Posted: 2014/08/27 in From the perspective of an Archery Coach.

For years now, all I’ve been hearing is “If you want to be at your best as a target shooter, you MUST use a back-tension release.”  

First off… POPPYCOCK, I say.

There are some really good competitive shooters out there that will move to a trigger or thumb release in high-wind conditions for “Command Release Control” when needed because the “shot surprise” philosophy or approach to making a back-tension release function just isn’t going to deliver winning results. And, that is mainly due to using a BT release incorrectly in the first place.

Most people are under the misnomer that using the pull-through technique of aiming and continually pulling on a back-tension release will eventually make it go off, believing the sudden surprise of the arrow being gone is a properly executed shot.

However, you can pull on a BT release all day and without mechanically causing a physical rotational action, the trigger function of the release will not activate.

If, you think you’ve been using your BT release properly and are using the Pull-through method described above, I challenge you to try this. Do everything the same, meaning you’re still going for a surprise release but instead of pulling through, you’re going to relax two fingers on your draw-hand.

Draw back and lock everything, your back, your string-side shoulder and your bow arm. Aim, no further movement is required, with the exception of relaxing your index and middle fingers to cause the rotation, triggering the release.

Suddenly, there is no increase in pressure during the shot execution, no sudden movement of the bow-hand because of mis-timing the relationship between rotation and pull. The release portion of shot execution becomes more relaxed, more intentionally repeatable and has a higher instance of consistency.

Give it a try and see if it improves your results. It’s a secret that some pros don’t want you to know.

Me… I’m sticking to my modified trigger because it’s what makes me feel comfortable and confident during shot execution, and that’s 90% of the battle. The other 10%? That’s another article.

These shots.

This bow.

This release.


  1. Steve Ruis says:

    Please don’t support the term “back tension release” by continuing to use it–there is no release that can require the use of certain muscles to trip it. All release aids can be shot with or without the application of back tension. Triggerless releases (what are usually called BT releases) need to be set up so they trip when you are at a particular point of your full draw position but, of course, anybody can fake that!

    Good post!

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