How to Shoot in Windy, Difficult Weather
Posted by 60x Custom Strings on May 3rd 2023
How to Adjust For Wind When Shooting & How Does the Wind Affect Arrow Flight
One of the toughest and most frustrating things I have experienced as an archer is learning how to adjust for the wind when shooting. It’s not easy to fire an arrow when your pin won’t stay in the middle and even tougher when the arrow isn’t landing where the pin was. So, how does the wind affect your arrow flight? We at 60X Custom Strings want to break down some tips that may help you score better the next time your archery tournament has less than favorable weather conditions.
Practice in the Wind
How many of us have skipped out on a day of practice because it was windy outside? I know this is my least favorite time to practice.
Let’s look at the benefits though. How can you expect to perform well when it counts if you have never been in that situation before? Or if you don’t know how the wind does affect your arrow flight? If you practice in the wind, you can prepare yourself for those types of conditions. Keep notes in a practice journal on what you did and how you felt. These notes can be lifesavers come tournament time.
How to Adjust for Wind When Shooting
There are two main techniques you can use to adjust for wind when shooting.
1. Aiming Off
The first one is aiming off. More than likely you will need to aim off in windy or difficult weather. An easy way to determine how far off to aim is to aim at the middle and see where your arrow lands. If it is 10 inches left, then you need to aim 10 inches right.
This is where your journal notes come in handy. If you have practiced in 10 mile per hour winds and know you need to hold in the 7 ring at 50 meters, then you already have valuable information that can save a loss of points during your match. I will admit that it is not as simple as this since the wind does not just blow at the same steady rate and is often picking up and slowing down at the same time.
2. Bubble Into the Wind
The second is what is called a bubble into the wind. This is where you would cant, or tilt, your bow slightly into the wind instead of having it perfectly level like you normally would. The harder the wind is blowing, the more you need to learn how to adjust when shooting. Just like aiming off, you can get good at this with adequate practice. I found this method to work best for me in lighter, steady winds.
Accept that your scores will be lower.
When it is windy, you need to realize that scores are going to be lower, sometimes much, much lower. Many times, you go into a certain shooting round with expectations of shooting a certain score that should give you the finish you desire. If it is windy on the range, the chances of shooting that same score will diminish. If you have trained in these difficult weather conditions before, you may have an idea of what your realistic score will now be based on your practice sessions in the past.
Stay confident and do your best.
Learning how to adjust for wind when shooting can be very demanding both physically and mentally. Physically you are fighting the wind trying to aim the bow the best you can. When you are used to doing this naturally without an opposing force it can be tiring. The same can be said mentally. As if there isn’t enough mental stress from competing, the added stress of not knowing where the arrow is going to land, or the lower score can really take its toll. I would usually find myself totally drained after a day on the range shooting in windy, difficult conditions. You may find that you need to alter your shot routine or sequence when it’s windy.
Take advantage of breaks in the wind.
Depending on the situation, you may find that there are short little breaks in the wind. If the opportunity is there, you need to take advantage of it. The biggest mistake I see competitors make is waiting until the wind stops to draw their bow. I always tried to anticipate when the wind would stop. I would try to be at full draw when it actually stopped to maximize my chance at shooting while it was calm. Any arrow you can shoot during these breaks will be a bonus and can really help your score.
How Does Wind Affect Arrow Flight?
We all know that the wind changes where our arrows will impact but there are many factors that can change this. Most of these sound rather simple, but I have seen competitors who didn’t learn how to adjust for wind when shooting or utilize many of these tips for whatever reasons. The cliff notes version is that a skinnier, heavier arrow will have less wind drift compared to a fatter, lighter arrow. Makes sense, doesn’t it? In addition to seeing competitors not doing this, I have also seen shooters who will have a separate setup specifically for shooting in windy, difficult conditions.
Will You Prepare?
In writing, it's pretty clear that whoever is best prepared for how to adjust when shooting in the wind will be the one who comes out on top when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Is it worth going through all the extra preparation when you may only run into weather issues every few years? That is for you to decide. For me, I always wanted to feel prepared no matter what the conditions may be, whether it is shooting in the rain, wind, or snow.