Mental Performance


The three steps to becoming a better archer are practice, practice and more practice,  being structural practice, target practice and mental practice.  Elite archers know that archery is mostly a mental game, about focus, ignoring distractions and calming your nerves using visualization, setting goals, distraction games, glass half full exercises and these four drills for boosting brain power can be practiced at home or work.

Visualization is simple. Simply imagine yourself releasing a perfect shot. If you consistently see yourself succeed, you gain confidence, improve concentration and boost positive thinking. Visualization means using your imagination to see yourself releasing a perfect shot or attaining a lofty goal. Walk through your shot process, focusing intently on each step. See yourself do each step and execute a perfect shot.

Goal setting is an important part of training mentally for archery. Start by choosing a lofty goal – such as hittng a record score – then set incremental goals that help you achieve your larger goal.  Setting goals and visualization go hand in hand.  Some archers find it helpful to write the goals on flash cards and put them in prominent places. By regularly seeing these goals, you’ll continually motivate yourself to achieve your potential.

Distraction Games requires intense focus and the ability to block out distractions; noise can ruin your concentration and interrupt your shot process. If you’ve ever been at full draw and then heard talking, a cell phone ringing, or a siren blaring, you know how noise can ruin your concentration and interrupt practice. You can practice by turning on the TV and slowly and silently count to 100, not letting the TV or anything else distract your counting.

An optimistic attitude contributes to the mental strength required to show out on the archery range. No matter where your arrow lands, stay positive and focus on small gains made over time.

1. Fill a glass and hold it in your non-dominant hand.
2. With your arm extended, focus on the glass.
3. Try to keep the liquid as steady as possible for as long as possible. This is excellent practice for the focus needed when aiming a bow.

[continued in Part 2]