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  • 8/22/2019 Rick McKinney 2 P


    RELEASE AND FOLLOW THROUGHUncontrollable releaseI am combining these two steps because they are essentially one in the same.

    Many people believe that if they clean up their release they will be fine and thatthe release is ever so important. I have found through most of my years experi-ence there is virtually no way to control the release (unless you use a mechanicaldevice!). It is so much easier and more effective to work on the follow through.When the follow through is perfected, the archer will find out that the release isperfected.Letting go of the arrow can be a very wonderful or frustrating experience.When focusing on letting go, it becomes a real challenge to do it right. Whenconcentrating on the follow through, the release becomes automatic. How to dothis can be easy. The first thing to remember is to keep the forearms as relaxed aspossible. In order to do this remember to get a fairly deep grip on the string withthe fingers. When you have that relaxed feeling the fingers will just be pushed outof the way by the string and the automatic velvet release occurs. Just rememberthat thinking release can cause more problems than necessary. It is better to focuson follow through.As stated earlier, follow through is just the extension of the release, but onethat can be focused on in order to automatically clean up the release if done cor-rectly. Don't forget that the release is just the beginning of the end of continuousmotion. And, continuous motion begins when one starts to draw the bow back.Remember to keep back tension good and strong all the way through the shot. Ifback tension is good and solid, a follow through should be no problem. One coun-try in Europe does not even have a word for release. They just say follow through.

    First, let's look at what happens during the shot. As an archer draws the bowback, there is a lot of compression of the front half (bow shoulde:r, arm and hand).By continuously extending the front half, the archer is trying to keep that com-pression from getting weak .When the string is let go, this compression is drasti-cally reduced causing the front half to go forward to the target until it cannot goforward anymore. Then the front half will automatically drift to the left. Unfortu-nately, most archers want to force this left reaction too soon. This causes subcon-


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    scious anticipation to start the movement before they let go. They begin the move-ment ahalf second too soon and the bow moves ever so slightly before the arrow isreleased. A straight to the target focus should be maintained to eliminate thisanticipation.The back half (release shoulder, arm and hand) is trying to work as one unit.In order to do this properly, one must focus on the back tension. The arm andhand should be relaxed as much as possible. There will be some tension in the armand hand, but make it as minimal as possible. When releasing the string, the backhalf will react naturally IF the archer maintains good back tension.

    The movement of both halves (front and back) will be slight for the mostpart. The motion is small during the stage of getting through the clicker and itshould continue after the clicker clicks and letting go.


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    Difference of follow throughbetween three maior countriesThe Koreans have a simple and yet most effective follow through. Their

    back half will move back maybe 3 to 4 inches. You can see that they are using amost efficient method of execution by the simple follow through. Back tension isutilized at it's optimum. I believe the Koreans do not focus on follow through as wesee it. They focus more on back tension during the shot. This is a "method of"follow through. However, it is not the norm at this time. I believe that in thefuture it could be.

    The Soviets have a follow through just the opposite of the Koreans. They areextremely dynamic. Their follow through looks very forced. Both methods haveproven to be very successful. Both methods result in an excellent release. I thinkthat the Korean method is c1oser to what we are searching for since they tend touse the back more effectively. The Soviets use their back, but to a lesser extent.They tend to use a mixture of back, arm and shoulder execution. Since it takesthree times as much to perfect this system it has shown to be a bit less consistent,especially under pressure.The American system is almost in the middle of the two systems. The Ameri-cans are taught to use their back, but most do not. The main reason is because noone has ever really come up with a system that has been acceptable by the Ameri-can coaches. Some archers in America are told to reach for their drawing shoulderwith their release hand upon the shot ( I used this method for years). This hasworked for some, but it takes more than just back tension to create this action.Others have been told to keep the fingers against the neck, which has workedeffectively for others (Darrell Pace used this method).

    The one thing very noticeable about the Korean, Soviet and American meth-ods (with the exception of a few Americans) is that their bow arms go straight tothe target during the follow through. The bow arm seems to be very critical andthese countries have recognized this and worked very hard at perfecting the ex-ecution of the bow arm. The importance of the follow through cannot be under-stated. Keep the motion simple and basic and the follow through will be a verystrong asset to your performance.


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    Park Kyung-Mo Kim Jung-RaeRussia(The former Soviet Union)

    Stanislov Zabrodski Ludmila Arjannikova


    Jennifer O'DonnellTHEBASICS FORM 53

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  • 8/22/2019 Rick McKinney 2 P


    2 I include the word 'Secret' in the tit1e of this chapter because every-one believes there is a secret that the champions have in order toget to the top. Since there have been many champions over theyears you would think someone has shared this secret. Since theyhave not I am going to give it to you! The biggest secret to archeryis staying as close to basic archery as possible. Perfect basic ar-chery and you too can be a champion. Now to give some explana-tions of areas that seem to baffle most of us when trying to masterthis sport.


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    FINGER POSITIONINGJust Qast the first ioint or deeoer

    Finger positioning on the string differs from archer to archer. The way aperson lets go of the string is very important and very consistent with the toparchers.

    I usually recommend that the archer get a deep grip on the string. This isbecause they can then feel tension leave their arm while at full draw. When anarcher just uses the finger tips to hold the string then they need to keep the fingerstight to hold the string. If they relax the fingers just a little bit, then the string willslip off the fingers. This actua1ly causes a poorer release than a deep grip on thestring. The string has to go around the finger tips because they are so rigid. Thiscreates an inconsistent paradox on the arrow. Sometimes the release will be clean,causing less paradox, making the arrow stiff. With a poor release, the string has totravel around the fingers more, causing a greater paradox, making the arrow weaker .

    An archer needs to get a good comfortable grip on the string that does notmake the fingers slip or drag off the string. The type of release that you arelooking for is "effortless". It feels as though the string f1ips the fingers out of theway. How do you get this feeling?

    Basically, take a hold of the string with three fingers. Put the string in thearea just past the first joint of these fingers or deeper. Notice that it is easier tohold the string with less tension in the hand. Now when starting to draw the bowback get the fingers to relax as much as possible. Do not relax it so much that thefingers slip from the string! There should be a feeling that there is less tension inthe hand and the fingers, yet a good grip on the string develops. This will make anarcher use their back more comfortably. Most archers use their arms to shoottheir bow. Using arm muscles creates lots of bad shots. When they can use theirback the fingers are more relaxed and then they just f1ip out of the way of thestring.So, how does an archer tell themselves to let go of the string? They shouldthink follow through. When they start to follow through, they will release thestring and continue the motion to finish the shot. In order to get a good followthrough the archer must focus on back tension and try to keep that follow throughas close to the neck as possible. This takes a lot of practice to do it right. I highly

    recommend the use of the ForMaster. This makes the archerfocus in the right areas when shooting. Shoot about lOto 15meters away with the bow loaded with an arrow and use theForMaster. This will be hard on vanes, but the lesson learnedabout how to execute the shot properly will be very effec-tive. Take the ForMaster off after about 20 or 30 arrows,then shoot some more, but imagine that the ForMaster isstill on. This will keep the focus in the right area. Placethose fingers on the string correctly, keep the tension out ofthe fingers and arms as much as possible and use the backall the way through the shot and notice just how easy it is toshoot a good shot!


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  • 8/22/2019 Rick McKinney 2 P




    What is back tension?One of the most challenging tasks for an archer is to learn how to use back

    tension properly before, during and after the execution of the shot. When I beganshooting I was told to use my back, but nobody could ever explain how to use it. Iwas told that it is difficult to explain, but once an archer learns it, they know whatit is. Well, that is great for those who can learn it, if they think they have learned ,it, but if they do not know what it is that they have learned, how do they know thatthey have learned the right thing?

    There are a few methods that have been used with some moderate successand others that work only on certain people. I will try to go over some of these andyou decide which one will work for you.

    The first method is to try feeling the back work when the coach is touchingthe middle trapizeus muscles (outer muscles) which lays over the rhomboid muscles(inner muscles). These musdes sort of squeeze he shoulder blades together. Whensome archers are touched in this area they know how to implement the right musclesand can execute a shot fairly well. This touch method is good for a few people. ButI believe that muscle use is a little more complicated than this. There are manysecondary muscles that come into play in order t0 achieve the right execution.

