How to Overcome Target Panic

You settle into your stance. You smoothly draw back the arrow, coming to a full draw. Your nose is pressed against the string, and your peep sight is in the perfect position.

It’s time to aim. The pin on your sight floats across your target. But instead of smoothly squeezing the trigger and sending your arrow through the X of your SpyderWeb Target, you suddenly freeze and experience a moment of panic. Your pin flies all over the target and you can’t control your movement. You send the arrow soaring way too far left.

Sound familiar? Have you ever panicked or flinched right before taking a shot at the target? You’re not alone.

Target panic is innate. It’s the body’s natural response to anticipating the shot. The mind will not allow the body to cause an explosion as a surprise without having a response to that explosion. If given the chance, your mind will always brace the body for impact, or an explosion.

The “explosion” is obvious when shooting firearms. People often experience target panic as they anticipate the weapon’s recoil. However, the explosion is less obvious in archery. Even though archers do not experience recoil, the tension is what causes target panic. Shot anticipation is greater with a bow because the body is in tension, and this tension is the only thing stopping the explosion from happening.

There are a number of ways archers can overcome target panic. Here’s how:

Release Aids. You can purchase release aids specifically designed to help stop target panic. These release aids eliminate the archer’s ability to “punch the trigger,” meaning the archer jerks on the trigger instead of squeezing it gently.

Aim Without Shooting. Another helpful for archers struggling with target panic is to aim without shooting. Try spending two weeks practicing drawing and holding steady on your SpyderWeb Target without releasing an arrow, it can help break the habit of the shot anticipation that causes target panic.

Shoot Without Aiming. Also known as blank shooting, this involves shooting generally at your SpyderWeb Target instead of aiming at a specific mark. By eliminating the step of aiming, archers can focus on the steps of shooting and form elements, such as stance and back tension.

If any portion of the shot is not going as planned, recognize the error and let down your draw. With every perfect shot, realize how you did it mentally. What were you thinking about during the movement? Instead of focusing on how you feel during each shot, focus on what you are thinking. If you can keep the same thought process during every shot, you can break target panic.

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