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.
Autumnal sunlight through the trees

New bow style – example of people power

I’m typing this up half watching the snow fall in giant flakes outside, and on a skiing holiday and half looking at the screen. It seems holidays are only time I have at present to catch up with my writing.

Anyway onto topic for today. Some of you may remember that a few months back I wrote an article on a proposal that was going forward to the NFAS on an new bow style “Traditional Bow hunter”. I’ve added a link to the article here.

Well the results are in from the members vote, drum roll please … it has been accepted and will become active from the 1st of April from what I understand.
I know the proposers have come under some flack from some other archers for the idea, with comments ranging from “just wanting a new class so they can win medals“, or “why can’t they just shoot under bare bow“. Some of you may have read Grizzly Jims posts on Facebook and Tumblr on the subject.
Whether you area fan of the new style or dislike the idea of another style is not the key point I want to highlight.
I feel that the most important factor is that the society has actively demonstrated democracy in action. It is very easy to have a pop at organisers of a shoot or the society committee, but where the NFAS are concerned they are all, the organisers at local shoots and committee are volunteers, unpaid volunteers.
In this incidence we have seen a group of members, get together with an idea. They followed all the processes of documenting and put it forward as a proposal. The idea was published in the society magazine and at the society’s Annual General meeting people had the opportunity to voice ideas and thoughts, along with on the Facebook group and web-boards. It this was then opened to the society members to vote on it. The members voted and the results in this case a new bow class.
This is democracy in action. The members put it forward, the members voted.
So congratulations to those that took the time to actively participate and thanks to the society organising committee for their efforts.
Oh and if you are curious, I’m not looking at changing to this over American flat bow.
Thanks for reading.