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.
Shooting group at Wolverine

Shoot Report – Wolverine Archers – April 2018

Wolverine Archers

Wolverine Archers

So we loaded the car on Sunday morning for the drive up the motorway to the Wolverine grounds, while still being slightly jet lagged from our Canadian ski holiday. Due to multiple sets of road works it would prove to be a slow drive north and equally slow drive home at the end of the day. You can read a write up of a previous shoot visit here.

This time there were some 105 archers making the trip and enjoying the shoot, a few less attendees than normal, though still a good turn out. Maybe a few had been put off by the prospect of road works. We were very fortunate to have a great group with Lynne and Mark from Centaura, Lynne shooting Barebow and Mark primitive. Though I have to say that at times we weren’t being overly serious.
Wolverine has got a bit of an unfair rep with some for having parking issues if its wet, which I feel is a little unfair as if you drive carefully you shouldn’t have any problems and there are always plenty of people willing to help if you get stuck.
The course on this occasion would comprise of 36 target comprising a mix of paper and 3D faces, with more 3Ds than paper faces.
Tricky shot at paper face mountain lion between trees

Tricky shot at paper face mountain lion between trees

Downhill 3D boar shot at wolverine

Downhill 3D boar shot at wolverine

3D leaning bear seen from red peg

3D leaning bear seen from red peg

Sharon shooting at Wolverine

Sharon shooting at Wolverine

Sharon shooting at 3D

Sharon shooting at 3D

Lynne shooting at a small 3D dragon up the the hillside

Lynne shooting at a small 3D dragon up the the hillside

Lynne shooting at paper face target between trees and uphill

Lynne shooting at paper face target between trees and uphill

Another 3D boar shot at wolverine. It was actually shoot from the right off a bank

Another 3D boar shot at wolverine. It was actually shoot from the right off a bank

Shooting group at Wolverine

Shooting group at Wolverine

 

I think the laughing round and good humour must have works as we all four of us came away with medals, with 3 first places Sharon, Lynne and myself with Mark getting a second.
Thanks for reading.