One of the things that is most interesting about archery is that there is so much equipment. For someone who has never practiced the sport, it could be easy to assume that all you need is a bow, some arrows and a good aim. While these things would allow you to do archery, there are many other things that you will need to get the most out of this popular sport.
If you know anything about archery, you will know that accuracy and consistency are two of the most critical things when taking a shot. This applies to every aspect of shooting, right from where you nock your arrow, through the draw and even past the release.
When we look at draw length, just the tiniest difference in how far back the bow is pulled can mean a drastic difference to the way that the arrow leaves and its trajectory. But there is a way to prevent this; using a bow clicker.
But what on earth is a bow clicker and how do you use one? In this article, we will be giving you all the information you need to know to get familiar with this important archery accessory and how to use it.
- Is a longbow a wise choice for a newbie?
- Great gifts for archery lovers
- Does archery count as a sport?
- Best indie games with bow and arrows
The story behind the bow clicker
A bow clicker is sometimes called an archery clicker and if you start looking into the kind of equipment that you will need to be an effective archer, this is likely something that you will keep seeing.
The bow clicker is most commonly used with a recurve bow and is a small device that emits a click once the bow reaches the correct drawing point. This helps to ensure that every shot remains consistent and is one of the reasons that so many Olympic archers use a bow clicker.
Not only will you hear the click but these devices are also able to send a small vibration along either one of your bow limbs or the riser. This is exactly the same kind of feedback that you would experience from your controller when playing a video game, and this allows you to stay focussed while receiving a subtle hint that you are where you need to be.
Using a bow clicker allows you to keep your focus on the target, which is the most crucial part of any shot, without needing to worry about your equipment.
Will Using A Bow Clicker Make Me A Better Archer?
In many cases, you might be sold equipment at an archery shop that isn’t necessarily going to make you a better archer; the sales assistant is probably working on commission and wants to flog as much as possible to you.
However, there are also many pieces of archery equipment and accessories that can dramatically improve your abilities, and the bow clicker is, without a doubt, one of them.
One of the key things that any archer must remember is that each shot should be a perfect replica of the shot that preceded it and the one that will follow. Consistency is key; this is a mantra that all archers must have.
As you keep going through the motions, you will eventually develop muscle memory and this will allow you to improve over time. But in order to get to this point, you must go through several checks in your mind with each draw of the bow. This can be mentally exhausting and one of the reasons that a lot of people put down their bows and never pick them up again.
Conversely, those who use a bow clicker will soon become accustomed to only releasing the arrow when they hear the click and this can take a lot of the pressure off.
What’s more, as we have mentioned, there are a lot of Olympic archers that use a bow clicker and this solidifies the reasoning that these are useful pieces of equipment.
Types Of Bow Clicker
If you have been practicing archery for some time now you will know that most of the equipment doesn’t just come in a one-size-fits-all design; there are often several versions of each archery accessory. The bow clicker is no exception and before you start using one, you will need to familiarise yourself with the different types.
- The most common type of bow clicker attaches to the riser. These have an arm which extends out towards the arrow shelf. Your arrow would then sit under the arm of the clicker and as the tip moves past it, you hear the click.
- Alternatively, there is a type of bow clicker which sits on the bowsight. These work in the same way as the previous type of clicker but in this instance, you have the option to adjust the clicker depending on the length of the arrow that you are using. This means that these bow clickers are a great choice for younger archers who use longer arrows.
- Finally, a limb-mounted clicker is, as its name suggests, mounted to the limb of the bow. This can be done with double-sided tape, meaning that the bow will not sustain any damage. These bow clickers are often favoured by more traditional archers and are connected to the bow string with a cord. This cord pulls tighter as you draw the bow and once you reach the correct point, a small tab flexes and you will hear the click.
Who Should Use A Bow Clicker And When?
As you are reading this article, we would guess that you are considering using a bow clicker and would like to know if this will be something that will work well for you.
While we would always say that a bow clicker is a good piece of equipment to have, we would also suggest that you gain an understanding of when you need to use one. It may surprise you to learn that it is not always necessary.
One of the first things that new archers ask is whether a bow clicker is for them. At the beginning of your archery journey, you will likely not need a bow clicker. However, that is not to say that you won’t need to use one in the future.
That being said, bow clickers are not expensive pieces of equipment so if you simply wanted to try one out, then you wouldn’t be breaking the bank to do so. But the most important thing, at the beginning, is to understand your draw and become familiar with the release point.
While using a bow clicker when you are just starting out can help to provide you with consistency from the outset, this is not necessarily a good thing.
You must make sure that, before you install a bow clicker, you are familiar with your shot cycle. The most important parts of this are working on your stance and the basic foundation of your shot.
We have talked about the importance of this in previous articles, and we undoubtedly will discuss it again. A good archer pays attention to all aspects of his shot-cycle and the best performance starts from the ground up.
