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Advanced Archery Advice from USA Archery Coaches


Practicing proper form is vital to having a successful archery career, whether recreational or professional, but it isn’t everything. There are a few distinct puzzle pieces that come together to create the picture of a successful archer. We discussed what these puzzle pieces might look like with a group of professional, certified USA Archery coaches.


Tom Hinojosa – Level 5 NTS Coach, Regional Elite Program Coach

Mastery isn’t only about the number of hours or arrows shot during practice. It is also the quality and effectiveness of that practice. Know why you are shooting every shot in practice, even if sometimes it is just for the fun of it. Effective practice targets weaknesses at the edge of your current abilities and should be entirely focused on the task at hand. Your practice sessions should be more challenging than what you typically experience in tournaments. Put your cell phone in airplane mode to help minimize distractions. Schedule breaks. Remember that practicing in your brain in vivid detail can further reinforce a physical motion that has been previously established through physical practice and repetition. Make vivid visualizing a regular part of your training plan.


Kyle Bissell – Level 4 NTS Coach, Regional Elite Program East Region Head Coach



If I were to confidently provide one piece of evidence-based advice that would likely improve the performance (and overall well-being) of most advanced archers, I would focus on the topic of sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene helps athletes optimize elements of their sleep habits (sleep schedule, screens before bed, etc.) and environment (noise, temperature, ambient light, etc.) to improve sleep quality and quantity. Besides nutrition and hydration, sleep is one of the primary recovery strategies people need to assist them in recovering from cumulative training load. Improved sleep quality and quantity positively impacts perception of effort, power output, accuracy, balance, reaction time, strength, decision-making, endurance, and metabolism of glucose. In addition, improved sleep quality and quantity elevates mood, which is important for two reasons. First, there is a strong positive correlation between mood quality and athletic performance. Second, improved mood benefits mental health, which is a win for quality of life on and off the field.

Curiosity piqued? Check out this fantastic video on the importance of sleep with Dr. Brandon Marcello titled Sleep: The Only True “Fixall” for Health and Performance.


Dale Churchett – Level 4 NTS Coach, Regional Elite Program Coach



Think about your core values and how you want to compete (determination, honesty, joy, humor, bravery, discipline). If you have held true to your core values, you have put in a winning performance.

It’s not about the score or whether you stand on the podium. People will remember how you made them feel long after the competition. What you score is a fleeting moment.

When you start to compete, those first couple of seasons are all about learning how to compete. That means learning the rules, the format, how to handle distractions, how your equipment responds, logistics, self-care, arousal control, making friends etc. There’s so much to learn, so go in with an open mind and look for learning opportunities.

The next competition is just practice for the next competition.


Jeff Greer – Level 4 NTS Coach

Advanced archers should transition from practicing to training. Training has purpose, schedule, and specific goals.

Practicing is picking up the bow and shooting arrows, hoping for improvement. Training is the next level of practicing. A training plan is created months in advance of an event with the number of arrows expected to be shot per day, specific skill drills, scoring goals per week, reflection and exercise routines. An archer should have goals set prior to competition seasons (indoor/outdoor/3D/Field). The training plan is tailored to these goals, has progressive expectations and a means to track progress versus expectations. Archers that are serious about improvement and/or maintaining high performance standards have a coach or coaching team that provide accountability and overcome roadblocks to their goals.

If form is everything, then only those with good form would win tournaments or have successful hunts.

Successful archers understand developing your mental game is equally as important as proper form. Developing affirming self-talk and strong mental competencies requires as much time and work as developing and maintaining proper shooting techniques.


Linda Beck – Level 5 NTS Coach

When you think “I need a 10 to win,” first recognize and accept the thought as it is true but actually is the future. Don’t spend time trying to stop yourself from thinking that, as it is true. Acknowledge the thought and redirect thought to “What do I do to shoot an arrow worthy of scoring a 10?” Now you are present. All top performers must be “present” to win.

WIN – What’s Important Now. I need a 10 to win; again, true statement. Redirect to “What do I do to shoot a 10.”


Guy Krueger – Level 5 NTS Coach, Director of Education for USA Archery

A lot of people shoot world records and personal bests in practice. If you want to do that in competition when it matters the most, you have to work to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. When you can make training and practice harder than the competition, you can train hard and compete easy. It all starts with working towards becoming more comfortable with the uncomfortable.


Put the Advice into Practice

Proper form is the first step to being an accurate archer, but there is so much more that goes into completing the journey. We hope the advice listed above will help you connect with your bow, your goals, and most importantly, yourself.

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