That Was Fun?

At a recent archery tournament a fellow archer asked, “Are you having fun?” Well, I was enjoying myself – but fun?

First off the temperature was approaching a record high.  Secondly, the bathrooms had malfunctioned.  And third, there was the pressure of the tournament.

Temperature-wise it wasn’t the hottest tournament where I’d shot.  That misery belongs to an outdoor event in North Carolina where the temperature did break the state record for heat.  Now, the heat isn’t something that too often makes me suffer.  Still, it wasn’t a fun time to play outside.

You’d think that in the blazing heat the need to have a bio-break diminishes and it does, but I drink a lot in order to stay hydrated.  So, having somewhere to seek relief is a nice benefit. That bathroom failure was less fun.

The pressure to shoot well is a hard problem. All an archer can do is shoot the best possible, remain as relaxed as possible, and not worry about anyone else.  Some archers claim they only want to have fun, on the other hand some archer show up aiming to win. The added intensity of a tournament isn’t fun especially when you’re behind.

My wife and I went to a party last night.  It was, without doubt, fun. The recent archery tournament doesn’t really fall into that category of fun.  Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the tournament. It was a bonus to have won.

Like many people, I’m not alone, I am wired to compete.  If I wasn’t competing in archery it would be cycling, triathlon, duathlon, or running. There was a time when competing meant achieving academic goals.  That was later moved to research goals and publication goals.

There are situations where competing is not appropriate.  There’s no need to compete in friendship and marriage is certainly not a competition.  Sport is, by it’s design, competition.

I admit the tournament was fun.  Otherwise, I’d not compete in archery.  Perhaps, it is the way I’m wired and you’re wired if you are a competitive archer.  For me, I know, I must compete. I suppose that’s fun.

A Hoosier At A Bulldog Event

“I’m originally from Indiana, but have lived here for 25 years” he said then added, “I consider myself a Southerner.”  I simply looked at him for a few seconds and thought, “No, you’re not.” I didn’t say those words; I only thought them.  It might have been considered rude to have actually said them to the fellow. My Mama would disapprove of rude behavior.

If you were born and raised outside of the South your geographical upbringing is obvious to any Southerner.  It was apparent the fellow who’d adapted the South as his home is a transplant.  Many of his mannerisms could have clued a Southerner to his un-Southern heritage before he’d ever spoken a word.

The first give away was his Indianapolis Colts cap. Aside from his blue and white cap every other baseball style cap on the range sported at UGA logo. (If you don’t know what UGA stands for, well Bless your Heart!).  Had he’d chosen another cap other than a UGA cap, if he was a Southerner, that cap might have sported an Atlanta Braves logo or an Atlanta Falcons crest (often worn by diehard hopefuls). Another clue was that his foldable chair sported an Indianapolis 500 logo as opposed to an Atlanta Motor Speedway logo adorned foldable chair.

Certainly he is friendly enough.  He’d talk to anyone within three feet of him.  You needed to be careful because it could be difficult figuring out to whom exactly he is aiming his words.  By the end of the tournament he’d hit everyone on the range with at the minimum a monologue.

Another telltale sign he wasn’t a native was his ‘one-up’ when he compared hurricanes to tornadoes.  Hurricane Dorian had just passed the coast of Georgia.  The storm had led to evacuations along the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Hurricane Dorian bringing some wind to Northeast Georgia

The tournament organizers were talking about moving the dates of the shoot so that it is less close to prime time hurricane season.   This year, 2019, is the 3rd year in row when archers were dealing with wind developed on the cusps of a tropical cyclone reaching more inland areas of the State. Among those inland areas sat the range for the tournament.

His ‘one-up’ was, “You know how much time you have as a warning for a tornado?” He then answered his own question, “Three minutes.”  He’s from Indiana – he should know!

His dead give away he isn’t truly an adopted son of the South was when he called a ‘Coke’ a ‘pop.’ If you’re from Georgia and hear someone call a Coke a pop, you just can’t erase the hearing.  It sticks with you for a while leaving a mild irritation. ‘Pop’ is the wrong sound for a true Georgia native – Coke being that native.

During a two-day archery tournament you meet all sorts.  I like the talkative Hoosier.  He was the big winner when it came to passing the time between ends.  And there’s common ground where we do understand one another’s positions on a matter.  That of being stuck behind a farm tractor while driving.

