Five simple steps to become a better archer before fall
Want to extend your effective range with a bow and tighten your groups? Of course, you do. Start shooting now. Habitual practice is like any workout program - endure a series of phases and reap the rewards.
Phase 1: Make It a Habit
Whether shooting before work or after dinner, set aside 30 minutes of range time each day at least three days per week. For the first week, shoot as many 20-yard arrows as you can before becoming fatigued. Don't stress over accuracy right away. Instead, focus on form. Find a consistent anchor point. After each shot, prevent your bow arm from dropping by placing the pin back on target. Do this repeatedly for a week, or until muscle memory takes over.
Phase 2: Step It on Back
The next week, with form and follow-through on autopilot, start shooting out to 40 yards, but not beyond. Focus on quality shots at these ranges for at least one week. Again, don't stress if groups aren't cinching up yet. That will come in time.
Phase 3: Long-Range Practice
By the start of week No. 3, start shooting from distances beyond 40 yards. Don't overdo it, though. Shooting with exhausted muscles results in bad habits. Once your arms and/or back get tired, hang it up for the day.
Phase 4: Realistic Practice
In week No. 4, position a realistic 3D target and hang a ladder stand. Shoot from an elevated position and align the target in a manner that simulates hunting scenarios, such as shooting through small holes of brush, quartering-away shots, etc.
Phase 5: Repeat the Process
Finally, repeat the process as needed. By stretching your off-season shooting regimen over a four-week span, and then restarting the cycle, you'll certainly improve before the season starts. Once it's open, continue repeating phase No. 4 at least once per week. Do that and you'll be ready for that big-buck encounter this fall.