Do You Struggle With a Portsmouth?
We’re now well in to the indoor season here in the UK, which as an archer means you need to be shooting a Portsmouth fairly regularly.
Due to other commitments, I currently shoot about once every ten days. Which means that when I get round to shooting a Portsmouth, it can be difficult. And it’s not just me. Most members at the club I shoot at shoot not more than once a week (in winter at least), and it shows. By the fifth dozen, we’re all struggling. Those using clickers are struggling to maintain back-tension, and many start to forward loose. I don’t think this is particularly unusual.
Contrast this to two years ago when I was shooting about four times a week, and the difference is huge. I remember on one occasion shooting four Portsmouth rounds in an afternoon with a friend (okay, we did shoot our arrows in sixes – something I usually don’t advise indoors). It was a lot of arrows, and I was tired by the end of it, but we did it. Now I struggle with one round, particularly if I shoot quickly or by myself.
I wanted to illustrate what a difference shooting regularly can have on your archery, not just in terms of your form, but importantly in terms of your physical stamina. When we shoot we use muscles that we don’t regularly use in our day-to-day activities, and the best way to improve your stamina really is to shoot more often.
So what do you do if you don’t have time to shoot four times a week?
Practice drawing your bow at home. Clearly, be careful. Don’t use an arrow unless it is safe to do so. And don’t dry-fire your bow, as you can cause a lot of damage to both you and your bow. Draw up, hold at full draw for ten seconds, then come down.
NB If you shoot a longbow, this isn’t an option, as you will damage your bow by holding it at full draw. Remember your longbow is 90% broken at full draw!
If you’re afraid of accidentally dry-firing or maybe don’t have the ceiling height, consider getting a formaster. A formaster is an elastic training aid that mimics your draw action. Try to draw using your elbow rather than your fingers, and make sure you warm up beforehand.