This article is an updated version of a blog post originally posted on tilmanbremer.de on February 2nd, 2012.
It’s that time of the year again, the summer season is coming up, and you want to be prepared. Unfortunately, the weather might not be too inviting in March to start practicing outdoors. There are a few 70 m indoor ranges, like the newly built World Archery Centre in Lausanne, Switzerland, or the amazing venue by Guillaume Tell Strassen in Luxemburg. There are a couple of facilities to shoot 70 m indoor in USA, too, like the Easton Archery Centers. Still, chances are high, that there is no 70 m indoor range available to you. I know the problem, and this is why, I came up with a way to simulate the 70 m to be shot almost everywhere. What you need is a regular target and just 5 m instead of 70!
Of course, shooting indoor can never be the same as outdoor. There won’t be any sun, rain or wind. So let’s look at what we can simulate indoors:
- The shooting position (the posture) of shooting the long distance
- The target face size, its appearance in the sight
The second one is easy to do, it is simple trigonometry. You could just scale the target face down to 18m for example:
The scaled target face doesn’t help much as it is. If you would just print a scaled version, slap it on a target 18 m away and start shooting, you would possibly ruin your arrows quite fast when shooting groups of 6 arrows or more. But most importantly, this is not at all the posture like the one when you have shooting 70 m! The posture is actually what I care the most about, because it is so different from indoors and every year it takes a while for me to get used to it.
Your arrows go in a ballistic trajectory which is quite significant on 70 m, even if you are shooting 40 lbs or more. So, if you would shoot in the same posture and with the same sight setting like outdoors, the target to catch that arrow on 18 m would need to be several meters up in the air. That is not viable, so we are moving the target pretty close to you, to catch the arrow before it really had the time to ascend:
So, now you see why doing the whole thing on 5 m or even closer makes a lot of sense. You probably still need to elevate the target, but just by about 20-50 cm. If you are shooting on large targets such as the 130 cm Danage Domino or other rectangular foam targets, it might even work without jacking up the target at all. If you have your target elevated and moved to 3, 4 or 5 m, you have all what you need. I prepared the target faces to download for you for free:
Print on A4 Paper:
Print on US Paper (Letter):
There are always 6 target faces so that you only shoot one arrow per face and not ruin your arrows. I strongly recommend you to do so. Make sure to not let your printer scale the document when printing it.
Following, you have some pictures of that technique in action. These boxes we used to jack up the target are used for gymnastics and they are simply available where we practice. Anything around that height will work.
What distance do I need to set my sight to?
Easy! You are simulating 70 m, just set it to 70 m!
The arrows miss the target face and go way to high. Is this right?
It is! With your sight set to 70 m, you will of course miss it. That is not a flaw, but has two very nice advantages. First of all, you can concentrate on shooting, rather than on your score. This is perfect for working on your technique. Secondly, if you would shoot on a target face this small, you would need to change it after a couple of shots. Even the very thin X10s are huge compared to the 50 mm target face 3 m away.
On what distance should I do this?
The reason why there are target face downloads for three different practice distances is, that it depends really on the archer. If you have a young archer with, let’s say 30 lbs, the posture he or she will have when shooting 70 m will have quite an angle. So, doing this training method on 5 m will require the target to be really high. Most likely, the archer will get problems to reach the arrows to draw them. So with a young archery, you might use the 3 m target. On the other hand, if you have an experienced archer with e.g. 50 lbs and very fast arrows, the ascend of the arrow on 3 m is so little, that shots aimed at the lower row of targets might hit the paper or even the target faces of the upper row. You want to get this archer to do the same thing on 4 or 5 m. Myself, with a 45 lbs recurve and X10 arrows, I am using the 4 m distance.
What about the height of the target face?
The height is actually quite important, because it has a great impact on your shooting position. That is why, this is the final thing I am going to discuss. You might think, that the middle of the target face should be 130 cm above the ground, like it is for the regular target face on 70 m. If you are a 1,80 m man or 1,65 m woman, you actually always look down to the middle of the target. For 70 m, the resulting angle is almost irrelevant due to the large distance. But as you move the target closer, the angle gets larger and larger and more relevant. The situation is depicted in the following illustration. So, for 5 m and below, you cannot ignore it anymore if you like to simulate your 70 m posture. In theory, the target face should be attached to the target exactly where the line between your eyes and the center of the target at 70 m cuts the 5 m target. As this is way to complicated, just attach it some centimeters lower than than the height of your eyes, which is about 10 cm less than your body height.
Can I practice like this in summer?
Yes! And if you ask me, you should. The fact, that you can aim and shoot exactly like on 70 m, but there is no score to distract you from whatever you are trying to change on your technique, on your feeling etc. is perfect for practice all year long! You can also use it as warm-up in practice, and it makes a great practice for rainy days in summer!