Target panic!

Discussion in 'Archery' started by Youcantreadinthedark, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Chaotic Neutral. Supporter Bushclass I

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    Hello archers,
    After a cold dark winter, the days are lengthening, and the urge to stick arrows in pretty much any stationary or moving target is growing again. Unfortunately I'm suffering from debilitating, ego-crushing, target panic. I can't hit my anchor point to save my life, and I'm loosing arrows way too soon. Needless to say my accuracy is crap, but the more important piece of the puzzle is that I'm doing myself no favors launching arrows into the neighbor's airspace.
    For the traditional shooters out there, what are some of the ways that you've dealt with your own target panic?


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  2. dub

    dub Supporter Supporter

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    I'm far from the best archer in the world but I usually start with the target super close (10 yards or less). Once I'm hitting my anchor, grouping decent, and feeling smooth on the draw and release I'll start pushing the target out. Seems to work for me.
     
  3. 3Rotts

    3Rotts Supporter Supporter

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    Since I am new to archery, I don't have an answer:)

    I just finished building my first bow and Cabela's opens in Gainesville on Thursday so I plan on going to get a target to shoot at. I also have made 3 arrows so I need to go to Lowe's and grab some more dowel rods to make a few more arrows.
     
  4. tennecedar

    tennecedar Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    100 arrows fired at a target 5' away. I close my eyes and draw, take a breath and open my eyes just to see if my form matches what I want my body to be doing. Then I will adjust and release. I shoot 5 arrows at a time for 20 repetitions over the course of a weekend. Usually by Sunday night my muscle memory is kicking in and I don't have to think about my form so much.
     
  5. bowitis

    bowitis Supporter Supporter

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    Check out Joel Turner,
    The Science of Target Panic 1
     
  6. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've only been shooting with any seriousness for about 6 years. I suck pretty bad sometimes. I am graced with non-snowy weather year round. My annual cycle runs about like this: I do most of my shooting in July/Aug (prep for bow season), and I try to get out every day from July until whenever I get tired of it (October usually, when gun season starts)) and shoot about 40 arrows. At first, my stuff goes wild, so I start really close, maybe 10 yards. Once I get my form back down, rebuild the back and shoulder muscles, and start feeling good, I take a step back. and do it again. I can now safely say that I can usually hit stuff within an 8" circle at 15 yards, even without much practice beforehand. That used to be 10 yards. Every year, I try to end it one more step back than I did the year before... this past season, once I got back in the groove, I was doing pretty good at 20 yards, so I pushed back to 25. I had a great day the other week and put 11 of 13 inside 6", with one at 8" and another WAY out... regardless, every year ends better than the year before. Every year, I take those first couple baby steps faster and get my mojo back quicker. And every year, I think I'm a better archer.

    Still no Jeff Cavanaugh, but there's your goal (he's the guy that shoots skeet with a bow, and can hit a thrown Lifesaver breath mint, the big ones.)
     
  7. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze Usual Suspecto Supporter Lifetime Supporter

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    2 Stella Artois before you shoot to relax mind and body
     
  8. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Chaotic Neutral. Supporter Bushclass I

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    I'm with you, my problem right now is that I jump the gun and can't get to anchor (sometimes, wildly off). I'll move a little closer and see if that doesn't help some.

    Sage advice, bale shooting is always a good idea. Are you shooting chest-level (or I guess deer-height) or at a target on the ground?

    Thank you sir, will do.
    Jeff is a bada$$! I've been at it about a year and a half now; confident enough that I'll sharpen up some eski-lites and move after some deer this fall. I do a similar system, but I try to move between shots, even if it's just a few feet, so that I force myself to reacquire the target each time. It helps a lot, I feel.

    My favorite poison comes in a different shade of green, but one time I relaxed my mind and body so much I woke up in rehab. ;)
     
  9. tennecedar

    tennecedar Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I set my practice targets to get started at 4' high bullseye. I try to shoot level at first. Then during the practice season(couple months just before deer season) I start to shoot on uneven ground. Up and down hill randomly at unknown distances from 10 yards to 40 yards. Out to 60 yards known distances on level ground.
     
  10. 3Rotts

    3Rotts Supporter Supporter

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    My favorite poison comes in a different shade of green, but one time I relaxed my mind and body so much I woke up in rehab. ;)

    Come on now, rehab is for quitters:)
     
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  11. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Chaotic Neutral. Supporter Bushclass I

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    You're shooting recurve at 60? Nice! What poundage?
     
  12. tennecedar

    tennecedar Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Mostly 45lb recurve, my 70lb compound, and a 72lb @28" long bow sometimes.

    I actually draw 29.5" so the traditionals are stacking a bit.
     
