Do you need a convenient place to practice? The nearest archery range might be closer than you think. It’s not the local indoor range or archery club, either. It’s your yard, garage, basement or spare room. You can shoot your bow and get valuable practice even in tight spaces.
A caution: Always put safety first. Never place a target near windows or doorways. If you’re unsure your space is safe, consult experts at an archery store before shooting.
How to Practice in Tight Quarters
Shooting up close might seem like unproductive practice. However, one of the nation’s top archery coaches, George Ryals IV, considers 10-yard practice fundamental to good shooting. His practice routine for shooting up close includes a standard 40-centimeter target, the same target used for indoor competition. He then shoots as if it’s a tournament.
The close range and large target make it easier to keep arrows in the middle. That lets the archer relax and focus on shooting fundamentals without worrying about missing or holding the sight steady. It reinforces good form and your mental game, which you can carry over to shooting at longer distances.
To simulate shooting at 20 yards, use smaller targets. Your archery shop might carry targets that look like someone took a shrink ray to a 40-centimeter indoor target. Hang these mini-targets on your foam or bag target. They’ll provide the same sight picture you’ll see when shooting longer distances.
Another effective short-distance practice technique is using your target to merely catch your arrows. This routine is called “blank baling” and, like the 10-yard game, lets archers practice their form without worrying about hitting the bull’s-eye. It’s a great way to keep your archery muscles in shape and work on your form.
Targets for Tight Quarters
A target’s job is to catch your arrows without damaging them. Bag targets do both jobs well, and won’t break the bank. They’re made with a woven outer shell of plastic or cloth that absorbs the arrow’s energy. You’ll find them in different sizes at archery stores or you can make one yourself.
Using a little ingenuity, archers can make high-quality targets from materials found at hardware stores or archery shops. Perhaps the easiest way to make a target is to buy the outer shell of a bag target and stuff it with old clothing or plastic grocery bags.
Layered Foam Target
When shooting indoors, it pays to have a large target that stops arrows with authority. Layered foam targets do just that. Their compressed layers of foam squeeze arrows as they strike and stop them from passing though.
Whether you practice on a 500-acre farm or inside a 500-square-foot garage, you can shoot daily to become a better archer. Consult your archery shop to choose your targets and maximize your practice space.