Have you stumbled down your pin in the bullseye, just to have it drift off center? In that case, I am sorry to say you’re probably suffering from a case of goal fear. If you have been about archery and bow hunting long enough, you have surely heard stories of the dreaded issue. It can happen to anyone who spends enough time shooting their bow season. Some archers have just mild issues, while others are stricken with a painful inability to hit what they’re aiming for.
Target panic is somewhat like a golfer suffering in the yips, no more able to sink a simple 3-foot putt, or the All-Star infielder who strangely can no longer correctly throw to first base. There’s some mysterious connection between the mind and muscle memory inducing these psychological misfires. Fortunately, there are a whole lot of clever bow hunters out there who have figured out ways to train your way out of the predicament and regain your confidence going into bow season.
Step 1 — Identify the Symptoms
What is it that you’re struggling with when you prepare to take? That feeling of stress comes in several forms and can be unbelievably debilitating. The fantastic thing is that you are able to overcome these issues, but you will need to comprehend the symptoms — freezing in the draw, fear of missing, hurrying, snap shooting, devotion trouble, aiming. Some of these symptoms could be from inexperience, but others can afflict even the most experienced bow hunters. It is a totally natural phenomenon that occurs in most sporting activities where targeting happens.
A hunter and his bow taking goal aren’t unlike the analogies I used before; the golfer preparing to putt or the baseball player intending to throw out a runner. When you draw your bow and experience fear you may miss your target, over a target, or when you apparently freeze up and cannot shoot are all types of caring too much about the outcome.
The fear of failure at the back of your head makes you not behave. Hurrying and snap shooting is the opposite, where instead of clamming up, you fear and a bad shot is an outcome. Additionally, this is fixable with practice. The remainder of these steps are intended to help erase both the anxiety and the panic symptoms which exist in bow hunting target anxiety.
Step 2 — Start Fresh & Visualize
The first thing to do would be to start fresh by going back to some very low power bow, or perhaps only a string bow. The idea is to strip away the precise aiming and gadgetry of the intricate bows, and then concentrate on only the basic fundamentals. Many times as bow hunters we attempt to push ourselves too quickly because we have unrealistic expectations of our skills. For now, we only need to practice the draw and release, with no goals. There’s absolutely not any competition here, just feeling the familiarity of a bow season.
Stay here a couple of days until you feel you’re prepared to proceed, and then you will take baby steps toward your regular routines. Boost the bow-power, but only practice shooting it. Your objective is to take it 100 times now. Notice there isn’t any anticipation in that aim about hitting goals. The objective is to allow your body and head to re-learn exactly what it feels like to take without anticipation. You are simply drawing the bow, closing your eyes, and discharging, attempting to break the spell of anxiety over taking the shot.
Step 3 — Get in Close, Shoot Blind
Now we would like to get in close to a goal at which you can not miss. This is not an exercise in precision, but in beating self-doubt. Start at only three yards from the goal. You will simply draw your arrow take aim, close your eyes, and discharge. This is a fantastic time to take your aims and take into a sterile target or straw bale. There’s absolutely not any bullseye. There aren’t daunting red rings. This is only about you, your bow, along with your arrow. This isn’t intended as a stage and goal exercise. This is simply about reestablishing form and building a stronger connection with the procedure for shooting your bow.
Step 4 — Remove the Urgency
Now that you could easily shoot arrows into a sterile target, we would like to construct brain memory to draw and maintain aim with no urgency to take. So again from a close range, you may draw, aim, hold for 2-4 seconds, and draw down without shooting. Draw your arrow and hold it there. Feel what it’s like to maintain your drawn bow; holding that pose and slowly count to 30. This isn’t simple, and you’ll even possibly feel a fresh breed on your core muscles.
This is good as it is training your body to more readily hold at the draw. The second aim is to learn patience. You’re the master of the circumstance. You decide when to take and when to hold. The certainty of that isn’t about missing the goal, but understanding the procedure. It educates your brain and your muscles to go through a series of steps. At this step shooting the arrow isn’t about hitting the target, but about building a routine. When you master the regular, the accuracy of your shots through training will fall right into line.
Step 5 — Taking Ladder
The last step is to progressively improve your shooting distances, while building rhythm, technique, and confidence from both around goal shooting and distance target shooting. The point is to get comfy at one level and then to challenge yourself in the next. Move between the two until you’re hitting the most distant retina on the ‘shooting ladder’. Repeat each step at every new distance until you acquire the confidence, muscle memory, and guts to have that shot. Do not forget to revisit the briefer rungs from time to time to recall what they were like. Variety is key, and a great tip is to produce a cycle through every rung as an exercise in adapting to various ranges while hunting.
Make Time Now to Defeat Goal Stress
Defeating target fear is something of a personal journey. The mechanisms behind goal panic differ from person to person. Shooting a bow season is a mechanical process, but goal panic is a psychological hurdle to overcome. Combining the mechanical procedure with the psychological helps to enhance your relationship with your bow and finally your goal too. How long does it take to conquer target panic? There’s absolutely no set time limit because every man is different.
How long you will need to train is dependent upon the thickness of your symptoms, but plan on a couple of weeks to two months for the worst cases. Summer is the best time to work on it and be prepared for fall bow season. Follow these tips over summer time, and continue to practice and follow these steps through this season. I promise if you employ dedicated campaign, you can emerge from your struggles as a better bow hunter.