Bryn : Can you click it? Yes you can – Part Three

In my last post I took us on a short tour of the different clicker types and their associated pros and cons. This time I’ll be talking about how my relationship with clickers has developed and how the clicker figures in my shot cycle.
War and peace

Clicker positioning is the make or break aspect of clicker usage. A poorly placed clicker can completely destroy your form. Too far back and your form will collapse with the strain of trying to get through. Too far forward and it won’t be accurate enough to regulate your draw length as you’ll be able to draw beyond it to varying degrees.

When I added my first clicker I had read that ideally the clicker needs to be perpendicular to the arrow rather than at an angle. And that probably does help consistency of clicker performance to some degree. However with my spear length arrows this wasn’t possible so when I first set up my clicker my aim was to try to increase my draw length to bring the clicker position to a more perpendicular arrangement. I also told myself that this was good for my form as it would force me to use my back muscles more and build up the strength there. I was totally wrong. What actually happened is that my form would collapse whilst trying to get through the clicker, my upper body would twist, my bow arm shoulder would rise up, my nose would start obscuring the sight as I found myself leaning back and twisting. After a few sessions of this I realised the error and wound that clicker out a lot further until now it would sit half on – half off my extension plate about a full inch further forwards than it had been.

The key thing in my experience has been that we shouldn’t be fighting the clicker. It should be a pleasantly confirming experience when we click. What I was doing was stacking the bow heavily with my 31+ inch draw and causing my sight to move wildly around the target as a result of all the uncontrolled tensions going on in my form. Again it comes back to my belief that a clicker is to confirm you’re ready for an action not to dictate the action.

Relaxing through the clicker

When I finally had the position set correctly I found that it helped me focus on better transfer of power to the back muscles. However, sometimes I still found myself straining those muscles to get through the clicker and the more I would strain the less likely I was to get it to click. I think this is because I was tensing up everything in my form thinking this was how I would expand through the clicker but as we tense muscles we can actually contract our structure it seems, taking us further from the goal.

So recently, and in combination with a breathing cycle, I have learnt that I need to relax through the clicker. It may sound counter-intuitive at first as surely relaxing isn’t going to provide the strength need to get through the clicker but I’m finding it’s resulting in steadier shots.

Here’s my breathing/shot cycle to illustrate:

1. Stand straight but relaxed, knees unlocked, shoulders dropped, back straight but not concave. Take a deep in-out breath.

2. Nock and fit the arrow through the clicker. 

3. Set my grip and hook. Applying an inch or so draw to apply enough tension to secure both.

4. Bring the bow up and breath in fully.

5. Draw back to full draw but pre-clicker and let out 50-70% of the breath slowly at the same time.

6. Get sighted whilst concentrating on making sure it’s the back muscles alone that are working.

7. Keep the tension, relax and let the last breath out to execute through the clicker.

So the takeaway is that if you’re fighting the clicker then you’re fighting yourself. I hope this post has some points that people can relate to and that it helps in some way.

In another post I hope to write about my experiences with alternating between barebow and recurve to improve shot cycle, form and accuracy for recurve. But for now, make love not war with your clicker.

Happy clicking!