target panic or falling apart?
So Coach, does my old friend have target panic or just falling apart and calling it target panic? Read on please.
Went to a 3D yesterday and met up with a shooter friend I hadn't seen in a while. Last I saw of had been maybe two years ago and trying to work out of target panic. Two years and he said he still suffered target panic. Of course he went through a bunches of stuff and of course this also means quite a few release aids. And at the present he was using a thumb release.
So on the practice I watched as he shot. He was in the ball park, but it seemed he was trying to hard and I told him so. I told him just let all become a picture and just let the shot happen and I was right behind him to give him something else to think about. He put together a few good shots and I stepped away. Next thing I knew his release arm and hand flew out and away. Otherwise, he stood rock solid. Right off he says, target panic. I refused to accept that. I told him he fell apart, let his release arm/elbow go out, didn't hold form. Fall apart the shot falls apart. So I watched him again and re-enforcing to keep his release arm/elbow in. His shots improved tremendously. So we shot together in the 3D. I just told him to stay in the shot. Only once did he flinch and that he tried to save the shot I got after him and told him to let down. I flat told him there is no saving the shot. He had let down and started to draw immediately. I got after him again with "let your bow arm recover, give it a few seconds, 15 or so." So up to I got rained out, target 15, my old sidekick had dropped maybe 6 points. That he didn't have a lens he wanted to go on. I just told him remember where your release arm/elbow is and you'll do fine.
I found myself a lot dryer warm spot and some hot coffee while he finished. I watched him walk in, looking like a drowned rat, but packing a healthy smile. He said he quit keeping score so not to have it worry him (which I think a good move). He said he only messed once and other than that never felt or shot better in a long time. That he messed up once I told him with the rain it's wonder he didn't mess up more. He noted he appreciated me going out with him and shook my hand. Of course we discussed a few things, but he questioned me of; "All this time and it was me falling apart and not target panic?"
My answer would have been a straight yes, but target panic is said to have many forms and I more less said as much.
So he had this problem going on for a good two years. He had quit shooting with others and shot by himself because he shot so bad. And once I heard he blew up, ripped into some one that bothered him. So I guess no one was around to point out what he was doing.
I have to go back a bit. While we were on the practice range he noted his present thumb release gave him best results.
Now, I totally disagree with thumb releases and back tension making them work. Or at least do not represent use of true back tension. Neither does a index release and use of true back tension. It's different. I shoot all three and I know there is a difference. For one, thumb and index releases have triggers and having triggers they will fire no matter where your release arm/elbow is. They will fire. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. A hinge release may be forced to fire, but all not in place to form a pivot point they are hard to set off and more than likely the arrow won't be going where intended. And I've been with shooters who let down, claiming they couldn't get their hinge to fire.
And yes, both the thumb and index release can be fired with back tension, but both fire through the release hand clinching. The thumb release might be fired because of rotation through back tension, but that trigger is still there.
Sonny, it seems to me that "improper form" --- "not target panic" --- is indeed the ROOT of your friends problem of falling apart. Periodically I catch myself in the same situation --- the old proverbial "chicken wing elbow" is my arch enemy, that sometimes results in "no results" --- cannot get he release to go off --- like I'm froze up even if it is 96 degrees out. You are absolutely right --- let down --- take a breather, or two, and try again, because if you try to "bull your way" thru the shot there's no telling where that arrow will hit --- 99% of the time it will hit in a non-desirable location.