    Another method is by telling the archer which muscles to relax while at fulldraw. Usually relaxing the forearm muscles in the draw hand will accomplish goodback tension. Once the muscles (that we like to use but are detrimental to backtension) are taken away, it is easier to get into the back muscles that should comeinto play. Forearm muscles are used mainly because of the ease in which thearcher can use them. They would be the primary muscles that need to be elimi-nated as much as possible. The only problem is that once they are relaxed com-pletely, it is difficult or impossible to hold onto the string. This means that thearcher still has to keep some tension in the forearms, but not as much as most

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    archers like. The more relaxed you can keep that drawing forearm the easier it isto use good back tension.



    Korean wa~ to master back tensionThe method that the Koreans use is rather simple but an excellent way of

    learning to use the back. The 1988 Men's Olympic coach, Mr. Park Kyung-Rae, saidthat he first starts the archer without a bow. This archer mimes the shootingsequence so proper back tension is learned or felt before putting a bow or arrow inhis hand. Once the archer is feeling the proper tension, then Mr. Park is able togive them a tube to hold while they are at full draw without a

    bow. This tube is basically one inch in diameter and about30" long. It is for the archer to concentrate on while he isworking on feeling his back tension. Once he can feel properback tension with the tube, the archer is ready for the bowwithout the arrow. This allows the archer to concentrate onthe feel more than worrying about where the arrow is going togo. Once again, after the archer has learned the feel, he isready for the arrow with a bow. Mr. Park says that it usuallytakes a week or two in order to get the archer using his backproperly.The Koreans emphasize feel as one of the most impor-tant parts of shooting. If the archer can feel from right andwrong, they are able to concentrate more on feeling and notthink so much on where the arrow is going to go or has gone.If the archer focuses on execution of the shot properly the endresult is gold!Another good and fairly successful method is by having the archer use a

    release device. The archer learns just what back tension really is. Using a releasefor the first time the archer should be surprised when the device is activated.


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    Usually, the coach will touch the trigger for a complete surprise. lf the arche~touches the trigger, he can possibly "punch" the device and nothing is learned. Itmust be a complete surprise. If the archer can just slowly squeeze the trigger off,he will get the same effect as when the coach triggers the device.

    "Relaxation time" is a definition that Mr. Richard Carella has identified. Thisis the time between the click of the clicker and the actua1 releasing of the arrow.This is the time when the archer actually relaxes a1l muscles in the body right afterthe click of the clicker. It is very short time, but the goal is to shorten that time asmuch as possible. When using a release device the archer will see that there is noor zero "relaxation time". But when using a finger tab, there is a delayed reaction.This is that relaxation period.

    While in Japan one year Takashi Kamei and 1 were monitored on an Elec-tromyography Machine. This machine records small electric impulses releasedfrom the muscle. The more you activate the muscle, the more activity is shown onthe machine. They placed a small device on the middle section of each musclegroup to monitor the activity. When we shot an arrow the machine recorded theactivity similar to a polygraph machine. More activity created exaggerated mark-ings on the paper. There was one place where there was no activity at a1l. This wasjust after the click of the clicker. This meant that just after the click the muscleswere relaxing in order to release the string. This generally occurs for about 1/2 ofa second. If it lasted any longer there wouldbe a tremendous collapse.

    In 1981, Kamei and I were monitored on an EMG machineat Hokkaido University.


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  • 8/22/2019 Rick McKinney 2 P


    Eliminate the relaxation timeThe goal is to eliminate as much of this relaxation time as possible. All of it

    cannot be eliminated, but the goal is to attempt it. This possibility has come into areality now with the new ForMaster. This device shows the archer what back ten-sion is or at least what it is not! This device makes the archer aware that they areusing their back incorrectly. It also cuts down on this "relaxation time".Basically what happens is that when using the ForMaster the archer will feelthe tension in the back the opposite of what they want to feel. In order to correctthis the archer must use the back correctly to fight off this unwanted tension.While using the ForMaster it is recommended to shoot an arrow about 10-15 yardsaway. The archer will notice that they co11apse.That is all right for the first coupleof times. The ForMaster just emphasizes this relaxation time dramatically. Nowthe archer will notice that when they continue to use the ForMaster they will haveless and less collapsing. They are starting to use the back properly.

    When the device is taken off and the first arrow is shot without it, the archerwill notice how much cleaner they execute the shot. I recommend that the archerbe videoed before shooting the ForMaster and then immediately after. A tremen-dous difference in form will be noticed. The effects do not last long in the begin-ning. An archer has developed a shooting system that has taken time to becomeconsistent. Now it will take time to 'unlearn' what has been learned and then re-learn proper back tension. It will be necessary to use the ForMaster quite often inthe beginning of the learning process. One way I have found to decrease the amountof time I have to use the ForMaster is to imagine I still have it on. This helps makeme focus on the shot and not the after effects (where the arrow hit!).

    I cannot emphasize how important it is to use proper back tension. If therewere anything that is qualified to be the most important part of shooting, backtension would have to be on top of the list, in my belief. Any way a person canlearn back tension is the goal. If the archer accomplishes this then the clickerwould have to be the next most important part.


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    Kiffi Soo-Nyung is one of the best users of back ffiuscles

    Darrell Pace Jay Barrs

    Takayosi Matsushita Kiffi Sun-Bin


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    QJCKERRelation between the clicker and the sight

    There are two techniques that I am familiar with. First is to draw, stop, aimand then draw through the clicker. The second is to draw, slow down, aim andthen come through the clicker (constant motion). These two techniques can becombined with pushing through the clicker, pulling through the clicker or, push-ing and pulling equally through the clicker. There are others, but they are notrecommended, such as jerking or f1inching through the clicker or even shootingthrough it! Any one of these last techniques will not only cause some equipmentproblems such as ruining the fletching or clicker, but it will be very difficult toshoot consistently with those styles.

    The best technique is constant motion while reaching for the target with thebow arm and pulling through the clicker. This is one that most archers are strivingfor. The stop and aim takes more muscular effort and is quite difficult underpressure. Fatigue will set in after a day of shooting as well. The hardest part aboutthe constant motion is that many archers are not willing to commit to the shot.Most want the aim to be very exact. Little do they know that if they commit to theshot and come through the clicker even if their sight is not exactly where theywant it to be, the shot will be far better off than if they held too long or stoppedand started a couple of times before shooting the arrow.

    Control the clickerWe are now coming to a part of the shot that determines when the archer

    will commit to the shot. Most archers want the sight pin or ring to be centered onthe center of the target as they are letting go. The problem is that the longer theyhold the draw the smaller the chance that the pin or ring will be centered, becauseof fatigue. A study conducted with the rifle shooters at the U. S.Olympic TrainingCenter in Colorado Springs found that the best aiming by the shooter was the first2 to 4 seconds of the aim. After that time, the shooter's aim started to becomemore inconsistent due to fatigue. Concentration starts to break down as well.

    Checking the clicker angle at full-draw is necessary


    =:J .~

    I Good clicker position creates good forrn.THE SECRET OF ACCURATE SHOOTING

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    Have you noticed archers who usually have two or three arrows to shoot on theyellow light and then they shoot them rapidly, do fairly well (until they get caughton the whistle or by the wind)? The 30 seconds remaining makes them commit tothe shot and they have no choice but to shoot. This makes them shoot quick, andlike I said before, they usually do fairly well most of the time. If they could turnthat around and make the commitment in the beginning of the 2 minutes, theywould be even better, because the time pressure has been lifted and they can abortthe shot if they need to due to wind or because it did not feel right.

    The commitment of the shot is, above all else, the most important part of theclicker. The archer should control the clicker, but unfortunately, most of the timethe clicker actually controls the archer. It is important to make the draw as quickand efficient as possible. Aiming should be done as fast as possible and thenexecute the shot quickly too. This has been proven by archers such as Kim Soo-Nyung, Lee Eun-Kyung and Cho Youn- Jeong. Vladimir Echeev is a fast shooter aswell as Darrell Pace and Jay Barrs. These are great archers. Stanislav Zabrodsky,the 1989 World Champion is fast as well. There are very few slow shooting cham-pions. There are some, but generally speaking the average champion is fast andefficient. And finally, they have one thing in common. They have good basicform.

    Prooer oosition of the clickerHow do you set up the clicker in order for you to control it instead of it

    controlling you? The best method is to get close to the target mat without a targetface (about 5 to 10 meters). Shoot without the clicker and focus on shooting agood shot. Make sure that the front half (bow hand, arm and shoulder) is relaxed,but extended. Then check to see if the back half is set properly. When it feels asthe shot has been executed right and the form feels 'effortless', then someoneneeds to check to see where the draw is located. Set the clicker at that area and theshooting will become easier. Most archers will need to extend their draw anywherefrom 1/2" to 1". This is common due to a lack of poor alignment.


