times there is a fine “something” that separates a champion from
second place. The Gold Medal verses the Silver Medal is often just a
few points, so what makes the difference? Why do “great”
shooters often come home empty handed? Ever been having a great day at a
tournament only to “blow it” at the last minute? Does the
pressure of a tournament or media appearance ever bother you?
times winning is not about physical ability, equipment, or even
experience. Winners seems to have
“something” extra that allows them to focus and
perform even when the chips are down. Most champion archers
I’ve met could shoot a broom handle with a string on it. So you can’t
buy enough equipment to become a champion, it is earned.
my opinion, this extra “something” is the mental edge. The
mental edge is having the ability to lock down when the chips are down, the
pressure is turned up, and still be at your very best. Arrow after arrow.
Shooting in your backyard is much different than shooting in a major
competition. Almost everyone can perform in low pressure situations.
How can we find out about this mental edge? More importantly can it be
first time I was made aware of the mental aspects of archery was
as a young person reading the late Al Henderson’s work. Al often wrote
about the “mental edge”. I met Henderson around 1978 and was very impressed
with this great man. He was the 1976 Olympic archery team coach and a
much sought after international shooting consultant. Many times after he
passed away I wish I’d taken Henderson
up on his offer to do some javelina bowhunting with him.
friend Glen Helgeland from Target Communications even has a book by Henderson titled,
“Understanding Winning Archery”. For more information on this
important work you can contact Glenn through his company website at http://www.deerinfo.com/ I highly advise reading this
work, even though Al is gone his wisdom can be of benefit to you.
I was taught much about the mental aspects of archery by Dr. Wyatt
Woodsmall. Wyatt taught me more about myself and archery in one afternoon
than I could have learned on my own in years of shooting.
is a master of teaching people the “mental edge”. He is one of
the founding fathers on this school of thought and in my opinion a man that can
help anyone be even better. I first met Woodsmall almost 16 years
ago. I was in a terrible rut and was performing badly at
my shows. I missed more than I hit at several shows in a row.
A friend named Dr. John MacCallum knew I was in a rut and called me at home one
day. He simply said, “Can you do some shooting this afternoon for a
friend and I?” With that I met him, his daughter and Wyatt at my
father’s retail business later that afternoon. I had an assistant come to
toss targets for me.
MacCallum asked me to do a few shots for them. I did and was no where
near the tiny aspirin tablet. My arrows were way off several times in a
row. I was frustrated. Wyatt asked me to walk with him and we went
to the back of the indoor range and sat on a bench. He asked some
questions, walked me through a series of events and then calmly asked me to
shoot for him again. I walked to the front of the range, picked up my
bow, and the next arrow nailed an aspirin first shot! My
friend Dr. MacCallum emailed me recently to say that he still has that aspirin
tablet I hit from almost 16 years ago!
IN PART 2: An in depth interview with Wyatt Woodsmall on how to shoot your very best on every shot. And more…