Manners Are Important To Me

As I explained it to my wife, Brenda, “Their children have excellent manners.”  This comment was regarding a couple’s, both USA Level 4 Archery coaches, children if frequently shoot near during practice or tournaments.  In fact, on more than one occasion, I’ve shared my similar remarks to my wife regarding the younger people I practice and compete with or against in archery.

Good manners are important to some people.  Years ago our cycling coach told the team one of the fastest ways to get bumped from the team, regardless of how good one might be in the cycling, was to be rude or disrespectful.  The coach was a USA Cycling Coach that had been head coach for several of the National Teams.

As my parents taught us, the children, about manners and we learned.  We learned, Yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, no sir, please, thank you, opening doors for others, lending a hand, to be respectful and to help others.  We were taught to carry out good manners to everyone.  There were no exceptions. Good manners are part of good character and we should never forget it.

What I can’t abide is disrespectful behavior and poor manners.  I also can’t abide good manners to cover for disrespectful behavior.

Decades in sport have taught me that most athletes have excellent manners. Occasionally, the bully pops up that is rude or aggressive in a general sense as opposed to playful smack talk.  There is a difference.

Those folks are best ignored.  It is better to out perform to in order to put them in their place.  If you find yourself in a group where such behavior occurs you might be inclined to snap back.

One of my grandchildren has been studying martial arts for 6 years.  He’s only nine years old.  Over the course of those years he’s moved up in skill and rank.  He, also, regularly competes in martial arts competitions.

This grandson isn’t a large fellow.  He is fast and wiry.  He typically wins in competition and is frequently the smallest fighter.

There was a gang of bullies at his school that aimed their attention at my grandchild.  He reported it to his parents who in turn notified school officials. Those officials failed to remedy the problem.

Weeks past and the bully group continued to pester my grandson.  He warned them repeatledly to not bother him, stop pushing him and stop harassing him.  They failed, just as the school staff had failed, to end the harassment.

Finally, in self-defense, one against three, and with numerous warnings to stop which the bullies ignored, the little boy took action.  When he was finished and standing in the principle’s office he said, “I told them over and over to stop.  My parents told you what was happening.  They (the bullies) were pushing me and no one helped.  I defended myself and made sure not to hurt them, just to knock them all down.”  Once all three were one the ground he told them, “Stay there and don’t get up while I call a teacher.”

(His parents and his coaches instruct him to not use his skill to hurt people. I’ve heard the lecture.)

My grandson got into some trouble from the school officials.  No one bothers him at school today.  He’s actually very popular, now.  I’ve seen him in practice and competition.  He is fast there is no doubt.

In archery, bullies aren’t a serious problem on a range.  Heck, everyone is armed.  As a general rule everyone is polite and have good manners.  Still, we find that occasional jerk whose got a mouth on him (I’ve not run across a rude women in the sport).  Those are the ones where I must bite my tongue and politely move away.

Dang, that was windy

I’d planned to start at 70 yards (not meters).  Then work out to 70 meters. It was cool with the temperature around 51°F. That would have felt pretty good except for the wind. Morning practice was going to be a challenge.

It was windy. The wind was blowing steady at 12 mph with gusts up to 28 mph.  I can shoot through that – I thought.

The problem was the gusts blew my target over twice.  On the second crash, one of those gusts, which felt like more than 28 mph, I moved to a heavier target.

The heavier target is smaller and without the overhang clearance of the larger less wind adaptable target. I have lots of trees along the range lanes and some still need to be trimmed.  So, I moved closer.  It was still frustrating.

My light introductory level recurve arrows, Easton Vector 1000s, aren’t ideally suited for gusts of wind.  Trying to time a steady wind with the intermittent gusts was good practice should I, or rather when I, find myself competing is such conditions. Before any major tournament I imagine I’ll need an arrow upgrade.

I got in 70 arrows before I had to move on.  I’d lost some time setting up a blown over target twice so I didn’t get the 90-arrow practice completed.  This afternoon the wind is forecast to drop to 6 mph.  That should be a more humane practice.

Total Recovery

Sunday is supposed to be a complete recovery day.  The past 53 days have included a fair number of days to take a break.  In fact, there have been 12 days off from practice and training.

This works out to 41 days of work.  That work has been serious.  Archery-wise, shooting recurve bows exclusively, I’ve shot 5026 arrows for an average of 122.58 shots per day.   Not every day yielded 122.58 arrows.  Some days there were low counts other days the quantity was high.

