Just before the start of the second day of shooting during the USA Indoor National Championships in Suwanee, Georgia a friend of mine said, “Your goal should be to have fun.” That wasn’t my goal.
My goals also weren’t to shoot a specific score. I had only two goals. One was to “Shoot every arrow right.”
By that, I mean to go through a perfect process for each shot. When I get it right the arrow lands in the X. When I’m off the arrow lands in the nine ring. When the process is out of control – all bets are off.
As far as having fun, that’s an activity that can occur between ends. Essentially, it amounts to good conversation while waiting to shoot. It helps pass the time of a three and a half hours long tournament. But, it isn’t why I go to tournaments.
No, I don’t go to archery tournaments to have fun. I go to compete against other archers. Oh sure, you’ll say, “You’re there to compete against yourself.” Well, you can do that at home and save the entry fee expense and whatever other costs you incur to compete.
I go to tournaments to compete. Tournaments add a competitive layer of archery I don’t get shooting alone. Yes, I do enjoy it. I also enjoy the friendly conversation with people I know and ones I don’t know during a tournament. It is a great way to make friends. Which comes to my second goal, “To make new friend.”
Where my goals are concerned for that last tournament, I feel I was more successful with the second. As far as having fun, tournaments are a lot more fun when you’re winning. In that regard, this last tournament was fun.
Last year I purchased a bow specifically for target shooting. During practices I’ve had some decent scores with the bow. In tournaments, it has been another story.
Yesterday, during practice, using the target bow, I wasn’t shooting badly. However, I wasn’t shooting what I felt was going to reach my average score. I stopped shooting, took the sight, scope, and stabilizers off the target bow and out it on my 3D bow.
I’ve not shot the 3D bow too often since last year and it took a few ends to get the feel of it with the longer stabilizers. After practice I compared the scores. The non-target bow ended up scoring 5 points higher. While that might not be statistically significant, it could be extremely important in an archery tournament. I’ve lost more tournaments by a point than I care to think about. Heck, I’ve lost three with the same points as the winner. Twice I had the same X-count as the winner as well. Of those, I ended up losing by a one by a single arrow closest to the center shoot off. Another time I lost to the inner X count, and once to a one-arrow X margin. Those were hard loses.
Thus far, in tournaments, I’ve never set a personal best. In other sports competition is where all my personal bests were established. Adrenaline may help in running or cycling, but it isn’t a friend to the archer. In archery, anything than can help to reduce excitement and calm the performer can be a benefit. Maybe going with a different bow that feels a little trustworthier will help over the next two days.
Coming into the Georgia Bowhunter and Archery Association/NFAA Sectional I felt it would be a tight contest. I expected podium places would often come down to the X count and even the inner X. I was right.
I heard the official talking as they were tallying the scores. One commented that, “I think scores like this should be settled by a shoot-off rather than the inner X count.”
I’d gathered at two archers had scored the same points for a 1stplace finish and had the same number of Xs. Choosing the winner was going to come down to the inner X count. Essentially, which archer’s Xs were, by a judgment call, closer to the center based on how a group counted the center or inner Xs. Little did I know.
For the second tournament in two weeks I’m busted down a level based on Xs. Well, in this case, the inner Xs. My score and the ultimate winner’s score were the same, our X count, the same and while the inner X score wasn’t posted, I must assume he had more inner Xs than me –it would have taken only one. (A measurement of less than a millimeter would do it). It is a hard way to lose.
No points separated the 1stand 2ndplace (or Xs) and only one point between that score and 3rd. It was tight.
Day 1: Things where going really well. Then, they weren’t.
If you are unfamiliar with an NFAA Indoor competition in archery, archers standing 20 yards away, shoot at 5 targets per end. In other words, archers shoot 5 arrows, stop, wait, score, wait some more, shoot 5 more arrows, and repeat until 60 arrows have been shot. For two lines of archers that takes about three and a half hours. Oh, then all of it is repeated the next day.
