How do I set the trigger tension on my thumb release?
The tension on a trigger release should be set at the lightest setting that you can comfortably and safely wrap your thumb around it without the release going off, but no heavier.
A common release set up, and theoretical cure for “punching”, is to set the release heavy. The idea is that a squeeze or other movement to activate the trigger will reduce the occurrence of punching. This has the opposite effect as the archer knows that there will have to be a secondary movement to execute the trigger.
The archer should be totally comfortable that they can wrap their thumb around the trigger pointing at a brick wall and the release won’t go off, but there should be no extra trigger tension there to require an extra movement to execute.
In order to set up a release properly stand in front of a target about 3 metres away and set the release as light as it will go and safely remain closed during the draw. Now anchor as normal and try and get a good thumb wrap on the release. The release will go off at the lightest of pressure but as you are close to a target there is no chance of missing. The important principle to remember is that the thumb is a very controllable digit and it is not the lightness of the trigger that is making it go off but poor balance between the emphasis of pressure on the front and back end during the shot, and unnecessary movement of the release aid through your fingers during anchor/thumb movement.
Draw the bow and pull solidly into the stops and hold this pressure throughout anchor, neither increasing nor decreasing it. Balance the pressure of your fingers across the release aid at the beginning of the draw and do not alter this at any point of the shot especially when you move your thumb to the trigger. Now when you wrap your thumb to the trigger make that movement in one smooth action, again you will find the release going quickly but persevere until you can get your thumb onto the trigger without it firing immediately. You will then find that you can hold with your thumb resting on the trigger and just “think the shot away”. By this I mean that there is a safety catch in your brain that will not let you execute the trigger unless you are ready, you have removed the idea that contact with the trigger means it goes off.
Once you have achieved this you have not only mastered a thumb release but have seen the important aspects of the shot that effect trigger execution. Step back to a normal shooting distance and aim at a target, and try and make the shots as normal. You will now be able to adjust the trigger in very small increments until you have a tension that gives you confidence that the release is set “safe” for you but not so heavy that you need to make a conscious effort to make it go off.