I’m sure this post has been a long time in coming, but it can be extremely difficult to put mental aspects into words that make sense. I’m going to do my best to talk about the focus and control that you need for shooting at your best and how to get there over and over again. I call it getting in the zone and the goal is to learn how to get there before every shot.
You can do this because I learned how to do it by learning from others that were already doing it. It wasn’t the easiest and it takes a lot of time and practice, but it can be done.
A pre shot routine
The first step of getting things ready is to develop a pre shot routine that will help you to always get your mind in the right place. A pre shot routine can last anywhere from 10 seconds up to a couple of minutes and it is something that you do before every single shot that will prepare your mind and body for what it is about to do. If you take some time to look at other sports that deal with accuracy, you’ll notice that every player develops a little “thing” that they always do. That’s their pre-shot routine and you can start by copying theirs first.
I’m not talking about mind powers. I’m talking about the effort that it takes to focus on only one thing and to block out all the other things that you could have distracting you. I found that when I started blocking things out, that I kept finding more and more things that distracted me. It took a lot of effort and practice, but it’s easier now to block out everything and focus only on the shot and making it the best possible.
Dealing with Fatigue
Fatigue is one of those things that doesn’t sound like it’s that big a deal, but I’m here to say it makes a big difference. Imagine going to a tournament where you end up making 60 shots over 2 hours plus warming up. There is a lot of room for getting tired, sore, muscle fatigue, and more. The more energy you use, the harder it gets to focus and make a good shot. The main cure for fatigue is consistently practicing. This gives you more stamina over time to continue making good shots.
Learn to stop
The other part of practicing so that you get good at focusing completely over and over is to know when to stop. You not only need to learn how to turn on the ability to focus and block things out, but you also have to learn how to turn it off completely so that you can relax and conserve your mental energy. I know it might sound a little weird, but it’s true. I’m sure you know people in your life that are so passionate or committed to something that they never “turn it off.” It’s kind of the same idea, but the purpose is to help you conserve your mental energy so that you can spend it where it’s needed most.
Taking a shot with a bow isn’t that hard. Making a great shot is definitely harder. Making a great shot for every shot is very difficult and that’s what the mental aspect of the sport of archery is going to come down to.