Preparing for Competition

By Mark V. Lonsdale, Shaft Shooters Archery

Immaterial of the sport, and in particular precision shooting sports, your ultimate performance is directly related to your pre-season investment in preparation and training.

  1. Have a Plan and map out your training schedule months before the competition season begins. This includes training days, number of arrows per day, specific achievable goals and metrics, rest days, and supplemental training such as gym, resistance training, road work, plyometrics, cross-training, etc. The training plan will be built around the schedule and locations for the season’s events with performance peaks timed to coincide with major events.
  2. Know the Rules, Format, and Schedule for your selected matches, tournaments, and championships. This is especially true for equipment specifications and limitations. For example, the Barebow complete with stabilizer weights must fit through a 122cm ring.
Lancaster Archery Supply Archery Inspection Ring
Barebow inspection gauge

3. Check your Equipment to ensure that your bow, arrows, sights, grips, strings are in good shape, tuned, timed, and functional. Sweat the details.

4. Improve your Physical Condition. Archery utilizes very specific muscle groups that need to be conditioned to match the anticipated load, draw weight, and duration. You also need to have the strength and stamina to go 100+ arrows per day without weakening or becoming fatigued.

5. Match Practice should mirror Match Format. In other words, your competition training should follow the anticipated match format, conditions, targets, distances, and times. This is especially true for one-on-one eliminations, Olympic Rounds (OR), and shoot-offs. For 50 meter Barebow, this would include 122cm targets at 50 meters with 20-second time limits per shot. Or for 720 events, six ends of 6 arrows in 3 minutes, with a break, and then repeat for a total of 12 ends / 72 arrows.

6. Don’t neglect Mental Conditioning. Visualization is a proven method of mental condition which can include watching videos of past championships, studying the champions form, and visualizing yourself executing perfect shots. Mental toughening also requires training with distractions and being able to recover from a bad shot.

7. Learn from Experience. Take every match as an opportunity to better understand your own strengths and weaknesses. A post-match review will include questions such as: Did I shoot as well in competition as I did in practice? Was I affected by distractions? Did I allow a bad shot to adversely influence consecutive shots? Was I able to compensate for the wind? Did I have any equipment issues? All of these will have a direct influence on the following week’s training focus.

Remember, Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance.


Author: Mark V

Dedicated shooter, seeker, traveler, teacher, trainer, educator

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