There was an article written by an archery coach. In the article he wrote that in order to achieve a National Championship an archer needed to shoot 120 arrows per day. That seems reasonable to me. Or so I thought. But, the coaches count for success seemed vague to me. Still, it was a number and a place for me to start. With that number in mind I worked to shoot around 120 arrows per day when I was competing in the compound bow division.
The results I earned using that count as a compound bow archer were fine. I won a lot of tournaments in the Masters division. I did well on a National level despite having a very limited exposure to archery. In less than 18 months I was winning on the State level and doing respectably in National Indoor events.
Then, I heard a quote from Reo Wilde that he practices about an hour per day. It seemed too short to me for 120 arrows. Certainly, Wilde has been shooting much longer than I have and I figured his base was adequate to maintain a high degree of excellence in archery with fewer arrows per day.
When Covid hit us archery slowed down for everyone. It did take some wind out of my sails. It also provided a pause for me to evaluate my activities in archery.
I’d always wanted to shot recurve. So, after 6 years and 8 months of flinging arrows using a compound bow I bought a $249.99 recurve bow – riser and limbs. I added a full kit and had an Olympic Recurve from stabilizers to stand for $460.00.
I started slowly learning to hit the target. During the first 12 weeks of practice I shot 688 arrows per week. Excluding recovery days from those weeks the daily count of arrows shot with the Olympic recurve is 138 arrows per day.
At that level I won my first tournament using the $249.99 Olympic recurve bow, the Georgia Field Archery Championship. I competed in the Men’s Senior division, not as a Masters archer. The coach’s number of 120 arrows per day seemed applicable.
While looking at Olympic recurve archers in Youtube I watched an interview with Brady Ellision. He was being interviewed after winning an early season competition. In it he said he was out of shape and only shooting about 100 arrows per day. He added he’d begin ramping his training up to 200 – 300 arrows per day. It seemed like a lot of arrows.
I decided to look more closely into the quantity of arrows shot by some of the world’s top archers on a weekly basis.
I found interviews of some of the world’s top archers, 52 % men and 48% women. Twenty-two of them were Olympic recurve shooters and eight shoot compound bows. Twenty-five of them provided a weekly arrow count. Five of them didn’t count their weekly total arrow count.
As a group these elite archers average 1088 arrows per week or 181.3 arrows per day over a 6-day week with one day for recovery. When I broke out the recurve versus compound bow archers the numbers changed. Recurve archers claimed to shoot 1332 arrows per week while compound bow archers say they shoot 646 arrows per week. The recurve archer claim to shoot more than twice the number of arrows compared to the compound bow archers.
The range was larger than I expected to find. The low number of arrows shot per week was a compound bow archer who claimed to shoot 300 arrows per week. She shoots at a very high level. The high number on the range is 3000 arrows per week by a recurve shooter.
At first I called foul on the 3000 arrows per week. The archer also reported the number of hours per day he trained. I checked his arrow count versus the hours spend in training that he reported. Over the hours he claimed to train it is possible to shoot 3000 arrows per week with one day of recover per week. However, the hours to arrow intersection is 8 hours and 32 minutes per day. I think this is an exaggeration.
On the other hand the 300 arrows per week is easily achievable. I believe this is an under count. Perhaps some can be tops in the world of archery with relaxed practice, but 50 arrows per day (one day recovery) seems low.
Admittedly, I’ve increased my weekly average as I gotten stronger. My count is still lower than 1332 per week. I’m in the 930 arrows per week. I take 2 days off per week, which means I am averaging 186 arrows per day. To get to the 1332 arrows per week I need to increase my count to 266.4 arrows per day (5 days per week training 2 days recovery). Using two-practice session a reasonable number.
Now, I just don’t go out to the range and shoot for the sake of an arrow count. I approach each practice with a specific goal for that practice. There are variables that, at this point of recurve shooting, influence the arrow count.
Arrow count is important but it shouldn’t be the primary objective of practice. If arrow count where the exclusive factor for archers all contests could be determined beforehand by having each competitor submit their practice logs. The athlete with the highest count could be declared the champion. It just doesn’t work that way.