Target Sports

Is Your Head and Nervousness Ruining Your Accuracy and Consistency?

There’s no question that target sports are among the most psychologically taxing ones out there.

“Target PANIC!” “Dartitis!” “Choking!” There’s no question that your sport is one of the most psychologically fragile ones out there. The more fine-motor movement involved in a performance, the more vulnerable that athlete is to struggling with mental problems. Combine this with the fact that at competitions the athlete has plenty of time to think, and you have a sport that is unbelievably demanding mentally.

So what kind of a head do you have on your shoulders? Are you competing at the level that you’re capable of? Do you regularly shoot better in practice than when it counts the most? Are there particular opponents who you consistently lose to who you out-train and who have no business beating you? Do fears and self-doubts paralyze you and prevent you from shooting to your potential? Do you hang onto your bad shots and use them to beat yourself up? Are you the kind of shooter who regularly steals defeat from the jaws of victory by being unable to finish strong? Do your expectations and over-focus on score during a competition send your performance down the tubes?

You must master concentration in order to perform like a champion

  1. What you focus on before and during your match will determine the quality of your performance.
  2. Keep your focus on one shot at a time, in the moment.
  3. When you make a mistake, let it go.
  4. Don’t work on your shot mechanics during your match.
  5. Keep your focus off of the score and match outcome.
  6. Keep your focus on YOUR target and what YOU are doing and away from your opponents.
  7. Whenever your focus drifts to the future, past or to other shooters, quickly bring yourself back.

If some of these questions bother you, then you probably already know how critically important the mental part of your sport is. If you want to take your performance to the next level, then you have to be willing to take your training far beyond where most shooters go. Most serious shooters religiously work on their shot technique. They’ll even work on their strength and fitness. They’ll tirelessly work on their hold and shot plan. Is this stuff important? Absolutely! You can’t become successful without “paying your physical dues” in this way. Hard work is definitely one of the main keys to your success. Without it, you’ll never shoot to your potential.

Unfortunately, this is where shooters stop. When they go into competitions, they hope they’ll perform well, they hope that they’ll have their “A” game with them today, they hope that they’ll score well enough to win or at least final. You’d never leave your physical technique to chance. So why would you leave the most important part of your shooting – the mental side – to chance?

Without this critical mental skill and a few other important ones that you need in your mental toughness toolbox, you’ll never be able to shoot to your potential under pressure. With a little work, these skills can be systematically trained to the point where you develop the reputation as a mentally tough competitor.

Dr. Alan Goldberg is an internationally-recognized Sports Performance Consultant who works with archers, competitive shooters, darts players, and biathletes at every level, helping them develop mental toughness and perform to their potential. As a regular columnist for a number of national and international publications, Dr. G is the author of the revolutionary book, This Is Your Brain On Sports: Beating Blocks, Slumps and Performance Anxiety for Good! Check out his popular Mental Toughness Training Package.

  • I  just finished 2nd with one gun and my combined score was good enough for the overall win.  I was 100% relaxed the entire time which was huge for me!  That was the first time in a long time where I just "did" it as opposed to forcing it to happen!

    Jack South Carolina
  • Since working with you and your products, I have pulled everything that you had shown me together and nailed the distinguished rifleman badge. I shot on the New York State High-power team and had a great time! There is no more thinking about it. It just happens, it's confidence on steroids.

    Ray North Carolina
  • As a long time competitor and coach, I can say with 100% confidence that your training is the best out there. You understand this sport and the mental challenges! I recommend your books and CDs to all my students. Your recent workshops with my shooters and parents were a BIG hit!

    Lisette Grunwell Connecticut


Are you struggling with a seemingly mysterious performance problem? Have you or your athlete suddenly lost BASIC abilities? FINALLY understand where this FRUSTRATING problem comes from and what you can do about it!

THE MENTAL SIDE OF ATHLETIC INJURIES The mental pain caused by your injury and the temporary or permanent loss of your sport can be far more devastating than the strained or torn ligaments, pulled muscles, ripped cartilage or broken bones. Unless this type of pain is directly addressed and “treated”, your overall recovery will be slow and incomplete.


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