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Bruce Johnson's Coaching Secrets

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  • Bruce Johnson's Coaching Secrets

    HI folks

    I've started this thread to answer any queries regarding my coaching systems. Anything you want to ask or share that relates to how I coach please feel free to post them here .

    Cheers Bruce

  • #2
    Thanks for creating this thread Bruce Bound to become a STICKY
    Last edited by slick; 7th March 2012, 11:02 PM.


    • #3
      Is this where the elephant story goes too


      • #4
        Could you first tell something about your successes and who you are? I'm from europe and haven't heard of you yet!


        • #5
          Originally posted by jeroen View Post
          Could you first tell something about your successes and who you are? I'm from europe and haven't heard of you yet!
          Good idea. A little background would probably promote involvement.

          In the interest of putting this thread in context, these are some interesting posts from another thread:
          Originally posted by bruce johnson
          Folks, I've had a few forumites PM me about the clear lens process. Its a process I developed a long time ago to help shooters who have some anxiety in their shot process. Since developing and teaching the system I found that the system is so simple and surprisingly so very accurate that I often teach this process to archers who have no anxiety but wish to be stronger on the shot in tournament conditions (shooters like Matt and Mike Brosnan). If anyone wants to know more about how it works feel free to PM me for the 'secret formula'.. haha... Its not really secret but it does require some explanation as it takes some commitment and discarding of old concepts.

          Cheers Bruce
          Originally posted by bruce johnson
          Originally posted by Freeman
          Thanks Mark and Bruce for sharing. This will help a lot of people.
          No worries mate, its very satisfying to see people develop and reach their potential..

          There's so many misconceptions in this sport with respect to aiming, sighting arrangements, technique and form etc etc etc I pull my hair out there's and not much left now.. I've listened to thousands of conversations between archers over the years and I can often predict which ones will have mental process issues within the space of a year or so.. I get this from listening to the priority they place on the aiming step in their shot sequence... the aim should be no more important than hooking your release or fingers on the string... and is infinitely less important than the step that keeps the shot smooth and controlled once you have committed to the shot. Thats what coaches should be coaching... how to stay in the moment and commit to executing perfect shots every time, if its not a perfect shot then assess what you can do to improve the next shot and work on achieving that objective.. keep repeating this process and you will be world class in no time at all...

          Which brings me to my 'Make it Click System of Improvement' PM me if you want to know more

          Incidentally 33 shooters have requested the secret formula... I'm having a great day at work..

          Originally posted by bruce johnson
          Folks, I've been inundated with requests for the 'secret formula' and will get it out to you all in the morning. I'm also writing the 'Make it Click' program which I'll send out to those who have requested it as well..
          After everyone has a week or so with the secret formula I'll post the second stage of the secret formula, you have to get a good grip on the first stage before you advance to the second. Then after another week or so once you have the second stage tuned in I'll give you the last stage and thats how to use the system to shoot top scores in the wind. Incidentally I love red wine and my address is ...
          Originally posted by bruce johnson
          Folks I've sent out the 'The Make it Click for Improvement' system to all who requested it.. if you haven't received it can you PM and i'll send it again. There's so many of you I may have missed somone.

          Also please feel free to give me some feedback, I'm always open to ways of improving my systems and processes.

          I'm particuarly interested in feedback for the clear lens system, once you have tried it for a few days let me know and I'll send you the next stage..Incidentally the reason why I get you to PM me is so I can keep an eye on anyone trying out my systems and then I can help you if you get stuck.. I can't help if I don't know. Also its easier to keep track by PM who wants the info rather than trying to sieve thru posts on a thread..

          Cheers Bruce


          • #6
            Originally posted by jeroen View Post
            Could you first tell something about your successes and who you are? I'm from europe and haven't heard of you yet!
            Hi Jeroen

            WHo is Bruce Johnson? Sitting here thinking about it, that's a harder question to answer. Probably best to start at the beginning

