How Mental State Dramatically Affects Your Bow Shooting

Have you ever wondered how your mental state affects your shooting abilities? You’re about to be amazed.

There is no question that our mental state plays a very important role in every activity that we do. Our bodies are always going to respond depending on our mental state and our general mental health, so it’s always important to understand the relationship between the mind and the body. If you are still wondering how much our mental state affects our shooting abilities, the answer is a lot.      

As an archer, I have always found that my mental state has been a factor in my overall performance with the bow. For example, when I feel down or angry due to anything that is happening in my life, I’m more likely to have issues with my accuracy. After being an archer for so long, you start to see the obvious differences in your archery skills depending on how you are feeling.

It’s easy to see how this related to everything you do. If you feel sad or anxious, you always seem to perform at lower levels regardless of the activity you are doing. Both your physical and your mental performance will change based on your mental state.  

A little anecdote about archery and your mental state

I can definitely talk about a personal experience with archery and with my mental state. I remember I lost a job that I had for a long time. On top of that, I was dealing with a difficult personal relationship. My accuracy was always incredibly good and I never missed my target, but that day I was feeling the stress of my personal life, and my accuracy was so bad that I hardly hit the target canvas with each shot.    

I remember that as I started to miss the target, I started to feel worried and tried even harder to hit the target. Each time it seemed like I was further from the target and I wasn’t able to control my breathing. That day was a wreck and I remember that this stuck in my head because it wasn’t a tournament, it was just a regular day of target practice by myself in my garden.

Just a month later, my life was finally doing better. I started to see my accuracy was finally back where it was supposed to be. Then I had to deal with a very difficult time soon after due to a close relative who was sick. I started to feel the stress and the anxiety was building up again. This was a difficult time for me and I once again saw how this affected my accuracy.     

At this point, I was freaking out without a doubt because I knew that life is a rollercoaster. This means that problems and difficulties are part of life from time to time. This is why you need to learn to live with them. That is the moment when I decided that I was going to learn to keep my mind under control. I had to do this regardless of how things are doing in my life.

It was at this point that a good friend of mine introduced me to Yoga. I had heard about how yoga could help you stay calm, but I never really paid much attention to it or took an interest, but that changed once I took my first class.

How Yoga and meditation changed my life

When I started doing yoga, my whole life was changed. I remember that I was able to start handling difficult times in my life. I was no longer anxious or stressed out due to personal issues. The idea is to learn to keep these personal issues from affecting your performance at work, or with your hobbies, etc. In my case, I was able to make a huge difference in my archery accuracy. Life is going to keep happening day by day. Knowing how to deal with it is going to be a powerful tool and skill.

Yoga always seemed like a passive practice of little use, but I was definitely wrong to make that assumption. Once I started doing Yoga, I felt in tune with my body and I felt like I was definitely in control of my mental state. It might seem like we are all able to handle problems in life without meditation, but that is not the case. It’s important to understand how you can reach a good meditative state. It’s also good to learn how to improve your general levels of relaxation.

If you feel like Yoga is not your thing, you can learn very useful and important breathing exercises. This is going to that help you relax your mind and your body. Just keep in mind that practice makes perfect with breathing as much as it does with archery, so being consistent is always important.

The importance of a healthy lifestyle

This is an archery blog and not a blog about nutrition or healthy lifestyles, but I need to mention the importance of eating healthy food and exercising. This is going to make things easier for you and it will allow you to achieve optimal results. A good example is a caffeine and how it affects your blood pressure. This means that your accuracy is going to suffer because you are going to be twitchy and jittery.   

Eating too much junk food and having soft drinks with it can also be damaging to your archery accuracy. The idea here is to stay as healthy as you can, and don’t take it as some kind of lecture, just advice from someone who has seen the improvement in his accuracy. I have made some dietary changes in my life that have been incredibly useful for this purpose.

Sometimes it can be as easy as quitting those soft drinks and getting rid of the potato chips. The little dietary changes can make an incredible difference in your general health. So take things slowly and make small adjustments that will start to accumulate in a very positive way. This is always going to be easier than trying to change your entire eating habits at once.

I also believe that drinking is terrible for your performance. Smoking, drinking, and any kind of recreational drug will always impair your archery skills. Not only when under the influence, but also afterward. As I said before, this is not about telling what do to but letting you know of the lifestyle choice that will affect your archery skills without a doubt.

Exercise is key

Your body is going to be healthier if you eat well, but it also needs exercise to be in optimal conditions. I believe that exercise has also been a great factor that has improved my shooting abilities with the bow. Having strong hands that can grip the bow properly without being too tense is always a plus. A healthy and strong body is an optimal body for an archer.

My exercise regime is only 30 minutes a day, but that allows me to jump rope for 10 minutes straight. Then I do several sets of push-ups and squats. Doing this 5 times a week was a huge change and I have seen the results of doing this. There is an undeniable truth behind exercise being good and a sedentary life being bad. We can all pretend otherwise, but the way we feel is impossible to hide. That is proof of the importance of exercise and healthy food.

If you feel like you have a hard time sticking to workouts at home, you can always join a gym. When you pay for your exercise equipment privileges, you are more likely to make use of that gym membership. This makes sense because you want to avoid wasting your money. This has worked for me when I have felt like I can’t keep up with my home exercise routine. Investing in your health is never a bad thing.

I also have a very special training regime when I travel. I bring a jump rope with me. Learning to jump like a boxer with pretty good form has helped make this fun for me. I just grab my jump rope and I jump for 10 minutes. This is an amazing cardio workout. I usually do this when I can’t be home and I need some exercise. The good news is that jump ropes are both affordable and very portable.

Final thoughts

If I could give you some final advice regarding your mental state and archery, it has to be that everything you do in life is going to affect your skills with the bow. I’m not saying you should become a poster boy or girl for healthy living, but the better you treat your body, the better it will respond. This is very important when you need it to work at optimal levels.

Archery relies heavily on your physical and mental control. Your breathing, your mood, and your physical strength. Think of your body as your main instrument for archery and take care of it, you are going to love the results you get.