Winter is when some archers tend to get a little lazy. While it’s certainly acceptable to have seasons of rest or focus on other activities, it’s also wonderful to find the motivation to keep in shooting shape. This is the perfect time to join an archery league. Many archery clubs and shops host a variety of leagues, often indoors, during the winter months.
Besides being a great way to keep up your practice and improve your skills, participating in a league provides a host of other benefits. Shooting in a league can provide a fun social event to look forward to and be an outlet for exercise during the cold months. Plus, you can exercise your competitive nature. Here are some tips for not only surviving but thriving in winter league.
Find the Right League for You
Many clubs and shops host several styles of leagues to suit a variety of participants. Before signing up, find the right fit for you. Some leagues are for pairs, which is great for couples and gives you an excuse for a date night. There are family leagues aimed at encouraging parents to foster a love of archery among their kids. Bowhunters may want to consider a 3D target or techno league. These leagues can not only improve your target archery skills but also help boost your skills in the field.
Be sure to find a league that fits your schedule. You won’t do well if you don’t show up. Leagues can range from weekly to monthly. Some are on a set day and time. Others, like techno leagues, are often more flexible because archers sign up to shoot during a time slot that fits their schedule. This flexibility can be a good option for archers whose schedules change. Finding the right fit and making the commitment to show up is the first step to finding success.
Paper Tune Your Bow
After a long summer and fall of shooting outdoors, it’s a good idea to make sure your bow is still properly tuned. Nobody wants to make adjustments in the middle of a tournament or hunting season. Having your bow paper tuned before the league starts gives you an edge over archers who just assume their equipment is fine.
Paper tuning is the process of shooting an arrow through paper. How the hole looks on the paper gives important insight into the arrow’s flight. This helps you determine if the arrow is leaving the bow straight. Paper tuning will reveal if your arrow rest, bowstring and nocking point are aligned. It can also alert you to bad shooting form or improper arrow setup.
You can easily do paper tuning at home, as long as you have a safe place to shoot from 6 feet away from the target. Archery shops carry paper tuning targets. If the arrow’s hole is round with slices for the fletchings, your bow is perfectly in tune. If the hole is anything different, something is off.
If you’re new to working on your equipment, check with an archery technician. They will watch you shoot through paper, help diagnose the problem and find the solution. Winter is a great time to have a technician check out your equipment because they’re often less busy.
Back to Basics
Proper shooting form is the foundation of all success. Small inconsistencies lead to big mistakes. League is a great time to go back to the basics and analyze your form. From stance to follow-through, go through each step of the shooting process. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Sometimes we can’t see what we’re doing wrong. Archery shops often have certified coaches. Ask one to take a look at your form and give you some tips. Small adjustments can make a big difference on your scorecard.
Track Your Progress
Practicing with a purpose yields the best results. For bowhunters, the upcoming hunting season provides motivation to head to the range. Knowing that practice leads to success helps keep archers sharp. However, that motivation may dwindle once the season ends. Joining a league renews that ambition. Scores track improvement. Seeing your progress against yourself and your competitors gives you impetus for continued success.
You can’t shoot your best if you don’t feel your best. Treat archery league like any other sport that requires peak physical and mental conditioning. If you don’t already have healthy habits in place, now is the time. Getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods are easy ways to boost your performance at the range.
Whether you’re in it for the camaraderie or the competition, an archery league is a great way to spend the winter.