            My archery career started in 1979, in Plymouth, England while I was at the Royal Naval Engineering College. I bought a second hand recurve bow from Quick's Archery in Waterlooville, and joined a local Plymouth club called the Bowmen of the Tors. I had a bit of instruction by their club coach (called Mike from memory). I returned to NZ in 1980 and continued to shoot recurve until 1986. Over those years I developed a severe case of target panic and at that time there was little information about how to cure it. I could aim dead in the centre and hold real steady but my brain wouldn't let me pull through the clicker.. in one tournament I came to full draw 13 times (shooting field) before I could get the clicker to click and shoot the shot.. other archers used to dread being in the same group as me .. I wasn't too happy about it either about this time a few archers in NZ started shooting compound in FITA events and I thought I'd give it a try. I bought a compound and a release and went off to my local field club to try it out. I stood up close to the bale, aimed at the target and then jumped on the trigger with both feet. Arrow went in the middle. Man o man life was good. I worked my way back to about 50M and the arrows were still going in the middle.. Oh I had this game beat. A few weeks later I went to the NZ National Field Championships and won my first NZ title.. I was on top of the world.. then about 6 months later I was at a competition aiming at a target and I couldn't punch the trigger, I kept flinching. My old problem had returned. I was devastated. I tried everything to overcome it, bought a new bow, bought every release on the market, changed sights, you name it but nothing worked. Life wasn't so good. Then the NZ champs came around again, I was the defending champion and the tournament was at the bottom of NZ in Dunedin. I really didn't feel like going but all my mates were, so off I went. The course was quite exposed on a hill and very very windy..this helped a bit as it was difficult to aim in the wind and it was literally a case of 'drive by shooting'.. then the weirdest thing happened, I was aiming on a target with my finger on the trigger waiting for the wind to die down long enough to punch of a shot when my release went off and i shot the arrow. Crap I thought.. I missed the target .. but someone beside me said 'nice shot' and I looked through my binoculars to see the arrow dead centre.. That was lucky I thought.. then about two targets later the same thing happened with the release going off and the arrow dead centre..... Nah, I thought its not possible, I'd just invented a new system.. when we got into the bush away from the wind I tried the system out and man it worked, I shot really well. I just got up to full draw and aimed in the middle til the release went off. My groups were amazing.. as it turned out I went on did very well at the tournament. At the time there was a group of us all shooting about the same scores, 1300 - 1320's FITA and 510 - 520 IFAA, but when I got home and had a chance to work on 'my secret system' my scores shot up to mid 1300's and 530+ field scores.. there was no sign of the target panic and life was good again. Over the years the target panic has pretty much kept away if I do the practice but it returns if I'm not bow fit or I don't work on my shot process.
            Following on from Dunedin I went to Darrington, USA and shot the World Champs with all the top pro's. I learnt so much from that trip, the biggest lesson being how to shoot a back tension release. A pro called Dennis Barnes gave me a Stanislawski release he had designed and showed me how to use back tension to make if fire. This was another major leap ahead with my field scores climbing into the 540's IFAA.
            By 1990 I had quite a large following of archers in NZ that I was coaching and it was becoming an almost full time job. By coincidence my Navy retirement was due in 1991, after 20 years service, so I decided to turn pro archer and also coach professionally to make a living. I left for Europe in 1991 and travelled far and wide from South of France to Oulu, Finland competing in every event I could find. Between competitons I did coaching clinics, private coaching and worked in pros shops to provide income. It was an amazing part of my life.
            When I returned to NZ I set up an archery shop called Advanced Archery, which i sold in 1997. Advanced Archery is still going strong today.
            I returned to Europe in 1992 as coach for the NZ Olympic Team to Barcelona and returned again over the next few years as coach/manager for various Junior and Senior teams to the World Championships.
            Around this time I attended the NAA Level IV International Coach Course at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, quite a demanding course which was presented by a number of University lecturers and required passes in pedagogy, bio-mechanics, psycho-phsyiology, physiology, psychology, nutrition and advanced archery specific techniques. Tim Strickland (US pro archer and USA Team Coach) was the lead tutor on the course. After Colorado Springs I sent some time in Korea with the Korean coaches.
            After I sold the shop I retired from competitive archery and went back to Engineering. I was coaching a promising young recurve archer at the time who had the goal of making the NZ Team for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He reached his goal.
            During that time I was also coaching the Tahitian Archery Team for the South Pacific Games, and travelled to Sri Lanka to conduct a Level 1 Instructors course. After the 2000 Olympics I retired from all forms of archery, sold off all my equipment and bought a new set of golf clubs.
            In 2002 I received a phone call from a lady called Linda Gower ( now Linda Lainchbury) who asked if I would coach her. I told her I was retired but would take a look and offer her some advice... well as it turned out I started working with her and have been ever since. Linda has now won 3 World titles in Indoor (Argentina) IFAA Field (Germany) and Bowhunter (Australia) has a PB of 1397 FITA. I also help her husband Mike and he has won 4 World titles at last count. MIke's a finger and pin shooter and one of the best I've ever seen.
            In 2005 I moved to Australia and apart from doing a little coaching and the odd seminar in Melbourne I pretty much only really worked with Linda and Mike.
            I moved to Brisbane in 2009 to lie in the sun, paint pictures and let my archery career fade into a memory, when Marcus Anear from Urban Archery asked if I would take a look at Mike Brosnan a friend of his who had a problem with shot anxiety and was ready to quit archery. I hate people quitting so I met up with Mike at Mount Petrie Bowman and we arranged a time to get together. Over the last couple of years I've offered him my advice when he needs it and Mike has developed into one of the best shooters I've ever seen. I put him in the class of Clint Freeman and Terry Ragsdale at their best. MIke won the gold medals for Target and Field at the last Australian Nationals, shot a 356 at 50M in World Cup last year, and 899/900 in Vegas this year. Since working with Mike I have had many requests for private coaching and also for coaching seminars. I work full time as a Roading Engineer specialisig in Road Maintenance and Asset Management, I'm in my last year of a Master of Engineering Degree with the possibility of progressing to a PhD, which really limits the free time I have to commit to coaching. I try to get to everyone but its getting harder nowadays. I've pretty much got a waiting list for one on one coaching.
            I'm currently working with a number of Elite archers from AA and several top archers from 3DAAA. Matt Ryan, one of my 3D shooters won the Australian 3D title, set two National records, won shooter of the year and came second at the ASA titles in USA.
            Matt recently shot his first 90metre FITA round and scored 1395 in the wind and rain. Included in the round was a 357 at 50m, a new Australian record. My prediction is that Matt and Mike will really challenge the rest of the world in the coming years.
            An archer you may be familiar with that I have worked with is Morgan Lundin. Back when I was travelling Europe I was doing a bit of coaching at a pro shop called Bowpro Sweden. Morgan was a staff shooter for Bowpro and although a good shooter he had a target panic problem and was about ready to quit. Ulf Persson the owner of Bowpro asked me if I'd help him, so I tuned up a new style release for Morgan and taught him my release system. We worked together until about 3 a.m in the morning by which time I was happy that Morgan had got his shot under control. Up until then I had shot against Morgan a number of times and always beaten him however after that session at Bowpro I never beat Morgan again. Morgan has gone onto win 3 or 4 World titles, European titles, runner up at Vegas and set a number of World records.
            Last edited by bruce johnson; 8th March 2012, 11:01 PM.


