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I'm coming to slingshots via archery, and I think the archery training is interfering a bit with my release...or maybe not...maybe I'm just a craptacular slinger.

In my archery class we were taught to hold the bow as still as possible, and to simply relax the string hand on release.

On the slingshot, does it work the same way?

Here's what I'm doing, please critique:

1. Left hand, using pinch grip OTT on a Scout, held gangsta style.
2. Load a 9mm clay ball into the SimpleShot 5/16" general purpose black bands (what SS recommended for 9mm clay). Bands cut and set for 450% (to extend life a little).
3. Draw the bands, with right elbow straight back and horizontal (as in archery), anchoring with tip of right index finger at corner of mouth, which seems appropriate for 10 yards.
4. Ball is pinched in pouch between thumb (at top of pouch) and middle knuckle of index (bottom of pouch). (Note: I've stopped using the bone segment between middle and tip knuckles on the index; I think the middle knuckle does a little better?). Pouch is NOT pinched in front of the ball; it's pinched ON the ball.
5. Aiming over parallel bands, using the top right corner of the upper fork as sight, which seems to be the appropriate aiming spot at 10 yards.
6. Try to get my shot off in 3 seconds or less.

Now here's where I run into trouble:

7. Is the point to just relax the thumb and index, or to actually release, ie, to actively pull the thumb/index apart? It seems that "just relax" does not work for me; I'm never sure when the pouch will slip out using the "relax" technique. So I'm actively opening up my pinch. Is that correct? And also, I take it that the pouch hand should move back and away from the anchor point a little, at release? Or should the pouch hand stay just where it is...which is difficult, given recoil. That right hand wants to move back on release.

8. Inclination is to try and hold the slingshot as steady as possible in the left hand on release BUT I've seen videos saying no, you "push" the slingshot a little in the direction it wants to recoil (forward and left), like you're giving/allowing the slingshot a little hooked push toward the target. So does the left hand attempt immobility, or does it actively "push" through the shot, like a follow-through move?

One other concern I have: I can't tell if I'm holding the slingshot plumb. How do I know that the top fork isn't canted a bit toward or away from the target, shot after shot? Is that something to worry about?

My groupings for 10 shots at 10 yards are not consistent, from 2-1/4" (best ever) to sometimes a shot missing the 8x11 sheet of paper altogether.

Thanks for your help,

Apricotless
 

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The best way to pinpoint what is going wrong is to video yourself from the side. When I do this I speak to the camera and say that shot went high or that shot went to the right or what ever. Shoot ten or fifteen shots, watch the video to see what I am doing on each shot. This really helps,

As far as release goes I just let it slip from my fingers. I try to hold the slingshot as immobile as possible. I do not consciously flip the frame forward.
 

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Wow, that sounds like spot on form! I agree with Grandpa Grumpy. Some footage of your form may help you identify your weaknesses. I tend to release intentionally. Because my bands are light, I don't feel like I "pluck" the pouch like I might on a bow with heavy poundage. As for canting, I think checking yourself in a mirror or video recording is the best way to get a feel for your form. I don't flip intentionally, but I do push my frame toward the target as well as pull my pouch towards me, so there may be some natural flip when the tension is released.
 

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There are many different ways to shoot a slingshot with acceptable accuracy. Vertical forks, horizontal forks, hammer grip, pinch grip, thumb brace, steady hold, flip shooting, static release, active release, forks leaning slightly forward, forks leaning slightly back, face anchor, half butterfly, full butterfly, and so on. Have fun experimenting and find out what works best for you.

I'm not a competitive shooter but some days I can shoot with acceptable accuracy. Here is what works for me when I get it right. Some parts of my shooting forms will vary with the frame. With my Popeye frame I lean forks slightly forward, straight back draw, elbow level, slightly pause at approx 80% draw, twist pouch 90*, anchor with thumb knuckle on ear, very mild active release, conscious opening of pinch hold to release shot, straight back moment of hand, flip movement with frame, follow-through, hand moves back on release but not exaggerated like a target archer.. The wrist flip just happens and isn't planned. I push the frame towards the target to maintain back tension and expand. My accuracy falls apart when I try to hold frame and pouch perfectly steady throughout shot. I think this causes me to slightly collapse back tension. I actively part my thumb and index finger enough to release the ball without dragging the pouch. Some days my pouch hand will move back more after the release than other days but I never keep it locked at my ear after the shot. Heavier bands often give more hand movement after the shot.

My finding is that accuracy is best when I push towards the target with the frame and pull straight back with pouch and continue the straight back movement after the shot (linear movements). This routine helps stop sideways movement which destroys accuracy.

Here is a video of me shooting at 20 yards. I use the same form for shooting 30 to 75 yards. I'm not saying that I'm a great shot but rather suggesting a few things to try to see what works for you. Enjoy the experimenting! Hope this helps.

 

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I am not sure now whether it was one of Bill Hays' or Dan Ambrosious' videos where someone talks about the release being a sensation of pulling back slightly as the projectile is allowed to slip past your fingers. That works for me. Relaxing can be a bit of a misnomer as the relaxing is really something that should only happen for the two fingers holding the projectile, and only just enough so the projectile is allowed to slip past.

