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Build Better Archery Habits with a Backyard Range

Most of us grew frustrated this spring as social distancing became the new normal. You might need to wait awhile before enjoying some hobbies outside your home, but don’t let social distancing keep you from growing closer to your bow.

Even if you lack a huge backyard to set up a target, you can likely find room to shoot your bow at home. You just need to get creative.

Shoot Inside

Dan Staton is a fitness fanatic and owner of ElkShape, a website and podcast that helps DIY hunters chase Western big game. Staton said 10 yards is all you need to work on shot execution. Find a safe place to shoot, such as your basement, walk-in closet, or spare bedroom. A stout, portable target that stops arrows before they pass through ensures you don’t stick an arrow into drywall, cement or paneling. Small spaces are great for perfecting your release and mechanics, or just flinging arrows when the weather is crummy.

“You can find tiny spots on the target to aim at, and really work a slow, methodical break,” Staton said. Accuracy isn’t the focus of close-quarter shooting drills, so work on your release and form by pulling through each shot. Set up your smartphone and take videos to identify form imperfections. Much as athletes study film, analyze your videos for flaws you can correct.

Build a 3D Course

Don’t stress if COVID-19 closed your favorite summer 3D shoot. Instead, order a 3D target from a pro shop and make your own course. Competitive 3D events train archers to shoot under pressure, so invite a few buddies over, practice social distancing, and hold a high-stakes shoot-off. Simple prizes and penalties, like $5 for winning or 50 burpees for losing, ensure everyone feels pressured. If you lack shooting space behind your house, find a piece of public land, or ask a landowner for permission to set up a target on a field edge.

Shooting Drills

Practice in different conditions for outdoor competitions or with your hunting set-up to prepare for hunting season. Photo Credit: ElkShape

Never hesitate to add a drill to your practice. Staton likes to stand on one foot while shooting, a drill he learned from Joel Turner, a renowned coach who specializes in kicking bad archery habits, specifically target panic.

“Shooting on one foot makes your pin float even more than it normally does on your target,” Staton said. “It helps me slowly pull through the shot, rather than punching the trigger as soon as the pin covers the middle of the target. It’s a fantastic drill for exposing issues with target panic.”

Also practice while wearing a binocular harness. And shoot from awkward positions, like kneeling or sitting. By preparing for tough situations, you’ll be ready for decisive shots when they come this fall.


Archery is a great way to disconnect from the news and frustrations of COVID-19, and enjoy some therapeutic range time. If your favorite place to shoot is closed as a result of the current situation, don’t let that stop you. Use these tips and keep your archery skills sharp while decompressing at your very own range.



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