By Mark V. Lonsdale, Instructor/Coach
There are many good books and DVDs on virtually every aspect of archery – so much so that it can become a little overwhelming for the novice archer. Sometimes it is useful to distil it all down to a few motivational training tips.
- Focus on the process not on the result. In other words, as you are at full draw, you should not be hoping for a 10, but rather focused on your form and process. This is especially true during the early months of training where you are still working to build the neuro-muscle memory for a relaxed shot process.
- Alignment is everything. Most archers will agree that a solid skeletal alignment, from bow-hand to draw-hand elbow, is critical to consistent, injury free archery. The test of this alignment is feeling the draw-hand upper arm and shoulder rotating into the back muscles, and how steady you can hold on target
- Don’t let bad shots or a bad group define you. Maintain a positive mindset and continue practicing and applying the basics. The more you practice the more your shots and groups will move into the center of the target.
- Don’t underestimate the value of a good coach. Also try to train with other experienced archers who can help you through the rough patches and plateaus. Shooting alongside successful competitors will motivate you to become a better archer.
- Use failures to fuel your training. While the athlete doesn’t learn much from wins, he or she will analyze failures to find solutions. How we handle losses and failures, and how we bounce back, is a good marker of personal determination and tenacity.
- Keep a training log with scores and daily lessons learned. It’s fun to look back 6 months or a year to see just how much you have improved.
- Ensure that training is always fun or at least satisfying. The sheer joy of watching an arrow in flight and then impacting in the 10 ring, should be a positive motivator for continued training.
- At the end of the day, remember that you selected archery as your chosen sport. Something inspired you to take up archery, but to truly find enjoyment and satisfaction in this endeavor, you need to practice regularly. Moderate amounts of frequent practice are more beneficial than infrequent day-long training sessions.