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10 Easy Archery Exercises To Help Improve Your Skills

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Tim Rhodes

Archery is a unique sport as it involves both physical skill and mental focus to execute the shot needed as you aim. 

The popular saying “The body achieves what the mind believes.” is a fitting description of what an archer has to exercise every time he takes a shot.

You’ll be challenged to find that Archery isn’t as simple as simple muscle memory in a sport, unlike playing tennis or badminton. 

Yes, you’ll go through rigorous hours of getting the aim on the target, but you’ll also be challenged mentally.

You’ll need to shut out any distractions that might mess up your concentration and just keep a sharp focus on aiming.

Then there’s the mastery of form and posture, which is the basic foundation that will guarantee a successful shot.

You’ll get challenged physically and mentally, which makes this game perfect for a person who wants to explore your strengths. 

Table of Contents

10 Easy Archery Exercises To Help Improve Your Skills

Here are some exercise suggestions that you can work on so you can improve your archery skills.

1. Blind Shooting

The first, important thing is to have a clear area where no one is walking around to avoid any accidental arrows flying around. 

This is pretending to be blind by closing your eyes when you take the shot.

You stand 8 feet away from a large target and draw your bow to aim, before closing your eyes.

This means you take your aim, then right before you release the shot, you close your eyes.

Just make sure you are facing your target as you feel the same anchor point with each shot released on the target. 

Skill Focus

This exercise is to targets the main areas of your form which are stance and posture.

Your stance whichever feels more comfortable should be both feet positioned shoulder-width apart or an open stance where the body is slightly turned to the target. 

Your posture is standing straight up with your core on a T-shape at full draw.

Then comes the important part which is breathing through the aim and the final release.   

It’s best if you could inhale or draw a deep breath while aiming then slowly release on an exhale when you aim to take the shot. 

Exercise Advantage

This holds down the urge to release since both impatience and excitement usually get the better of you. 

It teaches you to take your time and wait instead of releasing the shot once you see the target lined up.

Because of the need to pause, you end up focusing on your form, which includes your stance and your posture.

You become aware of the feel of the bow and concentrate on the right grip pressure.

More importantly, you do this to zone in on what your target and eliminate any distractions.  

2. Distance Shooting  

Distance shooting is all about setting up three targets with three different ranges.

The first one starts on the 10 yards mark; the next is the 20-yard mark, the last is placed on the 30 yards mark.

You start by shooting each target, say the first 10-yard mark not more than twice on the same distance, then move on to the next one.

You keep switching in the three target ranges, so you have an instinctual feel of the difference and how you may adjust your aim

When you know which is the 10 yards, 20 yards, and 30 yards without assistance, you lessen your dependence on a range finder.

Skill Focus

When you start practicing on the three ranges, you can judge the distance by eye estimation.

You’ll get a direct feel on the difference of 10 yards as you start from 10 yards to 20 yards, 20 yards to 30 yards. 

Your anchor point at the different ranges allows you to adjust depending on the arrow’s trajectory from where you stand.

You sharpen your skill by alternate shooting from different distances, so you know the arrow trajectory when you aim for the target.

While long-distance shooting isn’t the goal here, it otherwise improves your skill anyway.

Exercise Advantage

Your ability to adapt to different distances widens because you practice alternately on the three distances.

As you move from one target to the next, you’re able to adjust your aim and stance as you aim the farther distance.

Because the main goal is to feel the difference between each 10-yard distance, you can recognize the difference.

Your follow-through adjusts to the target distance and increases your chances of getting the shot because of this practice.

This takes out an archer’s dependence on a rangefinder and makes it a more natural experience without technology.

3. Around the Clock

Around the Clock, exercise is a fun and simple exercise that uses a paper plate or around the target.

You’re not trying to hit the center but aiming outside the paper or round target.

This means you have a mental placement of the Clock’s number hands of 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.

So you can choose if it’s 3 o’clock, then you have to aim at the right middle portion of the paper plate or round target.

The same applies to the other numbers of the Clock.

You may adjust to the left or right, above or below the target circle.

Skill Focus

You are trained to sharpen your skill in aiming off wherein you point your aim away from the middle of the target.

This simulates a windy condition where the wind direction plays an integral part in getting the shot nearest to the aim.

You’ll need to angle your shot away from the center target point but surrounding it to make the arrow ride through the direction of the wind.

Your anchor point has 4 points, not just one target, and it’s up to you to choose where you want to send that arrow. 

You can practice sight level while shooting minus the incline or decline but still aim outside of the target.

Exercise Advantage

You’re pushed to get out of the usual center and faced to point the arrow on the imaginary clock’s hands.

This forces you to take an aim that you’re not used to and expands your aiming skill.

 This exercise eases up any pressure for perfect aiming and is a good practice for target panic.

It pushes you as an archer to be flexible in aiming at another shot aside from the center target.

It’s a good exercise for bow hunting where the game animal is on the move, so you choose another angle.

4. Blank Bale with a Target

Blank Bale is a bit unconventional for archery in that it’s practice shooting without a target.