If we overdo the "relaxing", what might happen is the entire hand relaxes and we may experience a "collapse" of the hand following the projectile forward with the release. We may also fail to isolate the "relaxation", leading to a sloppy posture or frame hold hand relaxing away from the target line? Either would result in us throwing the shot. Having said that I have to qualify that I am not great with the slingshot, certainly no where near some of the more seasoned shooters among us, but I am decent enough to enjoy this hobby and I think what I have picked up here applies?

I find it easier to keep pulling back linearly along the target line, maintaining tension through the drawback and releasing as I reach the max-out or anchor point. Even if I hold a little longer sometimes to acquire a target, I pull back ever so lightly as I let the projectile slip past my fingers. After a while that mini final pull back is imperceptible and happens simultaneously in an instant while letting the projectile slip past. As a coherent motion, it's a smooth release that we won't even need to think about. It just happens as we send it to target.

Also, we should add that the release should not be any big movements of opening up the pinch or or you might drive the projectile off-line as it rides/bumps over a finger unevenly. This is something we refer to as a "speed-bump". Probably due to the way we articulate the ammo in pouch hold, we just won't be able to separate our fingers evenly when we open-up our pinch and a speed-bump is the most likely cause of a frame hit...

I would think that a better mental picture would be to say, "just let the projectile slip past your fingers".

Whatever it is, you'll have to experiment and find what works for you. Everyone has their own little shooting nuances, twists and tweaks. I hope this helps you somewhat along your journey... enjoy!
 

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Hi Apricotless,

Few things in addition.

Make sure you are not forcing your thumb to the mouth while anchoring. While a solid anchor is quite forceful in archery it is not so true with slingshots. Rest your finger there, but don't push too hard, that alters the shot.

Release is very important, but not enough. Small inconsistency here and there may add up overall. Sometimes you just need to spend some time just practicing and not to worry too much.

The pouch material can be a factor. Make sure you have something that fits to your hand. SS pouches are good, but worth a try to experiment with other pouches on the way, to find your go to choice. Sometimes a thicker pouch or double layer helps the grip.

You don't need to stiffen up and trying to make it still. Yes, you don't want to move too much, while aiming, but active flexing can throw off the shots.

Light setups are great, 450% is fine to save the bands. Although sometimes a bit more power helps with the release. On the opposite, many shooters are experiencing improvement on release while spent some time shooting small ammo, BBs with light setups. It is not easy, but a valued practice.

I like to say regarding to release, just let it go!

My other tip is to forget performance and skill practice at the same time. Make a decision to practice the skill and shoot with a rewarding target, where you hit more than 50%. Once you have the rhythm, and reach to 80% you can level up in difficulty. Sneak up on accuracy and your body will naturally pick up the skills.

I also have a few tutorials on YouTube. If you are looking for resources check: mark seljan at yt.

Have a good day!

Mark
 

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Lots of great suggestions. 2 things that really helped my shooting:

1) Draw next to a mirror (I do this indoors "unloaded") and check alignment. I was canting just a little bit and didn't realize it. Video may be even better than the mirror.

2) Rotate draw hand 90 degrees CCW as it comes to anchor point instead of drawing straight back to anchor point.. Not sure why this makes a difference, but it does for me.
 

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I think the most important thing for any beginner is practicing and experimenting to find what works best for them. Check your form/alignments like others have said with a mirror or by recording yourself shooting.

My advice to you: Don't overthink it. Do what feels natural for you and don't try to force a certain style of hold or release. It's one of the great things about slingshots, everything is so personal. The only "right" way to shoot is the way that works for you. Keep at it and you'll get that "AH HA" moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Popping back in with a big THANK YOU for all these wonderful, educational, helpful posts. This is a gold mine of information. It'll take me a couple of days to experiment, and sort through the information above. However it seems I'm shooting better already, just yesterday following some of the pointers above. Hope this thread is helpful to others as well.

My takeaway after reading the above: Slingshotting has a different release than archery. Some archery habits are good and carry over, but some (particularly release) have to be re-learned!
 

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I wouldn't say that the release with slingshots is any different. In fact they are completely identical if you think about it.
What does a good release in archery require? Back tension, meaning no collapsing, and NOT opening the fingers, but just relaxing them so that the string pushes them to the side. Well, with slingshots we do the same thing really, we don't open the fingers, but gently relax them so that the pouch slips through!
Personally I don't see much difference between recurve bows and slingshots, apart from the fact that bows are much easier to shoot well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This really helped! My 10-yard, 10-shot, 3-1/2" groups are nothing to brag about, especially in this crowd (!), but they are at least much more consistent and reliable now, and getting good enough to make the squirrels nervous. Many fewer crazy flyers. What seems to be helping is very slightly but thoughtfully and actively "opening up" the pinch to release, a la Northerner. Raising the thumb a bit on command from the brain, rather than "just relaxing" the grip gradually until the pouch slips free. That, and not trying to keep the frame so steady after the shot...letting it follow through a bit. Not pushing, mind you, but neither trying to keep the frame as rigid as possible after the ball is flying. Also experimenting with Bill's "three points" grip (see his video), which seems promising. Haven't started videos or mirrors yet, or the pouch twist, or alternate anchor points, but will give those ideas a try. Canting is still a concern. Obviously I still have a lot of work to do before I can move beyond newbie status, but thanks again for the help, fellas! It seems to be working!
 

