Harder Than It Needs To Be

When I go to the “Big” tournaments this is what I’ve learned: 3D is harder than and indoor is more frustrating than practice.

Shooting indoors at 18 meters is the same distance on all ranges. Sure, there are those that might debate an inch or two. What I find is the main perplexing variable is the lighting.

As we age, the lens of our eyes changes. The change, I am sad to say but can confirm, means the lens lets light pass differently the result being that older people need more light than younger people to see. Knowing this I do what I can to practice indoor shooting where there is poor lighting.   Older people are also more susceptible to glare which can be a problem from time to time.

Targets in shadow are tough on older eyes

To learn how big of impact lighting has on me I reviewed my practice notes. Those notes contained reference to the light on the range. My scores were an average of 14 points higher on ranges where I noted the light was good. You know that 14 points is huge when it comes to indoor shooting. (60 arrows)

When the light is bad, the dot that I aim is essentially a shadow. Sometimes it takes a few seconds just to identify the dot. It is frustrating. So, in order to deal with this physiological fact of aging, I practice in poor light as well as good light.

3D is another matter. I do have a practice range where I could become really good a shooting my targets if I didn’t change things up in practice. I know for sure that the range masters setting up competitive events will not create an equivalent 3D range to mine. So, I change things around a lot.

Shadows, light, and more shadows complicate shots
Taking a shoot at an odd angle makes it more difficult and interesting

Plus, my range is flat. Thus far all the “Big” 3D tournaments where I’ve shot have been hilly. There’s not much I can do to create hills. I do what is reasonable, shoot from my porch, off the upper deck, and while standing on a dirt mound created by an excavation. Still the elevation and shooting conditions don’t match with the slopes or footing in the hills.

Underbrush adds another element of difficulty to judging yardage.

To make matters more difficult I take long shots, shoot at targets wedged between trees and aim for foam-animals that are separated from the stake by underbrush or creeks. Those training measures make it more difficult to judge yardage.

This bear, in a shadowed hole at 40 yards, is a target arrangement likely to be seen at a tournament

By working to make conditions more difficult during practice, you will find yourself better prepared for those weird things that just seem to happen. Like finding out that I have to shoot at 0730 at the Augusta Pro/Am. Which means getting up at 0430. Guess I’ll have to practice getting out of bed before 0600 – which is early enough.

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