Getting Back to Shooting After Lockdown
by Adam Miller
Archery is coming back!
But are you ready to shoot again? Have you been able to shoot during lockdown? Have you been doing archery specific exercises? Maybe you’ve decided to just have a bit of a break before getting back into the sport?
Which ever choice you made, getting ready to shoot again can be a daunting task. So why don’t we go through some important steps you might want to take so you're all set to re-join the sport.
Have you looked at, or check your equipment since lock down began? If the answer is no, it's a good idea to go through all off your gear and make sure it's all in good condition. Do so especially if the last time you shot it was wet and you forgot to dry your bow (we all have done this at some point). It might be a good idea to have a notebook handy so you can make a note of any measurements you might want and also to make a note of any damage or bits you might want to replace or upgrade soon.
Remember to check your riser for any damage, check that the tiller bolts have not come loose (if your bow has them). It's a good time to make sure your arrow rest is still good, or replace it for a new one. This is especially important if your arrow rest is made from plastic or has small moving parts. If you don’t have a spare, it's probably a good time to order one. Have a look at all of the removable items - like the grip - and make sure nothing is loose.
It's also worth checking your stabiliser mounts to make sure there is no damage or even to make sure nothing has fallen into the Hole. Check your limbs for signs of damage especially around the limb tips. Also, have a look to make sure the edges of the limbs are not damaged and take special care to make sure the layers on the limbs are not separating (also called de-laminating).
Check your string for signs of wear around the centre serving and the loops. Make sure your nocking points are still in good condition or even replace them. Once all of this has been checked, string your bow, check the measurements like tiller, brace height and weight (if you don’t have a bow scale, consider getting one - they're a great tool to have in your box). If you don't have these written down, now would be a good time to do that. A good place to store this information could be our handy printables - you can find them here. Most of this is specific to recurve or barebow, but similar checks can be made on any style of bow; for traditional there might not be as many moving parts, but there are still things that need to be checked. For compounds there are even more parts to look over, including d-loops, peep sights, cam timing and so on.
There are lots of little bits and pieces we need as we get ready to shoot, from sights to stabilisers. Everything should be checked, and, if you can, it's also worth making a list of what you usually carry in your bag, or even in your quiver. Once you have this, it's worth turning it into a check list, so you always know you're ready when tournaments start up again. For a helpful idea of what you might need at a tournament, why not check out one of our other articles “SO... YOU'RE GOING TO A TOURNAMENT!” which can be found here.
A basic check list might include the following for a recurve archer:
- String x 2 (both waxed and shot on alternative days, so you know the're good to use)
- Sight pin (additional options of light fiber colour is always a good idea)
- Clicker (write down it's position, and always have a spare)
- Tab (always have a spare that's ready to shoot)
- Arm Guard (I always have a spare)
- Chest Guard
- Finger / Wrist sling (and a spare)
- Pressure/Plunger button (with a spare setup ready to shoot)
- Arrows x 12 (more than you need for the day's shooting - accidents do happen). Check your arrows have no cracks or damage, all fletchings, nocks and points are in place and good condition.
- Spare arrow points, vanes and nocks.
- Arrow rest and spare arrow rest/parts (some have replaceable parts, like arms or double tape)
- Long rod (check thread is not worn and that the weights and dampers are not loose)
- Short rods (check thread is not worn and that weights and dampers are not loose)
- V-bar and extender if use them (again check for wear; also check that everything is tightly screwed together)
- Any other dampers you use (list each item so you don’t forget them)
- Quiver Belt
- Score Book (if you use one)
- Arrow puller
- Arrow lube (you might be shooting on a straw target)
- A selection of pens
- Super Glue, for emergency repairs
- Bow stand
- Scope or Binoculars (if you use them)
- Tripod (for scope)
- Tent (if you use one)
- Spare target faces and target pins (if you have to supply your own)
Everyone's list will be different and it will change from time to time, but this will help to keep you organised and take away some of the stress when getting ready to shoot. Keep the list simple.
What else is there to do? Talking to your coach is always a good idea (if you have one), set yourself some goals, and maybe even a training plan? Are you going to find some competitions to shoot?
This is very, very important. Have a plan of what you want to achieve in the coming year. Do you want to increase your classification? Do you want to increase your score at a certain distance? Do you want to increase your bow weight so you can shoot a longer distance? What ever your goal is, make one that is defined and achievable. Don’t make it so hard that you will struggle to achieve it. Likewise, don’t make it so easy that you complete it in a week!
You might even want to set out steps to your plan:
1) increase bow weight
2) shoot longer distance
3) gain the next classification
If you want to improve and achieve your goal, then setting out a training plan is essential. Decide how many times a week you can shoot, how many arrows each session and how you will train when you're not shooting - maybe exercise or mental training. This is when having a coach would be useful, but if you don't talk to other archers in your club, get on the internet and get some ideas. Also, reading books on archery training may prove useful; you can find some of the best books written here.
I hope this will help you to get back into shooting. It's been a long break, but now its time to start your next journey in Archery!