Today’s Archery Knowledge Gems come from the Mother Ship of Archery Science articles:
While nowhere near as quirkily endearing as the Archery Library we explored yesterday, the AOLB (an acronym I shall use henceforth as the actual name is too blasted long to type more than once) is a fabulous resource, replete with tons of technical studies, articles on the history of every conceivable item in the Archer’s Bat-Belt, bow tuning methods galore, everything you’d ever want to know about arrows (or not), and my personal favorite: “How To Throw A Spear On A String.”
I located a visual of the gear you’ll need in case you decide to do that >>>>
With great trepidation (and only so you don’t have to), I delved into some of the technical articles.
Why can’t scientists write in plain English? So many “scholarly” articles appear to me to be deliberately obfuscatory — oops, now I’m doing it. Sorry.
My first foray was into “The Effect of Caffeine On Archery Performance.” While the study was not terribly well constructed, the outcome was intriguing. Caffeine, in this study, had no significant effect on the archers’ performances; if anything, their scores may have dropped slightly under the pernicious influence of the evil Coffea arabica plant. Apparently the increase in concentrating ability was offset by the jitters.
(Note to self: must cut coffee consumption to 8 or fewer cups a day.)
The second article I read looked at heart rate as correlated to shot accuracy. The first finding was jaw-dropping: experienced archers shoot better than inexperienced ones. (Wow. I’d never have guessed.) The second, and MUCH more applicable finding, was that experienced archers show less neurological arousal. They keep their heart rates lower and they keep the fight-or-flight reaction at bay.
In a word, they Zen.
Quick scans of several other articles fell in line with this. EEG measurements, Quiet Eye analysis, and the effectiveness of neurofeedback training all came back to the same place:
Chill out >>> Shoot better.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking. “I KNOW I have to achieve calm when I’m shooting — what I don’t know is how to do it!” Yeah, I don’t know either. However, from one short research session, I got this much: Meditate, Breathe, spank your inner moppet, whatever…
…because whatever stresses you are carrying around will be right there when you pick up your bow. Balance and contentment in life will likely translate to your archery performance. It’s as much about inner peace as it is about technical skill.