Archery is always evolving, and archers forever strive to keep themselves ahead so that they’re ready to win the next big tournament. Archery’s indoor season checks all those boxes. It helps archers tweak their skills and equipment based on what they learned from the outdoor season.
As the indoor season begins, archers usually pore over new-equipment announcements from many manufacturers, which means you might try some new gear. You’ll evaluate it indoors by putting it through tests to verify it’s worth changing your setup. Without wind, rain, heat or other elements affecting your shooting, you can see the raw effects of everything you changed, whether it’s a new riser, limbs or sights. How did it affect your shooting and groups? Sometimes it delivers exactly what your shooting needed, and sometimes you learn your current setup is still best. Experimentation reveals these facts.
Besides equipment experiments, archers can also work on their form. Again, minus the elements, you can better concentrate on your technique and hone your shot based on what you learned from shooting outdoors in previous months. Short-range exercises or blank-bail shots at 18 meters can build confidence, and let you investigate whether to abandon or stick with a form change.
You can also keep shooting competitively during indoor season to keep your head “in the game” from one outdoor season to the next. Sometimes it’s great to rest after a long season competing outdoors, but the indoor season can still keep things interesting, and motivate you to reach new goals or be more prepared when you return to competition. Keeping the tournament mindset year-round – and training properly without burnout – ensures you hit the ground running when the outdoor season resumes.
Indoor competition offers many ways to stay active, and you can find some simple, convenient competitions nearby. League shoots offer great competition, and they’re usually lots of fun. Many league nights include a “fun shoot” component on top of the scoring round, which reduces the potential monotony shooting the same distance and target endlessly.
Some clubs offer a “mail match,” which lets archers shoot scores at their home club, which sends them to a central location that collects scores from several other clubs. The scores get tallied for six to twelve weeks, and then the aggregate scores or top three to six scores are totaled and ranked. These matches keep archers working and training to improve weekly, even though they’re only shooting 18 meters.
The next level of competition requires traveling to venues to compete against archers from around the country, and possibly the world. The Vegas Shoot and Lancaster Archery Classic in Pennsylvania attract international competitors, and give many local archers a taste of world-class competition. World Archery’s Indoor World Series also provides high-level training and competition during winter. You’ll see top outdoor archers perform well during indoor competitions, but you’ll also see indoor specialists shock the usual top archers.
Don’t take the indoor season for granted. It offers many opportunities to improve your skills and help you succeed during the outdoor season. And don’t be surprised if you have fun shooting indoors while exploring new ways to improve.