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

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Finishing Strong in Barebow

By Mark V. Lonsdale, Instructor-Trainer

Whether your plan to shoot 60 arrows, 100 arrows, or just 36 in a practice session, you should always try to finish strong. If you shoot your last end and throw one in the blue, then keep practicing until you can go 6 for 6 without throwing a bad arrow. Or if you have a minimum acceptable score, such as 50 out of 60, then shoot until you score 50+ so that you finish strong and with confidence.

50 meter Barebow training; 5 out of 6 in the 9 and 10 rings for a score of 56/60

When I first took up Barebow practice my first goal was to not throw arrows into the blue 6 & 5 rings. Now my goal is to shoot 8 or better on every round at 50 meters.

Remember, how well you shoot is directly related to how often you train, plus a little coaching.

Hoyt Exceed with Velos limbs and Easton A/C/C shafts

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Team USA – Tokyo Olympics

Go Team USA and MacKenzie Brown for her 4th place finish at the Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 30: Mackenzie Brown of Team United States competes in the archery Women’s Individual 1/8 Eliminations on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
MacKenzie Brown, Team USA, 5th in the ranking round on Day 1, Tokyo Olympics

Olympic Archery Matches Postponed for Typhoon

If you are following the Olympic Archery, you will see a shift in schedule for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

The Olympic archery schedule has been altered for Tuesday due to expected high wind and rain from a forecasted typhoon.

The morning sessions involving first- and second-round matches are officially delayed until noon local time at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field. But the afternoon session has been postponed.

The plan is to make up the matches Wednesday and Thursday. The individual finals for the men and women at the Tokyo Games are still scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

It’s the first time the Olympic archery scheduled has been majorly influenced by weather, according to World Archery. At the 2008 Beijing Games, there was an hour delay.

The Importance of Grouping in Barebow Archery

By Mark V. Lonsdale

Just to differentiate between precision and accuracy, precision is the ability to shoot good groups, while accuracy is the ability to get that group into the middle of the target.

So when a barebow archer shoots a good group, but not in the yellow, he or she should not be disappointed. A good group shows that the archer is doing everything correctly, but simply need to adjust his or her point of aim.

First group of the barebow morning training session at 50 meters, but up in the 7 and 8 rings. This is not uncommon when your muscles are fresh and you are shooting strong. The point of aim was the X so it is just a matter of shifting the point of aim to 6 o’clock on the 9 ring.
Adjusted point of aim at 50 meters and the group has moved down into the 9s and 10s.

With the examples above, and as the muscles begin to find their groove, the point of aim will return to the X. This usually happens in the first three or four ends of 6 arrows. It’s also not unusual that by the end of a demanding training session of 100+ arrows, or late in the day after three training sessions and 240+ arrows, that you will find you have to aim a little higher to compensate for muscle fatigue. But as long as the groups are good, then you are on the right track with a good, repeatable shot process.

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Riding for the Brand in Barebow Archery

By Mark V. Lonsdale, Shaft Shooters Archery

I’ve been running Hoyt Exceeds with Velos limbs for both Indoor and Outdoor training and competitions this season. I’m averaging 4,000 arrows per month since last August, so a total of almost 40,000 arrows with no issues and no complaints. Got ‘a love Made in the USA.

Hoyt Exceed, Velos limbs, Easton A/C/C shafts, Yost tab
Gold at the California State Outdoor Championships

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Visualization and Mental Rehearsal in Archery

By Mark V. Lonsdale

Visualization and mental rehearsal are important components of success in most athletic endeavors. In other words, visualization is a process of consciously programming your subconscious mind to perform the way you want. For archery, this includes visualizing yourself shooting the perfect shot process from nocking to release and follow-through. You are visualizing your arrow hitting the 10 ring.

An important part of this mental game is positive reinforcement. For example, you don’t want to be saying to yourself, “don’t pluck the string” – instead say “clean release.” Don’t say, “don’t throw another 6” – instead say, “shoot for the 10”    

Training for indoor archery

By dwelling on not throwing a 6 in the blue, your mind is focused on the blue when you need to be focused on the yellow 10. What your conscious mind thinks about your subconscious mind will make you do. This is why you will often see a competitor throw a bad arrow, and then throw another bad arrow. They were so fixated on the high left 4 that they throw another high left 4. On the flip side, it is the mark of a champion when you see an athlete throw a bad arrow and then come right back with all 10s.

This goes back to the conscious mind programming the subconscious mind, and in an ideal world, after tens of thousands of repetitions, it is our subconscious mind that kicks in during competitions. As you will hear coaches say, “Don’t think, just shoot.”  Overthinking is not helpful when you have done the training, repetitions, and built the neuro-muscle memory programming.

To wrap this up, focus on what you want to do and not what you don’t want to do. And then visualize yourself doing the perfect shot process and scoring that dead center 10.

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A positive attitude is part of mental toughness

Dabbling in Compound Bow Archery

By Mark V. Lonsdale, Instructor/Coach

Yes, I’m a confirmed, dedicated Barebow competitor and traditional archer, but since I’m doing more coaching I figured that I should at least be competent with compound bow technology and function. To begin down this road of hi-tech gadgetry and more complex tuning I’ve invested in a Hoyt Invicta.

Hoyt Invicta gold medal winning target compound bow

When trying to decide on which bow to go with, I followed my usual process. I first narrowed the field to target compounds since I doubt I will ever hunt with a compound (but not out of the question). From there I looked at what the champions were shooting and then talked to the pros at Hoyt. Doug Denton was particularly helpful with his recommendations on bows and accessories for both target and hunting. I also value “Made in the USA” and have been more than satisfied with my Hoyt Exceed competition barebows.

Since I’m tall and have a 30.5″ draw, this brought me to the Hoyt Invicta 40 DCX at 55 pounds (adjustable 45-55#). I’m still waiting on the arrow rest (AAE), scope (Shrewd), and release (TRU Ball) so more on this as the parts come in.

Checking out a couple of Hoyt shooters at the 2021 Vegas Shoot

Stay tuned for more as this project bow comes together with the help of the local Hoyt Pro shop.

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A little Star Wars motivated compound bow humor