This upcoming week is a recovery week.  There will be less shooting before practice ramps up though mid-October.  At present, this schedule is focused on base and form.

Mid-October holds a point where archery plans will get a major edit.  It will be the end of a quarter of shooting recurve.  It will be time for a fresh assessment and plan revisions.

In the meantime, forcing a short break is tough.

Active Recovery

Learning to shoot an Olympic recurve is a challenge.  It is a challenge that is enjoyable.  It is so much fun it would be easy to over do it and end up with an overuse injury.  A way to help avoid an injury is to schedule recovery days.

Initially, I planned two recovery days per week.  This week I’ve dropped one recovery day and added an active recovery day.

The active recovery still allows for shooting, however, with reduced poundage.   There are also fewer arrows fired for the day.

One a regular day, at the moment and per the plan, I stop shooting after 180 arrows using the Olympic recurve.  For an active recovery I use a simple recurve at 28 pounds.

I only shot 48 arrows during the active recovery session.  Those arrows were shot at 15 yards with a metronome is keeping time.  The idea is to shoot a little faster, no sighting and get the form and shot process matched with the beat of the metronome.

It was fun. No arrows were lost in the process.

Typical Morning With Some Rain

Training and practice started early today – at 0520.  Training starts with 30 minutes of stretching and balance exercises.  (Nothing can start until my dogs are let out then fed) This is followed by breakfast, a run and then archery.  On non-recovery days, they all start in this manner.

Stretching and balance regime is done before breakfast.  This includes 25 exercises that are specifically pit together to be an ad to archery.  It takes 26 to 30 minutes to move through all the positions and stretches.

When that’s complete I have breakfast.  I wait a few minutes, using that time to make up the bed, gather River’s collar (My Labrador running partner), and don my running apparel, before we head out to trails.

The run lasts 30 minutes to 45 minutes depending on the trails we take.  Post run I do a brief workout on with my speed rope.  If you’ve never skipped rope using a speed rope give it a try.  It is a great addition to conditioning. By now I’m about 2 hours or so into my morning and it is time to move to archery.

Each archery practice begins with a plan.  The plan is based on a weekly schedule.  As improvements or goals are reached the plan evolves.  For example, replacing my string meant re-calibrating my sight tape.  That chore is incorporated into yardage practice, which was the plan for yesterday.

Yesterday, I did go beyond the planned arrow count.  My new Fairweather Tab arrived from Lancaster Archery so I added 60 more arrows as part of condition the tab.

The new tab will require a breaking in period.  The Kangaroo leather is still stiff.  So, this morning, the plan archery training plan was amended a bit.  I moved back to 18-meters and spent the morning working with the Fairweather.

As I head out to the range, I pause and let the chickens out of their coop.  They are allowed free range while I’m shooting.  They are rounded up when I return from the range.  The range is about 20 yards away from their coop and I’m hoping my shooting will discourage hawks from swooping down on my chickens. So far, so good.

Practice went well and I landed 98% of my arrows in red or better with 67% in yellow.

Rain had been forecast and the weatherman was correct.  It rained.  There was a light rain falling off and on during practice.  Minutes after I’d finished this morning’s practice it switched to a downpour.

Between morning and afternoon practice I put notes in my logbook and write these posts. I’ll also have lunch and take a short nap.  Then, it is onto the afternoon training schedule.

Tomorrow is scheduled recovery day.  I am considered adjusting my plan and moving this to an active recovery day.  That means I shoot but will use a reduced poundage bow.

This describes my morning training schedule in general. The afternoon has a similar repeat except running is replaced with cycling and there is no jumping rope.

Fairweather Tab Has Arrived

It was a day to calibrate my sight.  My initial string was unraveling and my new 60X string was on the bow.  The yardages were a bit off.  Nothing to do other than recalibrate the sight.

Sighting is dull work.  I do have flags at 5-yard increments that were placed using a tape measure.  That does save time.  The distances are from 20 yards to 75 yards.  When I want to shoot at 70 meters there is a tree than exactly marks the spot.

During the morning I worked out to 40 yards.  In the afternoon I stopped at 55 yards.  At this point I’d shot 120 arrows.  My inexpensive Avalon Classic was about worn through and I could no longer feel in my fingertips of my drawing hand.  I seemed better to finish tomorrow.

While I was shooting the mail arrived.  In it was my Fairweather Tab.  Obviously, I was going to shoot more arrows.

The pressure on fingertips is minimized using this Fairweather Tab. The bow string slides away smoothly. The ring verse an elastic pull to tighten the tab is consistent and doesn’t pinch.