Instead, you put the target in the background and avoid aiming at the target. 

This is probably the best way to counteract the target panic that an archer goes through.

At some point and hopefully never, there will be a time where you forget all the steps and shoot the arrow without aiming. 

This is an effective way to avoid such a thing from happening or being traumatized by freezing out in a hunting or competitive tournament. 

Skill Focus

Since your focus is not on aiming but technique, you become more observant from the setup of the aim to the release of the arrow.

You’ll be more sensitive to feeling the release by doing muscle memory and training the body instead of focusing on the visual sight of the target.

Exercise Advantage

Being able to respond calmly to different targets or hunting situations is a great skill to have.

 5. Bow Catch 

The Bow Catch exercise is when somebody catches your bow after the shot.

This is done by a friend or coach who will kneel beside you ready to catch the bow after you aim and release the arrow.

There are no fixed rules in this exercise, only that you work with somebody to catch the bow. 

You can do the usual target aiming or the blank bale or even blind shot because the main focus is on your grip handling. 

While it’s a simple exercise, it involves conscious timing and release of the bow after the shot, which is another thing to teach yourself.  

Skill Focus

Most important in this exercise is correct grip pressure and balancing a relaxed grasp that releases after taking the shot.

Once you take the shot, pay attention to your back tension if you have been opposing the hold of the bow upon release.

Is your follow-through an automatic movement, or do you find yourself holding back on the release?

Your execution should be a little bit more precise if your back tension and shot sequence are carefully coordinated. 

Your confidence is at an all-time high because the focus of the game is not the aim but the technique and form. 

Exercise Advantage

As an archer, you eliminate the pressure of tight grip on the bow improving your arrow flight.

As you practice, you’ll want to adapt what the top archers do, which is to push straight to the bow.

Your technique improves because your sole attention is in form and getting the right foundations correctly, not on the result, which is aiming at the target.

If you can do this once a month, especially after a competition, you will boost up the execution of the shot with proper coordination.

Like any sport, if you focus on the form and structure, then you create muscle memory that will improve your game by leaps and bounds.

6. Target Change-Up 

Target Change-Up has the element of surprise and challenge all wrapped in one game.

You’ll need a target buddy to move the target distance and angle while you look away or close your eyes.

When the target is set and given the all-clear, you’re given 15 seconds to take that shot wherever you find the target.

You can agree if you want a longer time limit to execute the shot since you don’t want any accidents in the process.

You interchange with your shooting buddy and repeat the same for him.

Skill Focus

You’ll realize that as you practice this exercise that it sharpens your range ability to find the target immediately compute the distance. 

It would be so tempting to take a shot as soon as you spot the target, but you’ll have to exercise patience in taking time to catch your breath before taking the shot. 

You’ll need to adapt your aim at a different angle since you are under time pressure, so you make that split-second decision and take the shot.

You need to keep in mind that your aim and back tension have to be steady to perform a good execution of the shot.

While battling the nerves of competition and the excitement that goes along with the game, your confidence is tested. 

Exercise Advantage

You become a flexible archer with different angles that you have to apply to the shot. 

You quickly work on the form and posture, making sure your stance is stable before taking the shot.

You handle the execution of the shot by making sure your aim and back tension is set, then expectedly release the arrow to the target.

You quickly decide on aiming off depending on the conditions of the weather and take a shot that will allow the wind to push the arrow nearest to the target.

You battle the nervous jitters from not knowing where the target will be located so you force yourself to calm down to get a good shot. 

7. Count Down Drill 

The Count Down Drill is a simple exercise that involves another shooting buddy joining you.

You start by making sure you have everything in place and are in the proper stance so that when your buddy starts counting, you are all set up. 

Your buddy will call out a number from 1-20, while you are pulling the string from the bow and ready to release the arrow.

As soon as he starts counting and finally gets to the number he called out, you can shoot your arrow to the target. 

It’s important to take note that a lot of coaches and professional archers use this exercise regularly. 

Skill Focus

The main reason why the coaches and professional archers use this exercise is to improve their concentration and ignore distractions. 

You’ll need to work on doing the correct stance once your buddy starts counting because when the number comes up your time is up.

You have a few moments to set up your aim as you point the arrow to the target so make sure you hold steady until you’re ready to release.

Remember your execution in that you don’t want to deal with an unanticipated surprise release all because you didn’t listen closely to the counting. 

Make sure the follow-through is smooth avoiding any jerking motion so the arrow can travel the way you want it.

Exercise Advantage

Your control and patience are heightened as you wait patiently for the call outnumber to be said before you take the shot.

Your aim works better in this situation because you are forced to wait for the number while you adjust to the nearest target. 

You are aware of your anchor point, properly fixing the string as you take your aim while you wait for the golden number to be called.

The follow-through is more relaxed and timed well because you anticipate the counting before the release of the shot. 

You’ll notice that your timing in archery will greatly improve as this is the closest practice simulation to a matchplay. 

8. Angle Drill 

The Angle Drill is all about taking different angles by stepping on an incline or crouching down on the ground. 

