The Most Basic Value of a Normal Shot Routine

Often overlooked is the basic value of a normal shot routine for making archery shots. As coaches we do use a shot routine as a framework for teaching the fine points of the physical shot. I argue that the shot routine is a framework for an archer’s mental program. But there is a fundamental benefit to an archer in having his/her own shot routine, not a routine that their coach uses or some other archer uses. This, of course, involves the archer being committed to using an ordinary routine which involves convincing them it is worth the effort to practice and learn it.

We can use arguments like “Archer X uses hers” and “Archer Y uses his,” and golfers have normal shot routines, as do pool players, and tennis servers, and rifle shooters, etc.

There is a concrete benefit from such a routine that can be demonstrated with a shoelace. If one begins to tie one’s shoe, the process continues automatically. In fact, it takes an effort to stop midway. Why is this? Well, it is a simple matter of “one thing leads to another,” but it doesn’t unless a chain of things is created such that B follows A and C follows B, etc. This used to be easier to explain when we listened to phonograph records and CDs. We would just let them play and then shortly after several such plays, we would know the order in which the “cuts” occurred on the album. Interestingly, if the second track had just begun, you would find it more difficult to come up with the name of the next song on the record than if it was nearing its end. This is because we associated the start of Track 3 with the end of Track 2 and so the automatic connection isn’t made until we neared the end of Track 2.

So, an archer’s shot routine essentially drags the archer from the beginning of the shot to its end. They don’t have to go “Okay, I have finished the draw, what should I do next?” Nor do they have to worry about skipping steps or doing them out of order. (These things do happen when we get under pressure and such things indicate flaws in our routines.) This is why golfers who are playing for purses of millions of dollars always talk about focusing on their routines as the pressure mounts. (Would that archers had such problems.)


Filed under For All Coaches

3 responses to “The Most Basic Value of a Normal Shot Routine

  1. Yes, the archer has to ‘own’ their own shot. To this end I encourage each to identify what steps are needed for them to complete the process at a suitable time in their development. As much detail as they feel comfortable with, realising that there are many steps involved. Once they are satisfied the steps should be bundled. Was there not an article in AF in the past about the subconscious being able to handle 7 + or – 2 items at the same time in the past?


    • The conscious mind has been promoted to two, a maximum of two, but even that needs some training. I do not know if there has ever been a number places on how many the subconscious can monitor. I have heard that number used but I am not sure of it.

      One of the first questions I ask of an archer I am interviewing at his/her first lesson is “Do you have a shot sequence?” Whether they do or don’t tells me a lot about where they are. Some can become quite proficient without one but that doesn’t mean it is easy or something all can do.

      Have you warmed up at all there in Old Blighty? Last night in Chicago we set a record for the lowest temperature on that date on record (meaning back to about 1880).

      On Sun, Apr 8, 2018 at 1:42 PM, A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:



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