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5 Ways to Practice Archery after you get Archery Lessons

Let's pretend for a moment that you've already got archery lessons in Toronto. Once you've already been trained by an archery instructor / coach, what are some good ways to practice by yourself?

If you've already had lessons (I recommend 3 or more if you're planning to buy your equipment) then you should already have done the following during your lessons:

  1. Learned Proper Safety Etiquette
  2. Purchased Equipment that is suitable for your Needs
  3. Learned How to Aim
  4. Learned Proper Form
  5. Practiced during your Lessons

So if you've already done all of theses things (either with me or a different instructor) what we really want to be talking is the following:

1. Small Target Practice

I recommend using small targets, something about the size of a coffee lid, so that you have to truly focus and concentrate on what you're doing in order to hit it. The smaller the target the more you have to concentrate on your form in order to hit it.

2. Setting Goals + Tracking Progress

Some archers like to establish specific goals for each practice session, whether it's improving their groupings or hitting a certain score. Keep a record of your progress to track your development over time. However this isn't for everyone. Some people prefer a more relaxed / less regimented practice session.

3. Incorporate Drills and Exercises

Include various drills in your practice routine to work on specific aspects of your shooting, such as target archery and trying to beat a certain score, field archery at various distances, or possibly more complicated things like shooting at moving targets or shooting while walking (I teach these more advanced things to my students who get 5 or more lessons).

4. Mental Focus

Over time it isn't the physical aspect of archery that becomes the tricky part. It is the mental stuff that starts to mess with the archer's head. Some archers will get into relaxation techniques, practice breathing control, and imagining/visualizing a successful shot.

I personally like reading/writing zen poetry, but that isn't for everyone. But for those people interested in such topics I recommend the following books

Zen Bow, Zen Arrow by John Stevens

Dreaming of Zen Archery by Charles Moffat

5. To Video Record or Not To Video Record

There are Pros and Cons to recording your practice sessions from different angles to review your form and identify areas for improvement. It helps if you already know proper form and you know what problem areas you need to be paying attention to.

Some people will also use the videos to compare your technique to instructional videos or to seek feedback from online archery communities, but because there are many different types of archery (including stringwalkers and facewalkers) you're more likely to get confused by the broad range of responses you will get from the community, many of whom may have only been shooting for a short period of time, so you might be getting a lot of bad advice from people. Instead I recommend only showing the video to an archery instructor who teaches the style of archery you are practicing. Otherwise the deluge of bad advice could end up making the quality of your shooting worse.

It is also possible to mentally psyche yourself out by watching the videos of yourself and mess up your mental focus.

Bonus! Join an Archery Club / Community

Socializing with other archers in person is a great way to seek advice, ask questions, and learn from their experiences to enhance your learning journey. Doing this in-person is fundamental because it allows you to better gauge the experience of the archers you are talking to and how seriously you should take their advice. Also if you join a club it gives you an excuse to practice more often and make friends within the community.

10 Ways to Practice Parkour in your Backyard or Local Park

Parkour is an unusual sport/activity, but just because it is unusual doesn't mean that your Average Joe couldn't practice it and eventually get good at it.

Here are 10 Exercises for Parkour Training that people can do in their backyard or local public park. For fun and/or for exercise. If after a while you feel confident about your skills you might join a club/group of people that practice parkour together.

Remember, safety is paramount when practicing parkour. Start with basic movements and progress gradually as you gain skill and confidence. Always ensure the environment is suitable and free of hazards before attempting any advanced parkour techniques.

  1. Precision Jumps: Set up markers or objects of varying distances and heights to practice precise jumping and landing techniques.

  2. Vaults: Use sturdy objects like benches, picnic tables, or low walls to practice different types of vaults, such as the lazy vault, speed vault, or kong vault.

  3. Wall Runs: Find a sturdy wall or fence and practice running towards it, planting one foot on the wall, and pushing off to gain height or distance.

  4. Tic-Tacs: Look for walls or structures with angles and practice using them to redirect your momentum by jumping off one surface and pushing off to reach another.

  5. Balance Training: Set up a balance beam or use fallen tree branches in your backyard to work on improving your balance and stability.

  6. Precision Landings: Find elevated surfaces like walls, railings, or ledges of different heights and practice landing on them with control and accuracy.

  7. Cat Leaps: Look for gaps between structures or objects and practice jumping and landing with both hands on the edge, pulling yourself up to simulate a cat-like movement.

  8. Quadrupedal Movement: Incorporate animal-like movements such as crawling, climbing, and jumping on all fours to improve agility and body coordination.

  9. Plyometric Exercises: Incorporate explosive movements like box jumps, tuck jumps, or burpees to enhance your power and overall athleticism.

  10. Conditioning Drills: Perform conditioning exercises like sprints, push-ups, pull-ups, and squats to improve your overall strength and endurance, which are essential for parkour.

Spring Bicycle Maintenance Time

Spring is the perfect time to perform maintenance on your bicycle to ensure that it is in good condition for the upcoming season. Regular maintenance and minor repairs can help prevent more serious issues from occurring and keep your bike running smoothly.

In this article, we'll go over some tips for spring bicycle maintenance and minor repairs.

Clean Your Bike - Start by cleaning your bike thoroughly. This includes washing the frame, wheels, chain, and other components. Use a gentle soap and warm water, and dry your bike thoroughly with a towel. A clean bike is easier to inspect and work on, and it helps prevent rust and other issues.