And the new tab is wonderful.  The only minor issue is that the Kangaroo leather is still a little stiff and was pinching my nocks.  Another 60 arrows at 18 meters and the Roo was loosening up.

After 120 arrows and switching to the Fairweather the difference is like night and day compared to the Avalon Classic.  Those last 60 arrows were painless.

The Avalon Classic is a fair starter tab. If you shoot a lot you will be upgrading

The Avalon Classic got me started shooting an Olympic recurve.  It wasn’t a bad tab for a beginner.  The Fairweather tab is a significant upgrade.

But, I suppose in a few days of breaking in this tab I’ll need to start over on the sight calibration.

Odds for Making the Olympic Team in Archery

Depending on how you evaluate archery as an Olympic sport it is considered the 8th hardest and the easiest. (1,2) I think I understand the range; archery is easy compared to some endurance sports but hard when it comes to being able to perform it well.

Archery is a precise sport.  If you are off millimeter boxing as you throw a punch it isn’t going to matter as much.  That punch is likely to land where intended or become blocked or missed because the opponent was able to dodge the punch.  In archery, it you are off aiming a millimeter at 70 meters away that arrow isn’t landing dead center.

On the other hand, archers need to be able to stand extremely still, remain calm during an Olympic competition, and work a process.  Despite it being easy and hard (1,2) for male athletes odds for making an Olympic Team as an archer are 1:162. (3) Making an Olympic basketball team has much tougher odds, 1:45,487. (3)

When we think of Olympians our minds see young athletes.  That isn’t 100% the case.  Some Olympic archers have been silver haired wonders. Galen Spenser, age 64, won Gold medal and Lida “Eliza” Pollock, age 63, two bronze medals in archery as Olympians. (4) Sure, that was last century, but their victories are relative to the sport.  More recently, Butch Johnson has been a not so young Olympic archer who last was on the US Team (his 5th time) at age 53. (5) As a matter of statistic analysis archery is the number one sport where a less young person can make an Olympic Team. (6)

Curious about these numbers I decided to take a look at my odds for making the 2024 Olympic Team in archery. Using a British sport prediction program I entered my personal data. (7) The data input was more specific to anatomy and physiology that many of the other sites I’d reviewed before seeing how I would fare.

Two of the best countries that seek Olympians based on finding the right fit for an individual and sport are the British and the Australians. Once I completed the UK data input I received an output that put me into which sport best matches my phenotype and mental ability. Number one is archer and number two is cycling.

I’ve done the cycling so I looked further into the Brit evaluation.  It suggested my best chances of making an Olympic Team in cycling were as a sprinter or mountain biking.  Thus is relevant since my 1980 aim was to make the Team as a sprinter.

I never did a lot of mountain biking but when I did race mountain bikes I won with one exception.  In fact, I entered one mountain bike race in the pro division and won it.  The one race I lost was in western Pennsylvania on a course that was foolishly technical.  I was 48 racing against 20 year olds who all seemed to have no fear or figured they would heal fast.  I was careful, finished without bleeding, and came in 3rd.

The archery ranking does seem to fit my phenotype.  So, I’ll apply the sport physiology and use scientific training methods and see where this leads. Doing some statistical analysis, at the moment, my odds to make the Olympic Team (today) would be 1:241. * Those odds are not as good as 1:162 but the numbers are specific to me where 1:162 is generalized. Even so, 1:241 odds aren’t bad.

Reference:

1.) https://www.thetoptens.com/hardest-olympic-sports/

2.) https://hypebeast.com/2016/8/easiest-gold-medals-to-win-at-olympics

3.) https://infographicjournal.com/chances-becoming-summer-olympic-athlete/

4) https://www.ijrc.org/en/News-results/These-7-Older-Athletes-Prove-It-s-Never-Too-Late-to-Be-an-Olympian.html

5) https://archeryboss.com/guides-info/olympics-age-limit

6).https://www.verywellfit.com/olympic-sports-youre-not-too-old-for-4075439

7) http://www2.open.ac.uk/openlearn/olympisize_html/?state=7

  • Based on some wild and wide calculations. Even 1:162 doesn’t make the team.  Nor does 1:10.  Nope, it has to be 1:3. But, you have to start somewhere.

The Avalon Classic Finger Tab

In July 2020 I decided to give Olympic Recurve archery a try.  I had no idea how much I’d enjoy switching from compound bow to recurve.  So, I didn’t pay heavily for the gear I purchased.  That purchase arrived on July 22, 2020.

