LAST UPDATED: May 8th, 2015
“Hi, I’m Josh Fletcher and I have target panic!” Yes that is right; I suffer from a major case of target panic. This year was the worst display of shooting I have ever done in my hunting career. I owe it to the viewers who watch Bowhunting.com’s Bow Hunt or Die Series, and most importantly the animals, that every shot I make is the most accurate shot I am able to produce.
I’m no rookie at archery; I’ve been hunting and shooting a bow since the age of six. I remember running around the local woods with my brothers chasing small game with an old plastic recurve bow. The thing with archery is that it is a discipline, and even though I have been shooting bows my whole life I have picked up bad habits along the way.
For those of you that never had target panic, one of three things may have happened to you. One you have not shot archery long enough to experience this problem. Two, you don’t know what the symptoms of target panic are. Three you are not honest with yourself and blame poor shots on anything other than yourself.
Being the type of person that I am, I’m not going to just sit back and live with the problem of target panic. I needed help. Now that I am in the off season I recently bought a barrage of different archery books. After reading numerous books and obtaining as much archery info my little brain could cram, I discovered a book that every archery hunter needs to read. Whether you suffer from an extreme case of target panic or just want to improve your shooting capabilities and range, this is a must read book.
“Idiot Proof Archery” is a must read book for anyone looking to improve thier accuracy
“Idiot Proof Archery” is written by Bernie Pellerite. Bernie Pellerite has won over 75 tournaments and titles. Not only does the author shoot competitive archery, but is also an avid bow hunter.
As I have mentioned earlier, I have been shooting bows my whole life, and after reading “Idiot Proof Archery”, I analyzed my shooting form and habits and literally went, “yup I’m doing that wrong, that wrong, and that wrong.
Bernie Pellerite said it best in his book that most sports out there have coaches. Just look at golf. Virtually any golf course you go to has golf pro available to help you with your game. I grew up playing baseball, not once did I play a game without a coach. Now think about archery, when was the last time you shot your bow and had a true coach there to help you improve your game? And by true coach I don’t mean your buddy bubba that shows you his way of shooting and not so much the proper way.
“Idiot Proof Archery” is like having Bernie Pellerite as your personal coach. Idiot Proof Archery is a book designed in an easy to read, get you back to the fundamentals of correct archery, and building your accuracy. What I like about Bernie Pellerite, is that he says it like it is and doesn’t care about being politically correct. His goal is to make you a better archer.
“Idiot Proof Archery” is 338 page book that has lots of detailed pictures that show you exactly what Bernie is explaining. Bernie also has “key points” throughout the book. The key points re-emphasis of solid advice that is covered throughout the particular chapter. What I enjoy about Idiot Proof Archery is that every chapter is like a building block, each chapter builds off the last and as you go through and read your way through the book you get a much better understanding of how to improve your shooting game.
The Chapters Covered in Idiot Proof Archery is listed below.
Introduction: Why You Don’t Shoot Like a Pro (Or Even As well As You Can)
Chapter 1: Equipment, Form, The Mental Game, And You!
Chapter 2: Your Personality… Can You Handel The Truth?
Chapter 3: The Importance Of Tuning, Shooting Form, And Draw Length.
Chapter 4: The Magic And Myths Of Bow & Arrow Setup and Tuning.
Chapter 5: How The Pros Do It… Part One- Aiming
Chapter 6: How The Pros Do It… Part Two- Holding Steady
Chapter 7: The Shot Sequence… Part One- The Defense
Chapter 8: The Shot Sequence… Part Two- The Offense
Chapter 9: Anticipation, Programming, Back Tension & Your Release
Chapter 10: “Hi, My Name is Bernie & I’ve Got Target Panic”
Chapter 11: 44 Form Flaws- When Things Go Wrong
Chapter 12: Shooting Inside Your Comfort Zone
Chapter 13: Perfect Practice, The Do’s & Don’ts Of An Accelerated Learning Curve
Chapter 14: Tournament Nerves, Choking Under Pressure, And Shooting In Adverse Conditions
Chapter 15: 3-D & Estimating Yardage… “Legal & Illegal”
Chapter 16: Hunting With a Bow
In “Idiot Proof Archery”, Bernie Pellerite explains methods recommended to produce the most consistent shooting form, because in archery you don’t have to do things right, you just have to do things consistently. “ Idiot Proof Archery” not only explains how to do things consistently but also gives you shooting drills to help you improve your accuracy and how to truly overcome target panic.
The issue that I have with shooting is target panic. With target panic I anticipate the release causing me to punch the trigger along with what is called a “drive by shooting” or “drive by sight picture”. Basically, once my pin is on the target, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to hold a steady sight picture like that you have while bench shooting a rifle. The thing is that with an archery sight picture, the pin will float over your target.
My issue is that once my pin gets close, I punch the trigger to make a quick shot before my pin moves off the target. “Idiot Proof Archery” explains that this is normal and your pin is supposed to float over your target. To correct this problem I need to anticipate the follow through not the release, I also need to produce a muscle memory of a perfect back tension release, causing the release to surprise me. Idiot Proof Archery teaches me several drills to perform this task. The last month I have been shooting at a blank bale at just three yards away working on muscle memory of the perfect back tension release.
In Bernie Pellerite’s book, he states that muscle memory needs to be engrained and it takes approximately 2,000 repetitions to engrain a particular grip, stance, anchor point, or release.
In archery you don’t have to do things right, you just have to do things consistently
This book taught me that in the off season to forget about shooting bulls eyes and work on having the proper grip, consistent anchor point, perfect back tension release, and follow through. Once that is ingrained into my shooting habit, then and only then will I began working on close range target shooting, and slowly extending my range. If I begin to pick up a bad habit, I need to immediately work on the fundamentals before going back to the target again.
Idiot Proof Archery gives you the knowledge every archer needs to build his own shooting regimen by using the tools presented in Bernie’s book.
There is one thing in this book that I dislike. The one and really the only thing, is in the beginning of the book, Bernie states that the archery industry keeps pushing more gear to make you shoot better and you need better equipment to shoot better and that he is sick of this. He states to become a better archer you need to work on your fundamentals. I agree one hundred percent with this, that’s not the problem, the issue I have is that throughout the book Bernie mentions about his new release aids and bow shooting aids, basically doing the same thing he is blaming the archery industry for. This seems a little bit hypocritical to me, however the rest of the 99% of this book is great material that will help anybody to improve their accuracy and overcome target panic.
So if you’re already a great archery shooter or one that suffers from extreme target panic like I do, this is definitely a book that needs to be added to your archery arsenal, so much so I keep mine with my archery tools and is just as important as a bow press to any archer.
On a scale of 1 to 10, “Idiot Proof Archery” by Bernie Pellerite gets a Solid 9. The only reason this book did not receive a 10 out of 10 is due to the sales pitches about his products when he knocks others in the industry for doing the same thing. But if you can get past or ignore that little portion this is one of the best books I have ever read and will definitely be referring to it and the advice Bernie Pellerite recommends to help improve my archery abilities this year.