Target Panic?

Frank Lawler

New member
Besides releasing too soon, could it also manifest itself as the inability to release when you want to? I have been struggling with the later for almost a year now, but only recently have I considered that it could be a symptom of TP. When I come onto aim and am ready to release, I find myself to be rigid, frozen, immobile as a statue. I might as well be stuck in a vise. I can only get out of it by raising my bow arm, letting the arrow creep forward slightly, then reestablishing my draw and releasing as I lower my bow arm again. Obviously this is no solution at all. Conversely, during my weekly blind/blank bale session (which I really enjoy), my form always feels natural and relaxed. The bow jumps straight ahead upon release and my draw hand flies back to my shoulder. Unfortunately it all goes away when I find myself in front of a target. If it's at all relevant, I shoot barebow. If anyone could reply with some insights or experience, it would be much appreciated. Meanwhile, I'm off to the blank bale to practice drawing, holding, then letting down without releasing. Thanks
 

Timid Toad

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Fonz Awardee
Ironman
In short, yes.
Or inability to get onto target, or is drifting of the inability to get back onto the gold.
I have bouts of target panic, mainly at target, less so at Field, non at Clout or Flight. They come and they go.
I do lots of blank boss, then put masking tape dots on the boss and aim at those, then practice on a fita target "bunny", then onto a target face. This can take many days. I do have to take myself in hand and make myself be disciplined.
 

Bertybobby

New member
I have seen a young girl have it at a recent FITA 70 comp. She was distraught. She got through the clicker fine but could just not let go. One end she only got 2 arrows away.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4
 

Hudzi93

New member
I have the complete opposite problem. I tend to let go before I'm even at full draw because of the fear of missing. This is only when I shoot at a short distance though (20 yards).
 

TexARC

New member
First, stop calling it that bollocks title. It does not deserve such status. I like to call it shot choke. After a lot of reading and studying, I conclude that most episodes or cases of shot choke arise from too much involvement of the frontal cortex of the brain (analogous to the "RAM" in a computer). When a person's desire to perform is ruled by the FC, it cannot help but be unsmooth, overcontrolled, discombobulated, and just plain painful. The sports where very concise movements under duress are required seem more prone: A catcher in baseball cannot return the ball to the pitcher. A golfer cannot smoothly putt in a 6-foot sure-fire stroke. A tennis player cannot hit an overhead, or a second serve. THE FC/MIND LITERALLY GETS IN THE WAY of a motion that through practice has evolved into something that can be performed entirely subconsciously with a high degree of accuracy and reproducibility.
There. It's now well defined. How does that help you and thousands of other archers? Not hardly one whit.
I do not believe there is any one, single solution to Shot Choke. The inability to execute on demand, as desired, seems to come more to those who have developed more function rather than to newbies. Having had an archer who developed shot choke in about 2006, I've exhaustively searched for solutions and subjected her to many.
SC, shot choke, is like alcoholism - the vast majority are afflicted for life butt learn to function whilst a few can "cure" themselves and never betray it again, and some number in between simply surrender the sport.
One may try a variety of methods to alleviate the pain and psychic discomfort of being ruled by an inanimate object. If I ever get good enough to develop SC, I'll certainly try them all. Hopefully my awareness will mitigate it, but if you do have some element of SC, you need to try *anything* that strikes your fancy.
If you can, watch the movie "Tin Cup" with Kevin Costner and Cheech Marin (of Cheech and Chong fame). Golfers' Shot Choke is commonly referred to as the "yips" or the "shanks", and their method of dealing with it makes just as much sense as going to the "Target P***c Doctor". CHANGE something you are doing as a means of distracting the stupid part of your brain that insists on overruling your subconscious, so that your subc. can sneak in and do what it does best. Keep you upright on two feet. Scratch whereever. Throw a ball accurately.... SHOOT a bow and have the arrow go where, yes, your subconscious, envisions it going.
The best solution for my best archer was a book by Jay Kidwell, Instinctive Archery Insights, and I rush to say that much of the book is NOT useful to me, but the figure 8, infinity, drawings and such were the best solution of a dozen or more I tried with that archer. Ultimately, she defeated most of the shot choke, but the head coach she served under did more damage than I thought possible. Anyway, that's spilt milk under the bridge.
Try anything that sounds to YOU like it might help with shot choke. Understanding FLOW can help, and belief in yourself is never a bad thing. But do not place more faith in anyone else(including me) than you do in yourself. Ultimately, you are the one left holding the bow and your confidence in yourself is not misplaced, merely doubted. And don't panic! :)
 

