Here’s a technique I created to improve my concentration in archery…and it has worked with tennis players and golfers too.

There seems to be three to five specific mechanical movements I need to really emphasize during my shot sequence. My actual POP words have changed over the years but the same routine is used for each and every arrow.  Whether in competition or training, being able to protect this routine is a very valuable skill.

First competitions are coming up for the new archers. While I have been competing for decades and absolutely love the buzz …some newbies and some veterans alike are not so inclined.

One specific feeling word that pops up is anxiety. This is a real medical problem for some people when it leads to panic attacks, hyperventilation, and fainting (yes I have been first responder on archery fields with such incidents so be prepared).

Berlin – December 2011. Women’s scratch. Round of 16. Shoot-off. Me against Maja Jaeger (Denmark). We were tied at 5-5 so it came down to one arrow to see who would progress to next round. I was super cool because I actually did not know she was former World Junior Champion and ranked Top 10 World and an Olympian too. The buzzer sounded. She shot fast. I did not look (I never do) but I heard the crowd cheer… then I shot my arrow and the crowd gasped! It was not until I saw her 9 and my 10 that I realised I won and could move to the next round… where I also beat her compatriot Louise Laursen.  The Berlin Open stills remains my favourite competition on the international archery circuit… although for some reason I think it is better for me to avoid Denmark.

This duel was a prime example of what an athlete must do at crunch time…

One of the hardest parts of being a coach and also one of the most rewarding is teaching someone how to do it without you. We are not there to hold the student’s hand each and every day so the best thing is to teach someone to reach beyond what they knew yesterday and to form new conclusions earned thru guided struggles today.

Archery is not about controlling the arrow - it is about releasing the spirit.  For a moment arrow, bow and archer all fly together towards the target. - KQ