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****, one post to draw the masters out, well played Apricotless lol. Very informative indeed.
Hah! So true and I'll not muddy the pearl laced waters with any waffle other than to say that the joy that comes when it does finally all come together is worth the sweat and knotted brow. Hope you stick with it Apricotless and can enjoy the ride!
 
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Assuming that the pouch size is ideally adapted to the ammo size being used i.e. pouch length roughly 4 times the ammo diameter, and a pouch width of roughly 1.5 times the ammo diameter, and that the bands are symmetrical in the way they are cut, your technique up to point 6 sounds correct to me, albeit that I place the pouch under the thumb beyond the thumb joint and over the second index finger joint, and raise only the thumb when I release the pouch.

Placing the pouch over the first (central) index finger joint can be a cause of fork hits :hmm: , and moving the index finger during the release can cause the shot trajectory to be altered to the right (speaking from personal experience).

Like in archery (I used a Hoyt competition recurve bow), I feel that a natural linear flow of the forces involved is the best way to ensure a linear release for an accurate projectile trajectory - assuming that the slingshot holding arm is held as steady as possible on the target (this is harder with stronger bands or tubes = match draw weight to ammo), and that the chosen anchor point matches the slingshot frame being used in terms of fork width: indeed, a larger fork width requires a lower anchor point, and vice-versa (from personal experience).

Thus, pushing the slingshot forward in some way after the release may make sense with a "pickle fork" styled slingshot (I assume, I've never used one), but I do not see the relevance of doing so with a regular slingshot, which will in any case move forwards and backwards (elastic travel) after the pouch has been released (this is where heavier metal slingshot frames have a distinct advantage, a bit like a heavier handgun and strong rounds, as I've discovered).

Holding one's breath just before the release within 3-5 seconds also improves stability. Training with weights (3 kg) with the slingshot holding arm extended strengthens the appropriate muscles to reduce shooter fatigue = improved accuracy.

Least but not last, regular practice is essential like in archery to achieve good results. On the days when your mind is wandering, do something else, as your shooting will reflect the lack of concentration, like in archery.

I've attached some images showing the release technique I use, and which allows me to group at 2 inches (or less on my good days) at around 10 yards. More importantly, I have not had any fork hits since using this technique.

My 2 cents worth...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
[Edit] In the above posts I use the word "cant" or "canting" incorrectly, and am unable to edit those posts. What I mean to say: I think I have an issue with "Pitch," if using airplane lingo. Ie, that the top fork might be a scootch closer to the target, than the bottom fork, or the other way around. Using pilot lingo, "Roll" seems to be taken care of by aligning the bands atop each other, and "Yaw" by using a reference point on the frame as a sight. But "Pitch" has me struggling because it's difficult to see or sense. [EndEdit]

Thanks for the insightful post and photos, Pebble. I think your "second index finger joint" is similar to Bill H's posted video where he discusses "three points of contact." I think he is using that same index finger joint. The "slight thumb lift to fire" is working well, too. BTW, do you pinch ahead of the ammo, or do the photos just make it look that way?
 

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Slingshot cant, or "pitch" of the way the slingshot frame is held is indeed an issue, and not only for people new to slingshot shooting - having watched even experienced shooters in the process.

This is why Chinese slingshot sights are designed to enable merging two elements together visually to help ensure that the slingshot is being held at 90 degrees relative to the ground in a sideways shooting stance. A relevant example (PIAO YU):

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32925687698.html?storeId=2934060&spm=2114.12010612.8148356.37.77993a70DyXMiB

Another approach is to stand next to a mirror to see and correct this critical holding error, as it can lead to fork hits at extreme angle differences relative to the bands or tubes, and of course affect shot placement. Minor "pitch" differences should generally not be a problem if all the other parameters are correct, namely the pouch release technique.

I pinch on top of the steel ammo, maybe just very slightly forward with the ammo inside the pouch centered right above the second index finger joint.
 

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Chinese slingshot sights are designed to enable merging two elements together visually to help ensure that the slingshot is being held at 90 degrees relative to the ground in a sideways shooting stance. A relevant example (PIAO YU):

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32925687698.html?storeId=2934060&spm=2114.12010612.8148356.37.77993a70DyXMiB
Yes, I can see how that works! When all three planes in the sight are aligned (looks like they do this with colored rods you'd view end-on), you'd be parallel/plumb/perpendicular to the target. Clever. Looks like, for a sight of this type, it could only be OTT, no TTF possible. I'm tempted to purchase, if only as a training-wheels approach to learning. I'd love a frame with a sight. This would seem to enforce both correct pitch and yaw. Do you own this frame, can recommend?
 
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