Five Years of 3-Spots Data Review and Projections.

During the past 5 years I have improved. Five years ago I was hammering a 3-spot racking up scores below 500. Five years, well four years, eleven months and 29 days, later I’m seeking that elusive 600.

My first record of a 3-spot score earned me a mammoth 447 points. That  was at a time when the big ten was still a ten. Today, the inner ten is the only mark that earns an archer 10 points under the USA Archery 3-spot scoring system. Archery has gotten more difficult. Scoring  applying the old-fashioned, ego stroking, outer 10 ring method, today I’d have shot a 598.

There’s a coaching tip in here

Even having shot a 598 against the outer ten ring, I missed the center inner ten enough times to earn a 580. That’s a lot of near misses. It can be frustrating.

Target number two for this morning’s practice.

Scores on the inner ten in my database show that there is improvement. From scoring around 550 (on average when the little ring became the only 10 ring) to 574 for a recent average. My best thus far is 584 which I managed a time or two. That’s not a bad score and if I kept this up over a two-day indoor competition that would land me at 1168.

An 1168 could put me in first place at the USA Indoor Nationals in my age group based on the 2017 scores. That year 1155 won the gold in the Master’s 60-year-old division. But, I can’t depend on my best scores to win. I look to my average for the last month or after I’ve incorporated a major change, like a new bow, new release or new arrows as a baseline score to get an understanding of how I’m shooting. Considering an average, which allows for good days and better days, at the moment I fall in with an 1148, good enough for fourth at the 2017 indoor Nationals. I actually finished 13th place in 2017, taking 1st at the regional.

Very first archery competition

My current goal for training is to average 590. That score would place me tied with Reo Wilde in sixth place among the Men’s’ Senior Division in 2017. To have a 590 average there will be scores above 590 and below. It will need to be relatively tight groups to achieve that level of performance.

Performance in a sport like archery requires a lot of practice. During practice I set out with a specific goal in mind. Developing a process that incorporates goals is an optimal method for carrying out training. Today, for example, the goal was to shoot all arrows in the outer ten ring. I failed by 2. The failures were still both nines but a failure nonetheless. The mid-range goal, average 590.

By keeping detail records of performance I am able to review my work. I know what arrows I used, the bow, the poundage, the release, the weather conditions if practice was outside, and the indoor lighting and range distractions if I’m on a fancy  “you-gotta-pay-for-it” range. Those details and graphs let me know how my improvement is proceeding and whether I need to make a change and if I’ve changed something I can’t see.

Becoming an elite in any sport takes time. Having data can help you see progress. It can alert you to problems. It can also be a stroke to your ego as you monitor your advancement. You can further predict your rate of change in order to set realistic goals.

So Close, Yet So Far

Out of 600 possible points I shot a sad 564.  It was a rough morning. It was a bit cold and windy. Windy enough that the chilling breeze had my eyes watering at times.  The wasn’t horrible, it was just cold. The wind wasn’t blowing arrows off their paths.  And it wasn’t like I was missing the X by landing arrows all over the target face.

No, it was like this – X, 9,9 with the nines missing the inner ten and landing on the line of the outer ten. Or X,X, 9 with an outer 10.

This has been my burden for the past few days

After shooting up the remains of yesterday afternoon practice target I thought a new face might have been beneficial to my accuracy – nope.

If I’d been aiming for the large ten it would been more pleasing.  Still, an arrow did find its way to a nine against the larger ten ring missing the outer ten.

New paper, same result

So close, yet as far away in score as if I’d landed arrows on the line between the yellow and the red.

Gym Day

The gym is where I left weights. Monday is the “can’t miss” weight lifting day. My objective with weights is to protect muscle mass. I’m not trying to bulk up or body build. If there is room in my schedule I’ll hit the gym again on Wednesday. Wednesday is a low priority – Monday is fixed.

Of course there are weeks when the schedule needs to adapt. Travel sometimes interferes with training plans. Where I know travel is on the calendar I make adjustments for rest days.

Today, I needed to make an adjustment in the afternoon I ride a bike. Cycling is my second cardio session. Cardio is running in the morning and cycling in the afternoon. Twice a day, morning and afternoon I’ll practice archery. Plans today got a bit warped.

Cycling had to be eliminated. There were simply too many unplanned interferences. One thing did remain constant – how badly I shoot after weight lifting.

Morning practice was decent. Because I dropped cycling I started shooting earlier than usual. Along with that came some real trembling arms.

Trying to stick to a training plan isn’t always possible. Small changes can make a noticeable difference. Not having enough time to allow muscles used to lift weight to recover meant a bit less accuracy shooting. The hour or so I’d spent riding might have given my arms a longer period of time to recover. But, from experience, the archery practice after lifting weights is rarely a keynote session.

