View Full Version : Target panic / falling apart

Sonny Thomas
05-26-2013, 08:16 AM
Shot with a old friend I hadn't seen in a couple of years. Back then he was suffering from target panic and wouldn't even shoot with some one because he shot so bad.

Well, he told me the whole story and that he was still trying to beat target panic. He went to the practice range and I followed to watch. He shot some and was in the ball park, but it seemed he was trying too hard and I told him so. He settled down for a bit and the next thing I knew his shots went wide right and some left. I told him to relax and let a sight picture form and let the shot happen. He settled down again and then, Wham, a far right and low shot. But! I saw his release arm snap out and up. He then said that it was his target panic. Now, otherwise he was rock solid and having good follow through.

Well, I disagreed. I told him he fell apart. Fall apart and the shot falls apart, pretty danged simple. So I get him to keep his release arm/elbow in and in line with the power stroke of his bow string/arrow. In no time he improved tremendously. We out together on the 3D. I told him to stay in shot and he'll be okay. Well, I got rained out by target #15, but up to then my friend had dropped only 6 points. And once he flinched, caught himself, and tried to go ahead and shoot. I got after him, told him to let down. He did and started to draw. I stopped him with, "let your bow arm recover." He looked at me and I told him let your bow arm relax and get all of it's strength back and that it takes about 15 seconds or so. He gave a few seconds and shot a good shot. Okay, that he didn't have lens in his scope housing he wanted to finish.

I found a dryer warm spot and some hot coffee. Later, I see him coming, looking like a drowned rat, but packing a big smile. Said he never felt or shot better in two years. He said he only messed once and I returned that shooting in the rain (down pour) I was surprised he didn't mess up more.

So then he asked; So it's been me falling apart all this time and not target panic." Well, I wanted to say, yes, but I told him that there are many forms of target panic. Of D.E's problem, I think it was just him falling apart, but I'm just a shooter, not a coach.

And my friend had also gone through a bunch of releases. And of the present he was using a thumb release that worked best with back tension. I disagree. Firing thumb and index releases is not true representation of back tension. One, thumb and index releases have triggers. Having triggers they will fire no matter where the release arm/elbow is. Hinge releases can be forced to fire, but with the release arm/elbow not in position to form the desired pivot point they are hard to fire and more than likely the arrow will not go where intended...by a good margine.

How to explain a good pivot point. The release arm/elbow has to be in line with the power stroke of the bow string/arrow. Add back tension and the arm/elbow tries to go behind your back - okay, it doesn't have to be drastic to cause rotation and it get the hinge to fire. If the release arm/elbow is out then back tension has to over come the release arm/elbow being out in front of the pivot point. What happens is, back tension creats force that drives the ball hard in the socket instead of making it pivot in the socket.

And of course, back tension is really using only half the back, the right side for right handers and the left side for left handers. Stands to reason it's only using half your back. I mean, if you use both sides of your back you move the bow. And virtually all coaches state that a "strong bow arm" is crucial for a good shot. Or said another way by world renouned archery coach Terry Wunderle, "sloppy bow arm is responsible for 90% of all bad shots."

Sonny Thomas
01-26-2014, 04:22 PM
Back tension continued;

Lots of discussion going on about back tension and someone noted it would nice if a Pro to give a break down of how it begins and ends and all that good stuff surrounding it. Most said it was impossible. So I took it upon myself to slow down, feel what it going on. Lord! Separating back tension with a thumb release is unreal. I messed up more times than I could count, but I stayed with it.
Finally, I am more aware of things. Me; I tense my back and let things happen. I do have my back tensed, but not forcing it. It's engaged. The tension feels low to start and seems to flow up and then I can feel the right rhomboids draw slightly (and maybe smoothly) and then that's when the release fires all by it's self.

And I fired some pretty good groups. Today, weather a bit breezy, but near 48 degrees - about like Florida after the stuff we've went through the last few days. I doing some sight checking after some changes and I get the back tension working and that's a job when you've been house bound for so long. I get all the way back 35 yards and that's as far as I can due to ice and snow piled up at 40 yards. First group had some highs ones and thought they would be. Adjusted my sight once more and a darn good group. Accident? Not by the second group. So I'm feeling pretty good, but I'd like to have some weather where I didn't have to wear a coat, hat and knees boots. Yeah, snow melting like crazy and water running all over the places and out in the open the ground had turned to mud.

01-28-2014, 11:11 PM
Nice groups there Sonny. I switched to a Whalens Hooker last year. It took a little getting used to after using a Carter Quickie for a long time, but now I'm feeling a lot more comfortable and confident with it to the point I used it during hunting seasons last fall. I don't really even think about the release phase of shooting any more; just being mindful of using good form (as you described) and the principle of aim small, shoot small and letting the sight pin "find its way" to the target. I can't wait for the cold weather here to break its grip and get warm enough to get out and shoot again.

Sonny Thomas
01-29-2014, 08:32 AM
Congrats! It's as you say, just aim, keep aiming and the shot happens.