Indoor archery season is all about spending time at the range protected from the weather elements during the winter months. It helps keep you out of the cold and allows you to focus on shooting at one consistent distance, rather than the varying distances seen during outdoor archery season. This consistency makes it the perfect time to try a new archery class or discipline.
Bow technicians at your local archery shop will be able to help advise you on the best way to make the switch to a new class or discipline. They’ll teach you how to use your existing equipment in your new class or get you set up with new equipment if you need to change it up.
Here’s a brief breakdown of what you’ll need for each change:
Outdoor to Indoor
Switching from outdoor to indoor archery, but sticking with your current bow, might not require any new gear at all. Some archers have different arrows for indoor season and outdoor season, but switching isn’t 100% necessary. Generally, outdoor arrows are smaller and skinnier than indoor arrows. A benefit of larger arrows is that the arrow will cover more ground on the target and could give you the advantage of a point because it’s more likely to touch the line for the next ring, which is how scores are calculated. If an arrow is touching the line, the archer gets the higher point for that line. That said, you might prefer the feel of the lighter and faster outdoor arrows. With shorter indoor distances the arrows aren’t flying as far, so they don’t need to fly as fast. Using the same arrows from outdoor season also means you don’t have to retune your bow to the new arrow weight. Use whichever arrows are more comfortable for you; it’s ultimately up to your personal preference.
Recurve to Compound
If you’re switching from recurve to compound, or vice versa, you’ll need to change up your entire gear repertoire and get a new bow, arrows and release. Compound and recurve bows are released two different ways, so learning a new form will be an exciting challenge and will open up a new lane — literally and figuratively — for you at your next tournament. Your bow technician can help you find the right bow for you based on your draw length and draw weight. They can also direct you to the arrows that are specific to compound or recurve.
Open Class to Bowhunter Class
The “open” class and “bowhunter” class are two styles of compound archery. They are both for compound bows, with the main difference being the equipment rules. Open class allows archers to use long stabilizers and magnified sights, whereas the bowhunter class allows only short stabilizers and non-magnified sights. Archers in the open class can adjust their sights throughout the competition, but bowhunter class archers are not allowed to adjust their sights. If you’ve been competing in the open compound class, switching to the bowhunter class will challenge you and encourage you to take a closer look at your equipment before you get started. You’ll need to be confident and consistent in your sight position before you begin in the bowhunter class, which creates an achievable, quantifiable goal that an archer can set for themselves.
Set Your Goals
Setting personal goals is a great way to keep practice interesting. It gives you something new to strive for, rather than just practicing. You’ll need to adjust your technique in some way, whether you’re changing distance, the sight or the bow itself. Whatever your skill level is, you can find a way to branch out and gather more skills to broaden your options at competitions. Indoor archery season is the perfect time to make the switch because you’ll be able to compete and practice consistently with the indoor archery distances, which don’t change. You’ll have months to hone your skills. Then, if you’re ready when outdoor archery season comes around, you’ll be able to debut your new skills at outdoor competitions too.
Visit your local archery shop to make the switch to a new class and use these winter months to learn something new and exciting.