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Archery Are You Making Excuses?

Are You Making Excuses?

You blow a chip shot on a buck, or your 30-yard groups couldn’t fit on a paper plate. Do you blame the blunder on a branch? Faulty equipment?

Check your rig and accessories for any loose components or adjustments that may have shifted in the field. Take it to a pro shop to have an expert evaluate your bow for any problems.

But if these supposed flukes or equipment errors keep happening despite a dialed-in setup, it’s probably time to look at the only other common denominator — you.

Maybe you’ve been slacking off on practice. Maybe you’re suffering from target panic. Or maybe buck fever is just getting the best of you.

No matter the reason, own up to your mistakes and work hard to be a better archer or bowhunter. The stakes might not be quite as high for a recreational backyard shooter, but getting these issues under control is absolutely critical to ethical bowhunting.

On a previous post here, one commenter mentioned that an Olympic archery coach said it takes at least 5,000 shots for an archer to master technique. And it takes frequent, consistent practice to maintain that skill over time. So first and foremost, make sure you’re sending dozens of arrows downrange each week.

If you’re getting in tons of practice reps but have suddenly started shooting erratically, you might be dealing with target panic. It afflicts even the best, most experienced archers, but there are steps you can take to correct target panic. Switching up the target and practice routine, swapping out the release, and working with an archery coach have all helped pros get over the hurdle.

When buck fever’s the issue, practice, experience, and mental preparedness are usually the answer. Find what works for you.

Whatever your problem or the cause, stop making excuses and face it head on.

6 thoughts on “Are You Making Excuses?”

  1. For myself, the most important shot in my practice sessions is the first one. As I draw the bow, I say to myself “Form and follow through”. As long as I do both, I’ll have good results. There are times when I only shoot 3-4 arrows.

    As for target panic, I’ve been lucky not to experience it much over the years. When it seems to be creeping in, I go through my normal routine for the shot but then let the string back down. After a few times of shooting and letting down, the panic to pull the trigger slowly gets better and I’m in more control of when the shot breaks.

  2. The Bow Bully,’
    Aw, man…all these reports you’re making is making me want a new bow…
    …not that there’s anything wrong with that, hahaha! 🙂
    Keep up the good work,

  3. TBB,

    I’ve seen the “target panic” come up with a number of bow hunting friends.

    Best that I can guess is that the root cause is a loss of confidence. Loss of confidence could be from a lack of regular practice or the shooter fumbles a couple of shots.

    Seems that in their target panic the shooter takes “manual control”, overriding all his practice/experience and generally making a mess of things… This “pushing on a rope” results in too much tension in the stance/draw/follow thru, the draw becomes inconsistent and the release instead of being smooth (unconscious) becomes forced and jerky. The flow of the shot disappears along with any consistency and accuracy.

    If focus is erratic (or totally gone), experience gets “disconnected” and the shooter
    reverts to being a newbie. This sounds drastic but it is usually simple to fix by restoring the shooter’s confidence.

    I’ve found that what works best is to start practicing at a close range (10-12 feet and preferably with a low weight bow) and slowly increasing range as the practice becomes too easy and gets boring. Extended range shooting and challenging shots should be avoided until focus, confidence and consistency is regained.

    Don’t know about others but to me archery is like riding a bike – it only takes a couple of shots (even with a new bow) to get back into form.

    Just my two cents.


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