The 2019 Georgia State Outdoor Championship – Hot!

Another hard fought tournament was held in Conyers, Georgia over the weekend of September 7thand 8th. It was sunny, hot, and extremely competitive. There was some simply amazing archery equipment in the hands of almost everyone. If you mess up a shot it will cost you in this crowd, hence some of the best gear money can buy was on the line.

The State Championship, for me meant shooting from 70 meters, 60 meters, 50 meters and 30 meters – 36 arrows at each distance. All distances feel about the same to me.  There wasn’t much difference between my scores at those distances. I shot the same score at 70 meters and 60 meters, two points higher at 50 meters, then 9 points higher when I moved up to 30 meters. Same deal with 10s and 9s over the final count.  Each distance pretty much scored like the prior distance.

Conyers is only 27 miles from our home so the drive is decent. During the afternoon’s return trip there’s always a chance that parts of the drive will be overwhelmed by Atlanta traffic.  That happened in 2018, but not so in 2019.

Food I brought. That sandwich was great. I also carried: 3 bottles of water, 2 Gatorades, and 2 small Cokes.

Conyers is located so the commute to compete brings in a good crowd.  The rumor was that the number of archers was less in 2019 than in 2018. If that is true it wasn’t obvious.

Like 2018 it was hot.  The heat didn’t seem to impact all the shooters.  One archer set an unofficial world record at 50 meters. The winner of the men’s recurve division is currently in second place in the USA Olympic Archery trials. Wherever you look during archery competitions anywhere in Georgia there stands some sort of archery hero. (Real and self proclaimed)

Heading home around 2PM. It cooled down to around 96 after a few more miles

Even among the group where I competed nearly everyone had decades of experience, loads of wins, and all types of gift giving sponsorship. Two of these athletes were comparing notes on how many dozens of free arrows they’re provided from those sponsors. Admittedly, I am envious of free arrows especially at the price point of their free products.

I even overheard exchanges describing bowstrings, free or discounted, bows, free or discounted, and all manner of ancillary equipment from bow shops heavily discounted or free.

I wish I had such deals.  I tried the sponsor battle and all I every earned associated with archery ‘stuff’ were half-assed discounts.  Heck, in most cases it was less expensive to buy the exact same product on Amazon, eBay or waiting for a local shop to run any sort of special. Those local shop specials didn’t follow me from North Carolina to Georgia. But, I have gave up on the “ProStaff” sponsorship when the benefit / detriment ratio seemed unbalanced.

Nope, no deals for me.  In fact, I can’t even get new Elite limbs ( at full price) for a Victory 37X. Elite, per the bow shop,  is backordered on the limbs.  When I mentioned this to one of the swag-enriched archers in my division he acted shocked! “I got these new limbs in 3 weeks,” he said pointing out his high end Mathews product. I need the limbs to make the bow work for me.

The bow, a purchase that seems to be a never ending problem was totally foolish on my part. My mistake entirely.  I let myself get talked into buying a 50 – 60 pound bow that needs to be shot at 48 pounds.  I’ve since learned how risky it is to shoot a bow rigged in this fashion from experts and manufacturers. [ Safety Precaution: Be careful that you do not unscrew the limb bolts passed the bow’s lowest weight setting. If the limb bolts are unscrewed too much, the limb bolt’s threads can come out of the riser and cause damage to the bow and injure the mechanic. (1) In addition it leaves the bowstring too loose and the limbs no longer reproduce the proper flex. (2)] In the meantime I just roll with it have hope it doesn’t break.

It didn’t matter the bow isn’t working as the engineers designed and the product assurance department required (as it is set for me), it flung my inexpensive arrows down range. By inexpensive I mean $144.00 a dozen via Amazon. (3)

Those $12.00 arrows, vanes included, are a whole lot less pricey compared to some the $35.00, no vanes shafts only arrows being shot. (4) In fact, I overheard those $35.00 each arrow shafts are now better and cost $41.00 each.  That is the price of the shaft, no vanes, no nocks, no bushings, and no points. Those parts needed to complete the arrow are probably another $10.00 per arrow.  Some of those men and women have forked out about $51.00 per arrow or $612.00 for a dozen. That is about the price of my bow without the attachments (stabilizer, scope, etc.).

