Human beings like to control things around them. We can’t deny the importance of having some control over our life. It keeps us on the right track. But as soon as we start to lose the grip of it, things start to go south automatically. And
you feel helpless.
I’m pretty sure you went through a similar issue when shooting arrows at your target using a bow; your target panic.
It may happen right at the moment you are about to make your last shot in the competition. How does it feel? Don’t say; we understand, man. So, how do we deal with it?
So, what is target panic? It’s a psychological condition that affects your ability to shoot the target. It affects your confidence, and as a result, you lose your composure at the eleventh hour. This issue may lead you to shoot the arrow before fixing your target, stopping you from making a full draw and giving you a hard time in holding it steady.
It may appear when you are anticipating the shot and force you to make a disappointing shot. This is what we know as archery target panic. It’s like the flinching issue people often face when shooting a firearm.
How to Cure Target Panic
So, how to get rid of target panic? If you are an archer, you know how it feels like to deal with continuous wrong shots. Even professional archers get to deal with this issue called target panic. In this section, we will have a look at the 5 drastic steps that might cure target panic. Let’s get started:
Relax, Find the Anchor Point and Repeat
You got to relax before going to make your shots. This sport doesn’t care how much of a macho man you are; this sport is about fitness. The essential thing here is how you deal with doing the same thing over and over again using the best of your muscle-memory.
When you are practicing, you can try coming to full draw with your eyes closed and find the anchor point then, open your eyes. It will help you to keep your focus on the target only and stop getting distracted. And always remember repetition is the key. When you repeat yourself, you come to know your errors and improvise. As people say, you know, “practice makes a man perfect.”
Make the Shot with Your Eyes Closed
In many cases, when practicing with a good starter compound bow, we tend to get distracted by different kinds of stuff around us, such as car horns, people shouting, someone moving around, or even a bird flying. We have an excellent solution for you to deal with that.
Keep your eyes closed when making the shot; you got to put all of your energy and focus on your aim and keep the pin in the right place, which is near impossible to do. The main point of this tactic is to make you feel completely relaxed before releasing the arrow.
Practice at Shorter Distance
Let’s pretend we don’t know what is a long shot for a while. Leave your rangefinder on the shelf. We will shorten the distance, forget about making the shot and focus on the aim for now.
You would want to shoot your first and last arrow of a day from just a 5-feet distance. And during the practice, focus on keeping your pin inside the biggest bullseye, and don’t squeeze the trigger much until you let the bow go.
People often catch this target panic during the off-season when they try shooting at smaller objects. Trust me when I say this is a bad habit.
When you are shooting the target from a 5-feet distance, you will most likely hit the target so, your brain won’t have to stress out much about making an accurate shot at a long distance.
Try Back Tension Release
The most excellent target panic cure is learning to shoot with back-tension release. Using back-tension release will teach you to utilize proper form and how to squeeze your shoulder blade when making the shot. It comes in handy when the archer returns to a triggered release.
During your practice session, try shooting more with shorter sessions and long breaks also, reduce reps per round. This will keep you fresh and energetic during the training so; you can take more accurate shots and avoid frustration.
If you feel like you are just having a bad day, stop right there. Because if you continue the process with such an uncertain mental-state, it will affect your performance. So, let’s just take a day off and come back the next day with a fully recharged and fresh mind.
Target panic is normal; it happens to every archer, starting from a beginner to a pro. And as people say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” it takes time to get rid of that old habit. Our brain will take some to get you out of that strong bubble. We would like to repeat; archery isn’t a macho sport. And getting rid of target panic is nothing about your grit and strength.
It relies a lot on your muscle-memory, subconscious execution, and relaxation when making the shot. So. when you are trying to get rid of this issue, give it time. Have patience. Acknowledge that good thing takes time. Try to have a clear idea about positive archery mechanics, quality reps, cultivating good habits, and proper form. These key points are your ticket to successful archery.
So, how to fix target panic? Listen, friend, archery is not child’s play. So, if you are not serious enough about it, you will have to deal with a lot of frustrations. As mentioned above, whether you are a beginner or pro, you will get to encounter the target panic. But you know, every problem comes with a solution.
In this case, you also have a couple of solutions. So, instead of getting frustrated by making bad-shots and thinking about giving up, please, have patience and try applying all the solutions we have mentioned above. As Mr. Vince once said, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”