Tracking Progress

By Mark V. Lonsdale

Continuing on from the previous post on setting goals for beginners, the next step is to track progress. With decades as a high performance athlete and coach, I’m a firm believer in having a written training program and a log to track progress. In the past, this was a hand written ledger, but now it can be done on the computer with the added advantage of being able to add images. Most athletes and coaches make regular use of their smart phones to both video form and photograph targets (in addition to a plethora of social media posts).

The importance of keeping a training log is to be able to track not only the focus of each training session, but to also track consistency. It is too easy to shoot a couple of Xs or 11s and call it good, but the champion is the individual who can do this on a regular basis with a high percentage of hit in the gold.

The following images are an example of a photo essay tracking improvement in training for barebow competition.

After occasionally throwing arrows into the blue, this archer has now progressed to three in the gold and three in the red, even though one may score as a liner in the gold. Elevation is good indicating correct use of the hash marks on the 3-under tab and correct point-on hold on the target. In this case he is holding 6 o’clock on the 10 ring.
Archer has progressed to consistent 5 golds and one red. The goal is to bring that one red into the gold. For this archer, he knows that when he throws an arrow left of the gold it is often attributed to a poor release.
Archer has no progressed to hitting the gold consistently so can now work on improving his score. In this case he has four 9s, one 10, and one 11. Once you begin getting a higher percentage of 10s, then it is recommended to switch to shooting 3-arrow sets or begin using a 3-spot target to avoid damaging arrows.

Finally, the word of the day is “consistency.” In other words, if you shoot ten sets of 3 arrows, how many sets were all in the gold? Even the top archers occasionally throw a red or a blue, but the goal is to self-analyze that shot and understand why that happened.


Hoyt Xceed 25″ riser with Velos long limbs and Easton RX7-23 shafts

Author: Mark V

Dedicated shooter, seeker, traveler, teacher, trainer, educator

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