A Couple of Sights During a Morning Run

We’re dialing back to Daylight Savings Time in a week. You know, Fall Back, Spring Ahead. Those runs where we head out the door in the dark may become less dark in a week.

Reflection of River’s eyes and her little red flashing light that is connected to her collar

Running though the woods in the dark using a headlamp is fun. I wouldn’t try a dark lightless run. I doubt I could make it very far without some sort of injury.

A spider to avoid

If you’re not a runner, that fine. If you are and have an opportunity give trail running at night or before sunrise a try if you haven’t. It really is fun.

You certainly don’t want this crawling around on you in the dark.

Back From a Short Adventure

We just returned from a four-day adventure. During that time there was Bluegrass music, eating, camping, ATV riding and hunting. It was a quick trip but with all the activity it seemed longer.

Our youngest daughter has moved back to Georgia. For her it is the beginning of a great adventure. She, her husband, and their three children are planning to take the next five years, travel the country and station themselves periodically near work projects. Jason, my daughter’s husband, has a job where he works with a team to repair historic sights. This will take them to exciting locations across America. For the next six months are so they’ll be in Georgia as they prepare for their journey.

Li’Roy and Lizzy

Our four-day mini-adventure began by a visit with them. Before the visit began we stopped at Tabor Baptist Church in Tignall, Georgia. The church was established on 1827 and a friend of ours is the “Preacher”. The Preacher is also the Sheriff. No one acts out in church.

Preacher and Sheriff Paul Revere

It was homecoming for the local Baptist member and to celebrate Li’Roy and Lizzie’s Bluegrass Band played. This is an award-winning group that recently won the Bluegrass/Country/Roots Song of the Year, “Dinner on the Ground.” Lizzy was also recently inducted into the “America’s Old Time Fiddler’s Country Hall of Fame”. During the service, the band succeeded in playing long enough in the packed church to avoid a sermon.

Tabor Baptist Church, est. 1827

After church, we drove into Lincolnton for lunch at the Home Café, owned by Richard. I don’t know his last name, but I know most of his staff by their first names. Ray (Papa) eats there several times a week. I eat there when we’re in town. You will not get fancy food. Richard will, however, serve you good Southern food and your plate will be filled.

Not fancy, but real good

Because our daughter is, for the moment, staying with her Grandfather, Ray (Papa to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren) Brenda and I camped at Hester’s’ Ferry campground. There is currently no room to lay our heads at “Papa’s.”

Having the campground to ourselves

Hester’s Ferry is one of our favorite campgrounds and this time of the year we had the place to ourselves.

Quiet mornings
A little fog over the lake

This is also hunting season. Last year, with our move from North Carolina home to Georgia, I didn’t get to hunt. I did get out into the woods a lot. Just not for hunting. I’ll hunt with either a rifle or bow. Right not I am still using my bow. I may stick with it all year. There are areas where I hunt I know I’ll not see a deer within 50 yards. When I am there I’ll go to a rifle.

This squirrel had no concerns at all with me sitting in a tree stand a few yards away
This is where I expected to see something

I did get to hunt on this trip and I did see one buck. In fact, that deer, a young buck with a medium sized four-point rack, showed up about 40 minutes after I’d settled into the stand. Despite a perfect opening for an arrow this buck stayed behind branches for about 30 minutes avoiding the opening. He meandered around and snacked until he moseyed out of range.

Close to where I thought a deer would pass. Those limbs prevented a clean shot to I didn’t try.

After calling it a day of hunting I headed back to “Papa’s” to ride grandkids though woods on ATVs. Even though these children have lived in Pittsburgh their entire lives, my daughter (a true Georgia Girl) has had them outdoors pretty much non-stop. During the ATV trips my oldest granddaughter, seven years old, was able to pick out animal tracks and name the animal that had left it behind. In this instance she pointed out: deer, turkey, raccoon, rabbit and squirrel without assistance. She, as are all our grandkids, is extremely comfortable outdoors.

It was a nice four days. Camping, hunting, riding ATVs, and good Southern food make for a successful adventure. With hunting, I don’t need to shot something to call the trip a success.  It is more about being outdoors, enjoying family and friends. Live Bluegrass Music from one of the top groups in the business is a bonus.

Going to Miss That Little Heater

In North Carolina, at our old place on the Little River, I had a shed with a heater. From inside that shed, during he winter months, I could practice 18 meters and stay relatively warm. There would be snow on the ground and I was fine. We no longer live in North Carolina.