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    GOO D LINEWhat is good line?

    What is good line? If the top archers are observed there will be a pattern thatdevelops. They all have fairly good line. This line is from the bow hand to thedrawing elbow. Usually these are lined up both horizonta1ly and vertically. Firstwe will discuss the horizontalline.

    Looking at an archer from the side where one could actually talk directly tothem, it would be easy to see the elbow level compared to the bow hand level.Most top archers will keep their drawing elbow level with the arrow or above thearrow. Biomechanica11y, he archer would be best to keep it as level as possible. Ifthey drop the elbow a couple of things can happen that are not good for the ar-cher. First, the forces change on the archer's elbow. There is a force against thearcher's elbow that makes it want to drop down on the shot. This will cause the useof bad back tension and usua1ly end up causing the archer to collapse on the shot.Also, there is a possibility of the archer pinching the arrow up off the arrow rest.This will generally cause a miss of the target resulting in a break down in confi-dence.

    The second problem is the front shoulder will rise, because the back shoul-der will drop. This makes it very difficult to get throughthe clicker, making the archer try to draw more arrowmaking it very tiring and inconsistent. Keeping the elbowat least level or above the arrow will keep the front shoul-der down and more solid, helping the archer to get throughthe clicker very easily.

    Now, stand behind the archer so you are facing thetarget squarely to look at the vertical positioning of theThe ow drawing lbow auses any roblems. alignment. The drawing elbow needs to be in line with thearrow as much as possible. The bow shoulder needs to beclose to the alignment with the arrow as well (horizon-ta11y). Obviously, it is not possible to have the front shoul-der in line with the arrow since the string would have togo right down the middle of the bow shoulder. The backelbow can get in line with the arrow and for some archersit can get behind line. The more in line or behind line the

    If the drawing elbow is too high, the pressureof the drawing fingers will change andinconsistency will occur.

    Keep the drawing elbow as level with the arrow as possible.66 THE SECRET OF ACCURATE SHOOTING

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    archer can get the easier it is to execute a good shot. Biomechanically, when forcesare more in line it is less tiring and stressful to execute the shot. Again, the skeleta1system becomes the focus for leverage and balance. Most archers must use a lot ofmuscle when out of line causing fatigue, inconsistency and lack of good execution.

    How to get good line?How can the archer get good line? First is to follow most instructions givenprior to this chapter. The stance helps in ba1ance and positioning. Next is the bow

    hand placement. Set the hand in at 45 which helps set the front shoulder. Draw-ing properly helps keep the archer drawing close to line. Keeping the bow shoul-der extended and anchoring without moving the head forward helps align thearcher. Having the proper draw length is very critical, since a short draw willcause the archer to get out of line quick1y. Using the ForMaster helps give thearcher an idea of where they are out of line. But one of the most important partsis how to position the back shoulder or the drawing shoulder .

    For years many archers have used the excuse that their forearms are shorterthan a lot of champion archers. That is why John Williams, Hardy Ward, RickMcKinney and others were able to get in line with the arrow. At one time I believedthis to be true. When I was charged coordinator of the United States ArcheryTeam, we conducted a lot of research about what makes a top archer different thanother archers. The team of scientists, lead by Dr. Dan Landers, were the best in theworld when it comes to cooperation, communication and ability to give us thestraight answers. One of the studies I requested was the relationship of the lengthof the forearm to the length of the upper arm. They checked over 100 differentarchers of alllevels, sizes and shapes. There was no difference in the relationship!Most peoples forearms are similar in length as their shoe size. Can you imaginethe surprise that everyone felt once this information was released?

    Natalia Butuzova Cho Youn-Jeong


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    I had to find out why then did the top archer have so much better line thanmost? Even the Korean female archers have excellent line, but they are short andit looks as though they would fall into that category we used to think existed { ashort draw and short forearms which equals not in line). Most women are not inline. Natalia Butuzova, the 1981 World Champion, was the first woman I saw thatcould get in line (actually behind line). I had been shooting for 18 years at thattime and this was the first time I had seen a woman get in line!

    How is it that the Korean women can get in line and most other womencannot? Why is it that some men get in line, but still not that many? Many archerswere able to get closer to the proper line by changing to a side anchor. However ,this was just a band aid that worked for some, but not for the masses. Most of thearchers anchored too far back on the side and hit their jaw which did nothing toimprove their consistency. Even though the line was better and the execution ofthe shot was better, the performance was hindered due to lack of clearance.

    Another ooint to get good lineThe biggest problem has to do with manipulating the scapula and drawingshoulder or the back half. Most archers do not set their drawing shoulder properly

    thus getting them out of line.See 6 pictures on following page.lf the archer were to extend their arms out to

    the side with their thumbs facing up(l), then bend at the elbow(2) this should bethe normal position the archer is taught to set up(3). They would have to movethe back half out in front of the line in order to anchor(4). However, the archerneeds to extend the back half and have the palm facing upwards(S). This wouldchange the top of the shoulder to be angled, then move the scapula towards thespine(6). This would put the archer in line. Normally, the archer tries to have theforearm and the biceps in line horizontally. This is not the correct way of doing it.If you look at pictures of the Korean ladies and some of the men who are in line,you will see that the forearm is above the biceps. This is the proper way of settingup and the archer will be able to get in line very easily. It is amazing what I havebeen able to do with this type of line. Many of my releases have been 'colorful'over the years, but I have been able to shoot competitive scores for some time. Ifeel that since I have been behind the line, I have been able to shoot more competi-tively than most archers. When I shoot a bad shot, even explode, my release is stillgood because it does not go forward of my line. This keeps my arrow speed con-stant and since I work extremely hard on my bow arm, I am able to get away withsome rather "different" shots.



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  • 8/22/2019 Rick McKinney 2 P




    Stud~ of concentrationConcentration (focusing) is a very important part of a top archer's ability to

    achieve a high level of performance. What is happening to the archer while shoot-ing is rather traumatic. When shooting well the mind will start contemplatingwhat is possible if they continue at this pace. This causes a break down in concen-tration. The archer will start thinking about the future (a place they have nocontrol over) and usually become overly excited.

    If the archer is shooting poorly the mind will drift off thinking about howbad the shooting is going and if they keep this up, the outcome will be very frus-trating. The archer will think too much and not focus on one important thing.This encourages the mind to wander and not stay focused properly.

    In order to shoot a good tournament, the archer must shoot one arrow at atime, over and over again and again. It is important to stay consistent, but in orderto do this, concentration has to be very high. The archer has to be able to handlewind shifts, atmospheric pressure changes, comments from friends as well as en-emies. Anything that is said could be misunderstood and immediately the concen-tration will take a turn for the worse.There are thousands of things that could go wrong when preparing the shot.There is only one way to do it right. How to concentrate when one can think of somany things that can go wrong is hard to comprehend, but the most importantpart of shooting is keeping things simple and finding the right things to concen-trate on while shooting. This happens more by trial and error, but it is an excellenttool if used properly.I watched one archer concentrate so hard that he usually shot the wrongtarget at least once every tournament. A good archer who forgot one simple thing.Archers can narrow their concentration too much that they aim at the first targetthat comes into view. One time, this same archer shot the wrong target on theright, then moved his foot markers so he would not come up on the wrong target.The next end he shot the wrong target on the left side!

    So, how is it done? Well there are three areas where concentration plays anessential part. First is when the archer is getting ready to draw the bow back. Theyneed to focus on the target, check the number or color of the wind flag, etc. Then

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    check the wind to see f there is any shifting going on. Concentration should be onrelaxing. Maybe they need to take a deep breath or something that will get them torelax a little before they draw the bow back. Second is when the archer starts toaim. This is when they are making sure they are looking or focusing on the targetand keeping a continuous motion going. The third major part of concentration isjust before the clicker clicks. One of the most frustrating times for an archer isbeing surprised by the clicker. The mind could have wandered just at the wrongmoment and then they explode off the shot and the arrow does not go where theywant it to. Concentration should be on making sure they are ready to continuemotion and follow through.

    Difference between the too and the average archerUpon observation, it will be noticed that most of the top archers are usually

    mentally drained or tired after a major event. This is because they have beenworking very hard at focusing during all three periods. Most archers will try toconcentrate on too many things. This will create overload and not help them at all.If they concentrate on very few items it may hurt them just as well (remember theperson who forgot to aim at the correct target?).

