Transitioning from indoor to outdoor archery season is a fun challenge. Once outdoors, archers must shoot farther and battle Mother Nature, and each other. Wind is one of the toughest foes. Even slight gusts throw arrows off course.
These helpful tips will ensure blustery days don’t get the best of you.
Trust Your Shot Process
Wind can make arrows drift. The farther the shot, the farther the drift. In gusty conditions, try to release the shot between gusts. In constant winds, take practice shots to determine how far off course the arrow flies, and adjust accordingly.
Brad Fiala, USA Archery’s event-development manager, thinks the biggest mistake is changing your shot process during windy conditions. “Perform your best shot like you always do indoors,” Fiala said. “Don’t create any added variables.”
Learn Where to Aim
If you’re confident in every shot, compensating for wind is easy. If you aim at the target’s center and your arrow hits 6 inches high, aim 6 inches below its center on your next shot, assuming you trust your shot. “Everything will fall into place once you learn the particulars of where to aim,” Fiala said.
Fiala recommends practicing your aiming adjustments on calm days because it’s not easy. “Pick a spot on the target that’s not the center,” he said. “A lot of people find it difficult, because their subconscious wants to draw their sight back toward the middle of the target.”
Practice with the Wind
It’s tempting to skip practice on windy days, but it will cost you. “You’ll see a wide gap among the people who have spent time in the wind, rain and cold to prepare for those type of days,” Fiala said. “Mentally, they feel comfortable because they’ve practiced in those conditions, and know some of their competition hasn’t.”
Practice shooting different angles on the course when it’s windy, if you can do so safely. Shoot with a tailwind, headwind and crosswind so you learn how arrows fly in different winds. Headwinds can make arrows fly high, while tailwinds send arrows low, Fiala said.
The terms “indoor arrows” and “outdoor arrows” refer to arrows that archers choose to shoot for different forms of competition. “Outdoor arrows” generally have slimmer shafts and lighter points, creating a faster, steadier trajectory for windier conditions. Archers also use shorter vanes with lower profiles when shooting outdoors. “Indoor arrows” have fatter shafts, which drift more in the wind but cut rings.
Take Advantage of Practice Day
Attending a competition’s practice day lets you gauge weather conditions and adjust. Fiala said the best way to beat the wind is to aim opposite of where the arrow hits instead of dialing your sight-pins to compensate. If conditions shift, which happens often with wind, you could waste time and shots readjusting your sight-pins.
Even if you know your target assignment, shoot from different parts of the field on practice day. “If you make it to an elimination round, you may be somewhere else on the field with different conditions,” Fiala said. “Don’t expect as high of scores when there’s wind, but keep in mind, nobody’s score will be as good when it’s windy.”
If you have more questions about shooting in the wind or choosing the right arrows, visit an archery shop.