Bullseye Mind: How Mental Training Can Overcome Archery Target Panic
Master Your Skills, Accuracy & Performance
Archers have found there is a way of simultaneously improving all areas of performance, while overcoming recurring barriers such as target panic.
With most archers I have worked with over the past two decades, the solution was always at the very control center of your physical performance, your subconscious.
So if you experience any of these..
- target panic
- anxiety of holding in the middle, or
- shooting poorly under pressure ..
Mental training is the key - even if just overall improvement is your goal, rather than specific areas.
Better still - you customize it to suit your own personal, exact situation and needs.
As much as people try - issues such as target panic, which is an involuntary action (much like "the yips" in golf) and often called a form of self-sabotage - lie outside of your conscious control, and cannot be overcome with sheer practice and determination.
These involuntary actions may include locking up below the middle of the bullseye, not being able to bring the sight to the middle, or being unable to do so without shooting prematurely.
This is a type of inner anxiety which can often sabotage performance through involuntary muscle contraction - which inhibits their level of control when getting the sight to the bullseye, before releasing.
But let's look at the full picture. Being a term that describes the uncontrolled or premature release of an arrow, there are several factors that can contribute to developing this issue - including psychological, physical, and technical factors. And luckily, the mind can take care of them all.
Common Causes of Target Panic
The primary psychological cause - which can occur from a variety of different factors, including fear of failure, performance pressure, or lack of confidence.
When you experience anxiety, your heart rate and breathing patterns change, making it difficult to maintain a steady aim, and this can develop the habit of releasing the arrow early to relieve the tension.
Another psychological factor can be a lack of focus or concentration due to distractions from either internal factors, such as negative thoughts or emotions - or external factors, such as noise or movement.
Physical factors such as fatigue can also occur - as when you become tired, your muscles may begin to tremble, and often causing early release to avoid the discomfort.
Form / Equipment
Technical factors, such as poor form or incorrect equipment, can also contribute at times - as if your form is incorrect, maintaining steady aim becomes increasingly difficult - while if your equipment is not properly calibrated or adjusted, it affects consistency and accuracy. Both of these can also be attributed to target panic.
Mental training is extremely effective with all these issues, as it allows you to work directly at your the 'control panel' of movement, and your archery.
This is particularly the case as additional practice, motivation and determination have no effect upon the anxiety side of this particular issue with performance.
Target panic affects most archers at some level, and operates much like a computer program, running in the background as you are shooting - and creating these unintended and involuntary reactions which hinder performance.