Weak and Tired

Rolling into a tournament tired isn’t good.  I’m tired. It showed my practice this morning. I compete in 3 days.

The fatigue isn’t from shooting.  It is from planting spring crops, running, cycling, building an extension on the chicken run, blowing leaves and pine straw, and power washing the back of our house.  All of this happening on my archery ‘recovery’ day.  I need a recovery day for my recovery day.

While shooting felt good this morning I looked at my arrow placement afterwards. I am practicing on a 5-spot.  Typically, 70% if my arrows on a 5-spot are Xs or 5s the reminder (out of 100) are 4s.  I do this twice a day.  This morning, 45% of my shots were 5s or Xs.  It was weak.

It was raining a bit and very dark at 0830 when I began practice.  But, I often shoot in similar conditions or worse.  I can’t blame it on the weather.  Nope, I blame it on a 17-year-old brain in a body that is nearly 70.

The 5-Spot Dilemma

The Georgia State Championship and NFAA Sectional (5-Spot) are in a week. I am still shooting my low-end beginner Olympic Recurve – riser $149.00, limbs $99.00.

The arrows, a recent change, are Black Eagle Intrepids.  These arrows are $4.42 each. By competitive standards not typical high-end gear. Nevertheless, I am shooting well with this entry-level equipment.

The initial plan for the upcoming competition was to shot a single spot.  The problem is that when I shoot 5 arrows at the same spot I break one every 10 to 15 arrows.  Often it is just the nock.  The problem with that is the nock won’t release from the shaft for a quick replacement.  The inner diameter of the Intrepid arrows is simply too tight for a fast repair.  In fact, I’ve yet to have a successful repair.  I end up cracking the arrow trying to free the remained of the nock.

Of the broken arrows, that is while shooting 5 arrows at a single target, over twenty ends it us usual to have a Robin Hood.  I have, from practice wear, 15 arrows remaining.

At the pace the arrows break after the first day of shooting the upcoming tournament, using a single spot, I have just 9 arrows remaining. That means on the second day at 2/3 of the way through the tournament’s second day I have 5 arrows remaining.  If the stats remain true on the last end I’d be an arrow short.

The solutions: 1) buy more arrows before I depart for the tournament, 2) shoot a 5-spot.

I’ve been practicing exclusively using a 5-spot.  This is specially to save arrows. Occasionally, 1 out of a hundred times, I miss the four line by a hair.  A single spot would be a never miss.  My 5-spot practice scores aren’t for a beginner recurve archer: mean is 283 with a range of 278 to 292.  Out of 100 arrows 66 of them will land in the white for a 5 and out of 60 arrows (tournament quantity) 18 will be Xs. (average)  My concern is the 1 in 100 where I miss the blue.

The dilemma is whether or not to shoot the 5-spot versus buying more $4.42 arrows and shoot the single spot.

A Small Victory

The Georgia State / USA Archery Indoor 18-meter Championship where I competed, at Georgia Southern University, wasn’t too bad.  I didn’t win.  I ended in 3rd Place among the Senior Men’s category shooting an Olympic Recurve.

For those that don’t follow archery, men’s senior is 21 – 49 years of age.  If I’d entered using my age group allowance I’d been in the Master’s 60+ class. I’ve competed in both age groups shooting compound bow.

At Georgia Southern everyone inside the Georgia Southern Shooting Sports Education Center is required to wear a mask, a precaution against spreading the Covid-19 virus.  Since I am approaching 66 years old, a high risk group, shooting where masks are being worn seemed a better choice that the other location in Georgia where the competition was being held.

Some archers feel that a mask interferes with that shooting.  I don’t think wearing a mask is much of a problem.  Catching Covid-19 has a greater risk of being a problem and dropping a few points in archery because the mask got hung up in a bowstring.

Taking a 3rd place during a pandemic is just fine by me.  I am happy to be able to fine a safe environment where I can go play.

Taper

In nine days I’ll be heading to the Georgia State and USA Archery Indoor Championships. At the moment I am shooting like crap.

Over the past week or so my practice scores have been decreasing.  The volume of practice has been high.  Obviously, fatigue (hopefully) is a symptom of reaching a point of diminishing returns.