    There are important things to think about and unimportant things that needsto be ignored. I like to think of it as the important ones are X's and the unimpor-tant ones are O's. O's are items such as people talking in the background, a carhorn goes off in the distance, a bird f1ies n your peripheral vision, etc. The X's areitems such as the target number, the wind flag, the right c1icker, etc. If the archeris too rela:xed they may pick up too many things to concentrate on. If the archer istrying too hard they may be missing some things that are important to the shot. Ifthe concentration is just right, the archer is probably motivated just enough tostay above total relaxation and just below the area of too much stress. It lookssomething like this.

    Stressed,j)eoooooooooooooelaxea -

    This brings up the subject of beingrelaxed too much or not enough. I will givesome ideas on how to develop a better fo-cus and concentration program later on.


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    B REA 'I1llN GAnother method of breathing

    There are many different theories on how to breathe before, during andafter the shot. Many archers have never even thought about it. In my early yearsof high performance, I was one of the archers who never thought about it. I just letit happen naturally. Until one major tournament, an archer asked me what I did.I spent the rest of the tournament trying to decide how I breathed! Unfortunately,I shot very poorly after his question. But, it was an excellent lesson for me. Istarted to pay more attention to how I should breathe before, during and after theshot. With a little bit of experimentation, I was able to determine what works bestfor me.First we need to know what breathing does for an archer, except to live! Acertain rhythmic breathing calms the nerves. Also, it conserves energy. Sometypes of breathing can cause weakness and confusion. When an archer is understress, breathing can become abnormal. Hyperventilation causes the archer tobecome very weak. Trying to get through the clicker when weak is extremelydifficult and somethingthat should be avoided. That is why we get two minutes toshoot three arrows. If we are weak, we can take our time and execute our arrows,one at a time resting between shots and making sure we get the shots off properly.

    New breathing for archervNow that we know what breathing does for us, let's break it down. Should

    one inhale as one draws the bow or exhale? Should we be breathing while comingthrough the clicker? Should we breathe while executing the shot? First, we willwork on the draw. I like to take a couple of nice slow breaths before I draw. Thisgets me to relax. I try to breathe deep in my stomach, not in my chest. This givesme a full relaxed state of mind as well as being strong to execute the shot. Next, Istart to inhale slowly as I start to draw back. This inhale gives me the strength toget the shot back. Once I have inhaled to the maximum that I want, then I start toexhale very slowly and calmly. This gives me the control I need in order to aimand continue my drawing motion to get through the clicker. Now, if I have therhythm I want, I will stop breathing about two thirds to three quarters of theexhale. This still gives me a little strength while I am continuously coming through


    Rick McKinney"---AIM RELEASEREDRAW


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    Relaxation techniguesAnalyzing our capabilities during atournament is usually devastating to ourperformance. If we planned every possibil-ity that could happen ahead of time then itwill not be so surprising to our performance.We have a plan or a road map to follow. Ifnot, we start to stress out. Relaxing helpsthis.

    Relaxing on the line is very important


    Relation with comfort zoneMost people realize that they are usually stressed out too much for an ar-

    chery competition. They usually tighten up and shoot lots of bad arrows thenrelax a little and start shooting some good arrows. Then they start to get stressedagain and so it goes on and on. What is this? Why do we continue to feel stressedout a lot? There are two reasons for this.

    Most of this is caused by a comfort zone we have developed over the years.What happens is the archer gets comfortable performing at a certain level. Whenthey shoot that 'average' they begin to expect it. Sometimes the archer will get alittle upset because they think they are shooting a better average than what theyactually have. This is because we tend to think that our average is what our highscore was. But, when we start to shoot a high score we tend to get nervous andstart thinking of what the future possibilities are. This creates stress we do notwant and then our score drops down to a 'comfortable' level and thenwe continueto shoot all right.

    Sometimes we start out poorly for no reason. It could be high expectationsfrom practice or just off to a bad start because of a miss. This happens all the time.Most people stress out and shoot poorly most of the day or they just shoot poorlythe first distance then seem to start shooting well after the first distance. At theend of the round they finish up with their average.

    Sometimes we start out very well. This could be because we started out bydoing what we are supposed to do by shooting good arrows and do not concernourselves about score. A11of a sudden we realize a great score is possible. Thisstarts the mind ana1yzing what the possibilities could be if we continue at this levelof performance. A11of a sudden we start getting excited, apprehensive or nervous.We start shooting bad arrows and after the round is finished they end up c1ose oour average.A1so,we may just start out average and end up average. Basically we are notsatisfied, but can not seem to be able to get going to increase our level of perfor-mance.Most of this is because of the 'comfort zone'. This zone is where we do notfeel fear. We just shoot our arrows and finish up with just an average that is notquiet good, but acceptable. How we get away from this is through relaxationtechniques and learning how to raise our 'comfort zone'.

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    for an archer to master. Most archers usually start to get nervous or an.xiousduring a competition, unless they are shooting so poorly that it is ridiculous toconsider much of a performance that day. But if the archer learns to stay relaxedthey are able to control the shots to continue on with a strong performance orbegin with one where normally it may start slowly and then build up to a strongone.

    There are various relaxation techniques available. The one I am most famil-iar with is progressive relaxation. This is basically identifying major muscle groupsthen tensing and relaxing them. The tensing is to learn what tension is. In thefuture when muscle tension is recognized relaxation can be initiated. Generally anarcher would start this program taking about 30 -45 minutes lying down tensing,relaxing, inhaling, exhaling. Once they get through this relaxing part then theyusually will try to go into a level of subconsciousness. At this stage the archer issort of asleep and yet not really. Listening to voice commands will help keep thearcher relaxed and being aware of what is going on mentally. The archer shouldnot be upset if they fall asleep initially. Most people do not have that long of anattention span and it is very relaxing! If they have been stressed over a period oftime the rest will do them good!

    How to relax QroQerl~The voice commands willlead the archer into a deep relaxation then guide

    the archer to visualize. At first the objective is to be able to visualize a relaxingsetting. It may be at the beach lying down soaking in the sun. It may be in a parkwith birds chirping lying down on a blanket feeling the sun against the eyes. Thewarmth penetrating the whole body. The archer will have to decide what is mostrelaxing to them. The next objective is to get the archer to visualize an importanttournament. This will get the archer excited again causing tension. Then they willtry to get the archer back to that relaxing place that has a calming effect. I thinkyou see what is happening. Most of us get very excited before or during a majorcompetition, but this is not good if it causes us to shoot poorly. So the goal is to beable to relax and execute shots as we do in our own practice setting. The relaxingplace that is chosen should help us if we can f1ip back to that thought during acompetition when we start to get nervous.

    Once we have learned how to relax properly and are able to visualize whatthe voice command is telling us, then we are ready to proceed from a lying downposition to sitting in a chair. Once we have mastered this process, then we practiceit standing up. The next step after standing up and learning to relax and visualizeis to be able to do it outside where there are lots of disturbances. Next will be witharchery equipment in our hand and ready to shoot. Eventually, we should be ableto relax within five seconds and visualize just about any time we want.

    Remember, the goal is to be able to relax and focus on the shot. This can beaccomplished when you are in control of yourself. Relaxation techniques are usedfor everyday stress and can help through all sorts of problems. The less stress thebetter the shooting should become. The main reason is because now we can focuson what we want and not what the mind looks for ( our weaknesses, fear, anticipa-tion, anxiety, etc.).


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    Confidence is one of the more important aspects of being a champion. If onedoes not believe in themselves, it will be hard for them to excel. There is a fine linebetween confidence and cockiness. The definition of confidence is self-assurance.The definition of cockiness is self-confident or conceited. As can be seen there is afine line between the two. The difference is that being cocky is unacceptable inmost social situations. Being confident is.

    One who is confident usually doesn't have to say anything about how goodthey are. They usually show it on the competition field. They do not belittleanyone when they know more, they try to help encourage and educate the personin order to help them improve. A confident person does not fear losing. Theylove challenges to prove to themselves that they are able to master the challengewith success.

    A cocky person is one who has a hard time trying to convince people thatthey are good. I like the statement when someone is making a cocky remark, " whoare you trying to convince, you or me?". That is a way to see the obvious. A cockyperson usually is trying to con-vince themselves that they aregood. They believe that if theykeep saying that they are good,then it will come true. That is cor-rect, but they should be saying itto themselves, not everyone else.Making a cocky statement can cre-ate pressure on themselves; sincenow they have made a bold state-ment and must stand up to it. Inorder to save face they have toprove it or be shown just as atalker. In order to protect them- \elves, they need to tell it to them-selves, but not to other people.

