How do you improve your archery scores? Practice.
The more you work on your form, shot execution and mental game, the better you’ll become. It’s a straightforward formula for success used by athletes in all sports. But it can also become a grind and be mentally taxing. That’s when taking a break can be beneficial.
Professional archer Chance Beaubouef starts his eight-month tournament season in January. During an interview at the 2019 ATA Show, Beaubouef said that after the 3D world championships in August, he takes a vacation from shooting his tournament bow and doesn’t pick it up again until mid-December. The break gives him a mental reprieve, which results in his being excited and motivated to put in work again. It also allows him to be mentally sharp for the major indoor tournaments in January and February.
If you’ve taken a break from archery and are excited to jump back into the game, it’s wise to slow your roll. Although your mind is fresh and your spirits are high, your muscles aren’t as prepared to practice. Start slowly to prevent injury while you rebuild your archery muscles. Some archers might find it necessary to modify their equipment by reducing stabilizer weight and draw weight.
Make Equipment Modifications
If your bow arm is shaky at full draw, try dropping the mass weight of your bow by removing some or all stabilizer weights. Add them back as you regain strength.
Reducing draw weight on a compound bow is an easy task for the staff at an archery shop. You can also do it yourself by evenly loosening the limb bolts on your bow. However, it’s best to allow a bow technician to do this because every bow has a maximum amount that it can be reduced and each limb must be turned equally. The bow technician can also check your current draw weight before adjusting.
Some recurve bows have an adjustable draw weight and are commonly referred to as ILF recurves. You can learn more about these bows here. If you don’t have an ILF bow, you can buy a set of lighter limbs.
Get Archery Fit
After you’ve taken care of the gear, it’s time to get to work on yourself. If you want to speed up the process of increasing your strength and endurance, try shooting six or more arrows at a time at close range. This allows you to shoot a lot in a short time. Archery-specific exercises are another way to improve.
Shaking off the rust and finding your shot again is another top priority. When you’re working on form, don’t try to shoot exceptional scores. Shoot up close at a blank bale to help you focus on technique, not aiming. Learn more about blank bale practice here.
After a few weeks of exercise and blank bale shooting, you should start feeling like your old self again. If something still doesn’t feel right, reach out to an archery coach, who can identify things to work on and make getting back in the groove easier. Find one near you here.