A friend of mine is an ex-pro golfer. He once said not to go into a tournament tired.

From past sport experience I understand that excessive fatigue can impact quality of performance.

With that in mind I’ve dropped my daily arrow count o 140 arrows broken into two practice sessions.  Still my scores aren’t competitive.  However, they are creeping up, again.

This afternoon during the 4th quarter of my practices my groups began getting tighter.  I’d jumped from 8.45 points per arrow to 8.8 points per arrow. Then, on the final five ends the average increased to 9.125, closer to where I expect to be shooting at this point with my recurve.

It was hard to stop shooting, but to continue deviated from the plan.  There’s nine days left before I hit the road for the tournaments.  That is a realistic taper.

Since I began shooting an Olympic recurve 186 days ago I’ve taken 49 days for compete recovery.  I understand that shooting a recurve isn’t something that can be picked up over night.  Still, I’ve managed, starting with a lower volume of arrows per day and working my way up, to shoot 16,728 arrows. That’s an overall average of 122 arrows per day.  I’d peaked at 1000 arrows per week but have now dropped to 700 (allow two days break per week at this point) per week.

It feels like a huge drop in volume.  I hope it works.

Arrows, Arrows, Arrows….

It didn’t seem like a wise use of money to fork out big bucks for high-end equipment when switching to an Olympic recurve from compound bows.  (145 days ago) Why do that when the compound bows were in the $800.00 range purchased new. It wasn’t as if prior archery gear had been high-end.

When it came to high-end gear the nicest pieces of equipment associated with the compound bows had been the sight and release.  Those were high quality Axcel/TruBall products.

The arrows shot using the compound bows had been purchased and prepared by folks that, at the time, seemed to know better.  Two out of three times their suggestions were correct.  For the remaining third the arrows are too stiff.

Some ‘expert’ on YouTube presented a video suggesting that spine calibration is a myth so long as the arrows shot are fletched.  The video he posted was an experiment where he fired off sets of arrows of various spine strength using fletched and bare shaft arrows.  He was shooting a recurve bow. I repeated his experiment.  My results yielded an opposing result.

I’d hoped for similar results.  I’ve got some nice arrows, those among the good 2/3 of my moderately priced arrows and wanted to upgrade the Easton 1000 arrows I’ve been shooting with the Olympic recurve.  What I found is that the stiffer more expensive arrows didn’t bend properly and the tail end of those arrows hit my riser.  The flex between nodes simply wasn’t flexing properly. I was hoping to save some money by avoiding the purchase of new arrows.

The Easton 1000s are excellent beginner’s arrows.  I’ve won two State Championships using a $249.00 Olympic recurve in the Men’s Senior Division shooting those $5.00 arrows.  However, I know the $5.00 arrows are holding me back when it comes to a few extra points. (For now there is nothing wrong with the inexpensive bow)

The tip of the Easton 1000s comes included along with fletching for the five bucks.  The tip is 65 grain, which is okay.  The fletching is a bit tall again okay for indoor tournaments.  Okay is not great in competition.  The set up does mean being just a hair off on form and the shot will be completely uncompensated.  In words too often associated with archery gear – these arrows are not very forgiving.

Part of the lack of forgiveness is that the spine of an Easton 1000 peaks at around 29 pounds.  As I’ve improved I’m pulling 34 pounds. On a 3-spot with the gear at hand I’m averaging 9 points per arrows without a clicker (I don’t have one yet). I believe with a stiffer spine and more weight on the tip I’d get my average per arrow up a little.  The current fletching is dragging on my rest and that too can be improved by shooting a smaller profile vane.

If I cut the 1000s a bit that would stiffen the spine. But, adding a heavier pile weakens the spine.  Changing the fletching isn’t an issue aside from I know it needs to be done and simply haven’t done it.

The best bet is to purchase new arrows with the correct spine, cut them to the correct length, add the correct pile weight to compensate for the cut and have low profile vanes.

Victory Archery, a maker of arrows, does have a moderately priced arrow that, per their spine calculators, meets the spec for my current shooting. Lancaster Archery does have them on clearance (the 2019 version).  Even so, spine, nocks, vanes will still run around $250.00.

