Archery and baseball go together like a ball in a glove or an arrow in a bull’s-eye.
Technique, devout fans and fun practice have led Major Leaguers to archery. Maybe you saw MLB pitching ace Fernando Rodney shoot celebratory air archery after closing an extra-inning game for the Mariners. Or maybe you saw former Atlanta Braves All-Star third-baseman Chipper Jones bowhunting on “Major League Bowhunter.” Or perhaps you saw Buck Commander and country superstar Luke Bryan meet White Sox special instructor Bo Jackson. Yes, archery is a great match for America’s favorite pastime.
MLB is in the midst of spring training, and so are Team USA Olympic archery hopefuls. The MLB regular season opens April 5. The first #Rio2016 qualifying tournament takes place later that week in Phoenix. Follow your favorite archers on USA Archery’s Facebook page.
Archers and baseball players both practice follow-through, which is crucial to arrowing the dot, throwing strikes and drilling doubles. You don’t want your arrow (or your throws) skipping along the ground.
Good finger positioning is another key to sticking the target or mitt. Archers must not nock their arrow in the wrong place, or hook the bowstring with too much finger tension. Similarly, your fingers must properly hold the baseball for great pitching or throwing out runners. Whether you’re shooting a bow or making the throw to first base, don’t rush. Set your fingers, release and follow through.
To prevent rushing your shot or throw, build your cardio strength. This ensures a low resting heart rate to calm nerves and focus on hitting your target or striking out the opposing slugger. Good heart health also provides endurance for a long day of tournament play at the range or diamond.
Your heart isn’t the only muscle you must tone. Strong core muscles give athletes stable, relaxed shoulders; a better shooting and batting stance; and stronger control of the bow and bat.
With strong winds come hard-to-judge fly-balls to the outfield. Whether you’re on the shooting line or poised for action in the outfield, you must watch the wind. Powerful gusts can push your arrow or a fly-ball off course. Know the wind direction and adjust your shot or stance. You’ll be ready for the championships before you know it.
Archery’s Outdoor National Championships are like the World Series. This year’s National Championships take place July 1-7, around the same time as Little League All-Star tournaments. Archery, baseball and July Fourth fireworks, anyone? All we need now are peanuts and Cracker Jacks.
But none for you, slugger. You’re ready to play, and the coach is putting you in. Now get in there and let it fly!