            • #7
              My own shooting achievements include
              7 NZ Championships (Field and Indoor)
              Australasian Professional Field Champion
              Pacific Region Open Field Champion (twice)
              Canadian Indoor Champion (Niagara Falls after 5 way sudden death shoot off)
              Danish FITA Grand Prix Champion(Copenhagen, Denmark)
              AAE Field Champion (Heidelburg, Germany)
              Bavarian Jaktmeistershaft (Hemau, Germany)
              German IFAA Field Champion (Dahn. Germany)
              Swedish Open Field Champion (Fita Field, Soderkoping, Sweden) (count back between me, Neils Baldur and Tom Henricksen)
              Runner Up Swedish IFAA Indoor Championships ( after X count back )
              Swiss Regional Bowhunter Champion (Travannes, Switzerland)
              3rd World Bowhunter Championships (Confolens, France)
              3rd World IFAA Mens Open Championships (Valla Park , Australia)
              3rd European Field Championships Vaenamo, Sweden

              Shot the first 550+ IFAA Round in Southern Hemisphere (551, 1991)
              Shot World Fita Field Record in Soderkoping on first day then broke it again the second day (1991). The round is now defunct, replaced by yellow and black target face.
              Shot 1343 Fita (small 10) in Tahiti, equated to 1392 with large 10 scoring, 1995

              I've competed at 4 World Championships (3 Field and 1 Indoor)
              I've coached/managed teams at two Olympics, five World Championships and two South Pacific Games

              Thats about all I can remember off the top of my head.

              In addition to archery, I am a professional portrait artist (my website ), I shoot A grade skeet, play A Grade Billiards and Snooker, have played golf off a 4 handicap and I speak French, English and Danish. ( my family and my wife are Danish)
              Currently I am also teaching my mental process to two professional level billiard and snooker players.

              One thing I forgot to add is since that day in Dunedin I've refined my mental process training systems to accommodate all styles of shooting (fingers, release, scope pins, instinctive, male or female, recurve or compound). A number of people have asked me to put it all down in a book and I think that may be my project for next year after I complete my Masters..
              Sorry for the grammar and spelling my mind works faster than my fingers
              Last edited by bruce johnson; 8th March 2012, 11:07 PM. Reason: Update


              • #8
                You left out the bit where you paint.

                Oh damn. No you didn't.

                I think that pretty much wraps it up.
                Time for a book, Bruce.
                Status is not defined by the amount of gear in your signature.
                Performance cannot be purchased.