My estimate of points per arrows gain for the $250.00 investment is 0.18 points per arrow against a vertical 3-spot.* It seems like just a little but it really is a lot of gain.  I just hate spending the money right now. (It also might help to adjust the tiller to positive versus neutral)

* calculation based on distance from center, 60 shots, measured in the yellow only. (45 our of 60 arrows. 15 red arrows attributed to form errors and dropped) Distance mean variance on average times spine weakness estimated percentage.  (1.6 X 0.11 = 0.176 rounded up) 3-spot, outdoor, no wind – when it is windy all bets are off.

The NFAA Indoor Nationals

As I approached the site for my shot at the NFAA Quarantine Edition of the Indoor Nationals all I could think was “shit”.  There wasn’t a mask in sight.

The tournament venue for me was in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  That county has the second most Covid-19 cases in the state, around 50,000.

I’ll be 66 in a few months.  My age group is one of the harder hit clusters.

I had a mask with me.  My mask protects others by reducing my expiratory ‘plum.’

The others in this case, other archers, seemed not to care they might be asymptomatic.  Their ‘plums’ are harmful to me.

I left. I was and remain disappointed.

Oh Well There’s Always Next Year

The NFAA Indoor Nationals for 2020 couldn’t have been any better.  There would be no long haul to compete.  The venue is a 45-minute drive away. Excellent.

Because of Covid-19 the NFAA created a format allows NFAA Affiliate ranges to provide a base where to compete for the 2020 Indoor Nationals.  These Nationals are being held at ranges all across the country.

I’d signed up and selected the Archery Learning Center just up the road.  I could drive over shoot and come home.  Easy.

A few days before the event I cut my finger.  Not a bad cut but a cut.  In most instances I’d hardly notice.  In this instance the cut is on the middle finger tip of my drawing hand.

I sort of reminded me of turf toe. Not a horrible injury but a real nuisance – painful and bothersome enough to keep professional football players out of a game.

Practicing while hoping for a speedy recover of the cut was a loss.  Each session the finger’s small wound would open and bleed.  It hurt enough to cause a minor shift in finger pressure leading to more on the index finger that is correct.  The arrows landing a bit higher as a result.

The practice scores suffered a little with a few more points dropped per practice than the pre-cut scores. There was only one solution, hold off shooting for a few days and let the cut heal.

Such a little thing

The NFAA Indoor 2020 as convenient as this year’s might be is a miss for me.

Georgia 25-Meter State Championship

Everyone had to wear a mask inside the Georgia Southern Shooting Sport Education Center in Statesboro, Georgia for the 25-meter State Championship. Masks were required even while shooting.  Most athletes followed the rules despite it being a bit weird shooting while wearing a mask.

I noticed a few archers sliding their masks off while shooting giving them an unfair advantage.  The cheat also created a pocket of their expired gases in the area where they stood on the line.  It was unfair to their competitors.

I didn’t report it to the judges.  If I could see the malfeasance they too should have been aware.

Aside from that, in my opinion unfair advantage of breaking the mask removal rule, everyone else was careful in relationship to potentially spreading the Covid-19 virus. I did notice one of the intermittent mask removers had an ample supply of religious icons on his person and equipment.  He likely supposed that was all the protection necessary for himself and those around him.

The tournament went well as they all do at GSU.  I was able to win again with an Olympic recurve in the Men’s Senior Division.

Pandemic Archery

I’ve shot 4 tournaments in 2020.  That is pitiful. I know many archers have competed in a lot more events. No me.  I know too well how healthcare in America functions.  I don’t want to end up at the mercy of our healthcare system.

Wait, you might think we have the best healthcare in the world.  You’d be wrong.  When it comes to healthcare we’ve dropped from 6th in 1990 to 27th.  (1) I know firsthand how our healthcare system works and how other countries manage their healthcare. I spent 42 years in the medical field and 21 of those were international medical experience.

Last week I was visiting a hospital.  Honestly, I’ve never seen worse. So, I am cautious when it comes to my health. This has meant only four tournaments in 2020.

