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Monday, March 17, 2014

Make the shot EVERY TIME!

On weekends, our Kodabow factory range is used for archery instruction. We watch hundreds of shooters process information, develop form and shoot at targets.
Whether shooting a traditional bow or a crossbow, here are 2 obstacles every shooter needs to overcome to make the critical shot - every time!

Scenario One:  At 15 yards, our friend Mary Jane (name changed for this article) couldn't miss when shooting her recurve traditional bow. Arrow after arrow found the center of the 17" square target. Mary Jane then stepped back to 20 yards and arrows began flying everywhere. She barely could get the arrows on the 48" square target butt. What happened? 
Analysis: At 15 yards, Mary Jane was seeing the target clearly and was focused on the center 3" yellow X ring. At 20 yards, everything changed. Instead of seeing the same yellow aim point, her mind processed the situation differently and the large 48" square target unconsciously became her aim point. Visually -- Mary Jane was fine but her mental state needed to be pushed to make this type of distance and visual adjustment.  It requires mental work to get in the moment and shoot "small" and reorient to the X ring. Don't be lazy and just see a large massive target. As her instructor, we changed things up and placed a 3" balloon at 20 yards and her very next arrow hit the mark. Full mental engagement again. This scenario could have easily been a hunting situation when a hunter makes the mistake of aiming at the "deer" instead of a small target point in the vitals area.  
Scenario Two: On the range, Fred was shooting well at paper targets but was not setting the world on fire by any means. We suggested Fred shift over and shoot his bow at a 3D deer target.  At this point, 20,000 years of genetics and hard wired DNA magically kicked in. Fred sized up the "foam" game animal. Arrows began finding their mark more consistently and with every shot, there was the equivalent of a fist pump going down on the range. High intensity was apparent. We were under florescent lights but in Fred's mind, he was in the wilds of Alaska or Africa.
Analysis: To hunt effectively, your mental state must include an intensity level that provides you with the fortitude to properly make a "killing shot." Hunting is an exercise where a lackadaisical or casual attitude delivers failure. I think Fred harnessed the hunting legacy of generations of his ancestors. Buried deep inside all of us is the primitive bow hunter of 10,000 years ago. There is no other explanation that explains the exceptional transformations that we see on the archery range every day. Something special "kicks in" for many shooters and a quiet, reserved young lady new to archery can begin launching arrows at a game target with a sense of purpose and ferocity as if her next meal depended on making the shot. She may never intend to hunt a day in her life but the act of shooting awakens that "bow hunter" in us and it feels good. There is always a smile. And for those who choose to make the progression and actually head to the field and hunt, you must WORK to mentally prepare to be fully in the moment. Be ready to make a "killing shot" ---- it is not (1) any shot, or a (2) casual shot or (3) a shot that may or may not be good or (4) a hurried or haphazard shot. It is a killing shot  - a perfect shot honed by practice and taken with focus, the fullest sense of purpose and 100% intensity.  See you out there!  
My best, Chuck @ Kodabow