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Where did that shot come from?

You pull your bow up, look at the target grange and shoot a perfect miss!

Where did that shot come from? The answer … It was built in all your practice sessions.

Practice the wrong way and you could be practicing your own failure! Sometimes you might get lucky and the arrow finds its mark, often it does not. You just fell victim to the mental and physical effects of adrenaline, the fuel of target panic. This illustration is why shot control is so important. A controlled shot is one that is consciously driven through the steps of the shot process. When you have complete mental control of your shot, you have effectively eliminated or at least greatly reduced the mental effects of target panic. When you eliminate the mental effects, you are only left with the physical effects. You have reduced your problem by at least half. I would argue you have reduced the problem by more than 90%. Of the physical effects, only one can be controlled. That one physical aspect is breathing. Controlling your breathing, like controlling a shot, takes a decision. You will never just suddenly find yourself controlling your breathing. You must recognize your breathing is getting faster and make a conscious decision to change your breathing cycle. A common breathing cycle to use when attempting to slow your heart rate is this: Breath in through your nose for a 4 count, Hold for a 4 count, Breath out through your mouth for a 4 count, Hold for a 4 count. Repeat this as necessary to keep your heart rate down. When you keep your heart rate down, you have the ability to remain in your cognitive brain. When you remain in your cognitive brain, you can then remember how to talk yourself through your shot. You have practiced your concentration and your decision making. Your shot is not a mystery to you anymore. Mental shot control and the physical control of breathing will allow you to master your body and mind in a high stress shooting event. Control what you can. We owe them that much.

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