60X Purchases Proline Bowstrings

My bow strings are 60X – very nice products. Today the company published this press release.

“Locally owned 60X Custom Strings LLC is proud to announce today that it has purchased Ohio-based ProLine Bowstrings LLC. 60X Custom Strings officials expect this acquisition to improve customer confidence and widen its customer base for both companies.
The acquisition will permit both 60X and Proline to operate from the current Pennsylvania facility yet remain separate entities. By sharing knowledge and technologies both companies will be able to offer unmatched quality and service.
When asked about the acquisition, company president Brad Patsy, “It will be great to have both companies under one roof. With the wealth of bowstring knowledge that each bring to the table will be able to do great things in the bowstring industry.”

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Congratulations – 60X

Rain, Wind, and More Rain and Wind

Shooting outside has been a challenge over the past week or so. Everyday the wind has been a factor, as has the rain. Last year, here in Hertford, this kind of weather would have been extremely frustrating. This year, things have improved.

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Stephen in from of this Archery and Tackle shop

In Elizabeth City there is a new bow shop that has an indoor range. Since I don’t have a ‘real job’ I try to get to the “Cutting Edge” to practice inside about once a week.

The weather we’ve been having, lots of rain and lots of wind, (sometimes singularly, at other time as a set) has made me really appreciate an indoor place to shoot. It’s especially nice because I’m practicing when most other archers are working. Granted, it is a bit selfish for me to write that, but I do recall trying to practice on ranges where other archers didn’t have a clue regarding proper range etiquette.

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As a rule most archers have excellent manners on the range. There were times, however, when I simply left the range calling it a day because I’d reached my limit of stupid behavior input. Shooting solo the only stupid things I see are those occasional shots I make that aren’t par. The 586 I shot today was a perfect example and one practice session I was glad not to share in real time.

I dropped 14 points shooting inside compared to shooting outside in the wind yesterday. Perhaps the pristine conditions turned me a bit soft.

No lions, tigers, or bears – but a rafter of turkey.

M2E41L18-29R350B300There are coyote in the woods behind my house. There’s also deer. A few miles up the road farmers are complaining about bear tearing up their tractors. My neighbor has shot a coyote here. We’ve both captured photographs of deer on our trail cams. As yet, this season, he hasn’t killed a deer. But, plenty of turkey live in those woods.

I don’t hunt here in NC. I hunt on my father-in-law’s property in Georgia. That’s where we’re headed on Wednesday. I’ve hunted in Georgia since I was 14, but never in North Carolina.

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The hold up in NC is the hunter safety course. It is amazing, but I haven’t had time to take the course. That’s a shame since many of my NC friends have invited me to hunt with them.

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Taking that course is on my list of things to get done, I just haven’t assigned it a date to complete. In the meantime, I’ll do my hunting in Georgia.

More Busted Arrows

There was a time when I considered a Robin Hood and rare and cool event. Now, they are not so cool and expensive. In fact, I shoot to avoid them. The greatest risk of hitting one arrow with another, for me, is when I’m adjusting my sight.

When I’m aligning my sight I’ll shoot an arrow. If it misses the X I give my sight a twist or two and take another shot. Typically a second or third shot is all it takes. The risk here is I am aiming for the same X.

The arrows I am currently shooting are not the ones I’d requested. The ones I requested had nice little pin nocks and a nice solid stem in the bushing onto which the nock is placed. When I hit one of those, thus fair, all I’ve lost is the nock. But, when I picked up my new – expensive – arrows the builder had used a standard nock. I wasn’t happy, didn’t want the arrows, knowing that the nock and bushing might one day lead to a Robin Hood. Being in a hurry I accepted the arrows even with the wrong fletching, bushings, and nock. It was inevitable one day I’d bust one or more of those arrows.

Today was that day. I only needed a centimeter or so for a dead center shot. My first shoot was in the 10 ring  but wanted to be a tad closer to the center. I got lazy and didn’t retrieve the arrow. I thought I could slide the second arrow in next to the first. Nope.

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There goes $25.00.

I knew better but still took a short cut. It ended up costing me two arrows. Seriously, the cool is gone.

 

Outer Banks Buccaneer 5K

This was a big weekend for running events over on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The festival includes a 5K, 8K, ½ Marathon and Marathon. In the past I’ve run the ½ Marathon and the Marathon. The race I wanted to run that has eluded me is the Buccaneer 5K. This weekend I made that run.

