Archery for the Average by Corrinne


“So, how long have you been shooting?” asks the course member, eyeing my distinctly un-grouped triumvirate of arrows. “Well, about three months …” I begin, to which she responds with an understanding nod of the head. “And, uh, a year.”


The course member blinks. Tumbleweed rolls, accusingly, along the shooting line.


It’s fair to say I’ll never be the best in t’club –my scores are currently drifting lazily about in the lower quarter of the Traditional scoreboard, like leaves in a late September breeze. That doesn’t bother me – I’m only out to compete against myself. What does bother me is that Myself sometimes plays dirty. Like a lot of people, I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to shooting. But of late, I’ve developed a better awareness of when my own mind is getting in the way of a good shot. How so? Oh, let me count the ways:


Fighting with the bow

Yeah, I initially did that classic newbie thing of overbowing myself. Partly ‘cause I got cocky and told myself that being a 5-foot-1 woman was no barrier to shooting what the big boys shoot. Pfffft. Your bow should feel like an extension of your body, not a demon determined to take you down. If your arms hurt, your draw is jerky, and you feel like the bloody thing is shooting you, not the other way round – go down a few pounds. 30 lb is my limit.


Lack of concentra … ooh, helicopter!

It’s really easy for me to drift off somewhere in between nocking and releasing (as the nurse said to the vicar … honestly, who came up with these terms?). Gotta keep focus on that target all the way through. Harder than it sounds for someone like me, but it makes a big difference. Tune out the chatter – other peoples and your own bloody head’s.


Rushing, rushing

There’ll be time for everyone to shoot their ends (and there’s that vicar again). I always have to guard against rushing, doing that overly-self-conscious thing of wanting to get myself out of the way so my target partner – a better archer, in my head, regardless of who they are – can shoot. Don’t rush. Give yourself permission to be there.


Going instinctive too soon

No, I am not Byron Ferguson, nor was meant to be. I stopped consciously counting out my sequence, and damn, I sucked for a while. Going back to that stance-nock-set-hands-etc. malarkey has made a big difference.



Yeah, you missed. So what? During a round, try not to have an emotional response to any shot, good or bad. Getting annoyed at a bad shot will have a knock-on effect on your next.  Conversely, getting too cocky at a good couple of shots will only lead to Third Arrow Syndrome, and we all know how annoying that is. Do your celebrating in the brewery afterwards.  Quietly, preferably.


Now where's that third arrow?

Now where’s that third arrow?


Now, where could that third arrow be?

That’s it for now. Just a few more things, afore I go:


  • It’s meant to be fun. Try to find that balance between performing at your best, and not letting your hobby become another source of stress.


  • Get a mate to film you. It does help. No, you don’t look like a twat. This video someone took of me helped me see I was yanking that string like an old-fashioned bog chain:


  • I didn’t get better without ongoing support from the coaches.  If you can’t figure out where you’re going wrong, do ask them for advice.


Time for my evening beverage. Happy shooting, one and all.