Seeing all the beautifully engineered precision gear on the range over the weekend made me envious. Overhearing how many of the archers got that gear free or paid an extreme discount was amazing. Good for them!

It wasn’t just the younger archers with seemingly incredible money saving arrangements.  The Masters group was filled with shooters riding the sweet sway wagon. I am glad to see manufacturers and bow shops recognizing Masters level athletes by providing gear, discounts and support.

Still, there were lot of guys paying full price (or more) for whatever is available and doing the best they can with it. A Masters recurve archer laughed at what he was shooting compared to the gear of more pampered athletes.  I understood and told him, “The best bow out here is the one in your hand.”

There was even a proud four legged friend

Having excellent equipment wasn’t much help when it came to reducing the heat.  It was plain old Georgia summer hot the entire time. The host, Archery Learning Center, provided free cold bottled water, which was a treat.

The outdoor environmental furnace didn’t send most folks running toward air conditioning as soon as the last arrow flew. The awards ceremony was well attended.  There were loads of proud parents, spouses, and loved ones as the smiling winners received their medals and headed home.

And this ends the outdoor archery season for me. (Winter is coming!)

Reference:

(1)https://shootingtime.com/archery/adjust-draw-weight/

(2) As explained by a world class level bow expert.

(3) https://www.amazon.com/Victory-Archery-Elite-Shafts-Black/dp/B00TP82ZWO/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2ESTU3LF15800&keywords=victory+vap+500&qid=1567976174&s=gateway&sprefix=Victory+VAP+500%2Caps%2C229&sr=8-1

(4)https://www.lancasterarchery.com/nsearch/?q=easton+arrow+shafts

Beginning to Consider 2020 and Costs

About this time, each year, I begin thinking about the upcoming archery season. There are only two more tournaments on my calendar for 2019.  As I begin planning for 2020 I review the results of tournaments where I competed and where I didn’t shoot in 2019.  The data of other athletes are can be important to review.  No team in the NFL would go to a game without reviewing film on their opponent. Why go into any other sports competition being clueless regarding your opponents.

The tournaments are expensive.  There’s the entry fee to consider along with food, gas and lodging. If the data shows I’d wind up outside the top three then that contest is put on a second tier for consideration. A top three position and the event is on the ‘A’ list.

Just because a tournament makes the list doesn’t mean I’d enter.  For example, while I won the USA Indoor 18-meter National Championship in Suwanee, Georgia it is basically a regional event not a true National Championship.  The scores are eventually complied from all the regions in the US and even though I won in Georgia eight other archers scored higher than I did across the country.  If my chance to compete had been in St. Louis rather than Suwanee I wouldn’t have made the drive.

Last year I considered going to the NFAA Indoor 18-meter. Looking over my numbers, there was an 80% chance I’d score 600 with 97 Xs.  That would have earned me a 4thplace finish in the Silver Senior division.  There was also a variance on the low end of my performance curve.  Considering that section of the curve I’d have shot 595 with 81 Xs – not worth the trip for that score. The NFAA winner scored, in the Sliver Senior division, won with 600 with 109 Xs.

Still the 2020 NFAA Tournament is currently on the list.  The drive to the 2020 shoot is 476 miles, two days hauling a camper each way.  The total cost (gas, camping, food, entry fee) for the event would cost me $921.00.

First place money for my age group is $3000.00, second is $1500.00 and third is $1000.00.  Right now there’s an 80% chance the event would cost me $921.00.  My stats also suggest that using trend lines there is a 98.5% chance, if the trends remain constant, I’d win which means the event would end up in the positive side of cash flow by $2079.00.  So, the NFAA Indoor Nationals remains a consideration.

There’s very little potential for income in sport for an athlete over 40. Archery isn’t great money maker for professionals of any age. Sport, in general,  isn’t a career many athletes can bank on.

“The general salary range for Olympic archers is between $36,000 and $97,000. Serious archers who win tournaments on a regular basis can take in between $10,000 and $75,000 depending on their skill. They may also be paid for endorsements, training, running shops, and working with archery companies to develop better products.”(1)

Archery isn’t the most expensive sport and the total cost (entry fee, food, lodging, gas) for something like the NFAA Indoor Nationals just covers the entry fee for a major Ironman event.  If I’d not had the help of a sponsor the Ironman World Championship would have cost me $10,000 at a minimum.

