The popular phrase “practice makes perfect” is meant to motivate, but it doesn’t specify how much practice brings improvement. That depends on your goal. If you want to improve at archery, this practice guide uses your goals to determine how often you should shoot.
Learning the Basics
If you’re new to archery, master its basics before focusing on how often to practice. First learn the foundations of form. Take a beginner’s class or lessons. Certified instructors teach proper form and offer ideas on how to practice outside of class.
As you learn archery, every practice hones your skills. You might not hit the bull’s-eye every shot, but you’ll gain strength, learn the shot process, and instill good shooting habits.
Meanwhile, check with an archery shop about range time. When shooting at the range, consult the experts if you have questions about form or equipment. Ranges also offer a great venue to meet other archers and turn practice into a fun social event.
Practice builds better form, focus and strength. Every arrow provides opportunities to improve. How often you practice is up to you, depending on your work, school and family obligations. If time is tight, pencil practice into your schedule, starting an hour weekly on the same day. Routines hold you accountable and track your progress.
You can put this idea into practice by joining a league at the archery shop. Leagues are typically weekly shoots that last one to two hours, and feature many times and formats on evenings and weekends to accommodate work and school schedules. Leagues are fun and hold you accountable. Plus, the pressure of league formats improves your shooting skills.
If you’re short on time, consider building a backyard range for easy access to practice. Instead of carving out large time chunks weekly, try shooting a few arrows every few days.
Shooting shouldn’t be stressful or rushed. Instead of unwinding after work with Netflix, try flinging arrows. If you look at your schedule, you can probably find opportunities where archery can help you relax while providing a great workout. It involves strength training and cardio. Try replacing another workout with archery.
Even if you don’t shoot as much as you’d like, you’ll be rewarded if you approach every practice with intention. To learn how to maximize each practice session, check out “Get the Most Out of Your Practice Sessions.”
To elevate your game, practice accordingly. Preparing for competitions takes commitment. Most school programs hold multiple weekly practices that last two to four hours. Casey Kaufhold, 15, is one of the world’s best archers. She practices almost daily after school for up to five hours. Kaufhold says steady practice is the only way to build the focus, stamina and strength needed for competition. Read more about her practice routine at “Getting Started in Competitive Archery: Preparing for a Tournament.”
Kaufhold and most competitive archers shoot and score a round of arrows every time they practice. Many shoot multiple rounds, which can be hundreds of arrows several times weekly.
For more tournament prep tips from the pros, check out the World Archery article “Top Tips: Preparing for a Big Archery Competition.”
If you dream big, nothing is bigger than the Olympics. The nation’s most elite archers train fulltime for the U.S. team, including Olympic hopeful Jack Williams, who trains at the Olympic Training Center. He starts training daily at 8 a.m., and shoots until noon. After breaking for lunch he shoots another four hours. His workouts also include cardio, weight training and mental prep.
Practice isn’t a full-time job, unless you’re chasing a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. If you just want to improve your scores, practice at least once weekly. Find a friend or join a league to hold yourself accountable and have fun at the same time.