Psychological Pointer

3 Benefits of Writing by Hand

Sonja Benčina

Nov 2, 2021

Every once in a while, team Aiming Art gets asked one question: Why, in this digital era, do we still need to write our shooting analysis by hand? Why can’t we just put our results into a smartphone app and be done with it? Typing is so much faster and more convenient! This Practical Pointer will try and explain why writing by hand provides more benefits for our future action than typing.

Improved Cognition

Živa Dvoršak and Sonja Benčina writing Shooting Notes, view from the back.
Živa and Sonja writing in their journals after a competition. The notebook on the right is an early prototype of Shooting Notes!

With so many things happening to us in our day-to-day lives, it is impossible to be able to remember everything. Even though we believe a realization we made while training is important, we are sure to forget it unless we write it down. According to Lifehacker, research has shown that writing stimulates an area of our brain called the reticular activating system (RAS). Located at the base of the brain, RAS filters all the information your brain receives and assigns importance to the thing you are focusing on at the given moment. The physical action of writing will trigger the RAS, which will then signal the cerebral cortex to pay closer attention. Writing therefore encourages the brain to work harder. While typing is still better than nothing, it is merely a repetitive action of selecting letters by pressing one of the around 30 keys. Writing by hand requires the hand to trace the form of the unique letters and connect them to form words, while also filling concrete space on the piece of paper. This engages the brain to perform better, to concentrate on the really important things, and being more efficient.

When you are writing your shooting analysis, pay special attention to finding solutions to any mistakes you have been making. By rephrasing your negatives into positives, you will reinforce your active role in the process of becoming a good shooter. And by writing this down, your mind will learn this faster and more effectively.

Better Memory Recall

According to, your handwritten notes will improve your short- and long-term memory recall because they include your own words and handwriting. These in turn recreate both context and content of the original place where you wrote them (i.e. the range) and therefore serve as more effective memory cues. Again, the movements of your hand guiding the pen will help the brain to work more, encoding and retaining information long-term.

Why not try to use this to your advantage? Every time you figure out something new and every time you do something good during practice, write it down! Don’t be cocky but compliment yourself. When you are re-reading your old entries in your shooting journals, the fact that you are reading the material you had produced yourself and by hand, will trigger the good emotions that came with the elements of practice that you did well.

Reaching Goals

Research has found that handwritten goals have a greater chance of being achieved. However cliché this might sound, studies suggest that people who “very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals” ( As we already said, putting things on paper helps you remember but also makes your mind focus on the important content – and your goals are absolutely important.

Shooting Notes include a special chapter dedicated to you writing down your goals and plans on how to achieve them. Each individual form that you fill out before and after each individual practice also includes a goal of that specific practice, as well as space for you to write down goals/advice for your next session. Writing, reading, and re-reading them will allow your mind to focus on them with greater clarity.

Cover of the English notebook in light blue on an opened notebook

So, next time you finish practice, don’t just put your pistol or rifle away, change clothes, and go home. Take time to sit down and write your reflections on your performance. Encourage your brain to really analyse what has just happened and to store the important things into the long-term warehouse. Shooting Notes follow the psychological principles behind the science of writing. They will help you structure your content better, focus on what matters, and transform your passive approach into active behaviour.



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