My little heater in North Carolina

We moved to our home state, Georgia, last January. The house was ready per the builder plans. His plans didn’t match with our plans. So, as soon as we closed on the house, we began remodeling. The entire process took several months.

By the time I had a practice range for 18 meters it was Spring and I wasn’t cold when I practiced outside. Although I have a shed, it isn’t heated and not near my range.

Today, during practice it wasn’t all that cold, it was in the upper 40s. It was a little windy, but not all that windy. Still the combination of a little cold and a little windy was enough to get me pretty chilled during practice.

By the time I was at my last three ends I was ready to get inside. The last three ends were three nines, and six Xs. When I started I felt I was on my way to at least a 590. As my body cooled my accuracy cooled. I finished the morning with 44 Xs and 16 nines. I’d felt better and warmer at the beginning of practice.

Shooting outside in the cold isn’t the most fun activity. Driving to an indoor range, a hour round trip, and paying 10 bucks to practice 6 days a week isn’t cheap in time or money. Doing that would eat up $240.00 per week. At that price I’ll be cold.

Leaving where we do in Georgia is great. There is always something to do that is nearby. There are archery competitions and leagues shoots all within a short distance. There’s running and mountain biking, fishing and hunting. Living around Athens, Georgia (Go Dawgs) is just about perfect. The only thing that could make it any better is a little heater to keep me warm while practicing archery in the winter.

A Short Bit About Fitness

Coaching Tip

Frequently, I’ll post about sports activities other than archery. Those are primarily cardio workouts. If you look over a USA Archery Training plan you’ll find blocks of time set aside for cardio fitness.

An early run in the woods – River has sprinted ahead
Riding a bike off road you come across neat stuff.

I enjoy running and cycling. Archery is my primary sport, but running and cycling where with me long before a bow. Lately, I’ve been running and riding on trails. Trail running is much more appealing that running on a road. Mountain bike riding isn’t more appealing that road riding. I just like being in the woods.

This mountain bike trail is just right
One of the locals in the woods is giving me the eye

Either way, off road or on road, cardio-fitness is a benefit to health and can keep you, as an archer, in better shape prolonging your enjoyment of archery. If you happen to be a 3D competitor you know some ranges can leave you huffing and puffing when you reach a stake. Should you be a hunter, you will know that hauling a kill out of the woods can be a major physical effort.

An ER Physician friend of mine says, “You’re not having fun until someone is bleeding.” I suppose I was having fun

I write about fitness often. That’s because I cross paths with too many folks, in all walks of life, that are not fit. It isn’t hard to be in shape. It is also better for you in the long term.

Finishing this day with 3D practice

Decisions, decisions.

Each year for the past several decades or so I have made a training and competition plan for the subsequent year. Before that, those plans were made by my cycling coach. Typically, it was done in December. Before December I would begin thinking about what events I wanted to complete for the next year. This year I am doing the same.

Before there was archery I raced bicycles, ran, and competed in duathlons and triathlons. Since I began shooting a bow, those events have dropped off the planning and competing list of activities to some degree. I continue to run and ride a bike, so it if impossible to not think about racing.

Marathons and Ironman events are floating through my head and dissolving pretty rapidly. I’ve run seven marathons. Four we just plan old marathons: Las Vegas, The Outer Banks, ING Miami and Tokyo. The other three we the final leg of Ironman events: IM Louisville, IM Lake Placid, and IM World Championship. They were all fun but a bit outside the zone where I raced best.

My best distances for a running race are 5Ks and for longer run a half marathon. I honesty have no idea how many of those I completed. To guess dozens would be an under-estimate. I could easily surpass a dozen of those in a single year.

It is hard to train for both running and shooting. It is harder still to practice to run, ride a bike, swim and shoot. Archery practices eats up about 3.5 to 5 hours per day. I still have time to run and ride, but I simply can’t add swimming to the mix. So, another triathlon is probably out of the picture for 2019. That is with the exception of a sprint. I have no doubt I will always be able to swim well enough to get through a sprint distance swim with minimal training. Sure, I’d lose some time during the swim, I always did lose time swimming, but I’d make it up on the ride and hold on during the run. No one wins a triathlon with the swim. That strategy served me well in the shorter triathlons.

Duathons, running and cycling, is something I might be able to add to my 2019 schedule. At the moment, duathlon remains only a thought. The primary focus is on archery.

When I am planning, expenses and travel is a matter of interest. Essentially, which tournaments are the best bangs for the buck? Two tournaments that are likely not to make the final cut are Lancaster and Las Vegas. Both will be costly and neither offers me much more than excitement. I’d need to be certain of a win before I made the investment to compete in either of those tournaments.