The maximum score is 300 hundred points per day in this type of tournament. 300 isn’t an uncommon score. Winning typically comes down to the X count. And, the X count is often divided into inner X versus outer X. The arrow landing inside the middle of the X ring and not touching the outer edge of the X ring counts as an inner X and is scored by putting a circle around the X on the scorecard. Sometimes, the scores are the same, the X count is the same and the winner is decided from the count of those inner Xs (The archer coming closest to the exact center more often than the opponent.)
I was rolling along heading for a 300 when this arrow seemingly decided to shoot itself. Now, that happens a good bit with me and today was no different. All the other times those independently acting arrows ended up in a good place. But, this one time, well the arrow being somewhat new remains untrained and I lost a point. Believe me, 299 is not the score I was aiming for.
Of course, I had about 15 more arrows to shoot when the “event” occurred. And sure enough everything was fine after that occurrence. Yep, in archery one mistake can screw up your entire day.
Saturday was cold enough for a 3D competition. It was 43°F and a little windy. I’d debated whether to shoot the 3D event or run a 5K. 3D won because I forgot to enter the race.
The 3D course was excellent. The targets were thoughtfully placed. But, I’m yet to find a group to consistently shoot with during a 3D tournament here in Georgia. So, I ended up shooting alone and doing the fun shoot because I had no scoring partners. I can do that on my property.
There was another fellow shooting alone and I thought about joining with him. As I approached, I read his body language and decided against asking. It is almost always awkward to ask, “Can I shoot with you?” So, I shot for fun.
That fellow did speak to me once. We were one adjacent targets. I was looking for the animal. Speaking from recent experience he said, “There!” while pointing an arrow at the target for which I’d been searching. I replied with equal vocal conservation, “Thanks!”
Indeed, the course was fun. It was nice to shoot a course where the animals are not all sitting at the end of a straight open corridor as far away as possible. It makes the shots more interesting.
I shot in the hunter class. After the shot I recorded the distance. The average target was at 32 yards with the shortest at 21 yards and the longest in that class at 43 yards.
During the time on the range it began to sleet a little. The wind picked up a little and it remained cold. As the morning progressed more people arrived. By the time I was at target 15 there was another group of 4 shooting behind me at target 4. One of those archers was wearing short pants. Beyond that fact, you can draw your own conclusions.
I did ask him, “Why are you wearing shorts in this weather?” He said, “I wear shorts unless the temperature gets down into the 20s.” He added, “I don’t like the way long pants feel.”
I left the range a little disappointed. I didn’t shoot the score I’d hoped ending up with a 191. It could have been worse. While in flight two arrows lost vanes and went forward a tad on the wobbly side. One flew left hitting an eight and the other when high and left landing a five. In addition, I earned three more 8s, and only two 12s to compensate. Every other arrow, 12 of them, were 10s. If I’d not been shooting for fun this would have dropped me into second in the hunter class, the top score being 202.
Shooting 3D in 2019 is beginning to look as if it will only be done for fun. With the Georgia ASA requiring two qualifying tournaments to shoot the State ASA 3D I’ll probably not fool with it. It comes down to not enough reward for the money and time to meet the addition qualification requirements. That, and I don’t think there’s a reason to qualify twice. (If this is incorrect, maybe someone will let me know)
Thanks to the folks at Social Circle Ace for putting out a great range!
Ever get that really tired feeling? You know, you feel like you need a good long rest?
Well, sir, that is exactly where I am today. Monday is typically an easy day for training. Sunday, if I’m not in a tournament, is my official rest day. This week I am taking off Sunday and Monday. That is except for the morning run. Aside from that run no other exercise. I didn’t touch a bow.
If you shoot over 36,000 arrows a year, run over 1000 miles, ride a bike over 5000 miles and head to the gym 78 times in a year, occasionally it catches up with you. While this may sound like a lot, the running and cycling are small potatoes compared to what I was doing before I picked up a bow.
Here’s what I know, as I’ve aged it take me longer to recover and rest is good. There’s a time to listen to your body and amend a training plan. Don’t abandon the plan, but a small adjustment may be dividends later.