  13. Hook

    Hook Tracker

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    Blind bale shooting worked for me. Doesn't have to be a bale of course. Just stand 5yds from a large target and concentrate on your anchor point, bow arm positioning, grip, and your release. When I shoot, I have a mental checklist i go thru. Especially if I hadn't shot for some time, wich I havn't these last couple years.
     
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  14. Ascham

    Ascham Supporter Supporter

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    May sound to simple but a "sort" of mantra.... I use draw to anchor... watch to keep. I find that saying that and breaking the shot down into - solid anchor (draw to anchor) and back tension (watch to keep) really helped. I started close so not worries about hitting the targeted Heard this at shoot and a talk given by someone who's name I cannot remember, was the best advice I had heard.
     
  15. MrKnobbie

    MrKnobbie Scout Bushclass I

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    I used the let down method- draw to full anchor without the intention of releasing the arrow. You should be close like 4 or 5 yards. Concentrate on your spot, body position, and anchor, BUT NOT release. Do this 5 or 6 times then let the arrow go on the 7th. Do it 20 or so times every day for a week.
    Going to a lighter draw if possible is sometimes the ticket.
    Blind bale shooting is also great way to overcome target panic. Remember that form is the key to overcoming target panic and snap shooting.
     
  16. PeteA

    PeteA Scout

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    Did you ever think about using a clicker? I have a buddy that installed one because he was having difficulty coming completely to full draw and his final anchor.
     
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  17. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Tracker

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    This might be anathema for traditional shooter but perhaps you should just use a sight for a week. Or even a match stick taped to your bow. That way you will hold anchor line up your site and then shoot. After this feels natural ditch the sight and shoot like an archer
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
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  18. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Chaotic Neutral. Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've never tried one, but might be worth a shot.

    My visuals are pretty decent, I'm just loosing the arrow way too soon and ending up eight or ten inches off target. I've got nothing against sights, but by the time I ordered one and it got here, I hope I can get over whatever these jitters are. (I'll pass on the match dick, though...)
     
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  19. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Tracker

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    Lol, doh! you quoted before I hit edit. Yeah keep those as far from your face as possible.
     
  20. GreySwampFox

    GreySwampFox Tracker

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    This is great advice and has worked for me in the past to get over target panic.
     
  21. Sippi

    Sippi Tracker

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    Ditto on Joel Turner. If you go at it alone I have a couple of suggestions. 1. Practice not shooting. Draw your bow with an arrow do everything you do in your shot sequence except loose an arrow. Simply let the bow down without shooting. 2. Blank bale shooting. Shoot eyes closed only considering your form. 3. Use a clicker. It will cue you when to shoot.

    The most obvious is to have a shot sequence. Talk yourself through every process of your sequence. Let go of hitting the target and only focus on what you can control. If you execute your sequence perfectly you will be accurate. Break that sequence down starting at your feet, where your bow rest prior to drawing, start your draw slowly slowly slowly, anchor, expand expand expand with back tension, and let your hand go limp. After you anchor keep squeezing those shoulders never letting that arrow rest it goes back until its released. Say all of this out loud during the shot. Youll get through it! Keep us updated on your progress.
     
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  22. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Chaotic Neutral. Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks man, solid advice. It's gotten a lot better even over the last two days, but my issue with practicing was that I'm not hitting an anchor point before I release, so there's no way I could walk myself through a sequence. As soon as that nock hand was even remotely close to my cheek that arrow was GAWN. I was tweaking out and trying to do it over and over, all the while thinking 'this is just reinforcing bad habits...'
    I'm gotten over the worst of it, I think, but I'll keep plugging away at it.

    Thanks everyone who has commented, it's been very helpful so far.
     
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  23. Sippi

    Sippi Tracker

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    I have had lots of problems but I don't think I've had this one. I'd think closing your eyes and blank bailing and using a clicker would work best. Set that clicker way back in your back tension an let go at the click. Slow the draw down an break down each part. No target just a blank bag or target. No aiming. If you dont have a target you dont have anything to panic over. Also, make dang sure you aren't over bowed.
     
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  24. Derzis

    Derzis Tracker

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    There are a lot of good advises here, but just one question: When you shoot compound is the same? Have you ever thought to use a mechanic release on your trad bow? I know it's a "no, no" for many purists but maybe your mind just needs to adjust the rest to the bow and what instinctive shooting means instead kicking your perfectionist side after failing to hit the spot as you were thinking you can.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
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  25. gila_dog

    gila_dog BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    All I can say is to just get your mind off the business of shooting the bow, and concentrate on the target. Don't even think about what you are doing. Just focus you mind on that little spot on the target and then draw and shoot. Your brain knows how to shoot. Your body knows how to shoot. Just get your mind out of the way and let it all happen. The only thing to think about is the range, and how high to hold, but do that before you even draw. Other than that, don't think about the anchor point, the sight picture, the release, etc, etc. Just relax your mind, and concentrate on that little spot and let your subconscious mind take care of everything else in the background. I know that sounds simplistic, but that's really the essence of instinctive shooting. It's very much like shooting basketballs, or throwing baseballs, or casting fishing lures, or shooting a shotgun at moving targets, etc. You think about it too much, and you'll screw it up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
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  26. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Chaotic Neutral. Supporter Bushclass I

