Blind bail training
Blind bail is just another way of developing muscle memory or rebuilding the neural pathways in the brain, a lot of what you do in archery is by feel (muscle memory). After some experience as an archer you can feel a poor shot and know it won’t hit the mark before it gets there this is muscle memory at work, this same process can be harnessed to build or rebuild your shot cycle.
With your eyes closed one of your senses is not available to you so your sense of feel will become more acute and easier to concentrate on especially as you will be concentrating on only one aspect of your shot cycle.
Using a large target bail that can be shot at around shoulder height without missing the bail, stand around 5 feet from the bail, setup for the shot as normal to shoot at the centre of the bail.
Start your shot cycle as normal and close your eyes at the point that you are confident your arrow will not fall off the rest, if your Targeted training program has you working on a part of your shot cycle that encompasses the entire cycle like breathing. Otherwise if working on your anchor through to release and follow through, just shut your eyes at the anchor and keep them shut as you practice the point you are working on remember you are only working on one point at a time this is Targeted Training.
With your eyes closed take notice of how your body feels as you work through the shot, feel the muscles contracting and expanding take notice of the feel of the shot as this is how you will program changes into your mind (muscle memory). If you are going to release the arrow or let down without shooting make this decision before the start of the shot cycle, do not just allow yourself to automatically release during this exercise as this can be counterproductive as we don’t want to introduce new problems.
When you do let down do it by lowering your aiming point towards the ground using ONLY your core muscles (don’t just lower your bow arm) bend at the waist and let down, this will also aid in building your core muscle groups as well as developing a safe let down routine.
Remember muscle memory is programmed through repartition so be prepared to work at any change in your shot cycle you will be looking at a period of weeks to reprogram but you will notice a difference in a few days.
Start each practice session with stretching and warming up exercises and if possible blind bail to reinforce the point you are working on in your Targeted training program for that session.