The USA Archery National Indoor and Outdoor Championships will more than likely make the cut. So will the NFAA Indoor Nationals. The Gator Cup is also likely to be an event I’ll want to enjoy. As far as the local events, such as State Championships, I’ll hit all those I can manage. The drive is usually decent and it will be a camping activity.

3D remains an outlier for perhaps another year. The ASA in Augusta is a strong probability and from there I’d consider another major 3D event. If there were IBO tournaments nearby I’d switch my 3D focus to IBO. But, IBO isn’t a big deal here in the Deep South having the Kennesaw, Georgia based ASA and a bigger local promoter of competitions.

Coaching tip

During the course of their career athletes need to set long-term, mid-term, and short term objectives. Developing an annual plan is essential in the growth of any athlete. By having an annual plan the athlete can establish goals for the next year that can be worked into training plans. Those goals can be associated with events and matched to practice sessions.

 

A Little Outdoor Adventure

The trails on my property at 0545

This morning, like the others lately, it was dark when I ran. Running trails in the dark is fun. Afterwards, I was at Ace Hardware in Social Circle, Georgia shooting at 18 meters. Again, a lot of fun.

Ace in Social Circle, Georgia

Here’s the thing, aside from archery, there are other ways to get outside. Actually, this morning I was inside while shooting. But, mountain bike riding is pretty much an outdoor activity and I chose to hunt for riding trails near my house during my midday workout.

2.68 miles from my driveway

So far I have only found a few. I can take my mountain bike over to Hard Labor State Park and ride; they have plenty of trails. That means time wasted making a drive. If I can find trails out here near my home, that is better and a time saver.

Most of these trails are short or blocked

Right now, I can pretty easily get an hour of mountain bike riding if I include a gravel road less than a mile from my driveway. That’s not too shabby. From that gravel road I can cut off onto several trails in the woods.

Several old buildings and what might have once been a church are falling down in the woods near my home. I wish I knew the history of them.

That’s what I did for an hour before heading home.  The trails are okay, they seem to have be made by ATVs. I’d have taken more time looking through the woods on those trails by there’s an afternoon archery practice waiting at home.

So, now that I’m off the bike, had a snack, I’ll head back into the woods and practice 3D.

Running, Archery, Cycling – With Archery in Mind

On multiple occasions I’ve written about health and fitness. Part of that is to provide examples of how to increase your quality of life and maybe add some years to your life. There could be some unfortunate accident that ends mine too some but there isn’t much anyone can do to avoid unforeseeable events. I go into methods of staying alive as long as possible in my book, Simple Ways to Add to Your Life, which is available in Amazon. On this site I basically share some of my activities. Included among them are running, archery and cycling.

Buy my book. Inexpensive, few typos, not too many words

Everyday, I try to run and ride a bike. Everyday I follow a training plan for archery. These other physical fitness workouts are in support of living longer and become a better archer. An example of this is:

Coaching tips
Starting to get light

Wake up, and after stretching and having breakfast I trail run. Right now it is dark in the morning when I start running so I wear a headlamp. I am also wearing bright orange. On my run course I pass 5 deer stands. So far, no hunters, but that is probably going to change soon. On the weekends I stay strictly on my land. During the week I hit other trails not on my land. Those trails are locally known as renegade trails. Meaning the trails have been cut through private land without permission.

I just run them. These trails are all over the place
I pass tree stands everyday in the woods

I understand there are hundreds of miles of renegade trails around Athens. Most were cut by mountain bikers. I can’t say who cut the trails leading off my property but I am using them. There are zero no trespassing signs.

I also run pass these and mostly run smack into them

After running I move directly into archery practice. At the moment it is 18-meter practice. Today, rather than shoot another three-spot I took aim on a five-spot. The primary objective of today’s practice was follow through so I didn’t matter a lot whether I shot up a three-spot or a five-spot.

Time to change practice

Archery practice in the morning lasts an hour and a half to two and a half hours. From there it is usually lunchtime. I have a light lunch and almost always take a short nap. By short I mean 30 to 40 minutes. I always take that break lying on the floor. The trick is to be comfortable enough to doze but not so comfortable that I fall into a complete REM cycle.

This is one smoking fast bike

Once I get going again it is time to head out for a bike ride. Cycling in and around Athens is just about as perfect as it gets. I don’t take real long rides, only an hour or so. When that’s done it is back to the archery range for another hour to two hours.

A couple of days a week I go to the gym and lift weights. I’m not trying to build body mass, just support the muscles I do have.

It can be a grind. But, by setting goals, measuring the results and finding ways to keep things fresh makes this is a good system to become better at archery.