Today is August 11, 2020.  I’ve shot that inexpensive Olympic recurve a fair amount.  I’ve tried not to over do it hoping to avoid an over use injury.  Thus far that has been a success.  My only complaint is my fingertips on my hand used to draw the string. They are numb and hurt from the tissue damage caused from drawing the bow.

The poundage is only 34 pounds.  I started slowly hoping to build strength in my fingertips.  At the beginning I shot only 100 arrows a day, 50 in the morning and 50 in the afternoon.  I’ve also built in recovery days, two per week now down to one day off per week.  My max current daily arrow count is 160.  Some days I’ve shot less when I am working through a “Tournament Test” game. Once a week I play a game where I shoot a home range tournament and the arrow count is lower than my training days.

It has been 62 days since I received the bow.  Already I’ve learned a few things about inexpensive gear.

One, cheap sights suck, two, inexpensive arrows aren’t bad for beginning, and three a low cost finger tab isn’t going to last neither will it give much support to fingers.

The Avalon Classic Finger Tab

The Avalon Classic is a budget finger tab.  I paid $14.99 for mine.  For the price you get an entry-level tab that, for me, hasn’t held up. With just under 5000 arrows shot using the tab it has begun to break down significantly.

While walking to pull arrows I noticed a little screw on the ground.  I had no idea where it came from and could not find a missing screw anywhere on my bow.  The same thing happened a second time.  I discovered the screws had fallen out of the Avalon Classic. It is amazing that I found the at all considering my range is a clearing in the woods behind my house.

The leather is wearing away. Note: I removed the hook for my little finger.

When it rains I continue to shoot.  The two layers of leather on the Classic will slip as they are forced together while drawing.  But worst of all the leather is what you get for $14.99 and wears thin fast. Believe me, go a few days shooting 160 arrows per day and the Avalon Classic will let you know you’ve been practicing.

These two screws fell out. Amazing that I found them on my range

If you are only shooting about 25 to 30 arrows a day this tab might last you 7 months. It is a tab that is inexpensive and an honest place to start.  But, if you work your way up to over 700 arrows per week you’ll be getting a new tab soon.

I’ve ordered a Fairweather tab to replace the Avalon Classic.  I’ll see how that one does while I continue to work my daily arrow count higher.

The Fairweather tab. It costs $74.95. Certainly not inexpensive.

 

Distance Variance

Leaning to shoot a recurve despite having shot a compound bow for 6 years, 7 months and 15 days, before the switch isn’t an automatic transition. There is some transfer of the talent learned compound shooting to recurve.  For example, using the new recurve I am reaching equivalent scores at 18 meters that took 6 months to achieve with a compound bow.  What took months to reach having no experience with archery using a compound bow I matched in hours using a recurve.  Certainly, the recurve precision is not in the ballpark of where I was hitting with a compound bow when I switched.

Now that I am pretty confident the arrows leaving my recurve bow are going to land near the center of a target at 18-meters I’ve begun changing distances.  The maximum distance is just 50 yards.  There are some low hanging limbs, not a problem with a compound bow that will upset the path of arrows that has taken flight from the recurve.  The limb remedy has been arranged and hopefully I’ll soon be able to shoot from 70 meters without plant life interference.

The variance is a good addition to training distances.  Shoot a couple of hundred arrows from 50 yards and move up to 20 yards and that target feels a whole lot closer even if the yellow part is a whole lot smaller.

Beginner’s Luck

Forty-seven days ago my sub $400.00 all in price Olympic recurve rig arrived in the mail.  A few days later I had some arrows that would nock on the string so I could give the bow a try.  Nearly 100% of my switch from compound bow to recurve and focused on a distance of 18-meters.  I’ve just begun to increase yardage.

I’ve got all manner of target to keep practice fun

I’ve had the Olympic recurve for 46 days.  Twelve of those days have been recovery days.  No point in over doing it right from the start. So, I’ve actually practiced with the bow 34 times.

Even at 18-meters I’m not that good. Just 48.35 of my arrows land in the 9 or 10 ring at the moment.  I’m still learning. But, 18-meters can become awfully routine so I’ve been moving around.

60-meters is a decently long shot for a beginner

On this practice I began at 60 meters.  The Olympic recurve, since I am a beginner, had low poundage limbs, 34-pounds.  Arrows shot from 60 meters fly a while before smacking into a target.

Beginner’s luck!

I thought shooting from a longer distance from my target might improve my percentage of nine and ten strikes.  Nope, still hanging in around 50%. It, however, was fun to make some long shots.