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Over the past few weeks I’ve raced in four 5K events, all in NC. I’d signed up for five 5s but one was canceled because of bad weather and local flooding. As it turned out the bad weather wasn’t bad and the flood failed to occur. Nevertheless, that race wasn’t rescheduled and refunds or credits toward a future event remain non-provided.

All the 5Ks leading up to the OBX event were preps for that ocean side run. I knew the final run in this series would pull in a faster group for my age division. The race lived up to my expectations.

I’d won my age group in all of the prior races. At the Buccaneer I finished 4th. The Buccaneer was a big race. There were more runners in my AG than some races I’ve done have for the total number of participates.

With so many runners queuing was difficult. The faster runners migrate to the front. The slower runners herd themselves to the rear. This way, the slower runners don’t impede the faster folks. With nearly 1000 athletes bunched on the starting line it was really hard to work my way forward. I didn’t get far enough ahead in  the crowd to separate my spot from the slower runners.

From when the gun sounded I spend the entire 1st mile weaving through the mass of people. At 0.17 miles, some of the folks I was trying to pass were already beginning to walk. By 0.5 miles I was working around wall after wall of people enjoying a walk. Why anyone that can’t a run mile would sign up for a 3.1-mile run I’ll never know. Why would that person line up in the middle of the pack is beyond reason.

There was also an abundance of mothers running with their children. One mom was actually coaching her child to run faster. The kid was 8 or 9 years old. I dodged pass the family duo during mom’s tough love lecture to her elementary aged offspring. The kid looked miserable and mom was getting all “Vince Lombardi” on the youngster. In my opinion, kids shouldn’t be running such distances until they are older. Kids need to play and run, it is healthy. But, long distance, relative to age, running may be as bad for the epiphyseal plate and bone development as no exercise.1

Running is fun for me. I enjoy the races. Sadly, so many of the events have become cliché.  That is, how can the race get your money. The OBX Expo center was a cartoon for side show salesmanship. I’d have avoided the Expo all together if the race organizers hadn’t made it necessary to enter in order to get my race t-shirt and I wanted the t-shirt. It is rather cool as race t-shirts go.

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An ever present clichés exhibited at the race were the “Woo-Girls”. These are the girls that yell ‘Woo’ or ‘Woo-hoo’ and the drop of a hat. There was once a Seinfeld episode satirizing ‘Woo-Girls’. Seinfeld has been off the air since 1998. It’s amazing that ‘Woo-Girls’ are still around Wooing and Woo-hooing. I’m not sure which was less appealing, the frequent cry of the ‘Woo-Girl’ or the ‘Lombardi-Mom’ berating her child.

When it was over, I was glad to get away from this race. I’d lost a few minutes working through a mass of walkers, Woo-hooing girls, and Lombardi-Moms urging children toward injury. So all the prep and speed work I’d be doing couldn’t  be applied from the start. Some races are definitely more fun that others. I’m happy to have gotten the t-shirt and this event out of my system. “Woo-Hoo!”

Reference:

1.)  Mirtz. TA, Chandler, JP, Eyers, CM: The Effects of Physical Activity on the Epiphyseal Growth Plates: A Review of the Literature on Normal Physiology and Clinical Implications. J Clin Med Res. 2011 Feb; 3(1): 1–7. Published online 2011 Feb 12. doi:  10.4021/jocmr477w

No Camo Here

Camouflage clothing is a fashion rage. Camo has broken out of the military origins, moved beyond hunters, and has ended up on modeling runways around the world. But, don’t show up at a USA Archery tournament wearing camo. Regarding all the camo hype and fashion, I think it’s a bit much –

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Camouflage apparel has a real purpose, which is to help the person wearing it stay hidden. Walking through a mall (honestly, can’t recall when I last did) if you see someone wearing camo clothing, they are wearing it wrong. Notice how they stand out?

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Seriously?

By wearing camo clothing, when camo clothing isn’t necessary, perhaps some people think they are making a statement. Maybe they are huge fans of the cast of Duck Dynasty. If so, think about this, the folks at Duck Dynasty have a brand, an image, and their camo costume is part of their package. Basically, if you walk around in camo apparel having been motivated by the show, you are playing Duck Dynasty ‘dress-up’, in my humble opinion. Let me be clear on Duck Dynasty my hat is off to cast and writers. What they’ve done is pure marketing genius. I’ve only ever seen a few of their shows from the early seasons on DVD. The episodes I watched weren’t enough to make me want to dress up like a character on the show.

