Cure Target Panic

Target panic is a very unpleasant psychological state which many archers have experienced. It is recognised on the undesired and sudden impulses to "punch" the release, or for finger shooters, open their draw hand fingers, as soon as the sight is in or near the gold. Sometimes it is impossible to get the sight in the gold. If you have target panic, don't give up in despair, it can be effectively cured with some pretty simple exercises. Here I give you two exercises that can be used to cure target panic.

Close range shooting

Put up the largest target face and shoot from a short range, about 5m. This is so easy so you would be able to perform a good shooting technique if you really try. Concentrate on finding the right feeling and build up your confidence. If you have a serious problem and this exercise is too difficult, just take the target face away as an initial drill. When you are able to perform a good technique at 5m, go up to 10m and repeat the process. Increase the distance successively and hopefully you will be able to shoot at any distance without any problem. Let this process take some time, several weeks at least.

Shooting without a lens

Take the lens out of the scope. Stand at 15-20m and shoot. Aim thru the peep and the empty scope. Concentrate on finding the right feeling and build up your confidence. When you are satisfied with your shooting technique put the lens back into the scope. If you have a dot in the centre of the lens, take it away. Put a large ring on the lens, it should fit somewhere in the blue area of the target face. Shoot with this setup and you will be amazed how well you can group your arrows without a dot in the scope. If this works you can eventually decrease the size of the ring if you think that it is necessary. If you think your target panic is gone you can always try to put a dot back into the scope, but be careful, target panic can come back and then you have to start all over again.

Backtension releases and target panic

A backtension release does not cure target panic. If you have a mild form of target panic it might work to switch to a backtension release but there is a great chance that you will develop another way of punching your release, typically this will look like you tear off the shots. Tearing off a backtension release is possibly even worse than punching a thumb or wrist release. The best thing to do is to deal with the target panic and eliminate the problem.

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