If there’s one thing we’ll never have enough of, it’s time. Work, raising a family, and life’s little surprises compete for every second of our day. It’s a wonder we have any time for hobbies and everyday demands.
Meanwhile, becoming a proficient archer takes time. It’s important to block out practice time to become a good shot. Consider the following tips to maximize your practice sessions.
Create a Routine
If you instill a routine, you’ll more likely stick to it. That could be shooting your bow daily on your lunch break; dedicating Monday, Wednesday and Friday as practice nights; or scheduling every Tuesday night to join friends at the range. Whatever your choice, make it your routine.
Practice at Work
Some archers work in rural areas where they can shoot at or near their workplace. If you can shoot on your company’s back lawn (check with HR first!) or take a short drive to a public-hunting grounds, you have ideal setups. To enjoy lunch-hour practice, keep your bow, practice arrows, and a portable target in your car or truck. You probably have little time to eat, practice and return to work, so focus on quality shooting. It’s better to take five focused shots than to simply fling arrows until exhausted.
If you can shoot with coworkers, so much the better. You’ll have more fun and be more committed if someone relies on you for lunchtime practice. Coworkers who don’t shoot might even be intrigued by your practice. It’s a great opportunity to help someone take a shot or two. You might turn them into archers!
Not everyone has the luxury of a backyard or nearby range, of course. You can still work on your archery skills through strength training. Regular exercise tones your muscles and eases your draw while helping you pull more weight and hold longer. Some exercises require weights or weightlifting equipment. You can exercise with dumbbells anywhere, even in a parking lot near your car. Stretch bands also offer good exercise for conditioning muscles.
Consider these five strength and conditioning exercises for archers.
For information on using stretch bands, click here.
An easier way to dedicate time to practice is through visualization training. You don’t need a bow or weights; just a quiet place to concentrate. Clear your head and concentrate on making perfect shots. Focus on every detail as you mentally draw, aim and release each arrow. By focusing constantly on perfect form, you’ll shoot better when practicing with real gear on actual targets.
To learn more about visualization techniques read this article.
Slip in a Few Shots
Be creative about scheduling practice time. Do you often wait when picking up your child from piano lessons or sports practice? Bring your portable target and find a safe place to shoot nearby.
The most convenient practice place is your home, of course. If you can shoot in your back yard, set up a range for practice before or after work, or during lunch. Set up several targets and buy more arrows so you can spend more time shooting and less time retrieving. To practice from an elevated position, build a platform with stairs and railings. It’s much easier and safer to climb than a ladder.
Don’t Waste Time
We all lead busy lives. Realizing what’s important and what’s not creates more free time. Instead of wasting time on the couch for TV or social media, invest that time in archery practice. You’ll accomplish more and feel satisfied later.