How to Develop a Summer Archery Training Routine
The month is June and times are pretty slow for those of us who love to hunt. Fishing season and other summertime activities definitely have their places in our hearts, but the early summer does not do much to satisfy that inner hunter. Especially if you're a bowhunting nut who is just counting down the days until archery season.
Now, if you are a true bowhunting nut then you know how important this phase of the year really is. A time that is neglected by many but eventually catches up with each and every bowhunter out there. If you are putting your time in on the archery range in June, your chances of success are simply going to be better in the fall. It's that simple.
For new bowhunters or those of you who have routinely neglected a practice routine for years, the thought of actively training yourself may be daunting. Your schedule is jammed, the season is distant, and you are confident in your personal shooting abilities. That's all fine and good, but you can always get better.
Remember that we all owe it to each and every animal that we decide to pursue to be at the best of our abilities. That is never more important than when we are slinging sharp sticks at deer or anything else. You owe it to that animal to be well practiced and as accurate as you possibly can be.
That's where this little article steps into the picture.
No, I am not a championship target archer. Just a regular guy who has a passion for bowhunting. Such a passion that I have molded myself into an archer that practices nearly every day during the summer months. Thus, I figured that I could shine some light on the subject as we enter the prime summer shooting months.
STEP #1: GET YOUR BODY RIGHT (Compound/Longbow Archers)
Unlike loading a gun or crossbow and pulling a trigger, shooting a vertical bow involves a bit of physical exertion. That's no knock on people who don't shoot a compound or longbow. It's just the truth, and we have to address that truth. Far too many compound bow archers neglect their bodies and find themselves unable to keep up with the physical demand of shooting.
This isn't a fitness blog by any means, but it's time to get in touch with your body. If that right shoulder is bugging you, get it checked out before you start practicing. If drawing your bow feels like a hassle because you have been doing potato chip curls since the winter, do some light strength training. Regardless of what you do, get your body ready for the repetition of drawing and shooting. You will need some decently in-shape muscles to implement a truly effective summer shooting program.
STEP #2: PICK A WINDOW
The key to developing any kind of a routine is making it fit into your personal schedule. I know, groundbreaking and adrenaline-pumping outdoor tips here. I am being 100 percent serious though. If you think that a 2-hour nightly shooting routine is what you need but your schedule says otherwise, how likely is it that you are going to be able to keep up with that?
Look at your life and find some windows for training. The great news is that a very effective archery training game-plan does not require some insane amount of time and dedication. In fact, I would advise that you look into short practice sessions as many times per week as you can manage. Like 15-30 minute shooting sessions whenever they fit your schedule. We're all busy these days, but I have to imagine we can all find 15-30 minutes a few days per week. Focus on quality reps more than quantity.
STEP #3: MAKE IT REAL
I love archery as much as anyone, and I definitely enjoy some fine-tuning on a bulls-eye. However, I am a hunter at heart, and you are probably the same. That calls for relevant practice that will apply to our high-pressure moments in the field. Hunting-related archery practice will also keep your training routine interesting and increase the chances you will stick to it.
Spend a little bit of coin and get yourself a decent 3-D target to go along with that block or bag with the bulls-eye on it. Rotate between your targets. Hell, go out and shoot at a 3-D range or archery club if there is one near you. Mix it up and keep it relevant to hunting. Once we get to August or so, I will exclusively practice on a 3-D whitetail target in anticipation of deer season. It's all about keeping it real and training yourself on what you will be hunting.
STEP #4: THE SINGLE-ARROW STRATEGY
This final tip should be implemented once your bow and your body are completely tuned and ready for that mid-summer shooting grind. I will absolutely advocate shooting groups of multiple arrows to get yourself and the bow tuned in. However, my tone changes drastically once the rust is knocked off. This is one of my favorite archery training tips out there because it simply works for hunters.
Far too many of us get lulled into a habit of slinging multiple arrows into a group until we hit the mark. That's fine, but that is not how hunting typically works. I've been bowhunting for a good while now and I have yet to have an animal stand still for several shots. It happens but it is insanely rare. One shot is usually all we get, so that is precisely how many arrows I bring along with me to the range. Think again about quality over quantity. I know that my shots have to be on point or I'll be doing a ton of walking until that arrow hits home. Just a little strategy twist that can help you to get serious this summer.
As you can see, my outlook on implementing a summer archery training program is far from rocket science. It's probably far from what a real archery coach or some kind of expert would advise you on, and I am completely fine with that. We all have our own styles and strategies.
These are just a few points of emphasis that I have obtained from years of practice and transitioning into the hunting season. Give them a shot and let me know how they work for you!