To many people, archery is not usually seen as a sport requiring high levels of fitness, however archers need to attain a certain level in many aspects of fitness to allow them to perform with accuracy and be able to repeat the actions without fatigue. With high fitness levels the archer can shoot with greater intensity and frequency during training, and to shoot without fatigue during competition. A successful archer requires good vision, hand/eye coordination and balance, flexibility, strength, aerobic fitness and low body fat level.
Of the range of fitness components that contribute to successful archery performance, some are more important than others. You can read out discussion of the fitness components for archery. Visitors to this site consider balance and coordination the most important fitness component. You can have your say too on the poll about the component of fitness most important for success in archery. In terms of all components of success in archery, skill and motivation have also been voted as very important for archery.
Training should be sport-specific, addressing the specific needs of the archer. Training on the range will not be enough to improve fitness, it needs to be supplemented with extra training, such as resistance exercises in the gym and other cross training activities. Here is some more information about training for specific physical attributes that are important for archery.
- Strength — resistance training exercises should focus on those areas which are actively involved in playing archery, such as the upper back and shoulder (used to draw the bow), the upper and lower shoulder muscles (to control the draw arm), the arm muscles (to extend the bow arm), and the finger muscles to hold the bowstring. Strength is one of the important components of fitness for archery, and it is one area of fitness that can easily be trained.
- Flexibility — The archer uses their flexibility to performed the required technique, and any tightness may affect accuracy and increase injuries. Flexibility is something that can be improved with regular stretching. The archer should stretch before each activity (training and competition), plus other stretches, such as pnf and active stretches, to increase the flexibility of specific muscle groups.
Regular fitness assessments are required to monitor training improvements and to determine which areas are best to concentrate on. There are many fitness tests available to test the overall fitness of archers - see Fitness testing for Archery.
- Fitness testing for Archery
- Discussion of the fitness components for archery
- Attributes of a Great Archer
- Anthropometry and Archery
- Sport Specific Fitness