Focus, Focus, Focus…

This past weekend’s shoot was at Central Maine Archery. I like shooting at their range as it is large, well set up and the owners Tom and Jess Hartford run a good shop.

P1020549

This shoot was a little different for me because my inlaws, Laurel my wife and my kids were coming to watch. I wondered if this would affect my shooting knowing I had an audience as I usually go on my own, I was very appreciative of them taking time out of their lives to come out and support me so I figured it’d be what it would be.

My in laws George and Greta showed up first and between ends I explained what was going on, practice ends, and next would be the first scoring end.

The  first scoring end started and it was on like Donkey Kong (always wanted to say that).  I scored fine on the first end then I heard the door open and someone else coming in, some whispered voices and I could hear a camera clicking away and I figured it had to be Laurel and the kids, and this my dear friends is the whole point of this little tale, I let my focus wander.

I’ve been learning (the hard way) that when your focus is not all about the X twenty yards away that it just doesn’t go as well. This little event providing ample proof. My five arrows for that end were X, 4, 2,2,2 for a 15 out of a possible 25 per end.

P1020530

I’m the recurve guy.

I rallied in the right direction with a 20 on my next end then shot another 15 – 4,4,3,2,2, as my son would say “OMG!”

After this I settled myself focused on shot  sequence, shut the world out and sure enough my scores went up with all my ends in the 20 + range, on the 8th end I shot a  23 with 3 X’s – X, X, X, 4, 4. Perhaps this made me feel confident as I lost my focus on the following end with a dissapointing 17.

Scoring

Scoring

Overall this wasn’t my best shooting but it did provide a valuable lesson. Focus is  just as important as any of the other components of your shot. I spend a fair amount of time practicing these components but other than to put myself in competitive situations I have spent little time practicing focus, can’t say I even know how to practice it but it is on my list.

Let me know if you have found ways to improve your focus on the range.

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8 thoughts on “Focus, Focus, Focus…

  1. I don’t shoot, but I am thinking that improving your focus is easy …. just have the family come more often … and thank them profusely!

    Or at home when you are shooting, welcome their interruptions. They are mini-opportunities for growth. Over time and mentally dealing with the distractions that come up, your focus should improve. Welcoming the unexpected while shooting.

    At least it used to work for me when I was a gymnast.

    This is actually a good subject for me for right now in my life, for as I am getting older I now find myself losing focus at times. Getting in the way of getting things done that I want to accomplish. Good food for thought.

  2. I ran into the same thing. Practicing,alone outside, I was shooting great. As soon as I got to the local indoor range and I was all over the place. Having people all around talking, and other archers standing next to me really made me loose my focus. Since then, I’ve started practicing outside with music playing and I will even stand closer to a couple trees (pretend other archers lol). I’ve done this a couple times now and noticed that it is helping me focus more on what I’m doing and that little “x” 20 yards away.

  3. The best focus schooling I’ve ever had was in Tae Kwon Do.

    During exams at our dojang, there are often around 100 Black Belts or more, performing intricate forms as best they can in crowded conditions, under the critical eyes of multiple Masters. In the crowd, I need to encase myself in a bubble to do my personal best, leaving just enough of my mind aware of the students around me so that I can gracefully avoid them — graceful avoidance being part of what is judged. I can’t allow myself to see them, to compare myself to them, to be anywhere but inside my bubble, dancing my own perfect dance.

    The crowds thin to just a few of us at a time as the different level Black Belts are asked to perform the form required of their level. I’ve been in a group as small as three, with all the Masters watching, as well as the hundreds of people attending to see their kids move up a rank. Now my bubble isn’t blocking out fellow students, it’s cocooning me from the eyes of the audience, from the opinions I am apt to imagine they hold of my skill, from my fear of flubbing in front of one of top Masters in the world. Without my bubble, I’m rapidly torn to shreds by the imaginary shrapnel of judgment around me — within it, I’m alone, free, quiet, meditative, joyful … and I perform a heck of a lot better!

    I am learning to bring my bubble to archery now – wish me luck!

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