Iíve always thought fox hunting at its best is when a big feral cat is racing into the call. The bigger the cat, and the faster it runs in, the more exciting it is for me. That ìexcitementî bit though, can somewhat be an archerís Achilles Heel. Get too excited and your shot will suffer. But it has to be exciting to some degree, or why are you there in the first place? Plenty of archers let the moment get away from them and blow a perfect opportunity. There is a trick keeping a bit calmer on those sink or swim shotsÖ
Self hypnosis or visualisation, call it what you like, theyíre variations of the same technique. Youíll have a short story board you replay over and over in your mind. This video clip you run through concentrates on your shot sequence, right down to when you take a half breath, aim, release, follow through etc.
Problems occur in your shooting performance when you do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. Expectations kick in, frustration – thatís a mental thing – you made a choice a while back, unconscious or otherwise to get you to this point. Right now you may even feel the chemistry of tension and adrenalin working its magic and here you are, recalling one of those shots that didnít go the way youíd hopedÖ
ëThinkingí is the keyword in this whole visualisation process – itís what you think that counts. And you get to choose what you think about in visualisation. Makes you think about the word ìdecisionî doesnít it, or is that some sort of pun.
Typical expert self hypnosis types are elite sportsmen and women. Most who are into it have been taught the recipe by a sports psychologist. Theyíre taught variations of a theme, like walking a circular path deep underground, down the rabbit hole of rough stone steps. Deeper and deeper they go. Itís dark now. Walking down, deeper deeper and then the highlight reel starts.
Over time you will get results. Think of a fork in the road ñ one is easy to go down, itís wide, nothing is overgrown making you bend over to get through. Itís easy to go down that path because thatís the one you always take. The other fork is an overgrown track. Itís time to take that one. Itíll be rough working going through it for a while, but eventually the other fork will become the overgrown unused one.
5 minutes of quiet time each day is all you need for all this day dreaming stuff. Always focus on the shot process, not the result. A good shot cadences takes care of the results.