Q&A What to Do About Lousy Practices

An unidentified writer states “A recent practice session was going poorly and the harder I tried, the worse it got! What can I do?”

This is an excellent question from a reader apparently shy about being identified as someone who has had a poor practice session, like I never have. (I never have … honestly . . . and if you believe that I have some prime real estate in the Everglades I think you will be interested in!)

Okay, grasshopper, you missed the lesson entirely. Let me ask you: “What does it mean “to try harder”? Huh? Just what do you think “trying harder” consists of? How do you do it . . . as an archer? I think your best bet is to equate “trying harder” with “screwing up,” because in general that’s what you’ll get. When you make a rash of mistakes, you need to train yourself to relax and get back to your shot routine, not “try harder.”

If you do just that: relax and just let your shot happen, and things don’t get better, quit. Yes, I said quit. Quit shooting anyway. When this happens (not “if” but “when” because it will) and you try to relax into your shot and nothing seems to be working . . . do . . . not . . . try . . . to . . . force . . . things . . . to . . . happen! Nothing good will come from that. Maybe it is a good day to have a mental skills intensive, or heck, read a book (I have several for sale).

In archery you must trust your shot and let your training run your execution. If it is “not working,” forcing yourself to do “things” will only result in bad habits being burned into your subconscious mind (due to your intensity) which will cause you to have to do even more work just to get back where you were.

Relax and focus on your shot sequence. If that doesn’t work, do something else.

And, by the way, if this happens, you aren’t “there” yet. All of the top dogs seem to be able to pull it together when needed. This doesn’t mean they don’t have days that are a little better or worse than their norm, they just don’t lose their shot like this. So, if this happens to you, there is more work to be done on your shot. You don’t fully own it yet.

Hope this helped!

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