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Gear Up!  Indoor season ahead

With George Tekmitchov, Easton International Technical Advisor

With one of the hottest Northern Hemisphere summers in recent memory aside, unless you’re reading this in Chile or Australia, or you’re within about a thousand miles of the equator, you’re probably thinking about indoor season right now.  

For some shooters, the advent of indoor season is a great joy- weeknight league shooting or club shooting can add interest, social interaction and a relief from the wind and weather.  However, other shooters might get a little depressed at the prospect of several months of slogging it out at 18 meters.  Whichever of these shooter types you might be, or in between, recognize there are many opportunities to work on both your mental and physical game during the indoor season, and make a plan to take advantage of those opportunities.  Doing so will also make you enjoy those first outdoor springtime arrows much more next spring!

Staying motivated

Many shooters feel like taking a break around this time.  Unless you have made specific goals (for example, preparation for an important competition in October or November), it can be hard to maintain the motivation needed to keep plugging away, day after day, right after the conclusion of the outdoor season.  

Often, this is a great time to take a short break, “clear the cobwebs” and set new goals.  In fact this can help reset the shot sequence, clear up any bad habits that might have crept in over time, and adjust the attitude in a positive manner.  The key, however, is to set a definite date upon which you will re-start your practice regimen.  And, be sure to substitute another physical activity- bicycling or weightlifting are a couple of examples of activities that can help your physical support base for archery- and perhaps weightlifting is something you do NOT want to do much during the season.  This aspect of things is a good discussion topic for the next time you see your coach.

In particular, if you engage in a physical training program, this may be the time to start ramping up the strength building exercises and weightlifting beyond what you might do in competition season.  Experienced competitive shooters tend to tail off the heavy upper body work in-season, because the process of tearing down and building up muscles and strength does detract from scoring potential.  But you have no score to lose in the off-season.  Of course, it’s best to consult with a qualified trainer and/or coach before changing your routine, but in the off-season, there’s not as much need to hold back on the heavy lifting.

Drop bow weight?

Besides being a good time to work out a little more, the off-season might also be a very good time to decrease your bow weight.  Inexpensive, easy to tune aluminum arrows make it very easy to drop, say, 4 or 5 % of your bow weight, and still get a tune capable of perfect scores at indoor distances.  The bow weight decrease will let you focus on form and execution, and perhaps even enhance your feel for the shot.  This is a particularly good strategy when undertaking a higher-intensity physical training regimen, which might make you too sore to shoot your normal bow weight smoothly and effectively.  With no more changes to your bow setup than a lighter limb setting, a handful of aluminum arrows, and perhaps an alternate cushion plunger and small rest adjustment, you can be racking up excellent scores indoors with a lot less effort.

The arrow choices

One of the nice things about switching to a properly selected aluminum shaft is that an average level recurve archer definitely benefits from the increased diameter and extreme precision of an aluminum shaft, especially one of the X7 aluminum models.  

The proven, record-setting Easton RX7 aluminum shaft is also a great choice for competitive shooters who want to be able to get the maximum World Archery diameter arrow with lighter and more forgiving point weights.

The same holds true for most any compound shooter, who can benefit from the supremely accurate X7 arrow shaft– the most-winning arrow in indoor archery history.  In addition, switching to a set of aluminum indoor shafts allows you to preserve your (more expensive) skinny outdoor arrows for outdoor season.  After all, you can purchase a dozen high-quality Easton aluminum shafts for a fraction of the price of your X10 arrow shafts.

For a lot of shooters, indoor season can be a time of lower pressure, goal realization, and fun.  Use it to your advantage!