What is a Fletching Jig (tool)?

What causes target panic in archery?




What causes target panic in archery?

Target panic is an unpleasant psychological condition that causes an archer to punch the release before the intended target comes into focus. Instead of shooting with confidence, the archer loses his composure at the final moments and aims for something other than the intended target.

Target panic may cause an archer to shoot without aiming, fail to follow through the shot, or find it difficult to hold steady. The condition can come along when the shooter begins to anticipate the shot and ends up being an undesirable habit, resulting in bad form. The whole thing can be compared to someone flinching before firing a gun. So what causes target panic in archery?

The Root Cause and Cure of Target Panic

Why is it that human beings, in general, somehow have a problem with shot anticipation? It is the adrenaline rushing through our bodies? Is it the fear that we are going to miss? Or do we simply just lack concentration? These are all theories that have been advanced to explain the phenomenon that is target panic. But could there be something much deeper and innate that we all are born with as humans?

Some experts believe that target panic happens because it’s a natural response by the body to anticipate the shot. The mind cannot let your body cause an explosion and fail to have a response to it. Given the opportunity, your mind will try to brace your body for the impact/explosion, especially if it can find a way to predict the timing of the explosion.

When you think of an explosion, what comes to mind is the recoil that comes when firing a gun. The same is true when an arrow is shot from a bow, although the explosion, in this case, is on a smaller scale. Additionally, the shot anticipation is greater when shooting an arrow because your body is tense and this tension is what is stopping the explosion from taking place.

This very response can readily be seen in firearms when a novice shooter assumes the safety is deactivated though it hasn’t; they end up pulling the trigger and nothing fires. When this happens, you can see the response of the body with the closing of the eyes and the tensing of the muscles.

This response is however difficult to see in archery because there is no safety and the bow fires as soon as we release our fingers. What is referred to as “flinching’ in firing is what is known as “target panic” in archery. This phenomenon is innate to all humans and can be associated with the core problem of shooting.

Luckily, target panic can be fixed and there are various ways that people use to do this. For instance, you can buy specifically designed release aids that are meant to aid in stopping target panic. The release aids ensure that the archer can no longer “punch the trigger”.

What this implies is that the archer jerks on the trigger as opposed to squeezing it gently. A back-tension or hinge release does not have a trigger. It fires the arrow when the archer spins the release to a certain pre-set point. However, when you go to buy a release aid, be sure to get one that suits your hand and your shooting technique.

If the release aid doesn’t fit well, it may negatively impact your form and lead to bad shots. Try consulting an expert when testing the various release aids available to you to see which one suits you the best.

Another technique that is used to solve target panic is blank bale shooting. Practicing this drill helps to fully solidify your form and the release technique. To do this, set up a blank target face with no particular target and move back less than five yards.

Try shooting with your eyes closed; don’t pay attention to the target or your shooting technique. Repeat this with only one arrow and eventually, you’ll find yourself slowing down and concentrating more before firing a shot. This will help you to focus on the release. It is crucial that you establish a mental routine now that the bow is in your hands.

You can use simple words for every step and say them out loud to yourself as you move through your routine. Now set up another blank target and move back five yards, then repeat the process when your eyes are open. This time focus on the blank target and be mindful of your technique. By canceling the step of aiming, you get to focus more on your shooting technique and form elements like stance and back tension.

Overcoming the Mental Block Target Panic

To fix target panic, you have to look at the problem as occurring in two different forms. Either your mind blocks off the target so that you are not able to get a full draw once you’ve aimed at the target, or you are punching the trigger because of a mechanical release.

The key to fixing target panic is to focus on the movement of your back muscles and keep your muscles moving at a pace that you can comfortably halt or modify anywhere during that movement. The shooter must just keep this movement going because if not, the psychological trigger will activate.

When you channel your mind towards the movement and nothing more, the shot will come as a surprise and you’ll have no input when the arrow has not been released from the bow. At this point, you are only catching the bow’s recoil after the arrow has gone.

However, to truly focus on a movement that leads to an explosion is an extremely difficult thing to do, especially if you are not sure how to concentrate. Try answering this question; what makes up a grocery list? For most people, the first thing that comes to mind is the items.

But if you were to look at it deeper, all the items in the grocery list are simply words that you use as attentional cues. Remember that what you say is what instantly comes to mind.

Therefore, knowing the power of “self-talk” can be useful when you try to concentrate on the movement that triggers the shot. Target panic can be such a tough mental state to rise above, but you have a powerful mind that with the right effort, can easily get rid of the problem.

NUSensei
Archery | Dealing With Target Panic



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