Summer Practice Guide
Missing your paper or 3D targets isn’t fun, but wounding an animal is far worse. That’s why bowhunters must constantly improve their accuracy. To ensure success, you must practice, seek coaching, and then practice what your coach teaches.
To get competent coaching, contact a nearby archery shop to schedule lessons. If you’re new to archery, a one-hour lesson at least every two weeks will get you primed for bowhunting season. Even experienced archers can increase their focus and accuracy by taking monthly lessons.
To capitalize on your lessons, practice regularly between sessions. That’ seldom as easy as it sounds. Most archers struggle to practice enough.
If you lack time to practice, don’t despair. You don’t have to shoot dozens of arrows to rack up meaningful practice time. All you need is one arrow.
If you have a backyard range but little time to use it, one-arrow practice is a great solution. Shoot once at your target, with no warm-up or make-up shots. By taking only one shot, you must concentrate and do everything right, just like when you’re bowhunting. Mix up your shooting angles, distances or shooting position each day to keep things challenging.
If practicing for only one hour per week best matches your lifestyle, you can maximize that hour by crafting a plan with training goals, and set precise times for each goal.
According to this TED-Ed video by Annie Bosler and Don Greene, practice is all about creating efficient neuropathways, sometimes called “muscle memory.” Mastering a skill isn’t only about logging hours of practice. It’s also about quality and effective practice. To train effectively, split your session into specific time chunks.
Here’s a sample practice plan:
- Warm up for 15 minutes.
- Work on your release at a blank bale for 15 minutes.
- Work on the mental process for 15 minutes.
- Practice judging distances for 15 minutes.
Realistic Hunting Practice
Practicing your form and building muscle memory are vital to success, but they won’t fully prepare you for hunting season. Practice various hunting scenarios to test the skills you’ve been honing. For example, if you plan to hunt from treestands, practice shooting from a treestand while wearing your camouflage clothes and safety harness. Shoot while seated, kneeling or with unusual footing; as well as uphill and downhill.
You’ll further benefit by practicing at 3D shoots, which add pressure to your training. The more you practice while under pressure, the more you learn to handle bowhunting’s many nerve-rattling situations.
Bowhunting is a never-ending challenge, but the harder you practice, the easier it gets. If you practice smartly this summer, you’ll be calmer and better prepared when it’s time to shoot this fall.