Brian Mackenzie is a performance coach for the United Kingdom Track and Field Team. In 1997 he published a sports science paper in Psychology that remains widely referenced and applied today. 1.2 Because so much of archery and the goals we set for ourselves as archers, is mental, it is critical to develop a foundation to understand our training and preparation for becoming a better shooter.
Each year I set goals. These include financial, academic (even though that goal may not mean going back to school – I still pick a topic to study), and athletics. For this paper, my focus will be on sports.
Becoming a full-time sponsored archer was an early goal for 2015. I set a goal to have four sponsors and those sponsors would need to fit my overall philosophy of archery as a sport and be a sponsor in which I held confidence. I also laid out a series of competitive goals and tournaments along with a training plan.
As part of this process, I include a management plan that Mackenzie first published – the “4 C’s”.1 When preparing goals and specific training plans for archery, Mackenzie’s research is applicable. Whether or not you have intentionally implemented his work, it is likely you have reflected upon the “4 C’s” to some extent during your archery career.
As part of any training plan, managing the “4 Cs”, as described by Brian Mackenzie will be helpful. They are:
- Concentration: your ability to maintain focus.
- Confidence: believing in your ability.
- Control: your ability to maintain emotional control regardless of the distraction.
- Commitment: your ability to continue working toward your goal.
It seems Mackenzie’s work is ideally suited for archery. Whether training, hunting or in competition the “4 C’s” are relevant. The mental aspects of archery interact so completely with the “4 C’s” that they could be archery specific.
As archers, we don’t require a scientific paper to enhance our shooting ability. But understanding the science behind the seeming innate physical and mental responses we process while shooting gives credence to our efforts and desires.
When practicing, have a plan for your session. Concentrate on your plan and focus. Your focus isn’t limited to that practice; maintain an “archery” focus as part of your self-image. Doing so and improving will help develop confidence in your ability. Self-doubt or negative self-image thoughts should be eliminated. When shooting there will be distractions – avoid them or exclude them from your mind during practice takes control.
When you are on the range, leave everything else off the range. Your distracters will be waiting when your return from the range. If something distracts you while you’re practicing, assert your control over the invasion and re-focus on your training. As your control develops, your mental focus will develop.
Finally, make a personal commitment to your goals. This means discipline to follow a practice plan, have a personal goal for every competition, and understand that you are committed to your goals.
The “4C’s” represent a simple and easy to establish management criteria for achieving your goals. You can use them as pillars to set a plan for improvement with your shooting. Whether your goal is to get a trophy buck, shoot a perfect score, or win a major event, starting with basic concept will help.
- Mackenzie, B. (1997) Psychology [WWW] available from: http//www.brianmac.co.uk/psych.htm
- Lain, D: The athletic respiratory therapist. Adv for Resp Care and Sleep Medicine. Online March 4, 2013