jerryRTD

Well-known member
Can't say any more to that!!!
+1
On a separate note I can't hepl thinking that the blank bale practice is not helping, you appear to be far too much at ease doing it. blank bail seams to emphasise the difference between normal target shooting and practice.
Instead try putting up a 60cm face at 30yds but adjust your site so that the arrows hit below the face on the boss and shoot for the group. This might fool your brain into be able to shoot at a target and not worry where the arrows are going.
 

Frank Lawler

New member
Yes, I think you are absolutely right about my blank bale practice. Perhaps coincidentally, I modified my practice by marking small dots on the bale and forcing myself to aim, hold for 3 seconds, then release without creeping or raising my bow arm. For whatever reason, I found some encouraging results by initiating the release with a deliberate bow arm push. Not sure what this may say about my usual form, but I plan to stay with it and see where it leads. Previously I would try to stretch my shoulders apart and increase pulling to release properly, that is, when I was able to. I shoot barebow therefore am unable to try out your recommendation regarding the sight, however, it does suggest that aiming off might possibly be a good future practice.
 

Bald Eagle

New member
I've never been a fan of blank boss shooting for TP. When you go back to a target face it starts all over again!!! Try shooting a few dozen at the blue ring for a change, then the red then back on the gold!
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Sometimes a very small change is enough to start you on the right road to overcoming this. A small change, could be as you say, pushing with the bow arm. I am not a fan of pushing with the bow arm IF that push moves the bow shoulder out towards the target and leaving the force from the bow to be held by muscles rather than bone to bone contact.
Another change is to aim at small dots but use a big sight ring. The big ring can surround the little dot and you can get shots away even if you are shaking with fright!!! Once you find that the shot is going off well enough, you can gradually work towards making things more normal by increasing the dot size and the distance to the target. It is important to keep in control of what you want to happen and only change the sight and target when you are able to succeed fairly quickly with the newer challenge.
 

0neida

New member
+1 to all of that.

Fine example of brain getting in the way of what the body can do on it's own is teaching people to march.

Start on the left foot swing the right arm, repeat until told to do something else, simple. But you are having to think about something you've been doing naturally since you were two years old and it all goes wrong, left foot left arm, right foot right arm.

Once the brain takes over it wants to keep control and things get worse to the point where it won't let you release, squeeze the trigger, swing the putter for fear of failure. You are now firmly trapped by the dark side. Negative re-enforcement.

This doesn't stop when the shooting stops but goes on as your brain beats itself up for not doing very well.

The path to the side of light and peace can only be followed by positive re-enforcement. lower all your expectations, high scores are all at zero, this is a new shooter. Lots of blank targets at short distance and training focusing on technique, ignoring plain crap shots but applauding yourself for the ones that felt good. leave the training session on a high, congratulate yourself on the particular part of your technique you are most happy with. Buy yourself a little treat on the way home as a positive enforcement of a job well done. Analyse the really good shots and leave to not so good ones as " I didn't do it as well as I could have" and give them no more thought.

If you can bear to, take all the crap off your bow so there is nothing to get in the way of your technique. When you get around to putting it back on again give your clicker to your worst enemy at the range, that's the best use for them.

Move up to massive faces at short range 10 yards or so and do the same again, all in the gold, well done:cheerful:. Stretch the distance and use smaller targets as it becomes easier. These is no time frame for this and no reason not to repeat blank targets or huge faces. I've seen experienced shooters do this in a couple of sessions and others in a couple of months.

Try to think of yourself, as an archer, like a little puppy dog. If you shout and scowl at it it will do what you want out of fear and won't want to keep doing it. If you use a soft voice, a pat on the head, and a sweet treat it'll do what you want because it wants to.

If all else fails then quit for a while. I was a competitive pistol shooter, 500 shots a week in training was normal, as were competitions most weekends. When it got too much and my shooting started to suffer I stopped for 6 months. I came back to it because I wanted to and my shooting was back as good as it ever was after a couple of coaching sessions. Remember you are doing it for fun, if it stops being fun stop doing it.
 