In 2011 I qualified for a second USA World Championship Team in the Long Course Duathlon.  The race was being held in Switzerland and the event would again have been in the $10,000 range.  I declined my spot on the team unsure of how I’d finance the trip.

Athletes, the professionals, don’t all make the big bucks.  Archery isn’t alone when it comes to being tight fisted regarding supporting its players. (2) Many seasonal professional athletes maintain a ‘day job’ in order to make ends meet. (3)

As an athlete, you might expect the archery industry to help pick up your tab. That is unlikely to happen unless you become one of the very best.  As a whole the archery industry grosses not that much than some of the top paid athletes in the world. (4)

Lionell Messi earned 1/3 the total revenue of that which the US archery industry grossed 2018. (4,5) Messi, however, isn’t even in Floyd Mayweather’s league or just barely when you’re talking $111 million versus $275 million US dollars. (4,6)

For most athletes, the dream of earning a living wage in their sport remains a dream.  In some sports even the top athletes need a ‘day job’.  Archery, for the most part falls into the ‘day job’ athlete category.

Once, I watched an archer shooting at his local range.  He was firing arrow after arrow into the X on a vertical 3-spot. One of the employees at the range said, “He never misses.”  In fact, I didn’t see him miss.

Later, I asked him way he didn’t compete at the major events.  He replied, “I can’t afford it.”

Looking forward to 2020 I’ll continue to do the math (I’m enjoy math.) If the statistics suggest a break even or positive cash I’ll probably go to an event.  Certainly, I dream of winning the big tournaments but reality keeps money in my pocket.

Reference:

1.) http://www.kaycircle.com/How-much-does-a-Professional-Archer-make-per-Year-Average-Annual-Pro-Olympic-Archery-Salary-Range

2.) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2014/10/29/so-you-want-to-be-a-pro-athlete-you-might-not-get-paid-well/?noredirect=on

3.) http://mentalfloss.com/article/84792/11-things-you-might-not-know-about-athlete-salaries

4.) https://www.statista.com/statistics/258571/archery-sports-equipment-wholesale-sales-in-the-us/

5.)https://www.yardbarker.com/all_sports/articles/the_25_highest_paid_athletes_of_2018/s1__27894155#slide_1

6.) https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2018/06/06/floyd-mayweather-leads-forbes-highest-paid-athletes-list/676948002/

Long Stabilizers and Scope Versus Pins and Short Stabilizer During 3D Archery

During the recent GBAA 3D State Championship a friend of mine, Mike, pointed out that over the previous week or so he’d been shooting better with pins compared to using his scope. To a degree I understand.

In 3D archery I’ve nearly always used a hunting rig.  This, of course, means fixed pins.  I love shooting with fixed pins.  It’s fast, fun, and like playing.  Using a bow equipped with long stabilizers and a scope is more like work.

I don’t mind work.  Work to me isn’t a negative. When I was six years old my parents asked me what I wanted Santa to bring me for Christmas.  I remember it well.  At the time we were living on 10thStreet at Tybee Island, Georgia.  What I wanted was a microscope.

From that Christmas, when Santa delivered a good boy his microscope,  I’d found a life long love – science.  Science was a hobby until I began to earn money doing science.  I always found it funny that I got paid to do what I’d do anyway.  So, work comes with variable levels of emotional effort.  There are people that hate their work, some love their work, and others can take it or leave it.

Equipment I used in a study we did on the iatrogenic progression of acute lung failure

When it comes to shooting fixed pins I enjoy it more than using a scope.  Mike was enjoying the change so much he shot in the GBAA tournament using pins in addition to long stabilizers.  On the other hand I did an experiment (a little science – I did some math).

Because I only have one bow at the moment it means switching the rig back and forth from a hunter rig for 3D to a target rig for outdoor shooting.  At this last 3D tournament, the same one where Mike competed, I just left the bow set up as it had been for the Georgia State Field Championship held a couple of weeks earlier.  This meant I’d been shooting long stabilizers, scope, and skinny arrows.  It meant I’d not have to switch back to the target set up before preparing for another outdoor target competition coming up in a few weeks.

