You Reap What You Sow – Training and Determination

Mark V. Lonsdale, Shaft Shooters Archery

As the old adage goes, “You get out what you put in,” or the one I like, “without effort there is no progress.”

Precision sports such as target archery, that are built on well developed neuro-muscle memory and repeatable motions, require tens of thousands of repetitions. So be assured, there is no substitute for daily training.

So when someone is not doing well in a competition and asks for my advice, my first question is, “how often do you train and how many arrows per week?” The last individual responded that he was shooting 300 per week.

Now, if he or she was a former world class archer, then 300 a week could be enough to maintain basic skills and proficiency. But this is definitely not enough for the archer who is serious about progressing in competition.

There are four reasons for increasing your arrow count and frequency of training:

  1. To develop the strength to manage the bows draw weight comfortably
  2. To develop the stamina to be able to shoot back-to-back 360s for a total of 720 plus 3 ends for warm-ups, all in a two hour period.
  3. To work on the form and shot process critical to precision shooting.
  4. To develop the confidence and mental toughness to repeatedly shoot championship scores.
50 meter Barebow practice. Score is 56/60 which would be a winning score if you can do this repeatedly.

The following is an example of a daily training routine beginning at 0700 in the morning:

0700 – 3 warmup ends then 6 x 6 for score. Total 54 arrows

0800 – 6 x 6 for score. Total 36 arrows

1000 – Back to back 360s for score. Total 72 arrows

1800 – 1 warmup end then 6 x 6 for score. Total 42 arrows

The total for the day is 204 arrows, but still well short of the 240-300 arrows that national team members are shooting daily. However, 160-200 a day or 900 – 1,200 per week is adequate for a serious up-and-coming archer to progress at the local and state levels.

Caveat: If you are not conditioned to shoot 200+ arrows per day without pain or discomfort, then it’s important to start slow and work up to this level. Sixty arrows a day on alternate days would be a good starting point. It is also important to start with a bow draw weight that you can handle comfortably and then work your way up to a more competitive poundage. Shooting indoors at 18 meters / 20 yards can be done with a very light bow, but to shoot 50 and 70 meters requires at least 35 pound draw weight, depending on arrow weight. 38 to 44 pound draw weight is more common for outdoor competition shooting.

Train Hard – Train Often – Train Smart


Author: Mark V

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

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