Frank Addington, The Aspirin Buster

Ever been having a great day at an archery tournament only to “blow it” at the last minute? 

Most times there is a fine “something” that separates a champion from second place. The Gold Medal verses the Silver Medal is often just a few points, so what makes the difference?  Why do “great” shooters often come home empty handed? Does the pressure of a tournament or media appearance ever bother you?Often winning  is not about physical ability, equipment, or even experience. Winners seems to have “something” extra that allows them to focus and perform even when the chips are down.  Most champion archers I’ve met could shoot a broom handle with a string on it.  So you can’t buy enough equipment to become a champion, it is earned.

In my opinion, this extra “something” is the mental edge.  The mental edge is having the ability to lock down when the pressure is turned up, and still be at your very best.  Arrow after arrow. Shooting in your backyard is much different than shooting in a major competition.  Almost everyone can perform in low pressure situations.

How can we find out about this mental edge?  More importantly can it be learned?

The first time I was made aware of the mental aspects of archery was as a young person reading the late Al Henderson’s work.  Al often wrote about the “mental edge”.    I met Henderson around 1978 and was very impressed with this great man.  He was the 1976 Olympic archery team coach and a much sought after international shooting consultant.  Many times after he passed away I wish I’d taken Henderson up on his offer to do some javelina bowhunting with him.

My friend Glen Helgeland from Target Communications even has a book by Henderson titled, “Understanding Winning Archery”.  For more information on this important work you can contact Glenn through his company website at   I highly advise reading this work, even though Al is gone his wisdom can be of benefit to you.

Personally I was taught much about the mental aspects of archery by Dr. Wyatt Woodsmall.  Wyatt taught me more about myself and archery in one afternoon than I could have learned on my own in years of shooting.

Wyatt Woodsmall

Wyatt is a master of teaching people the “mental edge”.  He is one of the founding fathers on this school of thought and in my opinion a man that can help anyone be a better archer.  I first met Woodsmall almost 19 years ago.  I was in a terrible rut and was performing  inconstantly at my shows.  I missed more than I hit at several shows in a row.

A friend named Dr. John MacCallum knew I was in a rut and called me at home one day.  He simply said, “Can you do some shooting this afternoon for a friend and I?”  With that I met him, his daughter and Wyatt at my father’s retail business later that afternoon.  I had an assistant come to toss targets for me.

Dr. MacCallum asked me to do a few shots for them.  I did and was no where near the tiny aspirin tablet.  My arrows were way off several times in a row.  I was frustrated.  Wyatt asked me to walk with him and we went to the back of the indoor range and sat on a bench.  He asked some questions, walked me through a series of events and then calmly asked me to shoot for him again.  I walked to the front of the range, picked up my bow, and the next arrow nailed an aspirin first shot!  My friend Dr. MacCallum emailed me recently to say that he still has that aspirin tablet I hit from almost 16 years ago!

IN PART 2: An in depth interview with Wyatt Woodsmall on how to shoot your very best on every shot. And more…

To contact Wyatt and Marilyne Woodsmall : Email Wyatt Woodsmall, Ph.D. and Marilyne Woodsmall Ph.D. (ABD) at

Thank you.  Until next time– shoot straight!