Q: How important is breathing when it comes to shot execution?
A: Breathing is very important before, and during, the shot process as logically, it is a factor in attaining a satisfactory aim, and a fluent execution. While most coaches and exercise physiologists who take an interest in such things, are very much in agreement as to the advantage of quality deep breathing in preparation for the shot, the actual breathing pattern just prior to and during the draw and anchor continues to create a variety of opinions.
Taking some good healthy breaths before moving to the actual draw and hold obviously oxygenates the system, and enhances both mental and physical preparedness. All the experts seem to agree there, although I’ve noticed that many archers do not seem to avail themselves of this advantage. However, what should happen next is much more open to conjecture.
It would be fair to say that most coaches and leading archers function on a deep inhale of breath, a half exhale, and then hold the remainder of the breath for anchor and execution, unless the hold is excessive and the clicker won’t click or the release aid still isn’t going off, and the archer runs out of puff and must let down. This is the method used by expert rifle shooters to best effect.
A number of coaches however, preach holding the breath for the duration of the shot anchor and execution, and not inhaling again until the arrow has left the bow. A leading Korean recurve coach advocates the exact opposite, stating that the archer should never hold his or her breath, and that it is not natural, and impacts the shooting process.
My own conclusion on this is predictable, because my often-repeated criteria for duplicative shooting revolves around comfort, because comfortable is repeatable. So experiment, and ascertain which pattern of breathing works best for you. However, whatever method you settle upon, make certain that a number of deep breaths between shots becomes a part of your on-the-line routine.