Archery Performance

Introduction

This page contains advice and instructions including links to recommended articles and YouTube videos to help archers improve and maintain both their archery fitness and performance. This information would be especially useful when archers are unable to shoot in order to remain 'archery fit'. However, always be aware of your own limitations.

If you know of other advice or videos that are particularly good and may be useful additions, please let us know via the 'Contact' page.

There are a lot of links to videos by

  • Jarryd Greitschus (JG) an Australian archer and coach. His shoulder exercises are very simple to use [but see Paul G's comments] and his training videos are superbly explained and would be very useful to all archers, particularly new archers or those that have either wanted to attend (or have attended) our Improvers courses. 
  • Jake Kaminski (JK) - an Olympic (recurve) silver medallist for the USA team. The reasons are (1) he's an experienced archer who has competed at the highest level; (2) he has trained with probably the best archery coach for a generation (Kisik Lee); (3) his wife is a sports trainer and massage therapist; and, probably most importantly, (4) he explains why and how things work - it helps you understand what you're doing and why. They are definitely worth watching even if some are a little long (up to 25 minutes).

Other advice is given to augment or provide an alternative approach to achieve your desired outcomes. The magazine Bow International did an article on some other well known archery YouTubers that are worth looking at.

Finally, if you have any questions you can get advice from the coaches via the Contact page.


Archery Fitness

Every archer needs a basic level of fitness. Probably the best are those exercises that are commonly recommended to maintain posture, flexibility, strength and aerobic capacity - we won't go into those here as they've been done to death everywhere else. But if you do any of these then it's a start. The following should be specifically useful to archery, moving from simple to more involved.  Find the ones that you can do.

  1. 1
    Before exercising (and shooting) warm up first - not just arms/shoulders but whole body. Then complete stretching exercises when you've finished.
  2. 2
    Use a training aid, such as an exercise band/tube. They can be used for both exercising, warming up and checking technique (see below)
  3. 3
    JG's videos on 'Avoiding shoulder injury' [the 1st half is very good] (YouTube, 10 mins); What Comes Before Technique [Mobility, motor control, strength] (YouTube, 10 mins); and, 'Improving shoulder mobility' [but beware if you have pre-existing shoulder issues] (YouTube, 7 mins)
  4. 4
    Excellent advice on exercises for shoulders to prevent shoulder injury: advice (with video links) from '360-Archery' - another excellent source of archery information; a useful Bow International article; and, a 3 minute YouTube video.
  5. 5
    Use your bow (recurve/compound NOT longbows): string as normal, then (WITHOUT an arrow) practice drawing and holding for longer than you would normally do. Do 5 to 10 reps in groups of 3 to 5. Start by holding then resting for 10 seconds gradually moving up to holding/resting for 30 seconds. Do this in front of mirror/video to check technique.
  6. 6
    Simple exercises using household items (YouTube, 15 mins).  Ignore the poor sound quality. You can also use filled milk containers (2-4 pints) as weights.
  7. 7
    AGB's "Warm ups and strength exercises" (YouTube, 10 mins)
  8. 8
    JK's "How to Exercise for Archery" (YouTube, 20 mins)
  9. 9
    Archery Shoulder exercises - no equipment needed (YouTube, 10 mins).
  10. 10
    JK's "5 Effective Exercises for Increasing your Draw Weight" ( YouTube, 26 mins)

Archery Performance

You need to be able to repeat good technique shot after shot in order to achieve the results you are after. First, you must have good technique and avoid the pitfalls of allowing some bad habits (conscious or unconscious) slipping in. We've all been guilty of that at some point in our archery - even the good archers.

  1. 1
    The simplest is to practice your set up, draw and release using a band or similar device.
  2. 2
    A short YouTube video (2 mins) on posture/stance by an olympian.
  3. 3
    AGB have a series of 6 YouTube videos (1-8 mins) for coaches - these should help archers be aware of what need to be done. Ask a coach to check your application.
  4. 4
    Jake Kaminski has produced a series of excellent videos looking at all aspects of archery technique, equipment and exercises. They describe what you ought to be doing, why and how to recognise correct/incorrect technique. These are definitely worth watching. They include Set, Set-up, Loading, Anchor, Transition, Expansion, Release and Follow Through. Don't be tempted to skip the sequence or content - you'll miss out if you do.
  5. 5
    If you're really serious about your performance (wanting to compete at high level tournaments) then JK's video on "Practice with Periodisation" is for you.
  6. 6
    If you're fairly new to archery or want to improve your form/technique then these 3 videos from JG are excellent [Improvers: watch sequentially]
  • …Improve #1: Technique Structure (YouTube, 48 mins) [1st half demonstrating, 2nd half with a novice archer - both halves recommended.]
  • …Improve #2: Fine tuning after #1 (YouTube, 44 mins) [the all important 'nitty-gritty'] 
  • …Improve #3: Correct back tension (YouTube, 18 mins) [this is an excellent training guide for ALL archers, whatever bow style and experience]

Finally, ask a coach to check your technique. They can use video software to review the various stages of your technique and analyse in slow motion to help pinpoint and demonstrate any issues you may have. You can then agree what improvements can be made, your improvement goals and review progress over time.


Training aids

These can help you warm up and practice your technique

  1. 1
    For warm ups and technique: use an exercise band/tube or a 'Bow Trainer'. Watch yourself in a mirror.
  2. 2
    Use a shot training aid such as the 'Astra Shot Trainer' which attaches to your bow. Watch JG's 'Correct back tension' video (above) first then JK has a good YouTube video (13 mins) on using it with a recurve bow. A few Club members use this and can vouch for its ability to 'train' you on how to get the correct draw/release technique. If you can 'remember' the technique then you're on your way to good performance.

Page updated 8 April 2020