Using data and notes to find a remedy

I examine the scores of other archers when I can find them. Going into a tournament, I like to know what I expect of myself and where I stand relative to the competition. Naturally, there are people that continuously preach to me “Don’t even think about the score!” During competition I don’t think about the score or at least I give it minimal attention. By the time I am in a tournament, I am so accustom to my scoring what ever I’ve shot rolls off my back once the score has been recorded.

But, I don’t go into a tournament blind to what I expect from others and myself. I know when I am off and I know when someone else is shooting below his or her usual. However, the score is not my focus. I let the score take care of itself – it always will. I just shoot one target at a time.

A few weeks ago I was off and week later I was on – taking a 9th place then a week later 1st place. What happened? That has been the question.

Because I keep data and logs of training I was able to go back and analyze my shooting. This is a habit I brought to archery that has its roots, for me, in cycling. Now, I don’t keep an extensive journal. I keep what I think I need; essentially I record what I can analyze and a few notes. I keep it simple. If it’s not simple, it simply won’t get done.

Yesterday, I was working on a problem shooting a Vegas style 3-spot. My best score shooting this group of targets, under the new USA Archery scoring rules (the littlest circle, the old X, is the 10, all the other yellow is a 9) is a 588. My average is 4.8% lower, when combining my hinge and thumb release scores. My best results come using a hinge. On average, the hinge release earns me 6 more points versus my thumb release out of 600 possible points. However, recently I’ve been off with my hinge.

Why? Well, I changed slightly with how I activated the hinge. My data and the few notes (the important practice observations I record) gave me the clue, which was confirmed by video. Of course, I am eager to correct my error and shoot. That needs to wait a few more hours until I’ll put what I’ve learned to the test.

If things work out I expect I’ll beat 588 real soon. Soon enough for the indoor tournaments coming up – I hope. By keeping scores, logs, and notes then analyzing my data I think it has helped me improve. I don’t keep an outrageous amount of data -I keep enough for me.