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Training with Randy!!!

A few words on my most recent Training Trip.

Hey Guys! Wanted to provide you will a little update on where I've been. Recently went on a trip to spend some time training with my coach, former Olympian, Judi Adams. The intention was to spend quality time working on my form, mental approach, avoid the Arizona heat, and get a high volume of arrows in. I had no idea what to expect (aside from shooting a bow). I hoped to come back with a few learnings but really it turned out to be a wealth help and surprising lessons.

Side Note: My favorite part of the trip was Paz, a little Aussie that taught me more than I thought a dog could.

This monologue is an attempt to share my story and hope you enjoy!

Day 1, Form was the primary focus. I have been told countless times by my coaches and competitors alike that my form looks very solid. I look good, great even, but the arrows don’t go. I am proudest of my release. I worked extremely hard to make it buttery smooth. My front bow arm? Rock solid.

So why am I not scoring better?!?!

We took a closer look at coil. Coiling is a major emphasis of the NTS world, so as a linear shooter I haven’t considered it too much. I was innately coiling for the shot, but not consistently. We started to bring that into a distinct focus; in doing so several dots were connected. We were able to get the same coil each time as well as getting my front side into more alignment than it was before. The focus on coil brings the back around further, making the shot feel borderline effortless.

Movement through the clicker was facilitated by the alignment, the front side and the natural strength in the core from the coil itself. The joy of shooting one of those shots will be forever with me. This is why we do it, this is what I aim to chase.

We reviewed and really broke down my grip. I had tendencies where I float between a few positions, which does not aid in consistency... The knuckles, should simply look to be in a 45 degree angle with the bow itself. You get a connection with the bones in your forearm to the grip when you get the palm into the right spot in the grip. This provides a great connection to the bow, and when done correctly, the bow leaps out of the hand directly forward. My big clue when I miss the setup is seeing the front rod kick left or right. Everything should hop toward the target.

The big reason I wanted to go look for form changes on the trip was to give my front side something to do. My old shot was a strong bow arm that didn’t move. This is a successful method for a load of archers, and nothing inherently wrong with it. As we all know, archery is a wild sport where no two people are the same (they may be similar, but not identical!) We ended on something that visually looks the same but feels very different. Reaching towards the target from the start helps push your front shoulder down and keeps a solid point of reference for the draw length. Some people have different ratios of push to get through the clicker, but we have settled on 95:5, with 95% in the back. I don’t really push my front side at all, and as I play, I may start pushing more but I don’t ever see getting past 25% on the front at the most. Some people are 50-50!!!

Mental Game was a focus every day, but the major focus at the end of the trip. I learned so much about this, but I will paraphrase here in an effort to shorten it up. The best advice to give you now is this...


As soon as you are starting to be competitive, you can start working on your mental approach.

This mental game comes in multitude of ways, and everyone has different struggles with it. I encourage you to explore some of the things that I found on this trip.

We started to apply pressure to my practice ends and looked to see what changed.

Wind? Nope

Lighting? Nada.

Mentality? Unfortunately, yes...

My big issue is starting to "try"...

When you start to try for feel...

Try to shoot tens...

When you "try" in general your groups will widen...

My version of try is getting slower through the clicker and over aiming. Turns out getting more careful is worse, and causes me to miss my setup on coil, lose my front arm focus, and cause a flurry of mistakes. Knowing this I can now work my way through this in two ways...

1) When I start to try, I can look in those areas first to avoid falling down the hole.

2) I can also learn my tendencies and seek to set them correctly if it is an arrow I "must have".

The mental game without any physical aspects is mind blowing to me. Positivity and belief are the biggest outcomes to everything. Being positive will change how you look at the world as well as improve general life. As soon as I started to believe I could shoot very well, it was starting to happen. I know I have all the foundations that I have built, but I struggled to believe that I could take advantage of them. Knowing that I can shoot gold is a much bigger help in setting the shot up rather than “hoping.” For me, it requires a lot of courage to believe in my sub conscious and let the sight float. When I believe I can, everything flows, and the joy absolutely rocks my world. Feeling a good shot is one of my favorite things! When the (self-applied) “pressure” sets in, go back to having the courage to shoot strong, tell yourself what you want, make yourself know you’re a good shooter, and then just shoot it. Let yourself shoot it, have the courage to let yourself do it, or whatever way you approach it, just keep your conscious brain out of the way! My biggest breakthrough was being able to stay assertive through the clicker, rather than being careful since that leads to slowing down and self-imposed collapse.

Paz (the little Aussie) really helped put some of these ideas into place. When we got back, we went to play frisbee. Did she catch every throw? No. Did she ever complain about how bad the throw was or how it could have been better? No. Did she ever get mad, sad, or anything else? Nope. She would just get it wherever it landed and rush back with glee asking if we could try again. Was she extra happy about the ones she caught? I’m assuming so! There is no reason to put negative energy into anything. Just pick yourself up and try again. This translates to us. That Blue/black/red/miss you shot, can you change it or take it back? The only focus to put into those shots is to say what was wrong, and can I fix it next time. Relentlessly worrying about what could have been or how it hurts you will only cause spirals.

My biggest take away I have for you is this....

Believe in yourself, spread positivity, focus on collecting the good shots, use the bad shots as a quick lesson, then get over it and just enjoy archery!

--Randy Kettelhut

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Jul 07, 2023

Loved the commentary and the dog analogy. It reminds of an excerpt from Al Henderson’s book -On target for understanding Winning Archery -pgs38-39

While he was working with blind archers

Who were just excited to just be able to shoot ! I have referenced his book for years .

By the way I read your post twice 👍🏻

Doc Mannino


Jessica Coleman
Jessica Coleman
Jul 07, 2023

It sounds like an amazing trip Coach! Thank you for sharing!

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