For outdoor tournaments, it has been my experience that organizers only cancel archery tournaments for lightning and tornadoes. Therefore, as an archer, you have to shoot through a wide variety of weather conditions. Although wind is a common troubling weather condition for all archers there are many other types of conditions can also adversely affect your shots at any given tournament.
“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” Steve Martin
Most people would think that a bright sunshiny day would be the ideal conditions for shooting outdoors and this is “usually” the case. However, it depends on how the target field has been setup. If the sun is behind the target, then you can have the sun shining directly into your eyes, which it not that ideal. If the sun is directly behind you and the target has a reflective surface you have the same effect.
Sun reflects off everything, so if it is bright in your eyes you need to protect your eyes with a brimmed hat or sunglasses. Although most tournaments try to abide by the rules about direct and reflective sunlight it is not always possible.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” Jimmy Dean
The wind conditions are something every archer needs to watch. They are completely unpredictable and can quickly change speed, direction and location. Windy conditions can be a nightmare for young archers who have a lightweight bow or low draw-weight for different reasons. Lightweight bows sometimes can become a sail, catching the wind, creating a constant fight to keep it steady and aligned. Low draw-weight bows usually force the arrows into a greater arch to reach the same distance; therefore, they are in the air longer and more affected by strong winds.
Quick Tip: Check the trees, grass, and flags to understand the wind through your shooting plane.
Most archers need to be patient when shooting in high winds and wait for as long as possible for low winds. Remember, the more you practice in different kinds of winds the more you learn about how they affect you.
“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain”Unknown
Unlike wind, which can blow your arrows off the target, rain only adds weight to the arrow and causes the arrow to fly a little lower. Try to remember to keep strong through the entire shot and aim a little high. If your shots were weaker than normal, the rain will make that mistake 10 times more noticeable than it would be in clear weather conditions and produce lower scores.
HOT AND HUMID
“I like to play long matches and in hot weather. Those are my conditions. I like it hot because it’s bad for other players. A lot of them don’t like it hot.”Yuliana Fedak
Most new archers do not think about humidity affecting their arrows however, if the air is heavy it can cause varying effects. If it is very humid, it can cause your arrows not to spin as quickly leaving your shots grouping lower since they do not gain as much distance.
The heat affects the archer too with hot and sweaty hands. Sweaty hands affect your grip on the bow possibly changing your point of power and the heat causing your hands to swell which in turn affects your feel for the string in your fingers. Another possible affect is quicker dehydration resulting in loss of energy that is extremely bad for any endurance athlete. Therefore, in the heat it is important to know how you react in the heat and humidity and know how to keep cool.
“It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.” Joseph Conrad
Shooting in the fog can be one of the most difficult and dangerous weather conditions. Whenever you are unable to see the target or able to review the shot and compensate it can be extremely trying on your patience and self-esteem. Some archers absolutely refuse to shoot in the fog with associated dangers and for fear of loss of arrows and the associated costs. If you choose to continue to shoot in the fog focus on hitting the target and understand that tight grouping of your arrows can be a real problem.
Quick Tip: Numbering your arrows and tracking your arrows can help so you can adjust your shots.
“It doesn’t matter if the water is cold or warm if you’re going to have to wade through it anyway” Teilhard de Chardin
Although outdoor tournaments are rarely held during frigid weather with conditions of snow or hail, it can be very cold in the morning at the start of a tournament in the spring or fall. Muscles tend to tighten up and you can injury yourself if you do not properly warm-up or wear appropriate clothing. Make sure you are appropriately dressed in layers that can be shed as the day warms up.
“I don’t see pitches down the middle anymore – not even in batting practice.” Hank Aaron
It takes time to figure out what happens to your shots in the different types of weather conditions; therefore, it is important to practice a lot, in all types of weather, to prepare for not so ideal weather conditions.
“Practice is the best of all instructors.” Publilius Syrus
Thanks to Luke Pacholski for the use of his web images