Some sagely thoughts from our Mads, Founder of the Eagles Barebow Chapter.
I don’t always get what I want. Since I am not 2, I shall not lay on the floor and throw tantrums. I shall remember these notes to myself, keep trying and enjoy the journey.
- Don’t over-analyse
Overthinking the steps to a release, to whether the right form has been achieved and whether the aim is at gold, for example, slows the archer and leads to the arrow creeping forward as the draw weakens. Finally, a rushed and botched release follows.
2. Go back to basics every so often
It is easy to get frustrated when things don’t go right. One sure way of getting back on track is to reread the tips on form that were so helpful when you started. Takes a few moments but clears the cobwebs in the mind.
3. Use the right equipment
Archery is not weight lifting or bodybuilding; it is a sport requiring precision much like darts or shooting. You don’t hear of dartsmen bragging about how heavy their darts are so why do some target archers go for heavy poundages that they can’t handle and which they can hit targets with when they are the size of cows?
4. Fight target panic
It takes a lot of time and mental strength to overcome and one frequent symptom is the way the bow arm locks up before the arrow is aligned to the target, leading to a premature release. Apparently, professional help is required to fully overcome this neurological deficiency.
5. Maintain consistent timing and aiming
Possibly another neurological defect is not being able to maintain consistent timing and aim. In a quick release, the eye sees down the shaft of the arrow. As the draw is held, the eye focuses on the tip of the arrow. The angles being different, the shot will go higher in the quicker release and lower in the slower release. Consistent timing probably leads to consistent aiming.
6. Steady with the bow arm
Sometimes, the bow arm is too relaxed and is noticed only after the release. The shot goes off and the bow arm is thrown, usually upwards or leftwards.
7. Keep calm and carry on Ignore your fellow competitors and focus on your own game. Easier said than done. Most of us report pounding hearts and cold hands and feet in competition. Some competition venues seem to turn on a rush of cold air when it’s your turn to shoot.
8. It’s good to shoot with better archers
It spurs you on and you learn a lot more. That said, it is also good to shoot with poor archers. You learn as much from the former as the latter.