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In the mail I received a catalog from, ‘Legendary Whitetails.’ It is filled with expensive camo attire. On page 46 of the 2015 The Hunt edition, the company advertises camo underwear for men. On page 69 (curious ad placement) they offer lady’s camo lingerie. Clearly, seduction and visual presentation is as limitless as the imagination. I wonder if the amorous couple that sports camo under garments in the bedroom has camo sheets on their bed? If so, do they ever have difficulty seeing one another? (That might be a good thing)

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I own two pair of camo pants, one camo pull over shirt (All from Wal-Mart) and one lightweight camo jacket (Purchased at a year end clearance 4 years ago from a shop which escapes my recollection). I have worn them hunting, but am just a likely to head into the woods wearing jeans and a flannel shirt. So, when I step up to the line at tournament where camo apparel isn’t allowed, it is not a big deal.

Should you want to be a rebel and compete at a camo-barred tournament dressed in rule breaking apparel – buy camo underwear or wear a pair you already own.

Diet

The most frequent questions I get related to fitness revolves around diet. Here’s an example I from my Facebook account, “Hey there. I was wondering if you stick to a special / strict diet at all?” (Thanks, Cathy)

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Ironman Eagleman in Cambridge, MD (me on the bike, not me walking wearing the red shirt)

Here is my answer to her, “Not strict. I limit fat intake and junk food. Although, I love junk food. I drink very few cokes or similar product. Finally, I try to limit my daily caloric intake to 2200 cal. To compensate for the slightly high intake I make sure my daily caloric burn exceeds 2200 cal. Occasionally, I miss, but in the long run I have a fair balance. I also monitor my % body fat, more so that my BMI. If my body fat reaches 9% I back off on everything, reducing my caloric intake until I’m below 9%. I’ve intentionally dropped to 6%, but that hurt. Currently, I’m rethinking my triathlon/cycling/running race mix. The result may mean I need to go back to 6% body fat. It isn’t easy. When I get serious, I track all intake and output (energy in and out) on a spreadsheet to make sure I have a 800 Cal daily deficient until I reach my goal.”

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What I didn’t mention is Brenda, my wife, and I cook 90% of our meals. When we do eat out, we don’t go crazy on high fat foods.  That’s not to say we don’t enjoy a burger, but we enjoy them infrequently.

Being lean isn’t  a major factor in archery performance. While archery is my sports focus, other sports where I compete are best performed at a lower weight. So, while keeping in shape for those sports I’ve come to recognize small gains in archery. For example, I don’t get as winded on a hilly 3D course as others I’ve noticed. This is an advantage especially if I’m shooting against a person that’s first at the stake and is sucking wind. On long indoor tournaments, I may be less fatigued on the second day compared to other archers with less fitness. Many still out score me, but that is changing.

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The primary thing I’ve seen is that to be good in archery, you need to be good in archery. Phenotype has less of an impact on shooting than what’s needed to do well in a triathlon, cycling, or running. Another thing I’ve learned – never underestimate the potential athletic performance of a big person.

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Run Hines Run

On another note, if you are big, never ignore what is going on with you heart and your likelihood of having sleep breathing disorders. If you are overweight, unless you are a lineman in the NFL, excess weight is not your friend. (Even Hines Ward, a very fit guy, needed to lose 35 pounds to complete an Ironman, but Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t worry about his weight when shooting a bow)

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He just looks like a NFL lineman

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On the other hand, if you are out of shape,  get winded walking, still able to shoot pretty well and you might be shooting against me in 2016 – ignore the above, rest and eat up.

 

 

Shooting the Little Dots

After running this morning I did a session of practice shooting a 3-spot. I finished with a frustrating 576. The afternoon was reserved for 3D.

The 3D practice was sans rangefinder. It went better than usual (208) so I kept shooting. Finally, the mosquitos chased me out of the woods, but I wanted a bit more practice.

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Here’s the set-up for shooting a 5-spot using a pistol target

Shooting at another paper archery wasn’t ringing my bell. So, I grabbed a 5-spot pistol target. There are still five targets but four of them are really small. However, they sure to help break the monotony of shooting everyday paper.

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After a couple of adjustment shots, thing went OK

The Four “Cs” in Sports and Archery: Tips for Achieving Your Goals.

Brian Mackenzie is a performance coach for the United Kingdom Track and Field Team. In 1997 he published a sports science paper in Psychology that remains widely referenced and applied today. 1.2 Because so much of archery and the goals we set for ourselves as archers, is mental, it is critical to develop a foundation to understand our training and preparation for becoming a better shooter.

Each year I set goals. These include financial, academic (even though that goal may not mean going back to school – I still pick a topic to study), and athletics. For this paper, my focus will be on sports.

