Archers have many factors to consider when making the change from indoor season to outdoor season, including shot distances, lighting and arrow materials. But the end goal is ultimately the same: Hit the center of the target. The switch from indoors to outside shouldn’t be as arduous as some archers make it, and here are some tips to make the transition seamless.
Adjust for the Wind
The first thing most archers will notice when they leave indoor ranges to shoot outdoors is the wind. Adjusting for the wind simply means that the archer accounts for a crosswind and aims in a way that the arrow takes off into the wind and subsequently gets “pushed” back into the middle. Shooting into a headwind or with a tailwind (wind from the target or toward the target, respectively) takes more patience because these types of winds can make the arrow behave much more erratically. It’s best for archers to time their shots between wind gusts. The only way for you to improve in the wind is to purposefully practice when it’s windy.
Keep Your Distance
Shot execution does not differ whether you’re shooting outdoors or in, except for one obvious difference: a higher arm angle due to longer distances. The first few outings at long distance can feel uncomfortable and unbalanced because of the different alignment of the shoulders, but after you shoot with this shoulder orientation for a few practice sessions, the shot will balance out and you can put your focus back on shooting arrows into the middle. Archers should also be careful not to lean away from the target when their bow arm is at a higher angle to compensate for the discomfort of holding their arm higher. While this may not cause issues for all archers, misalignment can occur because the front shoulder is prone to being pushed up by the draw weight of the bow.
Acclimate to New Arrows
Changing arrows can also change the feel of the bow. Many archers switch arrows seasonally, and a heavier indoor aluminum arrow will make the bow feel slower than a light carbon arrow. Because of this, the shot might feel unbalanced and the archer will sometimes be tempted to change the weight distribution on their stabilizers. This is OK if the stabilizer weights were adjusted going from outdoors to indoors, and this is simply a reversal of the initial change, but if you’re happy with how the bow is balanced, then a short adjustment period to get used to the feel of the arrow change might be all you need.
The shift to outdoors is not difficult, but it does take time to acclimatize. Make sure to keep hydrated and protected from the elements, especially the sun and heat. Most high-level archers develop protocols for keeping themselves in top physical shape while shooting outside, and many of these protocols have more to do with the archer’s health on the field than with shooting an arrow. Experience will play a big role in transitioning to the outdoors, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice from more experienced archers. Their personal challenges can help just about anyone learn this sport.