Knowing in advance my laziness would bring me to a 3D shoot using I target rigged bow I decided to see whether or not there was any real difference in scores. The mathematical interaction was determined using an unpaired student’s t-test, where the p=0.097. This meant the two methods of shooting were not different.

In other words I shot a little better using the target rig in this test but not significantly different. Or so it would seem at first glance.

The comparison was unfair because the yardages were longer.  So, what?  A little longer doesn’t mean much.  Comparing a few 40-yard 3D yardages you guessed it, no difference using the t-test.   However, where the longest shots are out to 60 yards compared to 40 yards that’s a long haul shooting 3D.  (The GBAA max distance is 60 yards) That has to be different – maybe.  You don’t know until you test.  On the other hand, as an archer shooting those distances, 40 max versus 60 max, you know.

You’d be right, too, if you felt there was a statistically significant difference where ranges, at least the ranges I held data on, when one has a maximum distance of 40 yards interacting with another range with a max distance of 60 yards.  In this case, P=0.0075. (Which means there is a significant difference)

It just so happened that I recorded the distances in my shot notes during the last two tournaments, the GBAA and those of the last ASA tournament I shot.  Using those I learn that the GBAA tournament was longer by a level of mathematic significance.

So, while my scoring interactions weren’t significant the target distances were significant.  This suggests the scoped rigged versus the pin rig preformed a little better where the distance is increased.

Common sense says, if I can average 0.5 points more per arrow at any distance go with the equipment that provides a 0.5 increase per arrow.  That’s 10 points over 20 targets. We all know 1 point can be the difference or even the X count or even the inner X count. I’ve lost in each of those ways.

The results are that the bow with the long stabilizers and scope is the better method for shooting compared to pins and a short stabilizer when applying the most recent data I have on hand.

You can take the geek out of the lab, but not the lab out of the geek

I don’t know how Mike’s shooting went over the last weekend.  I do know this; the longest yardage I can comfortably shoot with my pins is 50 yards.  I was glad I had a scope so I could set it for greater than 50 yards.  My guess is on a coyote at 54 yards, trying to hold a 50-yard pin high on that little foam varmit might not have yielded a 12 without a little luck.

Note to Jack L and Don C:  Remember those 900C days? We did some cool stuff.

The GBAA State 3D Championship hosted by Ace Apache/Ace Hardware

It isn’t easy to win an archery tournament.  If you’re a competitive archery you know that to be true.  To win it takes a lot of work.  Even if you put in the work you can still fall short. At the 2019 GBAA 3D Georgia State Championship I fell short (GBAA is the Georgia Bowhunter and Archery Association).  A friend of mine beat me.

We didn’t shoot in the same group.  By the second day I’d forgotten he’d shot.  I remembered when the final scores were posted.

When it came to posting the scores the results were available online almost immediately.  Too often at non-national level events athletes have to wait for the data to get posted.  It was pleasing to have the results available so fast even if those data were disappointing.

Going into the tournament I expected an average score of 10.4 points per arrow would win my age group. Over the past four years the average per arrow winner scored 9.3 points per arrow.  However, the high over that period was 10.4.

The GBAA isn’t like an ASA or IBO event.  The maximum distance to a foam animal is 60 yards.  The organizers of the tournament were not shy about using their real estate.  There wasn’t a 60-yard shot, but there were a fair number of targets over 50 yards.  To mix it up there were two targets so close it made setting a sight a non-factor. Archers used their closest distance and guessed at the variance.   It made you think.

Most days the parks trails are enjoyed by hikers

Throughout both days of the competition I over heard archers comment on how nice the course was laid out and how it was being held in a beautiful setting.  The Ace Apache Club in Social Circle, Georgia, hosted the championship.  The park where it was held is really nice.

One of my favorite targets setting partially behind a tree. This was an easy one at 27 yards. Well, there really aren’t any easy ones.

Day one of the shoot I misjudged my travel time.  Arriving with 5 minutes to spare I just got in under the wire.  I also thought my maximum distance would be 40 yards.  There’s a big difference between a 40 yard max, which I was expecting, and 60 yards.  Well, 20 yards is the difference.  Not far for a bike ride or run, but that’s a haul for an arrow in 3D.