                "The Internet offers everything - except quality control" - K. Anders Ericsson.


                • #9
                  Clear Lens system

                  Folks, I've had more than 50 requests for my Secret Formula and Make it Click systems and I'm losing track of who's got them. I'm going to post the systems here so anyone can read them. Please post feedback on this thread and I'll comment as required.

                  Here's the first stage of the Clear Lens Secret Formula system .. nothing secret about it I'll post the 2nd stage once people have had a chance to try this stage and got used to the feeling. One problem that I have to solve is that for the 2nd stage it really needs me to be with you for you to get full value as I need to feel your shot and give you feedback. Might have to come up with a way of using You tube.

                  To understand the process you have to go back to the problem..

                  The reasons why shooters get anxious on the shot are many but the main one is FEAR... fear of missing.. and this fear of missing is generated by EXPECTATION... that's expectation from what we think people, family, friends or other shooters expect of us, or expectations we place on ourselves or expectations from our coach... All this expectation makes us want to be careful and shoot good, hence we try to AIM finer.. the result is we tighten up and the result actually gets worse.. the ANSWER is to RELAX AND SHOOT SMOOTH STRONG SHOTS... not a simple task.. and its made even more difficult by having a scope that magnifies the target 4, 6 or even 8 times and hence the movement of that tiny dot is magnified to the same extent.. It seems to take on the semblance of some kind of monster that leeps around the target and just plain laughs at you.. I hated this game for so long...THen the thought came to me one day what would happend if I TOOK THE DOT OUT ... so I tried... at first it felt weird and I wasn't sure if I would even hit the target so I started up real close to the target, about 5 metres and started shooting. My initial instinct was to try and aim with the outside ring of the scope housing but eventually I found that if I just relaxed and looked at the centre of the target or whereever I wanted to hit, then the scope housing naturally just centred around where I was looking.. Its a bit like .. if you held a hool a hoop up to the moon and you looked at the centre of the moon where would you naturally hold the hool a hoop... I know exactly what your answer is ...

                  So the secret formula is to take the dot out of you scope and learn to disregard the scope housing.. just concentrate on looking at the centre of the target and make strong shots.. Some things will happen, first you will notice that you hold quite still, this is because you don't have a dot jumping around anymore to make it look like you're shaking to pieces ... this calmness leads to you being even more relaxed and even more steady... keep your front arm totally relaxed (do this by really relaxing your fingers, they should have as much tension as your ear lobe.. ie nothing ) learn how much muscle balance you need (that's push pull pressure, should be 50/50) to keep the scope really steady.. if there seems to be a very slight jerky action then your draw length is slightly too short and if there's a long slow action in the scope then your draw length is slightly long.. adjust by twisting your string or cables one turn at a time until you feel the perfect pressure in your muscle balance and the sight will sit dead still.. At least it seems to sit dead still ... WHen you get to this stage you may want try more power in your scope.. Matt shoots 8X and can hold almost dead still . At 50 metres he can see the X Ring .. when you have this set up, just shoot arrows, as many as you can.. and just concentrate on letting the scope do its own thing, all you want to do is look at the centre of the X and build muscle pressure until the release fires.... it sounds simple and it really is if you let it be... if you try to control the scope housing you will be very quickly back to your old game..
                  Go out and try and let me know how you go

                  Cheers Bruce
                  Last edited by bruce johnson; 8th March 2012, 02:11 PM.


                  • #10
                    Make it Click for Improvement

                    Here's the click system

                    The 'Make it Click for Improvement' system is designed to get shooters away from being score (Outcome) orientated.
                    When I undertake to coach someone ... 1 on 1... I normally give them a tally counter, (in NZ we call them sheep counters , go figure ) The idea is that whenever you shoot a shot that you rate a 9 or 10 out of 10 then you give it a 'click' on the counter.. if you consider the quality of the shot is less than a 9 or 10 then it doesn't get a 'click', obviously. You then do a quick assessment of what you need to do to take the next shot execution to a 9 or 10, in other words what needs to be done to make a click. By doing this critique and correcting after every shot you will quickly eliminate large faults in your game and very soon come down to a fine tuning process. This becomes, not only quality practice but also, quality shot execution in competition. Your priority changes from shooting a 10 on the target to shooting a 10 quality wise on the line and getting a 'click'.
                    When you go to the club to shoot, decide on how many arrows you are going to shoot for the practice session and work in shooting that many quality arrows.. at the end of the session and you have shot say 100 arrows then look at your counter and see how many clicks you have. Divide the number of clicks by the number of arrows shot and that's your click rate. From experience I have found that most archers start around the 30 - 40 % mark and quickly rise to 50 - 60 %. A 50 - 60 % click rate would equate to about a 1330 - 1350 FITA for a compounder or a 520 - 530 IFAA shooter.. 70 - 80 % would equate to 1380 plus FITA shooter and a 545 - 550 IFAA shooter.. Matt Ryan shot a click rate of 90% plus for his 50M 357 record.

