I had a savvy running coach tell me once that I should spend less time running at full tilt. In fact, he told me I should only strive to hit my lactic burn once or twice a week. He explained that would give the body time to recover, develop and progress.

Wanting to be a better runner, I took his advice. I went from doing three long runs a week to doing one long run a week. I started interval training and spent most of my pavement-pounding time at conversation pace. What happened? I became a better runner – smarter, faster and able to go longer distances.

I realize archery is much different than running, but I decided to give it a go anyway. After turkey season wrapped up I started, as I do each and every year, extending my range. Before long I was toeing the line at 120 yards and launching arrow after arrow. Things were going well…at least for a while. For some reason, and I’m still not sure why, I started punching the trigger regularly. I shoot a back-tension release (yes, even for hunting) and was hammering through my shot to get it to go. I noticed this to be especially true when even a slight breeze kicked. What did I do? I took my running coach’s advice.

Rather than spending time every day launching long-distance arrows on the prairie near my home, I changed things up drastically. Here is the weekly routine I’ve followed for the better part of a month now, and my shooting, well, it’s the best it’s ever been.

Monday

  • 20 arrows eyes closed while standing 3 yards from the target. Draw, anchor, settle and execute.
  • 20 arrows at 5 yards. Focus on letting the pin float on the target and nothing else. Push and pull until the shot breaks.
  • 20 arrows at 15 yards. Focus on letting the pin float on the target and nothing else. Push and pull until the shot breaks.

Tuesday

  • 20 arrows eyes closed while standing 3 yards from the target. Draw, anchor, settle and execute.
  • 20 arrows at 20 yards. Don’t jerk. Focus on the target, let the pin float and let the shot break naturally.

 

Wednesday

  • 20 arrows eyes closed while standing 3 yards from the target. Draw, anchor, settle and execute.
  • 10 arrows at 20 yards. Don’t jerk. Focus on the target, let the pin float and let the shot break naturally.
  • 10 arrows at 30 yards. Don’t jerk. Focus on the target, let the pin float and let the shot break naturally.

 

Thursday

  • 20 arrows eyes closed while standing 3 yards from the target. Draw, anchor, settle and execute.

 

Friday

  • 20 arrows eyes closed while standing 3 yards from the target. Draw, anchor, settle and execute.
  • 10 arrows at 30 yards. Don’t jerk. Focus on the target, let the pin float and let the shot break naturally.
  • 10 arrows at 40 yards. Don’t jerk. Focus on the target, let the pin float and let the shot break naturally.

 

Saturday

  • Long-distance practice on the prairie with 3-D target out to 120 yards.

 

Sunday

  • Long-distance practice on the prairie with 3-D target out to 120 yards.

 

No, this isn’t rocket science, and, no, I’m not a professional archer. I’m just a serious bowhunter who is always looking for ways to become a better shooter. This routine created both a mental and physical change to my regular shooting routine and has me shooting better than I ever have before. Time spent shooting at close distances and, more importantly, with my eyes closed took all the pressure off and allowed me to relax and focus on the shot.