I won 3 out of 4 of them.  I also used this time away from competition to switch to Olympic recurve.

Olympic recurve is a different game all together.  Comparing compound bow shooting to Olympic recurve is like comparing checkers to chess. Recurve shooting is an entirely different world.  It is a nice switch so far.

I am looking forward to competing using this recurve.  I have completed one event with the recurve.  It ended well.

1) https://www.businessinsider.com/us-ranks-27th-for-healthcare-and-education-2018-9

 

 

Dang! That’s a lot of money. Oh, he’s blessed!

I don’t often look at Facebook.  The propaganda spewing unchecked is too awful.  I tried to delete my page and failed.  So, once in a while I look.  It is like looking at some circus sideshow freakishness.  Yesterday, I looked.  I was rewarded.

My reward was a post written by Mr. Archer.  You may know him.  He’s the fellow that is blessed with the latest gear provided by the most pious supplier and whose archery performance remains superior because of his unparalleled support from God.

God has provided Mr. Archer has some extremely expensive gear.  Excluding his stabilizers I looked up the price of his bow, sight, scope and arrows.  The package price: $2588.98.  The bow, a compound, is the 2021 edition.  Along with the bow he’s “blessed” to now have a new sight, scope and arrows.

Mr. Archer posted one if his practice session’s results.  No doubt it was excellent! Not perfect but pretty close using Vegas scoring and relating it to USA Archery scoring on a 3-spot.  Nevertheless, pretty impressive.

Mr. Archery is, also, a “Pro” archer with a number of sponsors! Perhaps, this guy is really good.  So, I checked.  You know finding results of archery performances are not difficult.  What turned out to be amazing is that he was a rare find and a winless one at that!  It seems his “Pro” sponsorships are based on his potential and perhaps God’s recommendation.

Mr. Archery is indeed blessed not with one $1549.99 bow but two.  He has one for target archery and one for 3D.  Obviously, I attend the wrong church.  Clearly, neither God nor Jesus has been so inclined to provide me with cash or sponsorships to subsidize $3099.98 in brand new 2021 bows.  Heck, it was all I could do to get permission from my wife to purchase a $249.99 Olympic recurve bow.

Now, to be fair to Mr. Archery and God, I admit I do have two compound bows.  Their combined price was $1398.00 spread over six years.  Both are similar models made by the same manufacturer.  Neither, the Shaker 5000 or the Decelerate remains on the market.

The Shaker 5000 was notorious for rattling limbs so hard they would crack and the Decelerate lost parts every few thousand arrows.  Both were introductory bows and I expect the maker never expected anyone purchasing those bows would shoot over 3000 arrows per year.

I understand, from Mr. Archer’s posts on Facebook, his new bows are very forgiving. I’ve never really understood how a bow can forgive an archer.  I expect my current $249.99 bow is simply shy and quiet around those big money bows.  If it had emotions or empathy enough to forgive it likely feels a little dejected next to all those prouder more forgiving bows.

Now, Mr. Archer does offer advice beyond how one makes the best sublimation to God via Facebook in order to get the most bang for your prayers (and as such become Blessed).  He further points out that it is currently time to get ready for the indoor archery season.  In fact, he makes this recommendation a full six days before his first announced indoor competition.

On Facebook he reveals to all that might read his post that he has spent a couple of hours practicing to get ready.  I can only suppose with God and Jesus on his side that is ample practice.  His sponsors are fortunate to have such a hard working athlete to inspire others to run out and purchase their forgiving bow.

I’ve often wondered how an individual athlete seeks heavenly support for victory.  Would a prayer be like, “Oh Lord, give me the strength and skill to vanquish my competition?”  Or, “Dear God, help the beat everyone here today.”  Or, “Sweet Jesus, help me performance my best in order to win.” Maybe it is good enough to type “Amen” and forward Mr. Archer’s prayer on Facebook. I haven’t tried that, yet.

No such prayers would ever be in my thoughts and being blessed with two new bows remains absent for me.  I remain simpler, “Lord, help me be a good example and let me help others where it is needed and help me to treat folks with kindness.”  That prayer too often fails.  I miss a lot and not just when it comes to shooting arrows.