    I know that some people feelis not a bad thing to beThat is fine. But social ac-:e is very important for



    ~roa( 1(cocky. ,ceptaru '-

    ~-- ::::::::-The comfortbut can notperformance

    ne s where we do not feel fear. We are not satisfied:m to be able to get going to increase our level o!


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    many people. lf a person is confident in themselves and can handle being 'differ-ent' then they will do well with being different. lf they feel the pressure of peoplebeing turned off by their statements, then it is best to learn how to make sociallyacceptable comments that do not give them more pressure than is needed.

    Being confident is being sure of oneself, but not bragging about it. There isno need to tell people that you are good, or that you are going to win. All it doesis offend and, as I said before, create extra pressure that is unnecessary. Beingsure of oneself is knowing you can do exceptionally well but, at the same time,acknowledgment of the uncontrollable. This could be a bad call from a judge, badweather, equipment problems beyond the archer's control. The archer may havetheir best performance, but another person has a better one. This should notmake the archer angry or even disappointed. They have accomplished a goal andnow they need to move on to a new goal. Just because someone beats you does notmake you any less a person. As a matter of fact more is learned from failures thanby accomplishments.A final word about being confident. Believing in oneself is extremely impor-tant. This encourages one to always give 100% effort. Know your capabilities, butit is not necessary to foresee the future. There is no mystic or magic to being achampion. It usually is a simple route a person takes, belief in themselves, estab-lishment of goals and removal of the word quit from their regime.

    Learning from losingA champion archer learns from their mistakes. When they shoot bad, they

    seek the cause of this bad shooting and then they try to eliminate the problem./ This seems simple, but most people want to try toforget that they even have a problem, let alonetrying to fix it. Most of us will remember thatmiss we had or that 2 or 4 shot. But do we re-member all of those 10's or 9's we had? Or arethey accepted as the norm and we expect themwithout even knowing how to get them? A toparcher seeks o eliminate problems so the 10's and9's become the norm.

    Let's say the archer is shooting good andthen shoots a 3. He has a choice at that moment.He can either analyze the shot so he can make thecorrection so it does not happen again, or becomeupset and disappointed and loose control whichwilllead to more 3's. This does not mean to dwellon the 3. Try to analyze quickly what happenedto the shot. Let's say the bow arm dropped. Oncethe analysis is made (feeling the drop of the armis important), then the archer should tell them-selves to keep the bow arm up during the nextfew shots. The focus is on the bow arm and it isin a positive goal. Get ready to shoot the nextarrow and focus on keeping that bow arm up. Thearrow goes n the center and the problem is cured.

    /Believe in yourself and know yourcapabilities. If you have accomplished agoal. you need to move on to a new goal.

    /!/""'vJIj "'\

    //I ! ~\'-'/


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    The archer should continue to focus on the bow arm until another problem comesup, and if they have eliminated the bow problem, then focus should be on the newproblem and b how to correct it.

    Don't forget that the top archer continues to have simple problems thoughout the whole tournament. They understand that and enjoy the challenge to iden-tify those problems and make as quick a correction as possible. The championarcher has as many problems as the archer right next to them. The championarcher is able to analyze the problems faster and make the necessary corrections.

    We must fully accept that we are human beings and there will always be aproblem to solve. That is what makes us different than the rest of the living crea-tures of this earth. So why not accept that challenge and pursue it aggressively?

    So, how does one find these problems so quickly and how can one make thecorrections as soon as possible? Again, feeling the shot is so important. If thearcher can learn to feel the shot, they will be able to know what feels wrong andwhat feels right. It takes a long time to learn this. But it can be done.

    ~ Being able to feel the shot is so important. When an archer gets to champi-onship level, he has to be able to feel the shot in order to know what is going on. Acoach can help to a certain point, but feeling the difference between right andwrong cannot even be captured on video. The finer points of an archer's form isfound in the feel. The coach can help acquire the feel, but they cannot be thearcher's eyes after a certain point. The archer has to look internally in order to getthat extra point needed to win.

    So, what does it mean to feel the shot? The archer should be able to focusinside the body as much as possible in the beginning. They should be able to feelthe finger pressure on the string. The balance in the feet. The back tension versusthe arm tension. The constant motion while coming through the clicker. Therelaxed bow hand and fingers. It is surprising what the body can detect. Also it isimportant to realize that one should not try to feel all of this at once. Usually thearcher can focus on one area at a time. So be patient and learn how to master theart of feel.


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    The best way to start is by getting close to a blankbale and work on focusing internally. The first effort isto stand about 5 or 10 feet away from the bale. Loadand draw the bow. Close the eyes and shoot a few shots.What will be noticed right away is that one can focus orfeel better with the eyes closed. The archer will realizethat they can feel and have been feeling all along, buthave not noticed it. When shooting, pay attention tothe bow hand. Is it relaxed? Can you wiggle the fingers?When shooting the arrow, can you feel what the bowhand is doing? Can you feel the bow tugging at thefinger sling during the follow through? These are thingsthat need to be learned.

    Work on one item at a time. After working on thebow hand, check out the bow arm. Then go back andforth between the bow hand and the bow arm. The feel-ing of these things you are working on has to continuethrough the shot. Just because the clicker goes off doesnot mean that the mind should shut down. It means

    that one needs to make sure to continue what they were doing until the arrow hitsthe target.

    After learning the feel with the eyes closed open them and see if you can stillfeel the same as with the eyes closed. It usually will not happen all at once. Closethe eyes and feel it again. Do this a few times back and forth and eventually youwill be able to feel with the eyes open as well as with them closed. After bavinglearned this go back a short distance and use a target. Notice that immediatelyyou will focus on the target instead of the internal functions. Go back and forthuntil you are able to master the feeling of the internal functions while aiming.

    Eventually the archer should randomly check each part of the form as anautomatic response. I call this preventative maintenance. Keep a constant checkon the form and one can usually keep it up and running as if it was a well tunedcar.

    Another important element of feel is to check out what happens if the archerdoes something wrong. First they have to be able to feel the difference. Once thatis mastered then experiment with shooting bad shots. I do not mean that thearcher should practice bad shots. They do not need to do this often or they coulddevelop bad habits that could get them in more trouble than it is worth.While practicing try grabbing the bow and see where the arrow goes. Afterplaying a little try something else. It may be dropping the bow arm. Lower theback elbow to see where the arrow goes. Eventually the archer will get a fairlygood idea of why an arrow goes a certain place. When practicing or shooting atournament the archer will be able to focus on how to make a change for thebetter. As I said before, the archer needs to be careful not to practice this toomuch. Never underestimate the power of feel. The archer can really master theirform with ease if they persist.


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    "Success is a journey, no1 a deslination. "Unknown

    "You have no control over the past or future, you only have control of the present. "Dr. Dan Landers

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    When an archer begins his long trek to the top, he is usually taughtform first. The basic form really hasn't changed all that much overthe past 100 years or so. The next area of growth for the archer istechnology. We all generally go through the 'enlightening' period;the equipment makes the archer. So we buy, buy, buy! After sev-eral arguments with the spouse and a near divorce, we have thebest money can buy. But, the score does not improve enough! Why?

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    GOALSteQQing stone goal or ultimate goal?

    Has anyone ever come up to you and asked why are you in archery? Many anoble and gallant person has said "because I love to shoot the bow and arrow!"They may even say "1 love to socialize with the archers." Well it is true that manyof us love the bow and arrow and we love to socialize, but are we really enjoyingarchery? How many times have you seen a frustrated archer? Or better yet, howmany times have you not seen a frustrated archer? Are we shooting in archerymatches to compete? Are we not always trying to improve so that you can becomea winner? A winner can be defined in various ways. I define a winner as one whoaccomplishes his goal of the day. It may be one who wants to win the competition,one who wants to shoot a higher score than before, one who tries to control hisemotions when shooting bad, or one who works on a difficult form change withmoderate success. There are many goals we must have in order to achieve theultimate goal, whatever it may be.

