Q&A Marcus Valdes of Georgia writes “I saw this picture of two archers at the Olympic Training Center. Looks like they are blank baling at about 15 feet. My thinking is that if it is good for them, it’s good for me! No?
It is good for you, yes!
The bulk of a competitive archer’s practice is done blank bale. The word “blank” means “no target” because the target gives you feedback you cannot ignore and that feedback is seldom on what you are working on right then. The “close in” aspect is that you don’t have to walk as far to retrieve your arrows and you can get back to shooting quickly.
This is often mixed with “blind bale” practice, shooting with your eyes closed, to emphasize the other senses and to focus on the “feel” of your shots.
The visual aspect of aiming really takes little practice because it is based on functions of the brain that are hard wired in. Learning the “sight picture,” what the bow sight and it surroundings look like when properly positioned, therefore takes much less training than all of the rest.
This kind of practice is highly recommended.
A fine point—since these archers are training for Olympic competition, their target stands are often about 1.5 feet taller so when they direct their arrows to the middle of the target, their bodies are in about the same posture that they would be in shooting at a target of standard height at the Olympic distance of 70m (or they shoot at the top half of the target butt). Since they will only shoot that distance, why practice anything else?
Of course, if you shoot field archery you will have to shoot uphill and downhill and so some archers will hang a target bag on a pulley and cable so they can raise and lower it to shoot at different angles. One must always practice in the mode one will be competing in.