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    I don't shoot compound, so I don't have any experience with the gadgets. I would be reluctant to use a release; I might try a clicker, though.
    This next bit will be sort of ranty but I think it's a very important point to try to make:
    I can shoot fairly well, just going instinctive. When I hunt, or a lot of the times when I'm on a 3D course and I have one shot, I'll do better than I ever do plinking, because you're totally focused on that spot out there. (This week, for instance, I've been shooting at a foam block after dark, where I can see the target fairly well but I can't see where my arrow is pointing, and that's been pretty rewarding.) But I don't think instinctive shooting is the end of the line.
    I guess my philosophy here is that the body discipline of target shooting (let's call it 'traditional' shooting rather than 'instinctive' shooting) is the antithesis of instinctive shooting, but far more rewarding. It is something to be worked at and achieved, a lot like yoga or a martial art. (And, like yoga, there are certainly mind/body parallels in archery; there are disparate mental and physical aspects of all those pursuits that amount to something greater than the sum of their parts.) There's a very rewarding calm that comes with that sort of disciplined, repetitive body motion - but unless you're doing the same thing over and over and over, you can't get consistent, and unless you discipline your body, you're never going to do the same thing twice, much less over and over. Yes, you can plunk arrows until you have learned, somehow, the rudiments of sending an arrow to a particular place, but if you develop a consistent sequence I think you're much more likely to be able to manipulate your point of aim effectively. When running your body through a series of precise steps becomes unconscious, that's when you'll really start to be a force to be reckoned with. I feel I have a responsibility, if I'm out there sticking broadheads in animals, to do it as effectively and humanely and efficiently as possible, which means lots and lots of frustration and practice and blisters and sore muscles.
    Let's say in this ad hoc philosophy that there are two foci - the impetus and the impact, or more plainly, the body and the target. Let's say most shooters' perspectives are centered on one of those two things, and one rarely strays into the other. Let's take, say, Khatuna Lorig and Fred Bear, two people who I very greatly admire. Fred, as much as I love him, could never do what Khatuna does, and vice versa, because Fred is impact-focused, and Khatuna is body-focused. (If you've never seen her shoot, she's all over youtube. She pulls 51 pounds, and makes it look as casual as flipping the pages of a book.)

    It's been a glorious few days, finally getting out after a dark winter and getting to shoot a bow without shivering my keester off, and there's a long way to go before all my fletchings are touching downrange, but it's a fun road to get there. Thanks everyone for your input so far, it's been a big help.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  27. Derzis

    Derzis Tracker

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    OK, in this case you know the solution: shoot just one arrow than go to the target, get it back and shoot again. Fred Bear always said the instinctive archers are not good for tournaments - or plinking as you said. From what I read, you are a hunter, not a target shooter. Accept what you are, and enjoy the arrows one at a time. I use a trick when shooting 3D. If 1st went where I wanted, my target is the butt/feathers/vanes of my 1st arrow not the initial circle. For the 3rd I will try to hit one of the 2 already in target and so on.

    PS I never shot more than 4 arrows, usually 2 and repeat just because I know my attention/focus has a limit.

    PPS Instinctive shooting is not the end of the line. Is the end of the nerves if is used in competition. Too many arrows in the target are distraction for brain. When using any other type of sighting, you have no arrows in your mind/eye between you and target, just a point where you have to place the arrow tip.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
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  28. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Chaotic Neutral. Supporter Bushclass I

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    That is sound advice, sir. Thank you.
     
  29. Angelgutter

    Angelgutter Supporter Supporter

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    I started with bow fishing. Busting bullfrogs on the shore at 10'. Sticking a carp as ya pass over. It seems with so many variables I was able to just let go and have fun, for me that's all it took. Lots of great advise here though, just thought I'd chime in
     
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  30. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Chaotic Neutral. Supporter Bushclass I

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    Starting to get over it. I care not about fine camera work, this is right at sixteen yards.


    (Pressure got to me on this last shot...:eek:)
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
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  31. WY_Not

    WY_Not Supporter Supporter

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    A modified natural point of aim (NPOA) exercise from Appleseed might help with the exercises mentioned above.

    Draw the arrow/bow back and get on target. Close your eyes, relax. Open your eyes. Are you on target? Yes, shoot. No, shift your rear foot around your front foot (planted pivot) and repeat.
     
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  32. Sippi

    Sippi Tracker

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    Looks good to me! Thats accurate enough to hunt for sure.
     
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  33. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Chaotic Neutral. Supporter Bushclass I

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    Puttin that work in...
    [​IMG]
     
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