So it’s been six months, a year, or three years since you picked up your bow. Or maybe more. Either way, it’s OK. Archery is always here for you, even when you’ve ignored it a while.
Most people find archery fun, healthy and totally addicting. But between work, school, dating, family and other commitments, you’re suddenly neglecting your bow.
“Maybe next week we’ll try shooting!”
“It’s super late. Tomorrow?”
Don’t worry. Your bow will forgive you. Sure, it’s collecting a 6-inch layer of dust in the corner of your spare room, but your archery gear will always be happy to see you again. So what to do when it’s time to return to the archery range?
First, make sure your bow is safe to shoot. Even if it’s totally vintage, it’s probably OK to use if it’s been stored properly. Chances are, if you’ve used the bow within the past year, it’s absolutely fine to shoot. If it’s been longer, however, take the time to make sure it’s still safe. Get it checked by a professional. Your local archery store will inspect it for cracks, fraying strings and broken parts.
Get Archery Fit
Once your gear is in order, make sure your muscles are up to the task. If you were shooting regularly before, you’ll probably need to work your way back up to your former draw weight – that is, the amount you draw back when pulling the bowstring. Pulling too much weight before you’re ready for it can cause injuries. Therefore, have your local pro shop turn down the bow’s weight to a manageable level. You can always adjust it back up once you’re in peak shape. Do you want to get on target more quickly? Try these archery exercises!
Establish a Routine
Just like that commitment you made to the gym on New Year’s Day (ahem!), it can be easy to “forget” to shoot your bow. The easiest solution is to just do it: Grab your bow, head to the range, and start shooting before you can talk yourself out of it. Make it a habit by marking time on your calendar for practice, and enlist help from a shooting buddy to check in and compare progress. Your archery buddy doesn’t need to live nearby. You can meet via Skype and chat by text-messaging while keeping each other on track with your goals.
Above all else, make practice fun and accessible. If it’s easy to do, you’re more likely to pick up your bow. Set up a target in a safe part of your home or yard, bring some music, invite a friend, and shoot at least once weekly. Get involved in an archery club and commit to a beginner-friendly local tournament or league. All these steps will keep you engaged, and you’ll be arrowing bull’s-eyes in no time!