More often than not, shooting inaccuracies stem from human error rather than equipment error. A shooter can encounter a variety of issues that negatively impact their shot, such as stance, muscle balance, and anchor point, and these can be especially prevalent when a shooter is experiencing target panic. Pumping adrenaline and nerves will only increase the inaccuracies in your shot. Enter blind bale shooting. In blind bale shooting, you shoot at a target with your eyes closed.
Yes, you read that right. Shoot with your eyes closed. Since your eyes are closed, you’ll want to stand close to the target so that you don’t miss. The purpose of it is to build muscle memory, so in pressure situations when your brain is panicking and screaming for help, your muscles can go through a specific and consistent shot sequence. Taking the mental aspect out of your practice allows you to only focus solely on and perfect your physical form.
While blind bale shooting, create a shot sequence for yourself that you follow every time you shoot. A well defined shot sequence is key to consistent shooting. USA Archery gives 13 basic steps of a shot sequence.
- Nocking the arrow
- Hooking and gripping
- Set position and mindset
- Set up
- Expansion and aiming
- Release and follow through
- Feedback and evaluation
When you are blind bale shooting, go through each step one by one and determine the specifics of your own shot sequence (it’s okay if it looks a little different than what we have here). Your shot sequence should be exactly the same every time you shoot. Stand right in front of the target, close your eyes, and go through your sequence time after time after time. Make it a habit, turn it into muscle memory, and make your sequence something you don’t have to constantly think about. Reinforcing proper aiming and consistent release will help keep target panic at bay in high pressure situations. Keep in mind that blind bale shooting is a long term treatment. It is not a one and done exercise; it is one to keep in your arsenal throughout the duration of your shooting career and should be implemented every step of the way. There is always something you can learn from and improve in your shot sequence.