Question to all archers – How do you overcome a bad shot?

How do you overcome a bad shot or a poor round?
Whether this means a missed target or reduced score.
What do you say to yourself to buck yourself up or doesn’t it effect you?
What coping mechanism or strategies do you apply? 
To be honest I really struggle with this in a big way and with the NFAS national championships in a few days I’m feeling less confident than ever.
Looking forward to your answers.
Thanks for reading,

12 comments on “Question to all archers – How do you overcome a bad shot?

  1. Where are the championships being held? I was in the UK in the late 80’s and had a wonderful time shooting at the NFAS championships at a place called Market Drayton. Since then I have alwasy dreamed of being able to shoot another, well maybe one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Rob,

    Fellow svyf member here…. personally I think the only thing you can do is let it go and move on…. the shot is in the past and you can’t retrieve it, the next target is a different kettle of fish that you have yet to get right. The right attitude is all in your head and I know you’re an instinctive shooter so as long as your line, form and release are good it’s just a matter of getting the distance right…. which doesn’t always happen as one would like when you aren’t using sights! Having said that, I’ve seen you shoot….. I’m sure you’ll do well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks James for the comment. Always nice to hear from a fellow SVYF.
      I think that is the hard part for me – the lettings go and moving on to the next shot. Thikn my head is still focusing on what I did wrong. Thanks


      • Yeah, that’s the big one isn’t it… I mean its easy for me (or anyone else) to say ‘let it go’, ‘think positive’…. but how do you go about doing that do that? Like I say its part of your own mental attitude, whether you use some kind of visualisation technique to ‘let go’ or practice meditation so you can leave your emotional response behind at will – its something that will suit you. Personally I find keeping this picture of Jack in my head helps (advisory – it does use the ‘f’ word) – partly because I find it visually amusing (which is helpful in itself; being able to laugh at something will relax you) and because the sentiment is to a large extent true. I have other coping techniques…like saying the phrase ‘chill Winston’ in a Jamaican accent to myself in my head (its from a scene in Lock Stock and two smoking Barrels which you may remember from years back)…. no reason other than it makes me smile and relaxes me.
        See you around the woods some time!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Just focus on the new shot and tell yourself okay, this one wil be better. Look up Joel Turner. He has a system for overcoming that, it is pretty good. He says you have two jobs:

    Job 1: Draw back and aim
    “Get it done – Watch it to keep it”

    Job 2: Put the concentration into the movement that gets you to your trigger
    Talk yourself through the movement. In your head say, “keep pulling, Keep Pulling”

    He uses a clicker. when it clicks you release.
    Here are a few other things he says:
    Triggers cannot be anticipatory

    Two Questions to ask after every shot
    What was I thinking about? Was I working my mantra?

    The Gremlin – That is that little voise or feeling telling you to let go now.

    No system will work for you, you must work for it

    Add aggression to your speech and you will add strength to your movement.

    Check out my 2014 ETAR Video, shows him shooting and his kid, both are very good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HH said that the simple way to cure panic was to change anchor for a short while. The reason being that you get a different sight picture which then changes the way the mind executes the shot. It might be worth a try.


  5. This is going to sound strange, but I shoot much better when I stop caring about how I shoot. At my last tournament I played a mental game between myself and the timer. I deliberately shot slowly and waited in between arrows to see if I could “run out of time”. When I started this mental game, about halfway through the tournament, my shooting improved. I was giving myself tons of time to really focus on form and my coaches directions. Where the arrow landed mattered less than how slowly and thoughtfully I shot, so a bad arrow or a bad round were used to diagnose form issues instead of beat myself up. Mental games like this really help me.


  6. Hi Rob,
    We all beat ourselves up but most of the time i find closing my eyes for a few seconds and imagining the perfect shot will sort it. If that doesn’t work i start looking for a reason. Silliest one yet was at Liberty where the humidity had got to the hair on my tab and i was pulling everything to one side.
    P.S. If you put your usual scores in you’ll do great. Just treat it like any other Sunday.


  7. Interesting, I was just writing an article on this very topic. Basically you need to have an approach. I think you need to start with acceptance. Everybody has bad shots from time to time … everyone. The question is, can you figure out why that shot was bad and correct it. I actually now think that any shot that lands where it should have is a good shot (so if I dropped my bow arm, the arrow should hit low). The shots that are hardest to recover from are the bad shots for which you can find no cause, so you have no correction. The reason these are “bad” is fear, fear that you will repeat that shot (again, and again, and … lose!).

    All fears are fear of the future, that something we won’t like will happen … soon. So, after acceptance that one has made a bad shot, then this has to be followed by getting out of the damned future and back into the present, into the “now.” A recovery program is worth creating, a series of mental and physical things to do that cause a reset.

    Then you have to get back into your shot routine, with an emphasis on your breathing (for calmness) and a visualization of a perfect shot (harder to do in the field than in target archery, because it has to be local, that is with all of the sights and sounds of the target you are on). The visualization provides a “I just shot a perfect shot, I can shoot another one” mentality.

    Good luck in your field championships!


    • Thanks Steve. I agree with you that the hardest shot to work through is the bad shot without a cause and look forward to reading your post on the topic.

      BTW as for the Champs. I came 10th and the club came away with the team trophy and Sharon won ladies gold.


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