This week on Improve Your Game, Phoebe Pine explains how to shoot in the wind, focusing on how the wind affects the body and equipment we shoot.
This week on Improve Your Game, we will learn how to shoot in the wind. Learning how to shoot in the wind is incredibly testing for any archer that has to shoot in it. However, it is something we must all learn to do. Phoebe Pine gives her tips on how to do it.
In this article, I aim to describe the effects of wind on the body (physiologically) and on the equipment we use to shoot, such as bow and arrows.
Alongside this, advice on how to shoot in the wind, from my own personal experiences. The advice that I give from my own experiences may not suit all. So I will suggest other ways to shoot in the wind that I don't usually do.
In order to learn how to shoot in the wind, you must learn there are different elements to factor in. Wind effects the body on many levels. Therefore the performance someone gives on many levels is effected too.
Before shooting outside on a windy or breezy day, it's important to take note of the "feels like" temperature. This is because the lower the "feels like" temperature is, the colder the wind is going to feel on the skin.
So, for example, if it's the middle of October and the "feels like" temperature is around 5 degrees Celsius, you can predict that the wind temperature (depending on speed) is going to feel at least two degrees lower than the "feels like" temperature.
This wind temperature will cause the skin to cool faster than it would on milder days. This will make the surrounding air around yourself feel colder too. On a warmer day or milder day, the body is able to insulate us with a boundary layer around us. This will, in turn, warm the air closest to our skin, keeping us warmer.
The rule of thumb is the cold temp in general + wind = extra cold day.
Another key factor when you want to learn to shoot in the wind is the physiological effects.
These cold temperatures from the wind can cause stress on the body. This is not something you want when you're trying to train the best you can or compete to the best of your ability.
Our bodies tend to stress in the cold due to the discomfort is caused. The best way to stop this is to layer up, with lots of thin layers to reduce the risk of string contact. Also, this will trap heat from moving around too much, such as thermal layers.
Eating lots when you're cold also has the ability to warm the body from the inside out. This should be warmer foods rather than sandwiches, such as soups or cooked meals.
Finally, being cold has an impact on your mental state as well, once you know you're cold it's likely that that's going to be the one thing that fills your mind, rather than focusing on other things such as shooting. So, it's best to just cut out the middleman and layer up before going outside, so you don't need to stress.
The wind will also tire you out faster. The body knows that the bow is going to be moving around more and will therefore want to stop that. It's in our nature as archers to want to hold the bow in the middle the best as we can. But this isn't possible in wind.
Due to this, the front arm will tense a lot more than usual. Our core will have to engage more to keep us upright and stop us from moving around too much. The hand on the bow grip will inevitably want to hold the riser harder to control the bow more. This will cause torque issues and therefore do more harm than good.
It goes without saying that shooting in the wind is going to move your bow around. If you think about it as a tall plank of wood; your arm, first of all, has to deal with the weight of that plank of wood which is going to be hard. But by holding it out in front of you, you're essentially putting that plank of wood out into the wind. This will allow any and all blows to take it.
The bow moving around will stop you from having the ability to aim well. Causing you to have to tense more because that's what the brain will tell you to do. "Your bow is moving around we need to make it stop. I know, let's over-extend our arm to be super strong, grip the bow more, etc, etc".
The wind will also cause arrow drift. The windier the day, the further your arrows are going to move on the target. Some people will have arrows that are less effected by wind. Such as those with lower profile fletchings, but we are all effected by the wind.
In my own personal experiences, I tend to prefer to "bubble off" in the wind. This means that when I draw and aim at the target in the wind, tilt the top cam of the bow into the direction of the wind. I know that I'm doing this right from seeing a level bubble in my scope moving to the side I want it to go. I use the wind to steer my arrows in the opposite direction to that wind.
The reason I choose to do this, rather than aim off, is because I find it to be more repeatable than having to remember where I need to aim at the target. My aim is naturally brought into the middle of the target and my mind finds it hard to aim anywhere else.
I understand that some may say "Well, how do you remember where you need to have your bubble?", but I've found from doing it so often, I have the ability to just know where I need it to be in order to achieve the outcome I want. This is usually from the practice ends we are given or from forcing myself to shoot in the wind.
As I've stated previously, the other way to shoot in the wind is to aim off. This being aiming into the direction of the wind to drift to arrow off in the direction you want it to go. This can be done by just aiming and people are able to do this repeatedly to achieve what they set out to do.
Whilst using either form of technique, it's important to remember that the bow is still going to be moving around. It won't allow you to magically shoot well in the wind as it would be naïve of any of us to assume that this would fix us, but it will hopefully help.