I wasn’t too concerned not having warmed-up.  I often practice without warming up to be prepared for just such of a mishap.  Heading into the first target I’d planned to shoot my game and I expected to score 6 up by the end of the first range. (At they point I didn’t know about the 60 yard thing)

A group taking aim at a bear 48 yards out

After a number of targets out in the 50-yard range I paused.  I’d thought I was shooting from the incorrect stake.  A verification with the marshals; they clarified I was firing from the right spot. I was momentarily angery with myself for not knowing 60 yards would be the maximum distance not 40.  Well, I had to let that go and shoot. My score wasn’t too bad when I finished day 1 and I thought I was leading.

Yes, there are three archers scoring a target at 54 years. Of course, it is a black target. What else might you expect?

On the second day I made certain to arrive on time, warm up a little and shoot better.  I really thought I had a chance at winning a major 3D tournament.  I’ve not won a State level 3D contest in a couple of years, the last being the Virginia IBO State Championship in 2017.  The second day I did shoot better but overall fell below what I expected it would take to win.  Still, my score seemed good enough to pull off a victory.  I’d forgotten all about my friend, Jerry.

A coyote (it is out there) is a decent haul at 53 yards

It seemed to me I remembered Jerry telling me he didn’t shoot 3D.  I figured he was there just for fun.  Apparently, I was wrong on both counts.  Jerry, in fact, scored exactly what I’d expected it would take to win dumping me into second.

Come and get me

Second is not a fun place to finish.  This makes the fourth time in 2019 I earned a second place. Each one has been tough. All that can be done is figure there’s another tournament just around the corner.  That and learn from what happened to causing the loss occur and fix it.

Jerry, showing where to hit the 12 ring at 54 yards

Despite the loss, the tournament was 2 beautiful days in the woods.

 

Everybody Misses, Everybody Gets It

There are two archers. Between the two of them they have 16 individual world championships.  (Seriously, I checked)  You can imagine they are great archers.  One shoots dots the other shoots foam animals.  Both are extremely pleasant and polite. Neither is a perfect archer.  They’ve missed before and they’ll miss, again.

This year the 10X world champion at 3D made a mistake adjusting the yardage on his sight.  It cost him a win.  Two years ago the 6X world champion against paper targets lost it on his draw and missed a target.  These are two of the very best archers in the world.  They’ve made mistakes.

At their level a mistake will cost.  In the case of 3D champion it dropped him from 1stto 3rd. In the World Cup Archery style the miss took the other world champion totally out of the money.  In both cases, they simply moved on to the next practice and next event.  Neither got overly out of sorts or concerned.  Both have won subsequent tournaments.   At their level any opening given to the competition is costly.

Some folks will have good days, some folks will have less good days

When you sign up for an archery tournament your registration pays for you to have the maximum points allowed.  If it’s an ASA 3D event you’ve paid for, at 20 targets, you have bought 240 points. If you’ve entered an indoor USA Archery style event with 60 arrows you’ve bought 600 points. They are all yours. The question becomes how many are you prepared to give back? Every shot where you miss the X or 12 you’ve returned points.

You’re not alone. Unless you’re one of the top the world you’ll be returning points throughout events.  A problem can develop when you make a mistake and dump a pile of points in a hurry.

In a field tournament this year I was losing by a few points going into the second day.  The competition was extremely tight.  In fact, the top three finishers in my class all broke the previous State field record.  It was truly an exciting tournament with anyone of the top three within a point or two from taking it all.

All your arrows won’t land like this – but a lot will

Then, the fellow that was leading made a mistake.  It was a big error and I moved ahead by four points.  Did he lose his composure after error he’d made? No. In fact, he seemed to loosen up and finished the remainder of the targets nearly perfectly. He slowly pulled ahead and took 7 points to win by 3 points.  It was truly an amazing comeback.

He’d had a bad break. Aside from a momentary shocked look on his face all he could do was laugh about it and move forward.  He didn’t let that single error get him so upset that his shooting spiraled downward.  Although I wanted the win it was honestly fun to watch this athlete shoot the remainder of the day and honestly I was happy for him.

He’d reached a point where he’d given up all the points he could have afforded on that day.  He laughed at the error and continued to trust his training.  His efforts and composure led him to the victory and a new State record.

