By Jason Reid
It isn’t just grilling season anymore becuase practice season is in full swing. While the rest of the world dreams about lazy days on the boat or downing a few more beers, hardcore bowhunters know open day is just around the corner. Feeling unprepared at the moment of truth is not what you really want after a full year of waiting. Practice takes time and effort to feel at your utmost peak in confidence. As the summer progresses here are a few tips for making the most of your time on the range.
Shoot Short: Sometimes we lose discipline in proper technique while shooting for sessions. The problem is, who doesn’t want to just shoot for fun. If you have the need to keep shooting, at least make the repetition work for you. The six yard routine can help build your discipline and fulfill the need to shoot. Picking a small specific point on your target, like a previous arrow mark or small stickers, to practice hitting over and over again. Like in baseball, this is mostly mental to keep yourself on pace. Don’t begin punching the trigger out of anxiousness. Another technique is to shoot with your eyes closed. First, make sure the target is big and that your backdrop is completely safe. This technique can break habits of slapping at the trigger. Instead, shooting with your eyes closed can help make you much more aware of your senses and force you to feel for the trigger. Your mind allows your body to relax much more and it is surprising how natural shots feel. You won’t forget how this feels when you step back to further distances.
Shoot Long: We have heard this before and it is true, long distance shooting is recommended by archery professionals to improve your short and mid range shots. This refines key elements such as breathing, grip, release and follow-through. Long range shooting reveals flaws in your shooting style or in your equipment. Even if 60 yards is too far of a shot for you in the field, in the backyard, this can help you gain more confidence in your shots come fall. For long range shots, don’t focus on holding dead steady on your point, but relax and float your pin of your spot and watch the arrow hit the target.
Build Confidence: Shooting spots or even 3d targets can become monotonous after a while. Sometimes we need positive reinforcement in a visually stimulating way. Shooting clay pigeons for wingshooting practice is a fantastic confidence builder as seeing a clay bird turn to powder makes you feel energized. For archery practice, why not try to hit a softball sized water balloon to build your confidence? Seeing balloons explode is a great way to practice and have fun on the range. Water balloons also give you something defined to hover your pin over at long range.
Stop Shooting: Sometimes putting down the bow for the day is the best thing you can do. Fatigued muscles lead to poor shooting techniques which can form bad habits. Sometimes the frustration of poor shooting due to fatigued muscles can lead to improper sight or gear adjustments, further adding complications as you try to practice. Remember, practice is only good if you have good form.
Archery practice is all about finding your rhythm. Each person has their own style and for some this means shooting a handful of arrows each summer while for others a day is not complete unless dozens of arrows are shot. Remember, opening day will be here sooner than expected and its better to prepare now than at the last second.
About: Jason is a blogger and business development manager with a passion for adventure bowhunting. After starting blogs from his dorm rooms in college, he now contributes regularly to Ammoland and other national and regional publications. Follow him at www.pushingthewildlimits.com