    Once you establish the ultimate goal, you must have "stepping stone" goals.Let's say you want to become an Olympic Champion as your ultimate goal. Abeginning archer cannot become an Olympic Champion by just wanting it. Theymust plan a strategy for it. You have heard it before; "you must learn to crawlbefore you can walk". So you establish goals that are attainable, and once that goalis reached, then you set another attainable goal and slowly you climb your way upthe ladder of success. Let's say you have been shooting for sometime now and youhave the best equipment money can buy and your form is above average if nottops. But, still you have not improved over your last stepping stone goal. Youtrain every day, you exercise every day, your equipment is tuned to perfection,but there is something missing. In order for you to make the next step, you mustfind that missing link.

    First of all, step back and become aware of just where you are in your ar-chery. Have you reached your potential? I think not. I know that I haven't. Real-ize that potential is what you can do, not what you are actually doing. Next try tounderstand why you are where you are. Are you aware of your training? Can it beimproved? Are you willing to change some of your habits in order to become abetter archer? Did you know that when you become a creature of habit you lockon to things and lose out on the possibility of new and better things? Did youknow that what we perceive and think creates truth and reality? Did you knowthat words trigger pictures which trigger feelings which develops your attitudeand self-image: Did you know that when you are performing out of your comfortzone, you readjust to get back into your comfort zone? These are some of thequestions that need to be answered and understood in order to develop our men-tal game.

    Generally, we tap into about one percent of our potential. It is a lot like aniceberg effect. We really don't see much of the potential so we do not try to use it.But it is there. Have you noticed that the less potential you have and the harderyou work for it, the more satisfied you were when you accomplished your goal?Have you also noticed that when something carne easy for you the more boring itbecame and the lazier you became? There must be a burning inner desire to ac-


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    complish a goal and as long as you can see some slight progression you will still bemotivated to train and to improve your skills. Once we have established where weare in archery then we must plan on how to make changes in order to climb overthe next obstacle of performance.

    Positive thinkingWe all know that we love to talk to ourselves. Many times it is in thoughtonly instead of actually verbalizing it out loud. We also know you can be put away

    for such things! So be very careful when you talk to yourself! Being humble is anoble thing to do, when someone congratulates you for a fine performance or youjust shot a 56 end at 90 meters and you tell them it was just luck! That statementyou made could be very devastating to your self-image. Self-image is an accumu-lation of your thought patterns and how you perceive yourself. Many of us usuallythink in the negative pretense just out of habit. For example; "Well, Bill is here.1'11 ave to settle for second, if I'm lucky!" "Here comes the wind and there goesmy score, right down the drain!" "Good shot, Joe!" "Thanks, but it was luck!"Those negative comments are great for being humble, but how do you think yoursubconscious is reacting to your own comments? Total destruction! Did you knowthat your subconscious doesn't know the difference between reality and imagina-tion? The subconscious believes you when you tell people you are lucky. Yourscore will drop and you willloose. If this is true then if you could turn all of thesenegatives around to positive comments, your mind could build up the confidenceit needs to improve your performance. For instance; "Bill is here. Great! Thatgives me a real challenge to do the best that I can against one of the best!" or, "Herecomes the wind. Good! A lot of people will become frustrated very easily anddefeat themselves!" or, "Good shooting Joe!" "Thanks, it really felt good!" None ofthese comments are considered rude or cocky, but one of immense confidence inoneself and also happiness.

    Did you know that self talk is 60 times more powerful than the actual expe-rience? That means if you continue to tell yourself that you feel great, shoot great,you are a champion, those things will become true. Have you noticed that duringa tournament at one time or another you were shooting well, then all of a suddenyou had a bad shot and then you started to have doubts. You felt you were comingapart, you were slipping and sure enough you did. There could have been anothertournament when you started a little rough and had an excellentshot, it felt good,

    The training camp of the US Archery Team inJapan just before the 1988 Seou101ympic Games


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    it Uew good and it scored good. This gave you confidence and you thought noth-ing but positive thoughts and your score started to c1imb and you finished fairlywell because of all of those positive feelings. If you can break that nasty habit ofthinking pessimistic thoughts and comments ( even in jest) and start commentingwith positive statements and thinking positive thoughts you will increase yourgame, not only in archery, but in everything you do. Don't forget -when you thinkpositive thoughts or make positive statements, they trigger positive pictures, whichtrigger positive feelings, which develops positive attitudes and positive self-image!

    Comfort zone is an area that most of us know about, but really ignore a lot.How many times have you started out just great, above your average and thenstress and anxiety set in and your score dropped down below your average, thenyou sort of "gave up" relaxed finished well but hit your average. How many timeshave you started poorly and then carne on strong and finished near your averageagain? How many times have you just stayed fairly consistent all the way throughand finished near average? All three of these scenarios are because of your com-fort zone. When you feel stress and anxiety you are either thinking of shooting outof your comfort zone or you are already out of your comfort zone. To eliminatebeing uncomfortable, you rise to the occasion for your average or you drop downfor the occasion depending if you are above your average or below it.

    In order to get out of this comfort zone, you must acc1imatize yourself to anew zone. Imagery will put you there. Don 't forget the subconscious cannot tellthe difference between reality and imagination. Since comfort zone is an area thatwe are accustomed to shooting (average), we must re-establish in our mind a newcomfort zone. Telling yourself that your average score is actually 25 points higherthan it really is, begins to trigger the subconscious. Visually shooting those 25points higher every night, triggers the subconscious even more, and finally writingdown positive affirmations will start to draw your actual score up to that imagi-nary 25 point improvement to reality.

    Affirmations are cards that you write special comments to yourself and youread these cards every day. You may have a set at home by your bed so that youcan read them in the moming as you get up and in the evening as you go to bed.Also, a set should be in your archery box so that you can read them before youstart practicing and after your practice session is over. These cards may say:

    "I have an intense and buming desire to be a champion in archery.""I am using more of my potential for success each day.""Reaching my goals will require hard work, but I know I can do it.""I can see myself in possession of the goals I have set. I know exactlyhow I feel and what I will be.""I gladly pay the price of hard work that is necessary to eam the

    success that I want.""I keep my body in top physical condition.""I refuse to worry about mistakes because I know they are

    opportunities to leam.""I can. I will.""I am capable of achieving my goals. I believe I am a champion.""Because I concentrate, I perform successfully.""I practice faithfully according to my training program. Practiceproduces confidence, and confidence brings me courage.

    84 GOAL SEmNG

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    "1 welcome the opportunity to perform in crucial situations.""1 choose to see myself as a winner and a champion."

    These are just samples of many ideas. Remember, words are tools. It's how youuse them depends on how they build or destroy. These affirmative remindersshould be positive, have an emotional impact, be realistic, be in lst person, be inpresent tense, and you should see yourself as though the goal has already beenreached.As you can see, there is nothing earth shaking here in how to change yourattitude, confidence and self-image. But, old habits are difficult to break and newhabits are just as difficult to develop. Start out slowly and layout a plan of actionand I am sure you will accomplish whatever your goals may be.Winners vs. Losers

    The Winner is always a part of the answer;the Loser is a part of the problem.

    The Winner has a program; the Loser hasanexcuse.The Winner says, "Let me do it for you";the Loser says, "It's not my job."

    The Winner sees an answer for everyproblem; the Loser sees a problem in everyanswer.

    The Winner says it may be difficult, but it'spossible; the Loser says it may be possible, butit's too difficult.

    Be a Winner.Practice short jumps

    A big-game hunter in India sighted a large Bengal tiger. Since the animal wasonlya short distance away, the hunter took a quick shot... but he missed. Fortu-nately, the tiger, in leaping toward the hunter, had jumped too far... and he alsomissed.

    The hunter returned to camp and began practicing short shots. He wasdetermined never to be caught unprepared again. When he went into the junglethe following day, the first thing he saw was the same Bengal tiger... practicingshort jumps.

    So t is with us and our long-range goa1s. We reach them only through achiev-ing short-range objectives. Keep your eye on your principal purpose... but don'tforget to practice short jumps.Circus elephants and limitation

    An elephant, with his trunk, can easily pick up a one ton load. Have you evervisited a circus and watched those huge creatures standing quietly while tied to asmall wooden stake?

    While still young and weak, an elephant is tied by a heavy chain to an im-movable iron stake. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot break the chain ormove the stake. Then no matter how large and strong the elephant becomes, hecontinues to pelieve he cannot move as long as he can see the stake in the ground


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    beside him.Many intelligent adult humans are like the circus elephant. They are re-

    strained in thoughts, actions and results. They never move out any further thanthe extent of their own self-imposed limitations.

