So come September, the summer (or what we in Glasgow call “summer”) has come to an end. Club nights are getting darker, wetter (if possible) and colder. Time to wee on the fire, call in the dogs and head indoors for warmth, dryness and firmness underfoot.
But you’ve never shot indoors before! You are a hardy outdoors archer who only knows sog and squelch (as were we all in the COVID world tour of 2020/21). What do you need to know? Well indoors, while nowhere near as challenging as shooting outdoors, still has its uniqueness to be overcome and advantages to be exploited. Lets consider a few:
Firstly, indoors is predominantly shooting smaller faces (40 & 60cm) at shorter distances (18m/20yrds). Right away you are going to find the arrows grouping closer together than outdoors. Result … more potential damage to arrows.
At these distances sickening crunches can be heard damn near every end. Robin Hoods become a lot more common, arrows clashing when oscillating after impact are inevitable and even glancing impacts to nocks can fracture brittle plastic. So … its vitally important you check your arrows after every round inspecting for damage. Damaged fletches are easy to identify but importantly, inspect your nocks for cracks and if cracked immediately remove and discard the nock. Why is this important?
You ABSOLUTELY do not want to accidentally shoot that arrow again without a new nock because that damaged nock may fail on release. Why? Think of all that potential energy you are putting into the arrow via the nock. If its cracked, it may break under the stresses. The string will lose contact with the arrow and the result is likely a dry fire. Hopefully we all know how brutal the ramifications of a dry fire can be!!! If you don’t know about dry fires … please read this article and watch the video. Bow loving archers of a nervous disposition should brace themselves (pun intended).
If you are consistently inside the 7 ring on whatever sized face you shoot, consider changing to triple faces. This will reduce damage to your arrows (fewer arrows per face per end) and help out your club by spreading the wear about the boss rather than just completely trashing the centre.
Next, lets consider indoors as an environment. No wind, no rain, footing even and firm, lighting constant. There are no external influences to your shooting. This is about as pure a shooting environment as you can get. You .. Bow .. Arrow .. Target.
As US International archer Braden Gellenthien said “I sometimes refer to indoors as a relief because it is a time to work on form and mental game without being harassed by the outdoor elements …. Indoors, it’s just you and the target.”
This is the time to work on your form. To perfect your shot cycle. To get your mind focused solely on execution. Some archers have been known to drop their draw weight indoors to allow focus on execution rather than wrestling with the weight needed to reach 70m/80yrds or 90m/100yrds. Obviously this requires ramping up the draw weight and getting stronger in the spring but that’s 6 months away. Meh, Mañana! ;o)
Finally, those great bugbears of archers .. warmth, cold and clothing. Indoors obviously doesn’t have the huge variables of the great outdoors but you do need to be aware of indoor temperatures. Large halls can remain cold even when the heating is on full. Conversely some halls are ovens at all times since the heating is mysteriously on full blast even when not required.
Sweaty/dehydrated archers are not pleasant to be around. Also shivery archers are going to be unhappy (and injury prone with strained muscles) so be aware of the hall being shot in and dress accordingly. Also pack liquids that will be helpful to your specific challenge. Gives you an excuse and opportunity to indulge in that banter or archery gossip you so desperately crave.
Footwear can also be an issue. Here at GA, we shoot at H@PP (Craigholme). In the past, the owners were somewhat protective of their hall floor and ask that “indoor shoes” be worn – i.e. trainers/tennis shoes etc. We will continue to respect the hall floor so NO work or hiking boots, street shoes, dress shoes or high heels. (Yes, that actually happened!) So, think comfort with non-marking soles but bunny slippers might be going above and way beyond what’s being asked! Then again, I could see them catching on. If Brady Ellison or Jake Kaminski shot an indoor competition wearing bunnies and was reported saying they felt the sippies helped their form and posture, I can totally see archers rushing out to make that purchase. Archers are such slaves to the marketing of this years model and the emulation of top archers! (Wonder if Brady or Jake would be up for playing a practical joke? :o)
So, there you are. A few things to consider this indoor season … idyllic conditions to shoot in but I’ll guarantee you one thing, come the end of March we will all be stir-crazy to get back outside no matter how much we complained about the weather we suffered through previous to getting inside!
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