Skip to main content

Stop Worrying About Your Follow-Through

Stop Worrying About Your Follow-Through

If you've shot a bow for any length of time, you have heard about follow-through. In this column, I am going to take a closer look at follow-through, specifically as it relates to your release hand/arm. In short, proper follow-through involves your release hand and arm falling away from the anchored position as the shot fires. A lot of people misunderstand what follow-through actually is. Most will say, "You really need to work on your follow-through," or "Make sure you remember to follow through," or something along those lines.

In reality, follow-through isn't something you should be working on to have a great shot. Rather, it's the result of a great shot. The goal in execution is a surprise release, where you aren't anticipating the timing of that shot. When that happens, a good follow-through is inevitable.

I often hear the comment, "Man, that guy has a horrible follow-through." But I learned long ago it does you absolutely no good to work on your follow-through, because "that guy" is just anticipating his shot, which is causing his horrible follow-through. Or rather, his lack of follow-through. You see, if I fire my release via conscious command, I am tensing those small muscles it takes to execute the shot, and my release hand will stay right next to my face instead of falling back.

If you have a poor or non-existent follow-through, here is a test to prove my point: Come to full draw and have a buddy slowly squeeze your trigger while you concentrate on nothing but aiming. When the bow fires, your release arm and hand will fall away from the position, because you're not fast enough to stop it. This means that when you are executing your own shot, you know the exact moment to tense up, causing the lack of follow-through.


Instead of spending time pointlessly trying to work on having a follow-through, work on executing a surprise release where you are focused on nothing but aiming. You should be slowly squeezing the trigger until the shot fires. This will result in a great follow-through. Anyone can fake a follow-through, but that will not make you a better shooter. Honestly, when I see a bad follow-through, it is just a red flag that the person has target panic. The two just go together. Working on your follow-through WILL NOT not fix your target panic. However, if you fix your target panic, you WILL have a smooth, consistent follow-through.


If you are really struggling to fire a surprise shot, I suggest getting a release aid you can't punch or command. Back-tension releases are great training tools for this purpose. When it comes to index-finger trigger releases, the Panic X from Tru-Fire has a setting that makes you slowly squeeze the trigger or it will not fire. Shoot with one of these releases until you aren't thinking about the shot or your follow-through anymore; only aiming.

There are a lot of myths on follow-through and how it's a necessary part of a great shot. While it is an indicator of a great shot, it's not something that needs to be practiced. Follow-through is when your release hand and arm fall away from the static full-draw position as the bow fires. This normally doesn't happen if you are commanding the shot or if you know the exact millisecond the shot is firing. Simply put, learning to execute a surprise release is a critical component of becoming the best archer you can be, and it will also produce that picture-perfect follow-through you've been looking for.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mathews V3 - Flagship Bow for 2021

Mathews V3 - Flagship Bow for 2021

Mathews has announced two versions of their 2021 flagship bow, the V3.

Crossbow Review: TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO

Crossbow Review: TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO

The all-new 2021 offering will certainly be one of the most accurate long-range crossbows ever built.

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

Bear Archery's newest bows - Redemption EKO and Legit RTH - are light, adjustable and fast.

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021 are several hunter-defined products, such as the Excalibur TwinStrike Crossbow, BowTech Solution and Solution SS Bows, TightSpot Pivot 2.5 Quiver, Ripcord Cage and Code Red X arrowrests, and Black Gold Pro FX and Pro Hunter HD sights.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

From new binoculars and rangefinders to a fresh batch of trail cameras, there's no shortage of product to help bowhunters out this year.New Optics and Scouting Gear for 2021 ATA Show

New Optics and Scouting Gear for 2021

Jace Bauserman - January 15, 2021

From new binoculars and rangefinders to a fresh batch of trail cameras, there's no shortage of...

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species2020 State of the Whitetail Report Whitetail

2020 State of the Whitetail Report

Jason Snavely - June 29, 2020

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species

This tasty venison lasagna recipe is the perfect wild game meal to serve at a potluck or large family gathering.Best Venison Lasagna Recipe Recipes

Best Venison Lasagna Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

This tasty venison lasagna recipe is the perfect wild game meal to serve at a potluck or large...

Going from field tips to broadheads requires arrow tuning on a higher plane.

 Good broadhead flight4 Steps to Perfect Broadhead Flight How-To

4 Steps to Perfect Broadhead Flight

Bowhunting Online Staff

Going from field tips to broadheads requires arrow tuning on a higher plane. Good...

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

These are the archery shots you should and shouldn't take on whitetails. Where to Shoot a Deer: Bowhunting Shot Placement How-To

Where to Shoot a Deer: Bowhunting Shot Placement

Christian Berg

These are the archery shots you should and shouldn't take on whitetails.

Follow this step-by-step process to quickly field dress your deer for the best possible venison.How to Field Dress & Quarter a Deer How-To

How to Field Dress & Quarter a Deer

Mike Stroff

Follow this step-by-step process to quickly field dress your deer for the best possible...

Extreme practice will make you extremely prepared. How To Master Uphill & Downhill Shots How-To

How To Master Uphill & Downhill Shots

Randy Ulmer

Extreme practice will make you extremely prepared.

Simple steps to extend the range of your rig.Maximize Your Shooting Distance How-To

Maximize Your Shooting Distance

Cabe Johnson

Simple steps to extend the range of your rig.

See More How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Bowhunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Bowhunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now