Archery in a Time of Pandemic

Here in Illinois we are confined to our homes until the end of April (so far). This is the time of year in which archers normally get a touch of cabin fever, wanting desperately for the weather to turn so we can go shoot outside. Well, our local ranges are all shut down (with the beaches and parks, etc.) so that’s not going to happen with just a change in weather.

Claudia’s take on our “self-isolation” is that it is very close to our normal lifestyle, so is not so much of an imposition on us. I do appreciate, however, that this is not the case for many of you.

Since we moved from three and a half acres in rural California to a high rise on Lake Michigan, we brought some of our practices from there to here, so we had water, dried foods, extra toilet paper, etc. all stashed away when this whole thing began. We even had some N95 breathing masks in our “emergency supplies” (purchased long ago, so not contributing to the current shortage).

So, what can you do to support your addiction hobby while confined as we are? Since I was in horrible shooting shape at the beginning I have been doing reversals with a recurve bow to try to build up some strength in my draw before shooting again when the social distancing restrictions are lifted. So, strength training is one option. Mental training is another. I am reading a number of books on mental aspects of physical performances. Please do realize that you are not limited to “archery” mental game books. Any physical performance has a mental game much the same as ours. So, if you are a musical, look up mental aspects of your instrument performances, or singing, whatever. If you dabble at golf, golf has a very active mental game. Darts? Yep. Go for it. And, of course, the old “tried and trues” are available: fletching arrows, cleaning up bow cases, organizing all the spare bits you have accumulated, etc.

I will admit that if the Internet goes down I am going to be in a hard way in that we do all of our businesses through it and I get much of my mental stimulation thereby, also. I have been enjoying a number of Jake Kaminski’s posts of late ( Jake has an entire new series of videos on tuning recurve bows, and while his approach is different from mine, it certainly is effective. You also can’t go wrong pursuing NuSensi’s video archives ( And, Lancaster Archery Supply has a growing educational segment on their website and they do a good job for Compound and Barebow archers.

Since I cannot hold my usual coaching sessions I have offered remote coaching at no charge for all of my students banging away in their basements and garages in the hopes they can stay on track. I certainly do not want to leave them hanging. If you have a problem you need help with, drop me an email (ruis(dot)steve(at)gmail(dot)com).

I do wish all of you safety and good health and, well, a dose of common sense if that is something you lack. One of the things that is rooted in human beings is an agency detector. We impute “causes” for things happening around us whether they exist or not and that helps us stay alive. (Animals only interact directly with their environment, we interact with an imaginary environment.) And evolution taught us that “false positives” have very little cost, so if you thought that rustling in the long grass was a tiger and moved away and it turned out to be a zephyr of wind, you didn’t really lose anything. (This is how we got fairies, and river spirits, etc.) So, please do think that this virus is out to get you and take precautions. If it turns out those precautions weren’t necessary, you have wasted very little. If the precautions are necessary and you ignore them, the cost could be very, very high.

Stay safe as I hope to see you on the range soon.


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