    If this is happening to you and to your life ...resolve now to uproot thestakes that hold you ...break the chains of hindering habit ...BECOMETHE PERSONYOU KNOW YOU CAN BECOMEAND SHOULD BECOME!

    What do ~ou tell ~ourself?The first fleeting instant during which an idea is conceived is a moment of

    decision! What do you tell yourself!Do you grasp the idea with a tingle of excitement, saying, "I can make it

    work!" ...or do you smother it b)' saying, "That's impractical ...too difficult ...Idon't think it can be done?" In that moment, you choose between success andfailure.

    You help to form a habit of either positive or negative thinking by what youtell yourself! So give yourself a break ...give your "better" self a chance to becreative! Form the habit of POSITIVEREACTION ollowed by POSITNE ACTION!


    The most feared word in sport. It can make an archer stronger or devastatethem to the point where they quit. I hopethat you all realize that slumps can be bro-ken and you can move on, understandingmore about yourself than ever before.

    First, let's define the word slump. Inthe Websters Dictionary it is "a period ofpoor or losing play by a team or individua1."Does that really help someone? It does giveyou a little bit of an understanding of whata dictionary can do for you! I wou1d like togo a bit further and define a slump as:

    A period where you have changedsomething unidentifiable that is hinderingyour performance and causing you to per-form below your average.

    ldentfficationFirst you have to identify that you even have a slump or is it assumed you

    have one?1. Review your average scores. If the scores are noticeably below your average,over a period of a couple of weeks, then you may be in a slump. Consider youraverage carefully. Most archers shoot a personal high score during a tournamentand assume that is a new average. It is not very logical, but is wishful thinking.You must look at your average objectively and carefully. Collect your scores overthe past several tournaments first.2. Check for cyclic performances. Plot your performance and review the tour-


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    naments you shot in. This will help you objectively. Include weather, importa11ceof tournament and other conditions that may give you some light on the subject ofyour presumed slump.3. Once you know that your performance is down significantly, then you canlook for the cause of your decline.

    There are four basic possibilities for a slump. The first is Physical. Youcould be fatiguing because of over training or over competing. You could becomeill very easily due to nutritional deficiencies. You could become injured very eas-ily if you are not physically fit. You could be eventually losing your sight or yourhearing or your teeth could be giving you problems, making it difficult to concen-trate 100% on your shooting.

    The second is Technical Form. You could have made a form change un-knowingly, or knowingly made a change and forgot that you made it. This changecould be causing you to lose your timing. Your focus could be on a known formchange which distracts from your performance. Making a conscious effort is verydifficult and sometimes interferes with the subconscious execution of the shot.

    The third is Technological. Making a slight change in your equipmentcan cause a slump very easily. You develop a specific ba1ancebetween your equip-ment, yourtechnique and physical process. A1l of these are associated with timingand feel. A change in weight distribution can influence your equilibrium, causingyou to react just a little bit differently from usual. Then your timing goes andfinally you start losing your confidence. This leads to the fourth possibility whichis Mental.

    The psychological reason is used a lot. Archers generally exaggerate theirpoor performance when it might just be a temporary and expected fluctuation inthe performance cyc1e. A1so,archers perceive the performance as poorwhen actu-ally it was good considering the situation (i.e., equipment, weather, another archershot a personal record, etc.).

    A1l four of these areas can change your perception of your self worth. Thuscreating a loss of self-confidence, anxiety, a break down in concentration and mo-tivation. Even events outside of your archery can cause problems as well. Family,sociallife and finances affects your self-esteem, concentration and motivation.

    Looking for the real groblemMost archers blame a slump on their mental abilities because of a significant

    loss of self-confidence and concentration. Once they believe this, then little else islooked for. Actually, it is usually something deeper that causes the loss of self-confidence and concentration. You must look for the primary cause as well as thesecondary and even beyond. You cannot predict a pattern either, so you mustisolate each cause. You must first address the causes that are obvious. In time theprimary cause will reveal itself or it's influences will diminish.

    For example, an archer who averaged right at 1200 started shooting 1150'sover the past five tournaments. Loss of confidence occurred and the archer devel-oped an unusually high anxiety. This happened especially during critical mo-ments such as getting close to the board or getting very close to beating a long timerival. The archer became easily distracted by noise as well. The coach saw someminor technical changes involving timing but was unable to correct the problem.The archer felt physically fit, but following a session with a sports psychologist, he

    GOAL SEmNG 87

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    underwent a complete physical examination. Though the physician found he wasin excellent health, vision tests by an optometrist revealed he had become near-sighted.Only through careful review did the true cause of the slump reveal itself.First it was thought to be a psychological problem. The psychological problem wascreated by the primary problem. The loss of visual acuity resulted in decreasedability to focus on the target which was the primary cause (physical). The loss ofvision resulted in aiming problems, which caused a loss of timing, which causedthe drop in performance. This caused a loss of self-confidence, increased anxietywhen performing under pressure and an inability to concentrate properly.

    Another example was with a fairly good archer who had a history of shoul-der problems. This limited her competitive abilities and kept her from making thetop ten ranking to be on the National team. Though the shoulder problems werenever considered serious by her doctors, they had been unable to pinpoint thecause of her injury. The usual remedy was rest and physical therapy. After a fewdays of rest the shoulder seemed to heal and the archer returned to competing. Atthe recommendation of her coach, a sport psychologist joined them for a week.The sport psychologist recognized a pattern in the occurrence of the shoulderproblems. They usually developed before a major tournament. Video tapes re-vealed that the archer's shoulder repositioned slightly (out of line) a week or twobefore each major event. The tape also revealed that her personality changednoticeably during the tournament. She reacted more emotionally than usual andshe had a nasty negative attitude. Discussions with her revealed she felt a lot ofpressure to perform'well in major competitions and became anxious during thistime. This anxiety manifested itself in discomfort in her shoulders and upperback. An examination from a massage herapist confirmed this. In conclusion, hershoulder injury was only the by product of a more critical psychological problem.Even though the physical problem appeared to be the main cause, it was the psy-chological stress creating the physical and technical problem.

    Continuing with another example, a top junior archer was very successfulduring the first half of the season. The second half showed a significant drop in hisresults. He started losing self-confidence, shooting tentatively and was loosingenthusiasm. It was believed to be psychological and a sport psychologist was broughtin. After considerable discussion it was clear that the psychological issues werehurting him somewhat but not enough to be causing his slump. Further examina-tion of the occurrences leading up to the slump revealed that the problem might

    be in his equipment. While shooting one daythe coach noticed that the string he was usinghad a well worn look to it. Also, the servinghad a slight snaking twist to it. So the coachtook the string apart and found that a coupleof strands were broken. This can cause a dev-astating effect on grouping. Since the strandswere broken under the serving, it went unno-ticed for some time. After changing strings,the performance of the archer improved con-siderably. As shown before, what was consid-ered one problem (psychological), the primary


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    problem was technical.As you can see, there are many possibilities. This is why you must objec-

    tively review your physical, mental, form and equipment completely. You mustfind all the causes before developing a plan on how to make the corrections If youare keeping an archery diary it will be much easier, because you can review thechanges made over the past several tournaments.

    Making a QlanIdentifying all thecauses is crucial toward eliminating them. Since one cause

    leads to another, just simply finding the primary cause and correcting it does notalways get you out of a slump. You have developed several causes and they cancreate problems as well. It ls important to address each of the problems in astructured fashion. lf you miss one, the slump may remain.

    Since it usually takes time to get into a slump and hit the bottom, it usuallywill take as long to climb slowly back up. Here are some recommendations on howto return to form.1. The first step is to take time out, usually 2 to 7 days depending on the sever-ity. The reason for the time out is that you need to get away from the strongemotionally negative atmosphere you have developed during the slump period.The time will help you develop a positive perspective and an eagerness to get towork on the problems. Sometimes even going somewhere else to train for a whileis good. Slumps are physically and emotionally draining. So getting away for awhile will help recharge your positive attitude. It also gives you time to develop anorganized plan of action on how to remedy your slump.2. Once the slump is clearly understood and you take your break, you need tospecify a variety of goals.

    Goal 1. Your first goal should be a "Return to Form" goal. This is themain reason you are making a plan. Spending a lot of time trying to find thereason for your slump and correcting will get you back on track. You must decidewhat level of competition you want to return to. It could be a little higher thanbefore you were in the slump. lt could be lower than before due to new informa-tion or the plan to come back at the same level. Goals must be specific, measurableand realistic.

