To be successful you must first set a goal for success. Once the goal is established there needs to be a plan to achieve that goal.
Years ago when I was a project manager I had to build plans for products. Those plans included all sorts of staff, timelines, supplies, regulatory requirements, research, development, sales projects, marketing and budgets. It was an ordeal. When I eventually migrated to a level where I managed project managers it seemed easier.
Making a plan in sports is much the same. Set a goal and build a project plan to achieve that goal. Along the way there are milestones. Along the way there is a lot of work.
When I switched to Olympic recurve I set a goal and prior to that goal milestones. My next milestone is four weeks out. What I’ve been doing, through my training and competition plan, remains on schedule. Today, I began the flexing of the training program to achieve the next milestone.
I’ve owned the Olympic recurve bow I’m shooting for 276 days. Of those days I have not shot 100% of the days available. I’ve allowed for 78 days to recover. That means I’ve had 198 practice days. During that time, in and out of competition, I’ve shot 25,790 arrows. The maximum I can find for one day is 210 arrows. Generally, I shoot 100 in the morning and 100 in the afternoon with variances for weather and tapering. I also didn’t start out shooting 200 per day. I started at 60 per day and worked up.
As yet I haven’t added a clicker to my bow. That must be added soon. I just upgraded the sight. But, the riser and limbs remain inexpensive beginner level equipment. (Under $300 for the combo – the new sight cost more.)
The arrows aren’t special either. They are inexpensive at $4.42 each.
What hasn’t got a price tag is practice. Archery is one of those sports where anyone willing to work can earn a high degree of success.
Today, I didn’t pick up my bow. It is a rest day having just won a tournament over the weekend. In preparation for that tournament I practiced the distances by shooting 100 arrows in the morning at one distance then 100 in the afternoon at a different distance all at 25 to 65 yards (5 yard increments) until I had 400 shots at each of the 10 distances or 4000 arrows. Outside of that count I did 4 practice rounds equal to the shots that would be fired in the event per week for four weeks. (Simulated tournament was 10 warm-up arrows and 60 for score or another 1120 arrows for 5120 arrows) I won the event.
But, I did miss a goal of breaking the record for the tournament. It was only a mental goal never written down for 2021. It is written down for 2022. It looks like the record for the State was set in 1993, but I am uncertain. One clear high score, the one to beat I am more sure of was set 6 years ago. I missed it by 14 points. I lost 15 of those points on the last 3 targets. It was one of those situations for which I prepared as best as I could be – dark shadows on black-faced targets aiming with a black dot. On the last 3 targets I scored 10,10 and 10. (4-3-3 each time)
I knew the black on black was going to be an issue and practiced as best as I had available to simulate what I might see. I came close. In each case the groups were tight just off low right on all targets. Next year I’ll have a different aperture to compensate for the view. This year the aperture is back ordered.
But, had I not practiced as close as possible to the projected conditions it could have been worse.
During the competition there was one ‘expert’ recurve shooter that felt he needed to advise me on my low cost gear. I know what I paid for the equipment. I knew his riser was more costly that my entire rig (riser, stabilizers, string, plunger, rest, limbs, sight at aperture). I always felt the best bow on the range is the one in your hand.
While this ‘expert’s’ equipment certainly outweighed mine and his decades of archery are way beyond mine I expect he’s never had a goal or a plan. He clearly loves the sport and is passionate about it he’ll never advance – which probably isn’t what he’s trying to achieve. He’s more likely in the sport for social fun.
For me it is more than that. And it is a lot of work. I will admit I enjoy the practice, even alone with the exception of my dog, River, more that the competitions.