How To Deal With Harsh Weather Elements During Competition

Five years ago, Makenna Proctor began her journey into archery at a camp. The sport captured her heart, so she decided to continue. Now she’s stepping onto the world stage, as she brings home the bronze from the World Archery Youth Championships with the junior women’s team.

During the recent World Cup and World Championships in Yankton, South Dakota, Richie Proctor and the rest of Team USA had to put their skills to the test when they faced some windy conditions. Throughout the session, Proctor shared her advice on how to adapt to difficult weather conditions and what archers can do to ensure they are prepared to face any situation.

How Does The Weather Affect Archers?

A difficult weather condition can affect the performance of an archer. Every type of weather comes with its own challenges. We heard from Proctor about the different challenges archers might encounter.

According to her, “the weather can affect everything.” The first thing you ought to do when you’re sweaty and hot is to keep something to wipe your hands with. You should also keep a small hand towel in your quiver to keep your hand from moving.” Something as small as keeping a small hand towel in your quiver can make all the difference on one of those hot summer days. 

You can also be affected by cold weather. “I have trouble with the cold, in particular,” Proctor said. “I’m from Ohio, so I’m used to cold weather.” She recommended wearing several layers as well as having hand warmers to keep your hands warm.

In her words, “if your hands and your muscles begin to get cold, they cramp up, and it makes it extremely difficult for you to take a good shot.” “I always look ahead before starting any tournament. I always pack for any weather because you never know what’s going to happen. I believe it is crucial.”

Proctor’s ideal weather conditions for a tournament are what anybody would enjoy, on the line or otherwise. Ideally, the weather would be 75 degrees and partly cloudy, with a light breeze, she said.

“I’m talking about 1 or 2 miles per hour, coming from the south.” And why does the direction come from the south? “Because it’s warm, there’s a nice warm breeze,” Proctor said.

How To Deal With Harsh Weather Elements During Competition?

What else is an archer to do besides keeping an eye on the forecast? Proctor provided some tips on adjusting to various weather conditions.

Sunshine

When the sun is bright, it can be difficult to see the target, depending on the angle of the rays. Proctor said he has a sunshade in case it starts coming in at an angle and making it so you can’t see anything. “I don’t usually have any problem with the sun. When it’s sunny, I’m usually pretty happy. I find that a sunshade makes my peep sight better. Since I have an enclosed one, there is no direct sunlight that interferes with how I see things or anything.”

Temperature

You may find it difficult to adjust to extremely hot temperatures, however there are certain steps you can take to keep your form even in extreme conditions. Proctor said to expect to sweat in hot weather. “Just know that your hand will slip, but make a good, strong shot.”

Proctor said that one of the easiest ways to combat the cold is to bundle up. She suggested taking hand warmers with you, and wearing layers underneath. “Make sure you are still able to shoot in those layers,” she advised. 

The more layers you add to something, the less you are likely to be able to expand it. Therefore, knowing how much to add, and how much not to add, is a good thing. It is helpful to go out and practice in the cold sometimes. Practicing in multiple layers makes sure that there are no surprises at the line. It is important to know what your limits are.

Rain

Rain can also affect your shot. You should get yourself something that will cover your sight so that you do not get rain spots on your sight”, Proctor advised. “Occasionally, a peep sight needs to be blown out because rain drops get in.”

You may not need to adjust your shooting if it’s just a light drizzle, but a downpour may require you to do so. “Sometimes it can affect your arrow,” Proctor continued. “Depending on how hard the rain hits, it can slow it down. A couple clicks on your sight will fix it.”

Wind

However, Proctor said the most difficult one for most archers to conquer is the wind, even though harsh weather conditions are difficult to contend with in any case.

It’s much easier to adjust and fix it if it’s hot, if it’s cold, if it’s raining, she said. “When the wind blows, you can’t control it.” The wind blows you, it blows your bow, it blows your arrow. When it rains, you can clean your stuff.

You can keep your hands dry, and you can keep your bow dry. However, you cannot control the wind. Thankfully, there is something you can do to help maintain proper form in a strong wind. Adding a stabilizer or back bar to your bow will help to balance the equipment. Pay attention to where the arrows are landing and compensate accordingly.

If your arrows are landing at a distance of three inches below the center of the target, aim three inches above the center. Shooting in the wind will cause your sight point to be off-center, and that’s okay.

“Add weight to the front, to the back, to the bow, whatever you need to do to add weight,” Proctor said. “Aim off or tilt the bow to get the arrow to the target. Choose a spot and don’t move from it. You just have to be consistent. Don’t worry about the wind and just keep doing your best.

Are There Any Other things an Archer Can Do?

It is impossible to control nature, so you must prepare yourself with clothes and equipment for every situation and stay positive when faced with less-than-ideal weather during a tournament. Proctor said, “Just come and do your best.

Don’t worry about anyone else.” The coach said, “You shoot your shot and it will happen.” Focus on your target and not the other archers’ targets, because you all have to deal with the same weather. Don’t panic and treat it just like any other tournament. All I can say is that you must be flexible, she added.

“You have absolutely no control over the weather,” she said. “The only thing you can control is yourself.”  If you follow Proctor’s advice for each type of weather, you will be able to make even the most challenging tournament possible. Whether the weather is hot, cold, windy, or rainy, there is no problem.

It would be beneficial for you to find an archery tournament in your area and visit your local archery range to tune your equipment.

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