By Crispin Duenas
The time has come. You’re ready to depart for your first archery competition. You’ve put in the arrows and hours, and you’re ready to shoot.
But you must consider a few more things before departing. Preparation is a key to success, and makes you feel more comfortable and ready to win.
Learn how to score the specific target face you’ll be shooting. That knowledge can gain you extra points. You must know the subtle distinctions between a field target face and a World Archery three-spot target. The difference between touching a scoring ring and breaking it can be the difference between a medal and nothing.
If you start feeling hungry, it’s already too late. You’ve been pushing your body to perform, and that requires fuel. Keep snacks and hydration ready during your tournament, whether it’s an indoors or outdoors. Use your practice sessions to determine which snacks and drinks work best. Some archers prefer nuts and dried fruits, but others like candy or jerky. Whatever your snack preferences, test them in practice so you know they “agree” with your digestive system and enhance your performance.
The same goes for hydration. Most archers prefer water, especially in hot weather, but some like coffee or soft drinks while shooting. As long as you know which liquids benefit your shooting, you’ll be better prepared.
Because it’s your first tournament, you probably don’t have a full backup bow. Nevertheless, pack spare equipment in case anything breaks while shooting; extra nocks and fletching ensure you’re prepared for the most likely equipment failures, especially if you’re shooting a single-spot target or sharing an outdoor target with other archers. Also consider bringing an extra finger tab or release, grip tape (if you wrap your bow grip), and extra bowstrings or serving material.
Read the competition schedule and become familiar with it. Knowing when and where you will shoot helps plan your day, especially the time before you arrive at the range. Knowing your travel time to the venue, and how long you need to set up your equipment, helps you estimate something as basic as the time you set on your alarm clock. The schedule also lets you know how much you’ll shoot on competition day. I’ve known archers, for instance, who didn’t know that match play began two hours after the ranking round ended. They missed their match because they had already gone home.
Preparing for all scenarios makes you more comfortable during competition, but you’ll never cover everything. You’ll always learn something new to apply at your next competition. After shooting several tournaments, you’ll know better what to expect and how to tailor your routine to maximize your shooting potential.