5 SUGGESTIONS FOR A POSITIVE LOCKDOWN – Without shooting an arrow – By Jenny Collins

From November, we should be starting our winter training, altering technique, trying new kit, putting in the gym hours and reviewing goals for the next year; instead we are starting another period of lockdown.  We all hope that this time it will be just a short hiatus and will back at the range in a few short weeks.  However, we all know that nothing is guaranteed, so what can you do to make the next 4+ weeks count and perhaps put you in a better place when we can return to shooting?

1.      Drills and Skills

If you can’t shoot, go through the motions – literally.  Practicing your shot without a bow, with a stretch band, a light poundage bow and/or a shot trainer is an essential part of efficient practice.  You don’t need to shoot your bow to train effectively; drills and skills form an essential part of all elite archers training.  It is also a great way to bed in new skills or technique changes.  Daily drills will really boost your shooting and can be easily fitted in to a daily routine (especially as you can do them watching TV).

Aim4Sport has some useful videos that detail incremental drills and skills routines:

During the summer, archery GB developed lots of videos that provide information on a range of topics, all presented by members of the GB squad and coaches.  Richard Priestman also gives a good run down of drills you can do at home to improve your strength.

2.      Mental Game

Use the down time of the next few weeks to improve the mental side of your archery.  With Winning in Mind by Lanny Basham is widely recognized as ‘the’ book to go to by many archers and is available in a number of formats (paperback, CD and eBook).


There are also a growing number of mental programs available that you can dip into at little or no cost.  Archery Mental Mastery has a number of free resources for you to try before you commit to.  Centered on hypnotherapy, the author is an archer himself and his course could provide a different approach to your mental game.

Also consider your ‘approach to life’.  With everything going on in the world it is easy to slip into a negative, blame shifting mindset.  Ultimately this won’t help you or those around you to get through the next few weeks.  The Internet is awash with resources that can help shift your perspective and frame your thoughts into more helpful direction, here are a few suggestions:

Mark Ormrod, https://www.markormrod.com/about-mark/

Mark is a double Invictus athlete and the UK’s first triple amputee to survive combat.  He has an amazing outlook and his website has links to his very own unique way of approaching life.  His book Man Down details his recovery and his You Tube video, No Limits, is an eye opener – particularly if you are feeling sorry for your self.

Rising Phoenix, https://www.paralympic.org/news/paralympic-film-rising-phoenix-premieres-globally-netflix

Released this summer, Rising Phoenix, details the history of the Paralympics, its impact on individuals and the view of disability on a global level.  Inspiring watching for the darker nights.

Ollie Ollerton, https://ollieollerton.com

Part of the SAS Who Dares crew, Ollie is less well known but perhaps more relatable in terms of his life experiences and approach.  His current book, Battle Ready, not only describes the down turn in his life after he left the Armed Forces and how he ‘sorted himself out’, but has a number of useful exercises throughout the book that really help you focus on where you are, where you want to go and how to get there.

3.      No Gym, No Problem

We all mean to go the gym, go for a run or do an exercise class, but the reality is that many archers just don’t do the required additional physical activity to really make a difference to their shooting.  Now is your chance to get in the habit of regular exercise.  Get the Wii fit out of the cupboard or fill some bottles with water for instant weights, even walk up and down the stairs 20 times to get your heart pumping.  It’s always said you don’t need a home gym or personal trainer to work out and as ever, there are some great resources out there you can use:

Free Home Exercise Videos, https://makeyourbodywork.com/how-to-exercise-at-home/

This blog provides 50 different sites that have free exercise videos that you can do at home with little or no specialist equipment.  Whether its yoga, Pilates, cross fit, aerobics or body weight exercises you want – have a look.

Joe Wicks, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ

The nations PE teacher has all his workouts on You Tube.  If you don’t think leaping around like a kangaroo is for you, he also has calmer sessions for older people or people with injuries.

4.      Kit

Use this time to check over your kit, repair arrows, give everything a clean, make new bowstrings and generally make sure your kit is in good condition so you are ready to shoot when restrictions are lifted.  Give your bow bag/box a clean out.  Get rid of broken nocks and all the other detritus that accumulates.  Hoover or wipe out the box/bag, making sure everything is dry, then store somewhere that has a constant temperature, isn’t damp and where your kit won’t get crushed.

Sort through the bits and pieces you have accumulated over time and decide if you want to sell or donate any of them.  EBay and Facebook both have healthy used equipment sales and any profits will help boost the Christmas kitty.

Create an archery go-bag.  Collect all you shooting clothing, make sure it is clean and dry, then pack it up in to a rucksack so you have all your kit in one place ready for when we can return to shooting – particularly important if we are only allowed to do outdoor shooting.  Things to include could be waterproofs (can you shoot in your waterproof jacket or do you need to modify it), hats (warm and sun), base layers, gloves (perhaps adapt a thin pair so you can shoot in them), small first aid kit (including insect replant and sunscreen), notebook/training diary, space for snacks and water bottle and a list of emergency contact numbers.

5.      Try Something Different

Keeping yourself happy and healthy is not just about diet, exercise and doing archery.  There is a massive mental component too.  If your normal ‘me time’ is shooting think about creating another ‘value adding’ activity that will give you something constructive to do but is also enjoyable.  It could be a new skill, a short course or even listening to a podcast or TED talk.  Here are some suggestions:

RVS Virtual Community Centre, https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/virtual-village-hall/

The RVS has created a bank of online classes that you normally associate with the activities that go on in village halls.  They are all free and cover a range of topics from craft, flower arranging, exercise, and singing to cooking.  There is also an interactive element so that you can chat to other people and feel less isolated.

Open University, https://www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses/full-catalogue

The OU has increased its offer of free courses that cover all aspects of its full degree courses.  They are all online and completely free.  Taking a few may open up a whole new career or education path to you.

TED Talks, https://www.ted.com/talks

This a great resource on an inexhaustible range of topics.  All presented by world experts and free to access there are some entertaining talks (DNA, naughty bananas, crows and death – anything you can think of) that can help fill a dreary evening or afternoon.

Hopefully some of the above resources and suggestions will offer some help to you over the coming weeks.  Have you found a website, book, activity that has helped you through the restrictions of 2020 or changed your mindset for the better?  We’d love to hear about them and perhaps we could create a database to benefit our whole community?

Author Archives: Jenny Collins

I started shooting in 1992 with Links Archers in Scotland. About 18 months after I started shooting SAA were short of girls for the Scottish Junior Team, so at age 14 I started shooting 70m with a one piece wooden bow (a Greenhorn GreenKat) that stacked like mad and I had about 24lb on my fingers! I made my first junior team in 1995 (now shooting a KG1), Scottish Senior Team in 1996 and British Squad in 1997 (I shot over 1200 for a Ladies WA 1440 with a KG1 at about 30lbs and X7 arrows). I represented GB in Czech Republic, the USA and Italy.

Due to injury and joining the RAF I stopped shooting around 2002 and started again in 2007. This time with Oxford Archers. I had some really good results and shot at Vegas and Nimes (I was 8 months pregnant at the time). When I had my eldest archery stopped shooting again.

Fast forward to 2017 and I was in the process of being medically discharged from the RAF. It was suggested that getting back to archery and trying for the Invictus Team might help my recovery. It took a lot of persuasion but I picked up my bow again and was selected for the Warrior Games (US version of Invictus) in 2017 and the Invictus Team in 2018. I’m a member of Old Basing Archers (who are a great bunch) and I am really enjoying archery being a major part of my life again.