It could be different heights such as a stepper, boulder, or platform if you wanted to shoot from a top angle. 

On the other hand, you could opt to be sitting or crouching down in a squat or even laying down on the ground if you choose to take the shot from a low angle. 

Just like when you would do bowhunting and assume different positions to take a shot at the game animal, this is similar to that.

You’ll need to nock an arrow for this kind of exercise so you don’t worry about the traveling point from your bow to the target. 

Skill Focus

You’ll need to be prepared to twist and put your body in different angles when taking a shot. 

You should also prepare that there will be targets that will require you to go on an incline or will force you to crouch to get a better aim.

It’s best to be cautious if you are on higher ground as there is a possibility of losing balance and falling. 

You’ll want to fix your correct stance for stability so when you pull and release the arrow, you’re still upright.

As for taking a crouched down shot, you’ll need to check if both feet are stable since the release action can throw off your balance. 

Exercise Advantage

You’ll like this exercise as it makes the game more interesting and challenging. 

Your accuracy improves when you use your sight’s level while shooting by using the bow sign’s levels both for an incline or a decline angle.

You can utilize the third axis on your bow sight on a long-distance shot by calculating the point of shot to the target.

You’ll want to use the right equipment and be familiar with the bow’s timing by using the same spine, fletchings with the same length and weight.

Since you’ll likely nock an arrow with a back tip groove or get the premade nock that attaches to the arrow shaft. 

9. North-South-East-West 

The North-South-East-West is similar to the exercise game of  Around the Clock.

Your goal is not aimed at the center of the target, but around it where the impact point of your last arrow was shot.

So if the direction of the arrow ends up pointing to the south after impact on the target, that is where you take the next shot. 

Doing this exercise takes into account the wind factor which is why you shoot off the center target.

Done indoors or outdoors, it teaches you to adapt to different conditions and estimate how near or far you land the shot.

Skill Focus

You’ll have to remember to aim from where the last arrow landed focusing where the end is pointing at whether it be north-east-south-west. 

Just like an outdoor archery competition, you’ll need to practice aiming off with the sight pin away from the center of the target.

You’ll want to keep aiming farther from the center as preparatory to an outdoor windy condition where you allow the wind to push the arrow. 

You’ll need to keep adjusting the anchor point as to where best to place the arrow whether it be in between the north and east or south and west. 

Your stance plays a crucial role in getting the shot in the place you want it, so work on your feet that should be shoulder-width apart. 

Exercise Advantage

You’ll have a big dose of confidence when you enter outdoor archery competitions because this is one of the favorites used by the coaches. 

Your aiming skill is both challenged and sharpened because you have to aim outside of the center so you just used a different point. 

It gives you the flexibility to adjust your aim according to where you see best to place which will eventually land near the center. 

This is a good practice round for bow hunting where the game animal isn’t a steady target and can move at any time.  

Considering the outdoor conditions, you estimate what’s the best out of center shot and see the arrow travel with the wind. 

10. Focus Compass 

The Focus Compass concentrates more on technique and form using the landing of the arrow on the target as a basis. 

If for example, your arrow lands left or right of the center, then you need to keep practicing on the head position and stance.

If it lands too high or too low from the center target, then you have to focus on the anchor point.

The direction of the arrow has plenty to do with the form and technique of an archer. 

By using the last shot as a reference point, you can switch to different areas for your improvement.

Skill Focus

You need to be observant of the direction of the arrow so you know what to adjust your stance before taking the next shot. 

You’ll want a few anchor points in the target so you can aim in the center avoiding the arrows from going too high or too low from the center.

Check if your feet are shoulder-width apart so you get stability when aiming and avoid the sudden jerk movement. 

If your stance is good, it’s time to check your head position on the bow in case the string is touching the corner of your mouth or the tip of your nose.

Remember that when you make a full draw on the bow, is your back tension steady and constant against the force of the bow

Exercise Advantage

Using this exercise is like a self-examination on your part of what you have to work on. 

You’ll focus on your stance and form with extra attention on the head position and back tension. 

You’ll also need to work on aiming at the anchor point to achieve more accuracy so you don’t end up with an arrow way above or below the center target. 

You’ll learn to do sharp focus and block distractions that can easily get you off your aim.

You’ll be self-aware of what needs to be corrected during a competition and can adjust the changes right there. 

Final Thoughts

Archery being a game of exactness and skill requires you to use different exercises to improve your game. 

If you want to work on your form and posture then keep practicing without paying attention to how near your aim is on the target. 

Try the exercises Blind Shooting, Blank-Bale with a Target, Bow Catch, and Focus Compass. 

If it’s developing the skill in aiming, determining distance and angle shooting, then your focus is to place the arrow where you want it. 

Try the exercises Distance Shooting, Around the Clock, Target Change-Up, Count-Down Drill, Angle Drill, and North-South-East- West.

You’ll have to exercise both the technical or skilled details of archery as well as sharpening your mental focus by having the correct foundation of form and posture. 

But don’t forget that Archery is meant to be fun and enjoyed so create your spice and incorporate it with the exercises. 

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