10 Archery Practice Drills You Can Do In Your Backyard


Getting better in archery requires practice. Spend the time on the sport, and you will see results sooner or later. Here are some awesome ways to practice your archery skills in your own backyard.

Archery Practice Drills

  1. Blind Shooting
  2. Small Target Drill
  3. Distance Shooting
  4. Aiming Drill
  5. Target Change Up
  6. Angle Drill
  7. Around The Clock
  8. Count Down Drill
  9. Stretch Bands
  10. Mirror Form

Each practice drill has it’s own purpose, and will help train a wide range of needed archery skills. A couple of these archery practice drills will require a shooting buddy. Read on to find out how to run these drills and what skill they will help improve.

1. Blind Shooting

How To Practice:

For this drill you will need a large target and your bow and arrow. Stand about 8 feet away from the target, close enough so you can’t miss it. Close your eyes and slowly draw your bow. You want to focus on stance, posture, and breathing.

Closing your eyes helps you avoid other distractions that may be keeping you from working on your form. Feel for the same anchor point with each shot every time you do this. Make sure you are facing the target and you will not be sending arrow where someone could get hurt

Skill Improvement:

Reduce the urge to release. Many archers want to release the arrow as soon as they see the target lined up in the sights. This way you can practice your form and focus on the feel of the bow without worrying about lining up a target right away.

2. Small Target Drill

How To Practice:

Get a bunch of paper plates and draw one circle on each. Start with a circle the size of a grapefruit and make them smaller and smaller until they are about the size of a quarter. Start at a comfortable distance shooting the larger circles.

When you become better at shooting at the larger circles, start to step down in size. When you get proficient with the smaller circles, you could move your shooting distance back 10 yards and start over with the large circles again.

Skill Improvement:

This will help improve your confidence with a bow and improve your accuracy. As you start getting better at hitting the smaller circles, you get boost in confidence, which goes a long way in archery.

3. Distance Shooting

How To Practice:

Set up targets at 10, 20, and 30 yards. The point of this drill isn’t necessarily practicing at long distances, although that is a major reason archers practice this drill. But also, you want to get used to judging distance by eye. You won’t always have time to use a fancy range finder in the field. And for target only archers, you will most likely want to be able to recognize and shoot at varying distances.

Alternate shooting between the targets at different distances. Try not to shoot at the same target more than twice in a row. Also as you’re shooting, try getting a feel for the distances so you can easily recognize what 20 or 30 yards out looks like.

Skill Improvement:

This drill will improve your ability to adapt to different distances. You should also get a feel for any adjustments you need to make with your aim and stance to hit targets further out.

Here’s a fun video of some professional archers shooting at 30 meters distance without a sight.

4. Aiming Drill

How To Practice:

You won’t actually need to release an arrow to practice this drill. But you will nock an arrow and draw your bow, so I suggest you practice this drill as you would be shooting. Simply nock an arrow, draw your bow, and aim at the target. You want to hold your aim on the center of the target for as long as you can.

This is a common exercise among professional archers. It may seem silly or pointless, but you are most definitely improving your skill by doing this drill.

Skill Improvement:

This drill will help strengthen the most common muscles used in archery and develop muscle memory. As you hold position on the target, the muscles used to line up a good shot are all activated. This will make it easier for you to get into this position again.

5. Target Change Up

How To Practice:

This drill requires a shooting buddy. What you do is cover your eyes or turn away from the shooting field or range. Your shooting buddy will go out and move the target to a different distance and angle. When they give you the all clear that they are off the range, you open your eyes, range the target, aim, and try to hit the target all in under 15 seconds.

Of course you can give yourself any time limit you want to match your skill. Be careful of moving too fast and always keep safety a priority.

Skill Improvement:

This drill will help improve your range finding ability and your speed. This is a fun drill to do with friends and you can make a little competition out of it.

6. Angle Drill

How To Practice:

For this drill you would nock an arrow, aim, and shoot a target as you normally would. Except this time, you will be shooting at different angles you may not be used to. A lot of archers make the mistake of only shooting from the same position at the same targets every time.

This drill allows you to change things up and take down a target from an angle you haven’t thought of before. Try setting up a few targets at different angles and alternating between them to keep things interesting.

Skill Improvement:

This drill will help improve your accuracy. After shooting at targets from different angles, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable going back to your head on target shooting.

7. Around The Clock

How To Practice:

Get a paper plate or a round target. You won’t actually be trying to hit the target with this drill though. Instead, aim for just outside the target at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. You can aim for anytime of day you wish I suppose, but the point is to shoot at a point on the target you’re not used to.

Skill Improvement:

This drill helps reduce what they call target panic. This is when an archer becomes dependent on shooting at a circle on a target. If that’s all you’ve ever shot at, it can be difficult to be accurate on anything else.

8. Count Down Drill

How To Practice:

This drill requires a shooting buddy. Start by getting setup to shoot at the target. Before you draw your bow, your shooting buddy will call out a number. As soon as they call out a number you draw your bow and hold. Your shooting buddy will now start counting from one. When they get to the number they originally called out, you can shoot your arrow.

We usually keep the numbers below 20 when we practice this drill. Many professional archers and coaches use this drill to improve concentration and control.

Skill Improvement:

This drill improves your concentration and control. It requires you to be on target and to coordinate the counting with your hand eye coordination.

9. Stretch Bands

How To Practice:

This is a great way to train without having to worry about equipment or arrow safety. A lot of archers will also use stretch bands as a warm up. You don’t need a range or even a bow and arrow to practice the movements of shooting a bow.

Get some fitness stretch bands and hold them in a way that you can practice drawing a bow. Try to hold the draw position as long as you can. You can switch between strengths of band, but I prefer to use one that is harder to stretch than my bow is to draw. That way when I get out on the range my bow feels easier to handle.

Skill Improvement:

This drill will help train your muscle memory and build up the muscles needed to practice archery. It’s easy to do anywhere at any time. This is a good practice to perform when the weather is bad or you’re just inside watching TV.

10. Mirror Form

How To Practice:

With this drill you don’t need a target or arrows. You will simply get yourself in front of a mirror and practice your bow draw. Take notice of your form and make adjustments as necessary. This is a cool practice because you actually get to see what your form looks like.

Be careful not to dry fire your bow. Slow un-draw your bow rather than releasing without an arrow. Dry firing a bow can cause injury to you and damage your equipment.

Skill Improvement:

This drill will improve your stance. This is a good one to do early on when practicing archery because you want your form to spot on as you grow your skills. If you start practicing archery, but have bad form from the beginning, you will only be able to get so accurate.

Archery Games

This isn’t part of the top 10 list because archery games aren’t really practice drills. But playing archery games can really help you improve your abilities and keep you motivated to practice. I wrote an article, 14 Archery Games For Skills Improvement. Really, anytime you’re shooting your bow, you’re getting practice, so why not make it fun.

Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

Recent Content