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September 22, 2013

MARTINO: Practice — what is correct amount?

Bowhunters should take reasonable approach to sessions.

Since several months back, most bows were just sitting around collecting dust. Now, they have all been broken out, visually checked, strings waxed and rightly so. Over the past several weeks, conversations have centered on the upcoming archery deer hunting season. Many of these discussions, which get extremely lively at times, debate the correct amount of arrows to shoot during individual practice sessions. It’s interesting to say the least and sometimes downright humorous.

Some bowhunters are of the opinion that flinging shafts until your arm falls off is OK, because that means you’ve practiced a lot and a lot of practice is good. This may be plausible if it’s months before hunting season and you’re only trying to build muscle and not concerned with developing accuracy. Oh sure, there are different strokes for different folks and although sending hundreds of arrows downrange may work for some people, for most it doesn’t and only leads to developing bad habits.

Then there is the other side of the coin, which I think is just as fallible. Some archers unfortunately think taking one good shot a day is the best way to prepare for the upcoming season. They mistakenly believe “you only get one shot while hunting, so why not practice that way?” If that was the case why doesn’t a placekicker on a football team only practice kicking the pigskin a couple times during practice sessions? After all, they usually only get that many chances per game? Why do baseball players practice hitting ball after ball when they only step up to the plate maybe three or four times in an entire game? I guess the one-shot-a-day theory may be OK, only as long as you throw in additional practice sessions.

There is a big difference between target archers and bowhunters. Target archers may spend hours practicing, but there bows are lighter in draw weights. Plus, missing a paper or foam target is not near as bad as missing, or worse, wounding a live animal.

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