    Goal 2. The next goal that you plan out should be your "Causal" goal.You should address the level of performance associated with a particular cause ofthe slump. If the cause is physical, then your causal goal might involve a measur-able level of strength improvement or f1exibility. If the cause is mental, then aplan should be how to work on a program that would help lessen the fear or anxi-ety or self-esteem, etc. The same goes for technical form or equipment.

    Goal 3. The next goal that you write out and make a plan for is your"Daily Training" goals. Daily goals can be specified as to how you will reach yourcausal goals. If it is physical, you may bring in a sports medicine practitioner indeciding on your best approach for rehabilitation. They should be directed to-ward bringing you to your causal goal and return to form goal in a progressive,constructive manner .

    Goal 4. The "Daily Performance" goal is your last goal program. Oftenthe archer must continue to compete while in this slump. It is difficult and some-times counter productive when competing while in the slump because each time

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    you shoot below your average it gives you a negative attitude. This interferes withthe long term resolution to the slump.

    It is very important to set daily performance goals to provide you with alevel of performance to work toward. AIthough you are below your desirable levelyou would be above your current slump level. You must be reaIistic, make itrewarding and reinforce your positive attitude.3. Talking about your slump and plans on how to get out of it helps the archercome to terms with the slump. An impartial and objective observer can provideeffective coping skilIs to better deal with the concerns and anxiety associated witha slump. This is generalIy referred to as "Emotional CounseIing". It can be afriend, coach, parent or better yet, a sports psychologist. Group counseIing helpsas we1l. It gives you meaningful social support, encouragement, moral and mutualsupport. It also shows you that you are not alone. Everyone goes through a slumpand usualIy they wiII share their experiences.

    Now lets go back to the archer who had a vision problem as an example ofwhat to do when you get into a slump and how to get out of it."Return to Form Goal " -The archer decided he wanted to return to his pre-vious average of 1200; He wanted to accomplish this goal in S tournaments.

    "Causal Goal" -The physical goal was to get glasses that were comfortableand could be used while shooting. The technical form goal was to re-estabIishtiming and regain feel at coming through the cIicker. The goal can be achieved bykeeping score in practice. Also you use a video tape to see if you are setting up onyour cIicker properly and watch for constant motion. Psychological goals wouldbegin with rebuilding his self-confidence. Relaxing more on the Iine and concen-trating better on task-relevent cues. This can be accompIished by using visualimagery training, positive reinforcement, progressive relaxation techniques andattentional focus training with the help of a sport psychologist."Daily training goals" -lst the archer would work on coming through thecIicker without aiming very fine. Grouping would not matter at this time. Fromthere he would move toward greater consistency in coming through the cIicker forbetter timing each day. The pin becomes more consistent more often and thenwindy conditions would create more challenges. Each goal is accompIished one ata time. A similar plan is implemented for his daily psychological goals. Usingprogressive relaxation techniques and visual imagery shows him progressively get-ting better with more chalIenging conditions. Using appropriate attentional focuscues eases concentrating on specific tasks and accompIishing his daily traininggoals. "Daily performance goals" -By setting specific, progressive performance goalsfor each event, his performance becomes positive. Like daily training goals, thesegoals focus on rebuilding his consistency and timing technically and psychologi-cally. More important, they enable him to rehearse the skills and attitudes he isworking on, reinforcing the positive results and feelings he develops in practice.

    So you can get out of a slump, but first you must define it, find all the rea-sons for it and set up a plan to combat it and eventually you will be out of it.


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    Leg Strength Some of the most important parts of the body is in the legs. This is becauseif the archer moves just a little bit from the legs the sight movement will be muchgreater. So just moving 1 millimeter may be cause for the sight to move S mm.This could cause the archer to shoot a red or blue.

    Dr., Phil Martin, Professor of Biomechanics at Arizona State University, madea simple but interesting drawing to show what affects the mechanical aspect has onshooting:

    Archery Performance Model(Mechanical Aspects)

    Score-ArrO~ Flight

    Aerod~namic FactorsArrow ResRonsf at Release

    Bow /~tringeg~~nt~~ow Alia~men~.a~ .elle~.S.eI Sighting/Aimina

    Bod~ StabilitvArrow Materi!;JI orooerties

    ReSRO:nSe at ReleaseString Release by Finaers

    Material ProRerties of the bow


    Weight TrainingBeing in top physical shape is just as important as having top quality equip-ment in order for top performance. Years ago I was lucky enough to be training foranother sport. This kept me in shape for archery without knowing it. The amountof effort I was putting in for pole vaulting helped my archery training! What Ilearned from it was that it did not take a special training program to be able toshoot well in archery , but a well balanced weight training program with an empha-sis on leg strength will do. The thing to remember is that when lifting, work onendurance and not bulk.

    You will notice that most champion archers are not extremely bulky, theyare on the 'skinny' side. This is not to say that the archer cannot be bulky in orderto win. It just means that the average champion of archery is skinny with a touchof muscular build to it.

    How do we develop this? The following program will fit every archer's need.If a more specialized program is needed, go to a specia1ist who willlisten to what ittakes to be an archer and not a body builder .

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    The one thing to remember about physical conditioning is that it is veryimportant to stay healthy. The whole purpose for a program is to help improvethe shooting. If injured during conditioning it becomes more of a detriment thanan asset.

    CardiovascularIn the United States we put a lot of effort into research in the 1980's. One ofthe things we found was that a top archer's best shots occurred between heart

    beats. When the top archer shot on the heart beat the score was not very good.This is something an archer cannot consciously do, but as we all know we developa rhythm and it helps the timing. Generally, the heart has it's own rhythm, so wecan usually depend on it helping us. What we realized was that a top archer hada lower heart rate than an intermediate level archer, which gave the top archer anadvantage because the heart beats were farther apart. This gave the archer abetter opportunity of not shooting on the heart beat. Also, the heart rate increasedabout 10 beats per minute while at full draw. If an archer had a heart beat of 80,it automatically increased to 90 beats per minute while at full draw. Most archerswere even higher than this. Top archers seemed to have a lower heart rate ofaround 70 or so. This kept their rate lower at full draw than the average archerwas at resting.

    What does this mean? It is recommended that the archer do some cardiovas-cular work in order to decrease the resting heart rate. This helps in many ways.First, it lowers the heart rate as discussed before. Next it enhances breathing con-trol. Since the whole breathing system gets a good work out during cardiovasculartraining the archer will be able to breathe deeper and hold their breath longer (ifthat is their preference) while at full draw. Generally, I like to inhale before I drawand release while exhaling. I inhale as I draw the bow back and start to slowlyexhale as I continue my motion. This keeps my rhythm going at a normal and


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    relaxed pace. I usually stop my exhale around 50% capacity, then hold my b~eath.This usually is done a second or so before I execute the shot. It is not a forcedexhale nor is it a forced holding of my breath. They are natural. My focus istowards the execution of the shot, so my exhale slowly stops at a natural place.

    What is needed in order to develop good cardiovascular training? The firstthing to do is get a physical examination and find out what kind of shape you arein. It is important not to over work yourself. Once approval is attained from thephysician, then talk to trainers or get a book on cardiovascular workouts. Themost important thing to remember is the program you choose is to help shooting,so do not go crazy and hurt yourself. It does no good to get injured and not be ableto shoot.


    JoggingThis is the best type of Cardio one could do, if physically capable. Joggingdevelops a good heart rate, good breathing exercises, good leg strength and to a

    minor extent good shoulder workout. All of these arebeneficial assets to a good archer. It is not necessary tojog a marathon! It is best to start out slowly and build upto a level of comfort ability. A minimum program con-sists of activity three days per week and 20 minutes ormore per workout. I am sure if the archer does not doanything now, that once per week would do wonders fortheir outlook!

    One of the things that seems o be an advantage forjoggers is that they seem to feel mentally refreshed aftera good jog. This helps with a positive outlook which isvery good for shooting.When jogging, the archer should be able to talk ata light conversationallevel. If they cannot talk due tohard breathing, then they are over doing the workout.This becomes uncomfortable and unenjoyable as well.Most archers are not interested in a real strong workout.Since we are training for archery , we do not need to beatourselves into the ground. Take it easy and enjoy it!

    When starting, make sure to warm up and make sure the feet are protectedwith good quality jogging shoes. The feet are sensitive. The archer will find thisout if cheap shoes are used and they cannot walk for awhile because they haveinjured themselves. Also, start off slowly. Distance is not as important as time.Just go out there and try to jog a little faster than walking. Build up time