The days are still short, and the temperatures cold enough to make outdoor carbon slinging difficult. But the solution is simple: join an indoor league. For a small fee, you can stand toe-to-toe against other archers and shoot lots and lots of arrows. And even though it’s not the best place to stretch yardage, indoor shooting will help you perfect your form and develop a repeatable shot routine. Here are a few reasons why joining an indoor league is easier than you think.
1) It’s Never Too Late To Join an Indoor League
Leagues have been going all winter, but there’s still time to join up. Many pro shops will be starting late winter and spring leagues, and even if the idea of punching paper in a competitive platform doesn’t sound appealing, you can still fork over some green and get some range time. All it takes is a phone call, in-person visit, or a quick scan of your local pro shop’s social media page.
2) You Can Bring Your Hunting Bow
Too many archers stay away from indoor leagues and indoor shooting because they think they need to purchase a tournament-style bow. This isn’t true. I shoot indoor leagues each year with my hunting setup. Yes, you will see lots of guys and gals toeing the indoor line with 40-plus-inch axle-to-axle rigs, 24-inch stabilizers, and fat arrows. For many shooters, these tournament-style rigs give them an advantage. But you don’t have to have one from the get-go. If you start shooting indoor leagues and tournaments and realize you want to be more competitive, you can always get a tournament bow and the appropriate accessories. But until that time comes, you can shoot all you want with a standard bowhunting setup.
3) You Don’t Need to Know Everything About Indoor Shooting to Get Started
I’ve talked with a lot of archers who don’t shoot indoor leagues because they don’t want to look dumb. It’s the same reason a newbie Vegas goer is timid about sitting down at a Blackjack table. If this is you, visit The National Field Archery Association’s website. You can read and watch videos on various indoor shooting rounds. If you don’t want to go that route, just show up. The archery crowd is a fun-loving, super helpful group of folks.
4) Shooting Against Other Archers Helps You Get Ready For the Moment of Truth
Few things stimulate pressure like shooting in front of your peers, and when you’re standing side-by-side with 15 or 20 of them, things can get quite intense. You’ll learn to block everything out when you’re on the line with other shooters. And you’ll learn to focus on your shooting routine and not rush things because you hear other bows going off. This kind of pressure pays dividends come hunting season.
5) Competeing Against Better Shooters Will Up Your Game
I thought I was quite the X buster until I joined a competitive indoor league. Joining that league humbled me quickly, But even though you may be out-gunned by the competition, other archers are full of good advice. Nothing will make you a better shooter than shooting with those who are better than you are. Iron sharpens iron.
6) An Indoor League is a Great Place to See and Test New Gear
New bow accessories are constantly hitting the market. If you’re in an indoor league, you’ll be able to see the latest and greatest in the hands of other shooters without having to swipe your credit card. You’ll be able to ask other archers questions, and most of the time, especially if it’s a release, arrow, or even a bow, the shooter that has it will let you try it out.
7) The More You Shoot, The More You’ll Find Flaws in Your Setup
Shooting a pile of arrows each week will quickly reveal any sub-par gear you have. Plus, you’ll stay on top of your bow tuning, which makes a big difference going into the hunting season.
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8) Indoor Archery Leagues Are Just Plain Fun
Sure, things get competitive, but you have so much fun laughing and heckling each other that winning or losing becomes secondary. Every year during our winter and spring leagues, we mix things up and shoot lots of different indoor disciplines from 5 Spot to 30-arrow Vegas rounds to Classic 600 rounds. We form teams and play other games, and we even have a husband-and-wife league night. My wife and I know one night a week we can take a break, go out to dinner, and then show up at the pro shop and shoot our bows.