I often get loads of great questions about problems archers have when first learning how to shoot with the clicker. This article outlines my program for introducing archers to the clicker.
Using this program, you can get your archers shooting properly with the clicker with the smallest of learning curves. I use it with all of my developing archers, and I've found it is the most effective way to prevent issues with clicker control down the track.
The most effective way to teach someone how to shoot with the clicker is to start them with an exercise called Clicker Control Drills (CCD’s) shortly before shooting their first shots with the clicker.
Clicker Control Drills (CCD's) are a simple exercise where the archer comes into full draw, and expands through the clicker in a smooth motion. The archer should be able to expand approximately 10-15mm past the clicker without distorting their posture or alignment.
See the below video for a demonstration:
The aim of this drill is to:
Maintain a constant expansion without any pausing or shaking of the arrow point
Achieve strict timing, 1... 2... 'click'... 4... 5...
Getting the archer to complete CCD’s before their first shots will inhibit the development of a reflex release you sometimes see with archers. It will also teach them very quickly how to achieve timing with the clicker, how to control their expansion and to expand through the clicker, not just 'to' the clicker.
My approach is as follows:
Set the archer up at close-range blank butt (5-10m).
Get the archer to complete a warm-up shooting without the clicker for 30 arrows or so. During this time, pay close attention to the archers’ arrow point position when they come into anchor and use this to guide your starting clicker position. For beginners allow approximately 2-5mm of room to expand through the clicker. It’s critical that they shoot with proper form and strict alignment.
Get the archer to complete CCD’s under supervision. At this stage, you are working with the archer to ensure that they can achieve a strict 1…2…'click'…4…5… tempo. For the first few draws, count for the archer to set their tempo. Ensure that the archer has sufficient rest between CCD’s so that they do not fatigue during this drill.
Once the archer can consistently complete CCD’s in the correct tempo, get them to shoot their first shots. At this stage, don’t put too much emphasis on releasing at the exact moment of the click, this will usually come quickly as the archer acclimatises to the clicker, and as they gain more control with timing. Focus on a smooth expansion and good timing of the click (1…2…click, release).
Get the archer to complete 60 arrows at blank butt as follows:
3 x CCD’s (quality with strict tempo)
6 x shots with the clicker
After a short break, the archer can start to shoot some close targets to introduce the aiming phase of the shot. Start at an easy distance so that they don’t over-aim (20m, 122cm face). The goal is to introduce a soft aiming focus whilst maintaining timing and good expansion throughout the shot.
For best results, keep CCD’s as part of the archers’ regular warm-up and training drills.
Photo credit: Dutch Target
This program is equally effective for archers who have catastrophic clicker panic. Often it can take some patience and determination for these archers to untrain the reflex to immediately release (or flinch) upon the sound of the clicker. Be patient with these archers, and reduce the anxiety of making mistakes through low stakes practice, placing the archer at 5m Blank Butt.
Before you start this program, it is important that you note the following:
Archers must have trained proper alignment
Archers must be working with a comfortable bow poundage
Arrows must be the correct length (duh…)