PSE’s Christopher Perkins Discusses the Other 50 Percent of Target Archery – The Mental Aspect
Question: Christopher, how do you handle the mental aspect of archery?
Perkins: I think the classic example occurred at the Redding Shoot. I was in the shoot off in day 2 and day 3. I think the real secret when you’ve got that much pressure on you at a tournament is to forget all about the tournament, the other competitor, the crowd behind you, where you are in the standings, what a win can mean to you, and what a loss will mean to you. Instead, focus on shooting that one arrow the best you possibly can. In the shoot off, the lad I was competing against missed the dot, so I told myself, “Okay, he missed the dot. All you’ve got to do is to hit the dot. Whether you hit the center, the edge, the top or the bottom, if you hit the dot, the tournament’s over. So just shoot your normal shot at the center of the dot.” Next, I forgot all about just having to hit the dot and focused on shooting for the center of the dot as I always do, and I focused on trying to make the best shot I could make.
Question: What yardage were you shooting?
Perkins: We were shooting at 88 yards. One of the advantages I had was that I’d been in this position previously. Every tournament you enter and every contest that you come close to winning, you feel the same pressure that you’ll feel in a big contest, and that’s the reason that building experience and shooting a lot of different tournaments can help you handle the mental side of the game. You can say to yourself, “I’ve been here before, I’ve performed well before, and I’ve got every reason to believe that I’ll perform that well again.” You also know that you’ve shot consistently all the way through the tournament, and you expect this last shot to be as good as the rest of them have been, if you execute the shot the same way that you’ve executed it before. The real secret to shooting well in a big tournament is to make sure you shoot exactly like you shoot in practice, exactly like you shoot in little tournaments and exactly like you shoot in big tournaments. Then when you get to a major tournament, you reasonably can expect yourself to shoot like you’ve always shot.
Question: How far out do you think you’re accurate with your PSE bow?
Perkins: The dot at 88 yards is 5 cm, which is about 2.5 inches. In target competition, we shoot that same dot at 90 meters, which is 103 yards, and I can hit the dot at that distance.
Question: How do you hold steady shooting at that range? If you breathe wrong, your shot may be off.
Perkins: Breathing is a part of practice. We use a stabilizer, and if your stabilizer is weighted up properly, when you put the pin on the dot at that yardage, the bow should be steady in your hand. You should be able to make the shot, if you follow your shot routine.
Question: What weight of bow are you pulling?
Perkins: I pull 59.5 to 59.9 pounds. You can’t be over 60 pounds, so I want to crowd my poundage as much as I can without going over.
Question: What sight system are you using?
Perkins: I shoot the Axcel AX3000.
Tomorrow: PSE’s Christopher Perkins Wins the Gold Cup
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