Shooting is the best way to improve your archery abilities. From developing strength to focusing on form, every arrow provides an opportunity for improvement. However, it’s not always possible to visit the range as much as one would like. Whether the weather isn’t right or there’s not enough time in the day for a trip to the range, there are ways to improve at home.
Just like athletes in other sports use a variety of training tools and methods to boost abilities and overall health and wellness, archers can also practice at home. Here are several ways to boost your archery game off the range.
Keep Up with Cardio
Archery involves a lot of walking and endurance — going back and forth from the target to the shooting line, or hiking through an outdoor course. So archers need to be in shape. If you’re fatigued from walking, your shots will suffer. Add cardio to your exercise routine. Whether that’s walking, running, hiking or biking, boosting your cardio performance will help you reach the top of your game.
Strength Train with Stretch Bands
Stretch bands are lightweight resistance bands that are used for strength training. Cheap and effective, they take up minimal space. Unlike bulky and expensive pieces of exercise equipment, they can be used anywhere. Olympian Mackenzie Brown says stretch bands are a great way to build strength. Stretch bands can mimic shooting a bow, working the right muscles. They provide resistance when you’re pulling back and an opportunity to practice your follow-through when released. They can also strengthen your core. Brown recommends training each arm with a stretch band. This will improve dexterity.
Take a Shot with a Shot Trainer
Shot trainers are tools designed to mimic shooting arrows. There are several different styles and brands. Some are made to be used with recurve and compound bows. Other models are stand-alone. Many professional archers use shot trainers to warm up or practice while on the road. These home training devices provide many benefits. Shot trainers can help archers focus on using back muscles and replicating the actual shot. It’s a great way for archers to get reps in when they can’t make it to the range.
Try Specific Physical Training
Many professional archers highly recommend Specific Physical Training. Kisik Lee, a coach for the U.S. Olympic team, developed these exercises to improve archers’ performance. SPT exercises can be done with a bow, but archers can also use shot trainers or resistance bands. SPTs are designed to help archers increase their draw weight, work on control, improve form and boost endurance.
Train the Brain
Archery requires physical abilities, but there’s also a mental aspect. When you can’t make it to the range, it might be the perfect time to work on your mental performance. The best archers cycle through a mental checklist before each shot to ensure consistency, so work on developing a checklist of your own. Take the time to develop this process and then put it into practice next time you visit the range.
Improving your performance doesn’t require a huge commitment every day. When you’re running short on time or can’t make it to the range, try practicing at home. Even a few minutes can give you an edge and make you a better archer.