Jillian McClanahan April – I think we can all agree that practice is beneficial no matter whether it’s indoors or outdoors, and we all have our preferences on which of those we prefer.
Archery outdoors is difficult because it so heavily depends on the weather. Shooting in the wind is hard because it affects the direction of the arrows drastically and you have to attempt to offset it after every shot. Shooting in the blistering Las Vegas heat can make an already mentally challenging sport much more difficult. On the opposite side, during the winter it gets so cold my fingers tense up and make it hard to shoot. But when the weather is nice and it’s not windy, shooting outside is actually pretty great. Being outdoors while shooting your bow is very refreshing because the fresh air and sunshine helps focus yourself and teaches you to ignore the many distractions of nature and prepares your focusing abilities for the day of competition.
In my opinion, practicing indoors is way more beneficial. Because you can practice any day, no matter the weather or time. The climate controlled indoor ranges ensure that you only have to focus on your technique, arrow, and target. Indoor ranges are also set up to be as close to a competition environment, so when you shoot competitively you’re more comfortable with the environment and the routine becomes second nature. Unfortunately, not everyone lives right next to an indoor range and it’s much more convenient to just walk into your backyard to shoot.
The most important thing for outdoor archery practice in your backyard is safety for yourself and safety for those around you. Here are a few tips on how to create your own backyard archery range. All situations are different, because shooting in a rural area is much different than shooting in a densely populated city.
In my specific case, I have neighbors very close to my house on both sides. I am fortunate enough to have an unoccupied desert right behind my house and a brick wall that my arrows can’t penetrate. So that is my first tip, find the area in your backyard that has the least chance of you hitting anything if you happen to miss the target. Another great protective measure for the objects around you, and even your arrows, is a heavy duty tarp. Tarps don’t cost that much money and are a great tool to have when starting out practicing because it saves your arrows from being damaged when you miss! My next tip is to measure out your space, you need a fifteen and a ten yard marks. You can use sticks in the ground, sidewalk chalk or really anything to mark your space. My final tip is to be aware of your surroundings. Do not shoot if there are other people or animals outside. And remember that a bow is a weapon and not something for you and your friends to have fun with even when you have your own target.
At the end of the day, practice is beneficial no matter if you prefer indoor or outdoor ranges as long as you make the time and strive to make each session better than the last. As always, happy shooting!