Frank Lawler

New member
Thanks for all the replies I've been getting. I guess it's better to simply regard this as a challenge on the way to better shooting, rather than a limit I'll never get beyond.
 

0neida

New member
It's not so much a challenge as a wake up call that you might need to change what you are doing.

You know you can do it, you have done it thousands of times without giving it much thought. But now you are thinking about it.

You can't just stop thinking about it our minds don't work that way. You have to train your brain all over again so that it can sit aloof of all the mundane repetitive nonsense like letting go of the string and just monitor what's going on. Not taking control, wiggling the control sticks and thinking too hard about when to hit the fire button!
 

fanio

Active member
...
If you can bear to, take all the crap off your bow so there is nothing to get in the way of your technique. When you get around to putting it back on again give your clicker to your worst enemy at the range, that's the best use for them.

...
Most of Oneida's post is good, but this bit is terrible advice. Good thing you shoot barebow so it probably won't harm you, but for other poor souls out there not shooting barebow:

Avoiding/curing that exact problem (not being able to release - which stems from your conscious mind having to make the decision as to when to release the string) is EXACTLY WHY CLICKERS ARE USED BY ALL TOP RECURVE ARCHERS. It is NOT A DRAW CHECK. It is there to let you know when to relax your draw fingers (aka "release"/"loose").

So, together with the above advice - lots of which is good - you should find a good barebow coach (or maybe a book) and work out some "trigger" that can be your equivalent of the clicker, so you don't have to consciously decide when to release.
 

0neida

New member
I was writing the post in the hope that other archers would read it and find it useful. The bolt on goodies, that no target archer seems to be able to shoot without, can mask a multitude of sins, after all they are there to make life easier.

I must be alone in thinking that training yourself to release the arrow when something goes "click" is not a good idea.

Draw up and continue to slowly draw through the clicker maintaining a reasonable sight picture until the clicker drops and you automatically release.

Sounds easy but balancing dynamic actions of drawing the bow while trying to manage the static actions of holding the aim at the same time is inviting, in my opinion, the brain to get involved. But like the signature says "This is my view, feel free to ignore it."

If the clicker is all so important then how come compound archers can be so accurate even shooting from fingers, and I include myself in this, with only experience and training as a guide for release? It would be possible to fit a clicker to a compound for finger shooting but no-one does, I wonder why?
 

fanio

Active member
I must be alone in thinking that training yourself to release the arrow when something goes "click" is not a good idea.
No you're not alone. But that doesn't mean you're not wrong...

If the clicker is all so important then how come compound archers can be so accurate even shooting from fingers, and I include myself in this, with only experience and training as a guide for release? It would be possible to fit a clicker to a compound for finger shooting but no-one does, I wonder why?
Compound shooters shooting with release aids almost always develop target panic and flinching/anticipating the shot, unless they learn how to shoot properly - i.e. make the release aid go without conscious thought/cognitive control.

If the clicker was not "all so important", why is there not a single international level recurve shooter anywhere in the world shooting without one?
 

Aleatorian

Member
It would be possible to fit a clicker to a compound for finger shooting but no-one does, I wonder why?
Set draw length via modules on the cams....
Kinda makes adding a clicker to a compound pointless, pretty much comparing apples to oranges there, compounds aren't like recurves even when shot off the fingers.
 

fanio

Active member
You can't just stop thinking about it our minds don't work that way. You have to train your brain all over again so that it can sit aloof of all the mundane repetitive nonsense like letting go of the string and just monitor what's going on. Not taking control, wiggling the control sticks and thinking too hard about when to hit the fire button!
Exactly. It helps if there is a little click that tells you when to "hit the fire button"
 

fanio

Active member
Set draw length via modules on the cams....
Kinda makes adding a clicker to a compound pointless, pretty much comparing apples to oranges there, compounds aren't like recurves even when shot off the fingers.
Some people used to use clickers on compounds back in the late 80s, early 90s (including pros like Frank and Becky Pearson) - even shooting with release aids. But bows back then had wiiiiiiiiiide valleys, and no real "wall" to speak of. No reason why you can't do it on a modern compound though, unless it has a limb stop.
 

0neida

New member
I'm going to bow out of this one before it turns into a bun fight.

I think they are the cause of a lot of problems and are something that should be used with caution.

On the original posting, I hope you can work through your problems and come out the other side a better and wiser archer.
 
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