brucMemberFebruary 7, 2012 at 4:22 amPost count: 476
For me it is a strong urge to release before attaining full draw or an anchor.
I manage the problem by means of a clicker. It seems to work. I really think I had the problem for a long time before I realized what the problem was. I just kept practicing and the more I shot the worst I got. I read an article in TBM on the use of a clicker by Jason Wesbrock and that article has been the turning point for me. Given my age,I doubt the problem will go away, and that’s why I use the word “manage”.
brucMemberFebruary 7, 2012 at 1:51 pmPost count: 476
Yes I use it while hunting. I wrap the metal portion of the clicker, that makes the click, with a bit of friction tape and this quietens it. The one little issue while hunting is keeping the little string, from tangling in bush, but its not really that much of a problem.
Jason WesbrockMemberFebruary 7, 2012 at 4:05 pmPost count: 762
Thanks for the kind words, Bruc. I’m glad the piece helped someone. Struggling with target panic was without a doubt the single most frustrating aspect of archery I’ve ever encountered. Going from averaging upper 270s on a 300 round and mid-to-upper 400s on a field round to scoring 8s and 5s on 3D targets where I used to shoot 12s and 10s was very demoralizing. After struggling through it by means of a clicker, my shooting is back to where it was pre-TP, and more importantly, I’m enjoying archery again.
How would I define target panic? I think of it as a disconnect between the mind and body with respect to shot sequence. Ironically enough, this type of issue is far from unique to archery. I’ve heard of it referred to as “the yipps” in both baseball and golf—the pitcher who inexplicably loses the ability to locate his fastball, or the golfer who goes from driving 250 yards down the center of the fairway to running his club into the turf. It’s incredibly frustrating. In your mind you know what you have to do; you’ve done it thousands of times. But your body won’t cooperate.
I’ve seen target panic manifest itself primarily in two ways depending on the archer’s shot sequence. For those who aim during the draw, TP seems to create the inability to reach anchor. You’ll see someone freeze up a few inches short of their anchor point, possibly start to shake, and then yank the string back and drop it in one motion.
You may also see someone who has to release as soon as they hit anchor (which is different from someone who simply chooses to employ a touch and go release). For those who aim after reaching anchor (and this goes for compound shooters too), target panic seems to show itself as freezing off target. With this type of issue, what you’ll see is a firm steady hold followed by a short and rapid lateral movement as the archer releases—freezing off target and then pitching into it at the moment of release.
David PetersenMemberFebruary 7, 2012 at 5:10 pmPost count: 2749
I continue to struggle to comprehend how so many folks suffer target panic when shooting at a target. But clearly it’s real and widespread. If it happens there, we know it’s far more common in hunting shots, though in the excitement we may not realize what’s happening. My problem in this realm is not so much short-drawing and premature release (although I got into that for a while due to a sore shoulder, but believe I’ve worked through it now), but neglecting to pick a spot even if I’m mentally chanting “pick a spot” as I draw and release. This too is target panic. My “clicker” is the tiny brushing sound when my string fingers touch my beard at my right jaw, telling me I’m there. (Amazingly, this tiny sound has spooked Coues deer at 20 yards!) I also overdraw a bit then come back forward to settle into my anchor at the back of my jaw, which really helps not to release prematurely. Although I never have thought of it as aiming, I guess I am an aimer insofar as I always hold a second or so at full draw and full anchor before I release. I am in awe of folks who release the instant they hit full draw and solid anchor and yet are crack shots, for example Ron LeClair. I wonder if being over-bowed in some cases might not contribute to short-drawing aka target panic? So much to learn about the “simple” stick and string. 🙄
Troy BreedingFebruary 8, 2012 at 2:27 amPost count: 994
I think you have pegged the biggest problem that causes target panic. Overbowing seems to be exactly that. Overbowing doesn’t allow the shooter to fully use the back muscles as intended. If you can’t get those back muscles to do their job you will dump the release.
I went thru a type of TP several years ago and I blamed it on shooting selfbows that wanted to give up the ghost too soon.
As for the freeze up TP. I have no answer.
David CoulterMemberMemberFebruary 8, 2012 at 2:48 amPost count: 2261
Thanks all for your comments. It’s interesting to me because it’s largely the mental aspect. I don’t think I suffer from it, at least not yet, but when I started this post I was worried that I might be putting something in my head. This morning I didn’t shoot any worse and not much better, but I had to keep shaking the words Target Panic out of my head.
This is a great site to learn what other archers are doing and thinking. best to all, dwc
Jason WesbrockMemberFebruary 8, 2012 at 3:14 amPost count: 762
I distinctly remember the first time I heard of target panic. It was about 20 years ago when I shot Barebow class and started traveling for NFAA tournaments. One of the other barebow shooters I met explained that he had started using a clicker to combat TP. Always looking for a way to improve my shooting and learn new things, I asked him more about clickers and stated that maybe it was something I should look into.
He kind of snickered, told me there was no way I had target panic (he’d been watching me shoot) and that if it wasn’t a last resort he’d have never used a clicker. In a nutshell: I didn’t need it and shouldn’t start using one just for the heck of it. I never thought much about our conversation until about 15 years later when target panic finally took hold of me, and it was one of the reasons I finally decided to stick a clicker on my upper limb. It’s funny how things like chance conversations come back to us years later when they finally become relevant. I’d love to thank him for that moment in person, but I think he too stopped shooting NFAA competitions several years ago.
On an unrelated note: your web site is excellent. If our paths ever cross (do you ever go to Comptons?), I’d love to pick your brain about photography.
David CoulterMemberMemberFebruary 8, 2012 at 3:22 amPost count: 2261
Thanks for the note. Much appreciated. I’d love to get out to one of the bigger shoots, but it’s not in the cards these days. Economy and having two children at home keeps me close. The kids are the good part, the economy part can get better as far as I’m concerned!
I’m going to try to get to the Cloverleaf Archery Club, PA Longbow Assoc. winter meet in Milford Square the end of of the month. That’s a day trip and much more doable. One of these days I’ll take a trip and try to put some faces on these nicknames.
Feel free to email or call anytime. Love to talk shop.
Joseph MillerMemberFebruary 8, 2012 at 12:20 pmPost count: 43
I’m not sure I was having target panic as much as I had become complacent and a little over bowed. I have been making my arrows 29.25 inches long and drawing 28.5 since the early sixtys. A few months ago my wife asked me why I was making my arrows so much longer than my draw while we were out stumping. I never look at the point of my arrow while shooting because it means a for sure miss. It was her comment that made me begin to think about short drawing. I always hit my anchor but was not extending my bow arm far enough. I put the clicker on and set it at 28.5 and make sure I make it click every time. I also asked Ron for some 45lb limbs for my Predator. Every thing is fine now. Also FOC has definitly helped to tighten my groups.
Jason WesbrockMemberFebruary 8, 2012 at 4:51 pmPost count: 762
I wouldn’t worry about the whole target panic thing if I were you. There’s a huge difference between target panic and simply being over bowed. Remember, not all dogs are beagles, but all beagles are dogs. Being over bowed is not in and of itself target panic, but being over bowed may lead to target panic at some point. For example, let’s take a shooter who has incredible shot control with a 50# bow. Now hand him an 80# bow and see what happens. He’ll likely short draw, probably shake a bit, and not hit very well. Does that mean he has target panic? No. It means he lacks the physical strength to shoot the bow properly.
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