Check Your Tires - Check your tires for wear and tear, and make sure they are properly inflated. Underinflated tires can affect the performance and handling of your bike, while overinflated tires can increase the risk of punctures. Use a tire gauge to check the pressure, and inflate them to the recommended level.

Inspect Your Brakes - Check your brakes to make sure they are working properly. Test your brake levers and make sure they are responsive, and inspect your brake pads for wear. If your brake pads are worn down, they will need to be replaced. Adjust your brakes if necessary.

Lubricate Your Chain - Apply a lubricant to your chain to keep it running smoothly. Use a degreaser to clean your chain first, then apply the lubricant to the links while pedaling backwards. Wipe off any excess lubricant with a rag.

Check Your Cables and Shifters - Inspect your cables and shifters for any damage or wear. Make sure your cables are properly tensioned and adjust them if necessary. Test your shifters and make sure they are shifting smoothly through all gears.

Inspect Your Frame and Components - Inspect your frame and components for any signs of wear or damage. Look for cracks or dents in the frame, and check your wheels, pedals, and handlebars for any looseness. Tighten any loose bolts or nuts, and replace any damaged components.

Test Ride Your Bike - Once you've completed your maintenance and repairs, take your bike for a test ride to make sure everything is working properly. Pay attention to the handling, shifting, and braking, and make any necessary adjustments.


Performing spring maintenance on your bicycle is an important part of keeping it in good condition. By cleaning your bike, checking your tires, inspecting your brakes, lubricating your chain, checking your cables and shifters, inspecting your frame and components, and test riding your bike, you can ensure that your bike is in good working order for the upcoming season.

Minor repairs can help prevent more serious issues from occurring and keep your bike running smoothly for years to come.

If you want to go further, getting training as a bicycle mechanic would be the next logical step. Having proper training from an experienced instructor can make a huge difference if you want to fix more complicated things on your bicycle.

DIY Barbells and Dumbbells

So I was browsing barbells back in early March when I noticed the prices were a bit ridiculous. Prices often ranged from $100 to $300 just for the bar, not counting the weights.

And because I love frugal exercise equipment it occurred to me that I should do a post about DIY barbells and dumbbells.

Using a variety of materials anyone can make their own barbells and dumbbells. Concrete? Sure. Sand? Why not. Dirt or water? Absolutely. Wood? If you have lots of wood to spare, then do it.

The point is that you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to equip yourself with your own set of dumbbells and barbells. You can just build them out of recycled materials or from things you find at the hardware store.

Equipment for Powerlifters and Bodybuilders

As part of my ongoing series of posts on the topic of Powerlifting (a competitive weightlifting sport) I have decided to include a post on the topic of Powerlifting Equipment.

I want to note however that people wanting to use such equipment can also sometimes just make their own equipment. The DIY approach is often just as rewarding as anything you can buy in a store.

I am also approaching this from the perspective of someone who has a casual interest in Powerlifting and as someone who wants to use the various Powerlifting techniques as part of someone's weightlifting routine, and not because they want to compete in the sport.

  • Bench Press Shirt - Designed to store kinetic energy and help the lifter lift more.
  • Deadlift Socks - Thick socks designed to protect the lifter's shins while performing a deadlift.
  • Deadlift Suit - Provides compression, but also stores kinetic energy to help the lifter lift more.
  • Elbow Sleeves - Supports the elbow joint, reduces inflammation and provides compression.
  • Gum Sheilds / Mouth Guards - Protects the teeth while the lifter is clenching their jaw.
  • Gym Chalk - Used to absorb moisture, improve grip and reduce friction.
  • Knee Sleeves - Similar to Knee Wraps, but provide compression and reduce inflammation of the knee joints.
  • Knee Wraps - Strips of elastic wrapped around the knees which protect the knee joints.
  • Knee Wrap Rollers - Used to make Knee Wraps tighter and provide more tension.
  • Lifting Straps - Loops around the wrists and the barbell, allowing the user to lift with their forearms and not have to use their hands so much. Some lifters consider them to be cheating, but you could say that about a lot of the things on this list.
  • Singlet/Leotard - Really only worn during competitions so that a referee can easily see whether someone properly completed a squat or succeeded in performing a lift properly.
  • Smelling Salts - Contains ammonia, but can be used as a stimulant to trigger a short but intense burst of adrenaline, which can boost performance.
  • Squat Suit - A supportive aid designed to help prevent injury while lifting more.
  • Weightlifting Belt - Works similar to a back brace, providing rigid support and stability to the lower back and core muscles.
  • Weightlifting Shoes - Two Types: Deadlift shoes (flat with ankle support) and Squat shoes (rigid with elevated heel). Both are designed to help prevent injuries while lifting.
  • Wrist Wraps - Elastic strips wrapped around the wrist joint to help reduce movement and prevent injury.

As you may have guessed, most of the things on the above list are basically designed for two things:

  1. To prevent injury.
  2. To help the Powerlifter lift more weight.

How many of these things do you consider to be necessary? Well, it depends on how much value you place on preventing sports injuries.

I personally think that preventing sports injuries is very important. Some competitions prefer that the competitors lift without any equipment, what is known as Raw or Classic, while some competitions favour all the competitors being equipped so that lifters aren't injuring themselves. How much equipment someone uses is basically up to the user.

What you decide to use is up to you. My one piece of advice is that if you're not going to get anything to protect your joints that you at least take it easy and don't push yourself too hard.

Also sometimes you may have no choice but to use some types of equipment, but that shouldn't stop you from exercising. Use whatever you consider to be necessary and important to you.

See Also

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