I was watching a golf instructional video and the PGA Coach in the video was making the point that the most important tool in a golfer’s bag was a notebook. (I was watching a golf coach on video because how many archery coaches supply those for free? Answer none. Okay, I admit to trying to produce such videos, but it is harder than it looks and we only had our living room to use as a studio.)
I had often told students that “the most powerful tool in an archer’s quiver is a notebook” so I was receptive to this message.
It is important to get archers started early on writing things down as there is too much information t keep in their heads. Having detailed measurements about one’s bow setup can prove invaluable, for example.
More importantly, notebooks allow archer and coach to see what is happening over time, Often archers can get frustrated because they have the impression that they aren’t making progress. A look through past scores in their notebook and at other indicators of work done and problems solved can often show the archer that they have made more progress that they thought, they had fallen into the “what have you done for me lately” trap.
A key use of a notebook I teach is to reserve the first five or six pages at the front and on the very top page, I ask them to list the top three things they are working on. If there are more items than three, they are listed on the next page down, out of sight.
Then, I ask them to always (religiously) read that list before shooting an arrow at any archery session (practice or competition). It is almost always the case that archers are working on something. If they begin “warming up shooting” without reminding themselves as to the things they are committed to changing, the pull of their “old normal” shot will have them shooting the old way through the entire warm up. There is nothing more confusing to an archer’s subconscious mind that alternating doing something two or more ways. By emphasizing “doing it right” during warm ups, such reversions to the archer’s old form will be minimized and the learning of the “new normal” will be faster.
When something is learned and no longer needs to be on the “top three list,” it has a line drawn through it and something from the next page down is promoted up. That top page, when it gets to the point here dozens of items have been listed and crossed off, is a powerful indicator to the archer of progress being made.