You’ll miss.  I miss. We all miss.  We get more than we miss. The questions become how badly do you want to keep the points you paid for and how do you deal with adversity? Staying in the frame of mind that every arrow counts and each arrow is a single shot helps. Be positive and be able to laugh off a mistake.  You might not win after an error.  But, next time the error might not be as great.  Keeping the right attitude can make the next small mistake count less those in the past.

Perfect scores are rare, great scores aren’t as rare. Creating a mindset to reach greatness and perfection is part of archery.

When I was talking with the multi-time world champion 3D archer he laughed and told me he’d made more mistakes than he could remember.  The multi-time world champion at World Cup and USA Archery style shooting said everyone he competes against is great.  All you need to do is put the dot in the middle and shoot the dot. Both agreed you have to love the sport and be willing to understand you’ll make mistakes.

Trying a Target Rig at 3D

For those archers who focus on 3D here in Georgia the ASA tour your year is over.  Since we don’t have IBO in Georgia practically all 3D is rolling up for the season.  There’s one more relatively big 3D event in Georgia, the Georgia Bowhunter and Archery Association’s (GBAA) State 3D championship.

3D wasn’t a major part of my competitive year for 2019.  Hopefully, 2020 will be better for 3D in that I’ll be able to shoot more of the faux animal events.  Missing so many 3D tournaments wasn’t a matter of timing or practice, the problem stemmed around equipment.  That situation may have a remedy soon.

There’s one more major outdoor tournament, non-3D,  here in Georgia in a few weeks.  Rather than change the attachments on my bow prior to every practice I’ll compete in the 3D tournament using skinny arrows, long stabilizers and scope – the outdoor target rig.  This means I’ll be shooting 3D in the Super Senior division.  The benefit is in timesavings.  Being able to practice 3D and long targets without switching the bow from a target rig to the hunter class rig speeds up practices.

Those 3D tournaments I shot this year had me competing in an age class one level below mine since there is no exclusive hunter class, in ASA,  for archers over 60.  I like shooting 3D using a hunter class rig, it is more like hunting.  But, it is a little aggravating changing the attachments on the bow everyday as I change the practice format.

Shooting a target set up in 3D isn’t a simple change.  It take some getting accustom to the scope and aiming at a foam animal.  In the woods there is much less light than on a field. There’s also glare to deal with on the lens of the scope.  Having nearly always used pins in 3D the transition feels awkward.

I’ll see how it goes this coming weekend over in Social Circle, Georgia at the GBAA State Championship.

Staying in the Present

In archery we need to know how to close our minds to everything aside from the shot.  If you’re on the line or at the stake having your mind drift is bad mental timing.

Occasionally, just before a shot you lose that mental clarity and start thinking about something. It doesn’t matter what that something is, what matters is that you catch the drift. If you’ve drifted start over.

Coaching Tip

Letting down during the shot process is tough.  Your process becomes automatic. Still, you need the ability to stop the process, break the pattern, let down and begin the shot anew.

It can feel a little awkward letting down especially when the clock is running. However, by staying present in the moment, letting distractions not be the reason you missed an X or hit and 8 you’ll become more comfortable when the time arises where you need to reset.

Kennesaw Archery Club has a nice range – Atlanta Traffic Sucks

A couple of weeks ago I competed in the Georgia Archery Association’s State Field Championship held by the Kennesaw Archery Club (KAC).  The KAC has a very nice outdoor range.  It is located not too far from where we once lived in Kennesaw, Ga.

As I drove to the tournament I couldn’t help getting that feeling of nostalgia as I passed familiar landmarks.  On the ride in during the morning I decided to take a side trip to go see our old home after the tournament.

Kennesaw Mountain

The home isn’t really old. We built it in 1995.  It is one of my favorite places we’ve lived.  The house sits on a small hill in a quiet area of Cobb County.

We really liked this place when we lived there

When everyone finished shooting and after the awards ceremony I hopped into my ole’ 200,000+ miles Ford F-150 and headed toward the house.  I got about 5 miles and within a few when I threw in the towel.

I’d have loved to see the old place.  But, the traffic around Atlanta was absolutely insane.  Trying to weave my way around it was no use.  The roads were clogged in every direction.

River, again, pleased to where a medal.

It was nice to get another win.  It would have been nice to have seen our old home in Kennesaw.  I will admit I do not miss living near Atlanta.  The traffic is crazy.