Slinging arrow after arrow, day after day, is a great way to hone your skills, but practicing the same ol’ way on repeat can grow boring over time. Insert shooting drills!
Shooting drills help you build strength, stamina and confidence. They’re a great way to mix up your shooting routine and simultaneously test and sharpen your skills.
Jeff Greer, owner of Music City Archery in Franklin, Tennessee, recommends trying these four fun shooting drills and exercises to get out of your comfort zone and into a state of improvement. You can do them alone or with friends.
Always focus on safety, no matter what archery shooting drill, game or exercise you’re doing. Be prepared, be aware of your surroundings, and follow the rules to stay safe when shooting at the range or in your backyard.
1. Better Your Best
You need one official and at least one unofficial scorecard for this game. If it’s your first time, you’ll likely need more than one unofficial scorecard. To play, you shoot and keep score, but there’s a kicker. You can write your score on the official card only if you match or “better your best” scoring round to that point. All other scores should be recorded on unofficial scorecards to track all ends. You finish the game when the official scorecard is full. Greer said very few people can complete a full round when first attempting this skill drill.
It’s time to “marvel” at your shot and process. Take a shot and step off the shooting line to evaluate how you executed the shot correctly, regardless of the score. For example, review your stance, grip, anchor point, release, follow-through, posture and mental checklist. What went well? What did you do correctly? By analyzing your shot for well-executed parts of the process, you train your mind to concentrate on the positive aspects of each shot. Prioritizing your performance over the score helps you make minor improvements toward good form and a consistent, streamlined shot process. Greer loves this drill because it makes archers focus on their physical and mental skills during every shot.
In this game, the stakes are high because archers shoot only one arrow per round. That single arrow counts for all three arrows if you’re shooting indoor target or all six arrows if you’re shooting outdoor target. When you keep score, multiply the score of your solo shot to account for all three or six arrows, depending on which style you’re shooting. The amplified pressure to perform well on each shot forces the archer to slow down and concentrate. You may shoot fewer arrows when playing “uno,” but it’s anyone’s game because a point difference can make or break your score.
4. Shot of Faith
This drill has advancement opportunities for those at different skill levels. Ensure you have a large backstop and a spotter who can ensure the range is clear as you complete this drill. Here’s how it works.
- Level 1: Standing a few yards from the target, draw your bow, aim at the target and close your eyes for three to five seconds. Then, open your eyes, reacquire the target and take the shot. Advance to Level 2 once you’re still on target when you open your eyes after five seconds.
- Level 2: Draw your bow, aim at the target and close your eyes for three to five seconds while imagining the arrow hitting the target’s center. After the time is up, take the shot with your eyes closed. Advance to Level 3 when you can group near the target’s center with your eyes closed.
- Level 3: Look at the target when you’re in the set position (positioned toward the target with your bow down). Then, close your eyes, draw your bow and imagine acquiring the target. Once you feel you’re aiming at the target’s center, open your eyes. Reacquire the target if you’re off and take the shot. Advance to Level 4 when you don’t have to reacquire the target.
- Level 4: Look at the target when you’re in the set position, close your eyes, draw your bow and imagine acquiring the target. Once you feel you have acquired the target, take the shot.
- Once you complete Level 4, move back a few more yards and start over.
Check out these other Archery360.com articles for more archery shooting games and drills: