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When to use a clicker on a recurve bow

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Precision and accuracy is the name of the game in recurve archery. You need to be consistent to hit a target that is up to 90 meters away. That is where the clicker comes in.

So what exactly is it? Why do top-level archers use it? Is it really important?

I will answer these questions in this blog post and hopefully, by the end of it, you’ll see that maybe it’s time to use one, or maybe it’s better to shoot without for now!

If you’re new here you can learn about the basics of recurve archery in our Recurve Shot Cycle and Recurve Archery Basics guide. Then, you can learn How To Train for Archery and find specific archery drills and exercises in our Drills & Bow Training Library and Archery Exercises Library. You can also find loads of detailed videos on our Online Archery Academy YouTube Channel. And lastly, if you’re interested in private coaching you can read about our online recurve archery coaching.

What is a recurve clicker?

A clicker is a small tool attached to a recurve riser that signals an archer to shoot at the same draw length every time.

This tiny tool lets an archer know that the draw length is at the right length and it is time to release the string once an “audible” click is heard.

A millimeter of difference in the draw length will play a huge role when shooting at longer distances. Hence, it is critical to use one to have a consistent draw.

When to use a clicker on a recurve bow?

You can use a clicker on your recurve bow once you already have a solid and consistent archery form. Remember, this accessory is essential for top-level archers, but you might not need it yet. Evaluate yourself if you can use a clicker by having someone take a video of you shooting. The clip should be focused on the arrow point and the riser shelf. Once done, check if you are consistently drawing the arrow point to within a 5mm range on your bow each time you come into full draw. If you’re not able to get a consistent draw length If you’re a beginner I’m sure you want to hit consistent shots. And it can be tempting to want to use a recurve clicker from the get-go. However, the clicker might be a problem instead of a solution if it’s used too early in your archery. It could introduce form issues that will grow into a bigger problem in the long run. So be sure to go through the draw length checks first that I already mentioned. Also if you’re not confident with your Anchor and Full Draw stage of the shot, particularly your alignment, then these are things you need to learn fully before using a clicker.

Recurve Clicker Tips You Need to Know

Focus on your form first

As I mentioned above, you shouldn’t rush yourself into using a clicker. You should focus on your stance, posture, head position, anchor, and grip before introducing the clicker to your setup.

Basically, you need to have a solid form before using a clicker. Otherwise, it will be pointless to use a clicker if you move your body differently from one shot to another, as your draw length will be changing on every shot.

Do not be afraid to adjust your recurve bow clicker if needed

You might be thinking, “adjust the clicker? But where is the consistency in that?”

Hear me out.

There are instances where our clicker position might be off by a few millimeters. I have experienced this myself. No matter how hard I try, it felt difficult to expand more and push through the release. It might happen to you too if your muscles are more stiff one day, or if the weather is especially cold.

This also happens when you are fatigued or if your draw length changes because of the distance.

If that is the case, do not be afraid to adjust your clicker depending on the situation. What’s important is for you to be able to expand naturally and release the string in a relaxed manner with consistency shot to shot.

male archer showing good clicker position

Understand the FEEL of your clicker

The clicker will make an audible sound that triggers you to shoot automatically. But, you must rely on your other senses, particularly touch, as a trigger for your clicker.

But why?

The audible clicker sound is a great signal. There is no doubt about that. But when you are in the range with multiple archers around, you might hear their clicker and accidentally release your arrow.

This is the reason why you need to feel your clicker through your bow hand. This way you will release your arrow once you feel the slight vibration caused by the clicker.

Practice this by shooting with your clicker while using earbuds or headphones. This will reduce the clicker sound and you will then focus more on feeling the vibrations of the clicker.

Another way to get the feel of your clicker is by doing archery drills such as the click conditioning drill which should be a staple exercise for most archers.

Face a blank target at a safe distance. Do the shot process, expand and click through the clicker whilst aiming, but do not release the arrow. Rinse and repeat until you get the feel of your clicker. Do this in front of a target for safety reasons.

Shoot without a recurve clicker occasionally

It is fun shooting with a clicker since it helps in getting more consistent shots. However, shooting without a clicker every once in a while will help you with your form.

By eliminating the clicker, you are forced to think about your whole form and evaluate your draw length. This way, you are thinking about your posture, head position, shot feeling, full draw, and the whole shot process.

Check out this video for more details.

Final Thoughts

A clicker is a fantastic tool for your recurve bow. It helps with consistency and precision, especially at longer ranges.

But in archery, there is a perfect time for each piece of equipment. Rushing means skipping the necessary steps and it might bite you back hard in the future.

The best course of action if you want to take your archery journey further is to work consistently with a coach, but if you don’t have one you should find everything you need here at Online Archery Academy.

Before you go, do check out this video about finding your correct draw length since it is a pre-requisite before using a clicker.

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