On the internet I stumbled across an interesting article about archery.(1) It was based on a survey. Years ago I ran a studies that collected survey data. In that research we needed to be certain the data submitted was correct. In order to do so we contracted with a major university that audited cancer surveys. They’d developed a program that would sort suspicious entries. Those entries could then be questioned and verified. The archery article I read had in the results data that I found questionable. (1)
What caught my attention among the data on this survey were the hours that 2% of the respondents stated they practiced per week. (1) Those archers submitted they practiced more than 50 hours per week. That seemed like a lot of practice.
I asked some professional athlete friends how much they trained per week. They train closer to 30 hours per week (triathlon/cycling). More training than that and the return on training begins to diminish. I searched and found that as a group professional athletes practice about 5-6 hours per day 6 days per week. (2) That’s, around 30 hours per week.
There a limit of what the body can absorb from training. If someone is pushing 50 hours per week, allowing for a 6 day week (assuming, perhaps erroneously the 50+ hours per week archers give themselves a rest day) that is 8.33 hours of archery practice per day. It seems like a lot of archery in a day.
He’s my schedule:
I shoot and train about 30.5 hours per week. I do not have another job so my days are clear for athletic work. Not all of that 30.5 is shooting arrows. I shoot arrows on an average two and a half hours per day broken, mostly, into two sessions. I spend an hour per week at the gym, 2.5 hours stretching, 6 hours running, and 7 hours cycling. This time does not include video review or study. I have one day off a week. There are training cycles where this varies, this is an annual analysis.
Now, you my think that shooting arrows about 14 hours per week will take a long time to reach 10,000 hours, the number of hours often associated with elite performance.(3) If that 10,000 rule was an absolute, you would be correct. The 10,000 rule is not an absolute.
You may further think that 14 hours per week shooting is the extent of training. Here you would be somewhat incorrect. Indeed, it is archery practice. However, the other elements of training, the stretching, running, going to the gym, and cycling are all components to becoming a better archer.
Shooting a bow for more than 90 minutes at a time is a long time. So, I typically break up archery practice into morning and afternoon practice sessions. Aside from not becoming too physically fatigued, and increasing the risk of an injury, it means I have what I consider the best time frame for mental focus. Too long at practice and it is easy to become mentally tired which can be followed by sloppy form.
The brain needs a break as well as the body. Anyone practicing archery for 50+ hours per week is likely headed toward injury or burnout. Personally, I question archers who claim to be practicing 50+ hours per week. Their math may be wrong or they may be including other activities. Either way, 50+ hours is a lot.
How many hours per week do you train? (The answer is for you, this is not a survey)