Prep Your Brain for Opening Day of Bow Season

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Realtree's David Blanton talks about the mental side of shooting a bow effectively

Many competitive archers and coaches will tell you that the most important elements of shooting a bow well happen in your head. That’s just as true for bowhunters. For Realtree’s David Blanton, a big component of pre-season practice is not just shooting groups of arrows, but shooting a few perfect arrows — ideally, with a little pressure on the line. 

“Envision success,” Blanton says. He even goes so far as envisioning a hunting scenario in his head. “Make that first arrow the most important one you shoot,” he says. “I want you to envision, you’re sitting in a stand in Kansas, or Alabama. And you see a big, mature buck running a doe in the hardwoods. And she starts to come your way, and you know that buck is the buck of a lifetime. And he’s going to stop out there wherever your target is. Twenty seven yards. You want to envision that, get caught up in the moment. Make that first arrow count! I would rather shoot 20 arrows a day with some pressure on the line than going out and shooting 50, and not really caring about the result.” 

Blanton says it’s also important to “look between your ears,” so to speak, before making adjustments to your equipment. It’s easy for minor form imperfections to cause your groups to drift a little bit off target on a given day. Blanton says too many people make rash decisions to adjust their equipment, and end up “chasing the bull’s eye.” Often, if you just settle down and focus on better form, the problem will correct itself. 

To do that, another trick Blanton recommends is having a buddy film you while you shoot. This makes errors in form that you may not even know you’re making much easier to see. “I used to be the worst puncher in the world,” Blanton says. “After seeing myself shoot on video, I was shocked at how poor my posture was. Watching yourself shoot is incredibly helpful. But don’t get your feelings hurt, though.” 

(Don't Miss: Pre-Season Bowhunter's Checklist)