls the arrow back, the clicker “falls” off the point of the arrow and clicks when striking the riser. At this point, archers relax their fingers to release the arrow.
That process seems simple, but it can cause hang-ups for archers, which hurts their form and accuracy. Those who rely fully on their clicker sometimes become too careful when in the “clicker zone,” and can’t pull through the clicker.
One way to overcome a clicker hang-up at full draw is to move it from its current position. It’s possible your clicker problem is its location. It’s also possible you’re becoming too tentative when reaching full draw. Moving the clicker back (toward you) by even 2 millimeters can force you to be more aggressive in the “clicker zone” and not get stuck under it.
Sometimes archers get stuck while aiming. Executing shots at blank butts can go smoothly, but then differ greatly when switching to targets. Try shooting combinations of targets and blank butts to get past the clicker while aiming. Shoot one arrow at the blank butt and then one at a target. After that, return to the blank butt for another arrow and then shoot again at the target. Alternating the shots will help your muscle memory, and ingrain the feeling of pulling smoothly through the clicker, which can help when aiming at a target.
Another strategy is changing how to think about movement through the clicker. Shawn Riggs, Team Canada’s national recurve coach, gives this advice: “Think about moving bones rather than using muscle. If I told you to flex your bicep to bend your arm at the elbow, you end up flexing your bicep and triceps at the same time, which are two opposing muscles. But if I told you to bring your wrist toward your shoulder while bending the elbow, you only use the bicep. This change in thinking gets you to move a specific part of your body while only using the proper muscles.”
Archers can apply this concept to their method for coming through the clicker. If you think about moving the string-side elbow, or the whole unit of the string arm, you’ll find it easier to get through the clicker.
To overcome being stuck under the clicker, take one step at a time while training. This problem can frustrate and discourage archers, and take the fun out of archery. It can even cause archers to quit. Therefore, seek coaching advice to learn different ways to overcome being stuck. Try as many methods as needed to learn what works best for you.