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How to Prepare for Your First Big Indoor Shoot

Indoor season is here, and you want to compete at some major indoor competitions you’ve learned about. The thought of shooting next to some of the world’s best archers makes your heart race. Before you hit the road for that big competition, you must thoroughly prepare.

Know the Rules

Some tournaments score differently than others, so make sure you know the difference. Photo Credit: Lancaster Online

Depending on the event, you might have to learn a new set of rules to do something as simple as scoring. You should know how this competition is run, how you must score it, and what format determines the winner.

For example, what’s the difference between the Lancaster Classic and the Vegas Shoot? The Classic has a ranking round and eliminations, with 11 points scoring the X-ring. At Vegas, the archers’ cumulative scores over three consecutive days determines the winner. Knowing the rules lets you practice the type of round you’ll shoot at the competition so you won’t be surprised when it’s time to score.

Prepare Your Equipment

How confident are you in your equipment? Can you go into scoring mode at a moment’s notice? Being confident in your bow and arrows is a giant step in preparing for your big event. The pressure of scoring well can distract you from executing your shot. That’s when a forgiving bow can be a big help. A well-tuned bow isn’t guaranteed to shoot in the middle, but if you execute your shot relatively well, your chances of shooting 10s greatly increases.

Prepare Physically and Mentally

Make sure you are physically and mentally strong enough for the competition. Record your practice sessions. Photo Credit: USA Archery

Shooting under high pressure can exhaust your body and mind. Are you physically fit to handle the number of arrows you must shoot in scoring and practice? It’s a definite consideration for successful archers. You should be able to comfortably shoot double the required number of arrows daily in competition. That lets you know you have the stamina to shoot all day.

Preparing your mind is another challenge, but the more you practice, the more ready you’ll be. Much like shooting practice, you’ll handle pressure better if you’re visualizing your ideal shot, competition venue, and recovery techniques when shooting well or poor.

Study how to mentally prepare. This often means reading a book and keeping a journal. Most top athletes (not just archers) worldwide keep a journal about their training sessions and competitions; doing so makes it easier to replicate good days, and analyze what went wrong on bad days, which helps them avoid whatever caused that bad practice/performance.

Prepare for Equipment Issues

No equipment is perfect, so prepare for practically everything that can break in your archery bag. Ideally that means bringing two bows and many spare arrows. Archery, however, is a relatively expensive sport, so think about what could break first, and bring those spare parts – this is a cheaper option. Items such as an extra finger tab/release, and plenty of arrow vanes, nocks, and bowstrings are some basic items to acquire and pack. As you spend more time in archery, you’ll collect more equipment, which makes acquiring a complete second bow easier.

Shooting a major indoor competition is fundamentally the same as shooting a major outdoor event. Prepare as thoroughly as you would for an outdoor competition, minus the sunscreen and rain gear. Shot execution is vital, no matter which archery discipline you shoot.



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