The growing sport of archery takes years of dedication to master and requires an unwavering focus on the target. As one of the world’s oldest sports, there are some tried and tested methods the masters follow that have been thousands of years in the making. Archery meditation and breathing practices are synonymous with achieving success in the sport.
You can expedite your accuracy with a few simple tips to help your concentration before you take the next shot. Gathering the equipment and developing the form you need are introductory steps into the sport, but the progression to high-performance relates to the almost-meditative quality it takes to actually hit the target.
Here are some tips you can apply to your practice to help get your arrow in the gold zone.
First: Check Your Posture
Concentration is key to a successful shot. Improving your archery focus means checking your posture first. Your mind’s energy only has so much space; if you spend some time perfecting your posture so that you don’t even have to think about it, you’ll clear cognitive space for archery concentration in other areas. Go through this mental checklist as you perfect your posture:
- Plant your feet first, shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees
- Face your hips forward toward the target
- Straighten your back and relax your shoulders and your grip - this helps with the breathing that comes later on
If you aren’t sure about your posture, we suggest looking in the mirror, videotaping yourself, or consulting a pro for a second opinion.
Then: Learn to Breathe
Once you have basic form and posture down, it’s time for the next step. Developing archery focus means learning how to breathe when you take a shot. After you get into the standard position, check your pace of breathing. Try to slow down before you take aim.
Here are things you shouldn’t do:
- Never hold your breath
- Practice a consistent rhythm with your breath before, during and after the shot
- Take full, relaxed breaths throughout
For tips on breathing, try some yoga or simple meditation Apps. Soon enough, breathing will be second-nature when you’re ready to shoot.
Finally: Train Your Mind
Now it’s time to truly develop your archery meditation practice. Historically, archery itself was seen as a holistic form of meditation and dates back to the Japanese material art of Kyodo. Kyodo is a form of spiritual practice rooted in Japanese military history. Its components include a focus on breathing, posture, and hitting the target. Try these things:
- Practice your form and breathing early in the morning when it’s quiet
- Read a book about zen archery or Kyodo for some insight on meditative practice in archery
- Be methodical about your training and choose a regular time and day of the week to put your mindful practice to work
You don’t have to be a dojo to train your mind but you do need discipline and patience to improve your archery focus.
Find More Tips at 60X Custom Strings
Many archery concentration skills are applicable in your daily life: slowing down, thinking about each step, focusing on one task at a time. These can all be practiced during your workday or at home. Enhance your love of the sport and find even more archery tips at 60X Custom Strings Bowstring Blog.