Another key part of releasing your arrow is that you execute a smooth shot. There are too many archers who wobble the arrow around as they draw the shot but if you want the best consistency and accuracy then you must be able to go through the shot cycle without moving forward.
If you want to work with a recurve bow, there is no doubt that it will be a rewarding experience, however, you must be prepared to put in the hard yards. Using a bow clicker in the early stages will not allow you to feel how the bow and each shot works and this is certainly a skill you will want under your belt.
Once you have practiced and developed a smooth, consistent shot, you can then move on to using a bow clicker to take the pressure off having to concentrate on the length of your draw. You will also likely notice a greater difference and if the moment ever calls for it that you cannot use a bow clicker, then you know that you have the skill to draw the bow without one.
Reasons Not To Use A Bow Clicker
Most of the time, using a bow clicker won’t have a negative impact on your form but there are some archers who find that this is the case.
If you try using a bow clicker and find that it affects you badly in any way, you shouldn’t use it. While these small add-ons are designed to help an archer, much like anything, they are not going to be a solution for everyone.
One of the main reasons that some archers struggle with a bow clicker is because they become tense waiting to hear the click. These pieces of equipment are designed to make the experience of drawing the bow a lot more relaxed but if it is making you tense, this will have the opposite effect.
Not only will you not feel as relaxed as you should but the physical reaction of this tenseness will massively affect your form.
Another of the hugely obvious reasons that a bow clicker might be detrimental to your archery practice is if you are a bowhunter. When you are hunting live game, you need silence and to be stealthy. The last thing you need is an audible click.
This may seem quiet to you but to an animal that will already be on its guard, even the smallest sound can come across as a cacophony is the quiet of the woods.
How To Use A Bow Clicker
Now that you know what a bow clicker does and when you will need to use one, the fun can begin. Let’s take a look at how you use a bow clicker.
Setting The Length Of The Bow Clicker
If you are a beginner, you might need to set the length of your bow clicker a little differently to a more experienced archer. At this point, we would suggest setting the clicker so that it gives you around half a centimetre to expand through it.
Depending on your level of fine control, you may need more or less than this but at this point, you won’t need to worry about it too much. The most important thing is that you place your bow clicker in such a way that you are able to expand through it with a smooth motion. You should also ensure that you do not cause it to click too soon.
If you allow this to happen, you may find that it causes you to hesitate on the shots that follow and this can throw off the entire thing. Sometimes, archers who are just beginning their practice may negatively adjust their technique in order to stop the clicker from going off prematurely again.
For this reason, it is crucial that you get the clicker in the correct position from the get-go, avoiding having to compromise your shooting technique. Not only that but it will help to build your confidence in using the device, which will take some getting used to.
When you are ready to set the clicker, you will need to go through your whole shot cycle but do this with your eyes closed and do not release the arrow. Draw the bow to full draw and expand. It can be helpful to have someone with you who can look at the point of the arrow and see where it is on the bow.
One important point here is that you cannot merely do this once and expect this to be the correct position. As with many things in archery, setting your bow clicker takes a certain egress of patience.
You should repeat the process at least six times, each time marking out the average position. You must then repeat this process over the course of three days as this will give you a very good average and avoid placing the clicker in an incorrect position. However, if you have a little more experience, you might only need to check this three times on any given day.
It can be tempting to do this on just one day in eagerness to get started with your clicker, however, there is a good reason why you shouldn’t do this. Too many archers have been known to set a clicker and it is incorrect. This is because your shooting ability may differ from day to day.
Where you may be relaxed and flexible on one day, you could be tired and stiff on another. Not only will this method get you a good average but it will also allow for your entire range. Once you have your range, you are ready to set the clicker.
To begin with, we would suggest setting it in the middle position. Once there, you can then narrow your range and improve your precision.
Tips For Improving Clicker Control
As we have mentioned, it can be tricky getting used to a bow clicker but once you do, you will likely wonder how you ever managed without it. However, in the meantime, why not take a look at our top tips for improving clicker control?
- Always make sure that you are using a draw weight that is compatible with your physical abilities. Too many archers go for a higher draw weight thinking that they can manage it, when in reality, all it does is negatively affect their precision, consistency and control.
- Try drawing your bow with your eyes closed and allow yourself to feel the shot cycle. Once you hear the sound of the clicker, open your eyes and see where you are at. If everything is on target, you can go ahead and release the arrow.
- Try out some of the many clicker conditioning drills you can find online.
- Do not rely on your bow clicker as this will affect your natural ability. From time to time, take it off and practice shooting without it. This should be seen as an aid and not something that you use all of the time.
A bow clicker is a small device that fits onto your bow and allows you to draw the bow to the correct length every time. Not only does this take out one of the many things that you need to think about, but it will also improve your consistency. It works by letting out a small clicking sound when you reach the correct length.
Getting used to using a bow clicker can take some time but one of the most crucial things is that you set the clicker correctly and this can also take time. You should do this over the course of several days but be careful not to be too reliant on this device and keep practicing without using it.