Me trying to remember to shoot

Hardest lessons to learn in Archery – Drawing down

So for the first of the “Hardest lessons to learn in Archery” articles I promised I am going to go with one of the most popular topics drawing down, sometimes called coming down from a shot. These articles are designed to help archers and are based on a survey and poll I posted on Facebook and Tumblr, where I asked what archers found the hardest.
So drawing down is when you have drawn up to your target, ready to release, but know something is wrong. for one reason or another it doesn’t feel right,  but you still take the shot usually with negative results of a miss and knowing you shouldn’t have taken the shot. For some reason you can’t hit that reset button, finding it impossible to draw down your bow and start again.
So why is it so hard? Why can’t we just hit the magic reset button and draw down?
You do it as a beginner when you first start.
Well think of it from this point of view, taking a shot is part physical part mental. Your muscles know what to do but your head is different. You’ve got yourself psyched up to take that shot and then at the last stage, you have to admit something is wrong or doesn’t feel right. That can feel like a big hit to your confidence, especially if people are watching.
Why might you need to draw down?
when we start down our archery path, it’s not uncommon for us to flick the arrow off the rest, normally because we are twisting the string. As we progress and skills develop this happens less often, but maybe other things happen.
You might see movement behind the target, that catches your eye, distracting you from the shot.
When drawing up to take your shot, there is the programming in your head or maybe I should say the expectation to release the arrow. In back of your mind you don’t want to admit that something is wrong or that you may have done something wrong.
One way you can try to overcome this problem is to condition yourself to draw down, or rather condition your head to accept that each time you draw up you don’t have to shoot.
So what can you do?
One way of trying to overcome this mental block is to start programming your brain that the action of drawing down is normal. An effective way of doing this s to train yourself when practising to not to take each shot, i.e. every time you draw up does not result in a taking a shoot.
So when you are on the practise bosses, try this addition to your normal program, don’t shot your 3rd arrow immediately.
Allow me to explain, when you get to shoot the 3rd arrow draw up as normal, anchor, settle aim and at the point you would normally release the string, don’t.
Instead draw down, go back to your ready position. Take you hand off the string and relax. Take a couple of breaths and then draw up and if it feels right take the shot. So why do this?
Well it starts to condition your mind into that mind set that  when you draw up it does not mean you will have to always take the shot. Effectively retraining your brain.
This may sound strange but builds your muscle memory and gets your confidence, it helps to make you realise that you don’t always have to take the shot. It goes a long way to improve your control.
Don’t get me wrong as it won’t be easy. There are times you draw up and feel perfect, but if it is your third arrow come down and do it again. You might draw up 2 ,3, 4 or more times but over time you will get used to the feel and not let it effect you.
Try to remember just because you draw back doesn’t mean you have to take the shot.
It is a hard lesson to learn, but when it works and it will with practise, it feels great. It feels like you have retaken control of the shot and your archery.
Try the technique and let me know if it works for you or if you have something else that works. I sincerely hope this has helped, please let me know what you think.
As always Thanks for reading.
The Push podcast

The Push Archery Podcasts

The Push Podcasts

The Push Podcasts

 It’s been a while since I’ve written a review, other than shoot reports,  so here goes, hopefully you’ll find it useful and interesting. This is kind of a part literature review and general review as I am going to be reviewing a podcast site, which some of you may already be aware of. In recent months I’ve been listening to The Push Archery podcasts.
Here is a link to their website. https://www.thepusharchery.com/
The guys have been publishing material for a few years, putting out a podcast every week or so. Over the last few weeks I’ve been working through their back catalogue of different topics, which I thin is well worth doing.
The podcasts are aimed at traditional bow hunter in the USA and beyond. The fact it is targeted at traditional bow hunters might put some people off, which is in my view is a mistake as they cover many aspects of archery many of which field archers could find helpful.
The Push podcast

One of Matt at anchor

Hosted by Matt Zirnsak & Tim Nebel, who I have to say are not only very knowledgeable on the subject of archery but a good laugh to listen too. More than once I’ve caught myself laughing on the train to work listening to them and their guest interact. As I said since finding them I have been working my way through their back catalogue of recordings of topics and guest. Yes Grizzly Jim if you are reading this I did hear your interview, from the other year.
Tim showing you can shoot in all weathers

Tim showing you can shoot in all weathers

I know that some of you might be wondering what am I doing promoting a traditional bow hunting site, after all hunting with a bow in the UK was outlawed decades ago. Well these guys and their guests know a lot about archery and I do mean a lot. Knowledge, them and their guests are more than willing to share and knowledge that is very applicable to field archers the world round. Also I know there are archers in the UK who go bow hunting overseas, some of whom read this blog who might find the topics covered of interest.
The format of the podcasts are generally focused on an interview with a guest archer, focusing on their shooting, equipment and advice. These usually have a running time of an hour or so. There have been some recent shorter podcasts which have focused on coaching advice and tips. As a field archery coach I have found these really interesting to listen to. The topics have covered your grip of the bow, your “hock” on the string, stance, etc., all of which I think are worth a listen if you are interested in improving your form or just interested in new ideas. I’ve especially liked the post on open verse closed loop shooting with Joel Turner. I think this has been of particular interest as I can be quite analytical at times when shooting, especially if things are not going well. One reason I like the podcasts is I can listen to them on route to work or home and then try applying some of the techniques in my own practise.
Push podcast- Matt at anchor

Matt at full draw

Before I forget, they also have a YouTube channel which you might want to check out.  https://www.youtube.com/user/tnebel20/
Also my thanks to the Matt and Tim for the photos they supplied for this article.
To be completely honest I wasn’t sure how applicable the guest interviews would be, but I have found them both interesting and informative. Whilst I’m not that interested in the hunting aspect, I do enjoy the narrative and it has highlighted the wealth of knowledge out there, going beyond just UK focused field archery.
I used to do a bit of bird watching (feathered kind) along with wildlife photography, so some of the techniques and comments on stalking or sitting in a hide, brought back memories of this.
 I’d suggest you have a listen and let me know what you think, be warned though you may well catch your self laughing or smiling on a train or bus journey.
Thanks for reading