Inside your mind inside your shot.

Posted: 2014/07/23 in From the perspective of an Archery Coach.

In a previous article, you may have read…

Aim, aim, aim, load the trigger , aim, aim, aim, eye expands, aim, aim aim, fingers contract, aim, aim, aim, release, aim, aim, aim.

And, this is important but there is a BUT. (Note: Above is for compound shooting and there are subtle differences between this and what might be used for Olympic or Traditional shooting.)

Understand that when I practice or when I’m teaching, what is written above is indeed what I use, and I use this over and over again, repeating it at nauseam until it becomes entrenched as part of the process. However, as we are all human, we are often too easily distracted from the task that is immediately at hand.

And, for this reason, I introduce distraction training.

Distractions are an Archer’s worst enemy, it takes an incredible about of physical and mental focus to repeatedly hit the bullseye or does it? There is a certain part of the shooting process that is “mechanical in nature” and therefore can be practiced until it becomes automatic. In other words, done without conscious thought. So what does this mean in terms of how distractions effect your shooting?

Distractions can come in many forms. For example, you can suddenly become interested in a conversation that is going on somewhere within earshot, or you might start to listen to the little voice of doubt that is running around inside your head. (Another article, The BS behind TARGET PANIC.) You may be at full draw and suddenly hear the annoying buzz of a mosquito, and believe me that one is tough to overcome while trying to complete the shot.

So, I do practice distraction training as well. I will have a conversation with people during my shot. I will intentionally allow my mind to wander with total disregard for double checking the physical or mechanical processes of my shot. Because, I know that I can trust the brief instances of focus. Perhaps, I’m allowing my shot process to distract the distraction. (lol)

Aim, aim, aim, I’m hungry , aim, aim, aim, I wonder if there’s any leftovers in the fridge, aim, aim aim, I should do laundry tonight, aim, aim, aim, I need to make that telephone call too, aim, aim, aim, nice shot.

There are two things to note here.

1. Thinking about the physical aspects of the shot are gone in this sequence.

2. Nowhere in the sequence is an opportunity for doubt to enter my mind.

Add, a third thing…

3. Confidence, though it may not be obvious, is certainly an ally.

Call it arrogance, if you will, but when I pull my bow back I already KNOW where the arrow is going. So, you might ask then why aren’t all the arrows dead centre? And, the answer will be the arrow has presented the result of a physical mistake not a mental problem. Which leads me to repeat what I was taught, it is far more important to know why a shot was bad than good.




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