                    THis also applies for competition days.. get to the comp ground early and go straight to the warm up butts.. decide how many arrows you are going to shoot ( at least 20 ) and work on finding the perfect shot feeling.. register your clicks and count them... stay at the warm up butt until you're getting 90 % plus click rate.. that will set you up in a strong mental state and build your confidence to make good shots during the practice ends.. again during the practice ends count your clicks and work on improving the quality of each shot.. keep working this process all day.. when they say 'THE NEXT END IS A SCORING END' it is irrelevant to you as score is not of any importance to your process... At the end of the day check your click rate and record it in your journal. Once you have a few comps under your belt start to graph the click rates against date and monitor your improvement.... The type of event doesn't matter as you're plotting perfect number of shots against a time/date, not a score against time/date.
                    The beauty on this system is you're always striving to improve.. not just each event but every arrow..

                    The program works really well with beginners especially kids... but they all ask whats the prize if I shoot XXX click rate..

                    Cheers Bruce


                    • #11
                      That's great stuff Bruce.

                      Thank you for taking the time.
                      Oceanic Archery and Outdoors
                      B2 Bowstrings


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Brad View Post
                        That's great stuff Bruce.

                        Thank you for taking the time.
                        You're welcome Brad, which club are you with
                        Last edited by bruce johnson; 8th March 2012, 03:07 PM.


                        • #13
                          Thanks, Bruce
                          I've got started with the clear scope and am amazed at how smooth I'm shooting! Starting to appreciate how much tension I was building up by trying too hard.
                          Thought I'd post up a couple of questions, since they might be interesting to a number of folks trying the clear lens.
                          1. What scope size do you recommend - I'm shooting a 29mm now and thought that would be good, but perhaps with a smaller scope there is more of a tendency to try to center the housing, and defeat the purpose?
                          2. How important do you recon is having the target very clear through the lens. Seems like the clearer I can see the target the more likely I am to focus there, however I would need to add a clarifier I expect?
                          3. I'm using a .55 diopter lens now, is more power necessarily better - to see the target more clearly like Matt does, or is lower power OK?

                          Hope I'm not over-analysing!
                          Thanks, Rick


                          • #14
                            Hi Rick , some good questions there

                            Yes if you go too small in scope size then the housing becomes less in your peripheral vision and more in your primary vision which means you will naturally try to use it for aiming.. I have used a 44 mm lens and 8x lens with good results.. basically you need to experiment with scope sizes and clarifiers to find out what suits you best.. I wish i still owned an archery shop. A good idea is to find a few others who want to try the system and share the price of clarifiers and different scopes to find the optimum solution. Over the years of shooting on different pro staffs I accumulated a lot of stuff which made it easy for me to experiment. I sold it all when I retired never expecting to use it again. Wish I hadn't now.

                            Definitely easier to focus on the centre of the target and ignore the scope housing if you have a clear sight pic.. clarifiers are the solution but do have their limitations. As the sun travels across the heavens it will highlight different sides of your peep and give a changing centre of light in your peep. This will cause your groups to change location on the target during the day. Also if it rains and water gets on your clarifier you wont be able to see doo doo squat... Answer for both these problems is to cut a small section of black heat shrink and place it over your peep so that it creates a tunnel effect for your peep. You don't need more than about a few millmetres sticking out. Apply heat to the heat shrink so that it forms a nice round tunnel. Keep a few cotton buds in a plastic bag in your quiver and if any water or fog does get on your clarifier lens just give it a wipe with the bud. Thanks to Tim Gillingham, via Matt Ryan for this gem.
                            Low power is fine, stick with what you can feel comfortable with..

                            Cheers Bruce
                            Last edited by bruce johnson; 8th March 2012, 03:30 PM.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bruce johnson View Post
                              A number of people have asked me to put it all down in a book and I think that may be my project for next year after I complete my Masters..
                              Sorry for the grammar and spelling my mind works faster than my fingers
                              In reference to post #6; may I recommend a quick refresher course on paragraphs before starting your much awaited book?
                              Ultra Black (tm) High Performance Armguard Elastic Staff Non-Shooter

                              We are all Atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. Richard Dawkins