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Improving your shooting: Where to start

Unless you are a pure-bred social shooter, then you are likely to want to shoot as well as you can, or better and knowing where to start can appear to be an impossible job. Hopefully, some of the guidance here and in other articles we'll publish will help focus your efforts.

Don't forget, the clubs coaches (and coaches from elsewhere in the County) and other experienced archers in the blu are there to help and will be delighted to provide help and support.

Before we start, three pieces of advice:-

  1. Read widely. We'll include a reading list later.
  2. Work on just one thing at a time.
  3. Practice that one thing until it becomes second nature.


Biggest bang for the buck

You might ask, "Where should I spend my time to get the biggest 'bang for my buck'?" That is, doing what is likely  to give me the biggest returns in terms of scores for my efforts. A very good question and I'd like to say that there's a quick fix for every archer which will miraculously add 20 points to their Portsmouth scores but of course it's not that simple ;-).

Instead, I would encourage every archer to spend time early on establishing a well thought out shot routine. A good shot routine has two major benefits.

  1. A good shot routine improves the likelihood that you'll execute each shot exactly like every other shot. Archery has been called "The Art of Repetition". To some extent, it doesn't matter what your personal style is (even if it's non-standard or frankly bizarre!) so long as each and every shot is executed the same way as every other shot. The Italian Olympic archer Michele Frangilli is a good example of this. Nicknamed "The Heretic Archer" for his idiosyncratic style, he has non the less shot at the highest level in the sport for a good many years. Of course, just because Michele shoots with an unorthodox style, it isn't an excuse for you to do the same! 'Standard' style has been developed over the years because by it's very nature it's easy (bio-mechanically) to reproduce.
  2. A good shot routine changes your focus from what sports psychologists call being "outcome oriented" to being 'process oriented". Let me explain. By being process oriented an archer concentrates only on the steps involved in shooting and completely disregards the outcome. He/she knows that if they perform the steps as they have practiced them, the outcome (an arrow in the 10-ring) is bound to happen, it can't fail to happen. This can be a powerful technique to quell nerves in a competition situation as the archer simply zero's in on their shot routine safe in the knowledge that their well practiced process will deliver the results they deserve.