In all honestly, I can’t recall the last time I shot a seven. That is, if I don’t think about last Sunday at the Georgia Southern University Sport Shooting Center. And there it was as big as life, arrow 1, end 1, points 7. (The next two arrows were fine)
Shooting one bad arrow doesn’t necessary mean you can’t manage a good finish in an archery tournament. Nope, now that I’ve written that sentence, no –if you shoot one bad arrow you’ll pretty much be done, at least against the boys I compete against.
If you shoot a bad shot, your only reprieve is hoping: 1) you don’t do it again, and 2) everyone else in our division returns the favor. You really only have control over item number 1.
There are quite a few fellas here in Georgia I know will be stubborn with their points. We all get 600 point to start; it becomes a matter of how many you can keep.
Sure enough, neither did much to return my favor. On the line that morning there was one guy that I knew would be tough – Bob.
Sure enough, Bob was tough. He tried to help me a couple of times and we finished tied. He beat me on the X count. As we were turning our scores in he asked about the other shooters in our division. (Bob was looking at a Gold medal)
There was still a whole bunch more shooting before any victory could be claimed. I answered Bob’s inquiry about the other archers, “There’s David from over in Atlanta,” I told him, “He could easily outscore us.”
I’ve been watching David at other tournament. He’s hard to miss; he’s about six feet and seven inches tall. The rumor is he was a competitive archer for 27 years, took a little time off, and started back training last year. Or he was a competitive archer 27 years ago and has picked up the sport again. Either way he can shoot a bow. Sure enough, he shot on the last line of the day and took the Gold.
I know David and Bob are great archers. I’ve seen them shoot, looked at their past scores and realize that giving them any points isn’t smart. Despite every other arrow I shot being either a nine or a ten, I ended up third.
It was a miserable day of practice at least weather-wise. Typically, on these types of days I drive to Social Circle and practice inside. We’re down to one vehicle for transportation at the moment so I’m staying close to home. Hence, no driving to Social Circle to practice.
Two things to deal with, a major tournament this weekend and a weather cold blast. Skipping practice is not an option and neither is being warm.
To make matter worse or add insult to injury a light rain fell during the morning practice. I considered stopping but didn’t. The first 30 arrows were just so close and I could feel I was just off but couldn’t figure it out. I decided to continue in the rain until I worked though whatever problem it was that had me missing.
During the next 30 arrows my shots improved. I stayed out, in the rain, because what had been missing felt like it had returned or at least was returning. When I finished I was cold, wet, but seemed to have found a good spot.
The afternoon, the rain had stopped and I switched to a 5-spot. There’s been enough yellow, red and blue staring at me from down range. The blue and white was a nice break. There’s another State Championship in two weeks and the 5-spot is the target. So, aside from a visual break it was good to see how I’m shooting against the giant X ring.
A day later, record cold temperatures are the rage with the weather people. I’ve also emptied the propane tank on the outdoor heater. Yes, it is cold and windy. But, going out in the cold is better than sitting inside all day. Even if I go to an indoor range, I’ve spent time outside. I’ll run outside nearly every morning. I have gear for all weather. Sure, sometimes it is cold and sometimes it is hot. You simply deal with it.
You know, when it is freezing cold outside (or when it isn’t that warm), I’ve never needed the local weather person to explain how I should wear warm clothing when I go out. I suppose when the weather person makes that recommendation they’re feeling as if they’re being either helpful or smart. I really don’t know if they’ve achieved either.
I’d say it was freezing outside practicing at 18-meters this morning, but it wasn’t that warm. I didn’t get all that cold, I’d worn multiple layer of clothing, had the outdoor propane space heater running, a glove on my bow hand, and pocket full of hand warmers. One bonus, the wind wasn’t blowing.
Nevertheless, my practice scores were not anything worth sharing. It was a weak day. It wasn’t a physical weakness, I felt pretty good coming off two days of rest.
Typically, one day is enough for a break. The past few weeks have been intense so two days off was the prescription for recovery. I’d recovered.
It wasn’t even mental weakness. My brain felt good. No sir, shooting while wearing enough clothes to stay warm changes things.