Becoming a full-time sponsored archer was an early goal for 2015. I set a goal to have four sponsors and those sponsors would need to fit my overall philosophy of archery as a sport and be a sponsor in which I held confidence. I also laid out a series of competitive goals and tournaments along with a training plan.

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As part of this process, I include a management plan that Mackenzie first published – the “4 C’s”.1 When preparing goals and specific training plans for archery, Mackenzie’s research is applicable.  Whether or not you have intentionally implemented his work, it is likely you have reflected upon the “4 C’s” to some extent during your archery career.

As part of any training plan, managing the “4 Cs”, as described by Brian Mackenzie will be helpful.  They are:

  • Concentration: your ability to maintain focus.
  • Confidence: believing in your ability.
  • Control: your ability to maintain emotional control regardless of the distraction.
  • Commitment: your ability to continue working toward your goal.

It seems Mackenzie’s work is ideally suited for archery. Whether training, hunting or in competition the “4 C’s” are relevant. The mental aspects of archery interact so completely with the “4 C’s” that they could be archery specific.

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As archers, we don’t require a scientific paper to enhance our shooting ability.  But understanding the science behind the seeming innate physical and mental responses we process while shooting gives credence to our efforts and desires.

When practicing, have a plan for your session. Concentrate on your plan and focus. Your focus isn’t limited to that practice; maintain an “archery” focus as part of your self-image. Doing so and improving will help develop confidence in your ability. Self-doubt or negative self-image thoughts should be eliminated. When shooting there will be distractions – avoid them or exclude them from your mind during practice takes control.

When you are on the range, leave everything else off the range. Your distracters will be waiting when your return from the range. If something distracts you while you’re practicing, assert your control over the invasion and re-focus on your training. As your control develops, your mental focus will develop.

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Finally, make a personal commitment to your goals. This means discipline to follow a practice plan, have a personal goal for every competition, and understand that you are committed to your goals.

The “4C’s” represent a simple and easy to establish management criteria for achieving your goals. You can use them as pillars to set a plan for improvement with your shooting. Whether your goal is to get a trophy buck, shoot a perfect score, or win a major event, starting with basic concept will help.

References:

  1. Mackenzie, B. (1997) Psychology [WWW] available from: http//www.brianmac.co.uk/psych.htm
  2. Lain, D: The athletic respiratory therapist. Adv for Resp Care and Sleep Medicine. Online March 4, 2013

Free Range Kids

Last Friday, out of a possible 220 points, during an indoor 3D tournament, I shot a 166. Despite, the abysmal score, the venue was excellent practice in mental control.

None of the shots were easy, and not too difficult. The lighting was a factor that made for good practice. The building was so dim that the monofilament on my scope failed to suck in enough ambient light to illuminate. Thankfully, the single vertical pin shadow against the target gave me a reference. Because binoculars aren’t allowed it was good practice  taking aim at the center of mass or best-perceived kill shot and simply shoot.

The manner that the targets were arranged was 4 in a row were lined up at 5 shooting stages. Each archer had 2 minutes to shoot 4 targets. Because everyone loves kids, cubs were included in the competition.

In my group we had 4 adults and 2 kids, which later became 4 kids. It remains unclear from where the other two came or exactly when they joined. The children are allowed to move about 10 yards closer to the targets to begin shooting.

Rounding them up was another a fun activity and one I highly recommend in lieu of jogging. Getting the kids to the line doesn’t imply, once there, they are ready to shoot. Often the inexperienced wrangler made the mistake of roping kid only. The freed and lined up youngster would stand there for a few minutes until they or the adult handler noticed the bow and arrows had been forgotten.

If the kid noticed, it would sprint away and return with a bow or some arrows. Returning with bow and arrows is a bit much for a 6 year old to comprehend. Or in some cases, the improperly equipped would sprint away become distracted and for a while be lost.

Another tournament activity that many adults include for cubs is feeding them during the competition. It seems that every sip of fluid a kid consumes leads to a bathroom break. Because the toilet is down range, all shooting stops while kids tended to their business.

I’m convinced the bathroom converted into an adventure cave following entry by any person under the age of 10. They didn’t want to come out. As a matter of record, a few had to be rescued having locked themselves inside in pursuit of permanent adventure.

If you’ve raised children you know they can be wild. They should be allowed to run wild and play hard. There is a time and place for most things, including letting the kids have at it. On top of the list for free ranging children, isn’t an archery range during a tournament. The bright side – if there are wild children running, screaming, and reeking havoc while you are shooting it is a good time to practice being in the present and blocking everything out that doesn’t matter. Just keep an eye out for a loose child sprinting into your line of fire.