You don’t need the best equipment to enjoy a sport. If you enjoy riding a bike and fitness is a goal just about any bike will work. You could buy a $150.00 bicycle at Wal-Mart and have a decent time riding. But, if you decided you wanted to race that $150.00 bicycle you wouldn’t stand a chance even against athletes with less fitness.
Decades ago I trained and raced on a Litespeed bike. It was not their top of the line. That Litespeed Natchez landed me on plenty of podiums. Then, my wife bought me a top end racing bike. It was a bike that had been used by a pro (King of the Mountain winner) in the Tour de France. The bike was over 3 pound lighter than my titanium Litespeed. Riding it, especially climbing, felt like cheating.
Where I trained at the time was extremely hilly. Climbs that had been tough became laughable.
Years after I stopped racing on the Velodrome I wanted to ride track again. I bought a low-end track bike and had a blast racing it. Then, I bought a used high-end bike from an ex-National Sprint champion. I went from having fun to taking medals. In cycling, buying the right gear can buy speed. Going from a road style bike to a time-trial style bike, which puts a rider in an aero position, can increase speed up to 3 mph for the same energy output.
Archery is no different. Having the right equipment for a specific event can add points. For example, if you compete using a hunting rig against athletes of similar skill who use long stabilizers, scopes, and longer axel-to-axel bows you’ll probably not come out ahead. You’ll have fun; you’ll probably not win. That’s fine if fun is all you’re after. There may come a point when you decide you’d like to compete on equal footing. That will mean making an investment on the equipment to help get up onto a podium.
Now, you can have the best gear and still finish near the bottom. The gear isn’t going to make you an expert if you don’t practice. If you do put in the hours the best equipment can help you gain points. (Buy the equipment after you’ve reached a point in your development where it will become a winning factor)
The best gear does come at a price. From experience I know that when competing in 3D using a target style bow I score higher than with a hunting style bow at the same distances. To transform my hunting style bow to a 3D target type requires an investment of over $1000.00. That is a bit pricey.
Taking that same bow and preparing it for 3D competition in the hunter class (better stabilizers, light and weights) is less expensive coming in around $300.00. As I considered what I’d do to “buy” some points in 3D I began to consider the return on that investment.
For the investment of $1000 I can compete in open classes and the ASA Super Senior class. The $450 investment puts me the hunter class of men from their 20s to 50s. There is no 60-year age bracket for ASA and no IBO, where there is a 60-year-old age bracket, in Georgia.
Even choosing the $450 option I’m am behind because lenses, which magnify a target, are legal in ASA hunting classes and that means more money. Lenses can be quite beneficial as we age. (I didn’t price those while checking the costs)
Before I retired and had a hefty disposable income money wouldn’t be a concern. Living on a fixed income one needs to be a bit more frugal with cheddar.
More than likely I’ll not upgrade any of my equipment. I may not compete in the top tournaments where had I made the investment I might have bought a few points. At the top events a point or two does make the difference. Paying the registration and travel expense to arrive at a major event with sub-par equipment isn’t a prudent way to burn cash.
The equipment I use isn’t the most expensive. Most of it falls into the Litespeed Natchez category of gear. Not the most expensive, in some cases not the best, but in all cases good enough to enjoy the sport of archery.
If you plan to compete against the best athletes there will be a point where the best gear you can buy (or get from a sponsor) will aid your performance.