IBO World Championships – Vendors

Following the 2014 IBO World Championships my only complaint was related to the poor quality of manufactures’ representatives on hand to support their booths. This year, vendor representatives remained rather sad. If you were in NY, perhaps, you too noticed that the sales people often seemed dull and unresponsive or basically full of their self importance.

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For decades I was in business practice at an executive level. The last business I was associated with I was an executive VP and Chief Medical Officer. You might think, “Well, you were over the science and medical group, you don’t really understand business.” You’d be wrong; I also have a law degree and completed an accounting program. Of the things where I have an expertise, business (sales and marketing) is an area where I am very strong. This is why I could retire at 57 and can shoot a bow full time.

The manner in which many of sales representatives spoke to customers (archers) at the IBO was appalling. The vendor representatives were often arrogant to rude or both. Many seemed uninterested and worked to cut conversations short.

During my working career (not that shooting isn’t work when you do it 6 days a week and travel nearly every week to compete) our sales and marketing team did things differently. Our booth representatives had goals to achieve, products to highlight, results to share, individuals to meet and new relationships to cultivate. I’m not certain I witnessed a lot of that sort of activity at the tournament. I’m am certain I watched a lot of rudeness from company reps directed to customers (archers).

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Well, you might think that the IBO World Championship isn’t exactly a business trade show like the ATA.  OK, let’s grant that train of thought.  I’ll match the IBO vendors with Ironman vendors.  At the  Ironman World Championship there were probably 10 times as many vendors compared to the IBO on the Big Island of Hawaii.  At every booth athletes (customers) were treated with great respect.  The sales people went out of their way to see that every competitor was treated like a champion.  Too many of the vendors at the IBO acted like they were doing athletes a favor to get off their butts and answer a question.  In fact, many didn’t bother getting off their butts.

Granted, there were some great company reps at several of the booths. Still, there were a surprising number of booths staffed by people that made me ‘not’ want to purchase that manufacturers products.  To be sure,  I remained smiling and pleasant regardless of how poorly good manners were reciprocated. What was more difficult was keeping my mouth shut when I witnessed rudeness to others.

There are plenty of archery vendors. Some are better than others when it comes to the treatment of the athletes that compete in this sport. Seriously, though, there were some very bad company representatives at this major tournament.

Travel Pains

When I left the medical/business world I was happy to leave the traveling behind.  Then, I traveled every week and one weekend per month.  These weren’t short trips.  I had an office in Boston and in Jerusalem – as in Israel. I lived in Easton, Maryland at the time.

During the last two decades where I’ve conducted business or been part of a medical congress I traveled to nearly every country in Europe, as well as many countries in Asia-Pacific, Australia and the middle east. I’ve also traveled to every State in America except Alaska – I did fly over it often. I’ve been to Canada and parts of South America as well as the Caribbean. Some places where better than others.  All meant stays in hotels – frequently long stays in hotels.

When we sold the business, a medical company (Oridion Medical), I thought my traveling days were behind me. Then, I took up archery.

I wrote this from a hotel room in Olean, NY.  It was August 6th and by car I have traveled 12,138 miles to compete in archery tournaments.  The travel still is about the same, the income is vastly different. Fortunately, I can afford the expense (thanks in part to my prior travel). What is bad is being away from my wife, my dogs, and my home on the water.

We’ve been considering buying an RV for 2016 so we can all travel together. That might be an adventure. Then, maybe it would be a headache in the long run.  Looking forward to 2016, I can foresee a lot more travel.

The Last Hoorah for 2015 in Plymouth

August 1st was the last 3D competition of 2015 for the Down East Archery Collation. The club sponsoring the shoot was the Roanoke Archery Club in Plymouth. Like all other competitions, I arrived early and ready to play the ‘find a group’ game.

It didn’t take long before I recognized a fellow I’ve shot with in the past. He’s a Marine that drives up from Camp Lejeune. Typically, he too is trying to connect with other shooters.   When I asked if he had a group he replied he was waiting on another guy and that I could join them.

When other guy showed up and I was hoping we could get on the range. Some of these events can take a very long time if you don’t get on the course early. The other guy didn’t have the same appreciation for time. He was interested in talking. During his socializing he’d increased the size of our group to 5 – not good.

Looking around, I spied group of two. Immediately, I offered to reduce the load on our five and begged into the group of two. The shooting duet welcomed me and it turned out to be a very lucky move.

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Our band moving from target to target

The new group was a father shooting with is 12-year-old (“Going on 13”) daughter. Along with them they had an entourage of: Mama, Granddaddy, Grandmama, and brother. Adding me made us a band of seven with only three shooters.

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They’re not shy about making shots difficult in Plymouth. Yes, the black boar is down those shadows

Mama was the official scorekeeper. Our trio of archers held a rapid pace moving over the targets. Before we’d finished, I felt almost like a cousin to this family. It was very enjoyable getting to spend time with those folks.

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We told her, she didn’t have to stand on the log. At 12, going on 13, it’s all a game.

As we approached the final target, I passed my friend, the Marine, moving slowly in the opposite direction. His group was going to be on the range a very long time.

Back at the clubhouse, I turned in my scorecard, ate a slice of hot pizza and loaded up for the drive home. Driving home I took a slight detour to visit historic Plymouth. Part of the fun of attending archery tournaments is the journey. I was glad I’d gotten though the tournament so fast, it meant I wasn’t rushed to get home and got to see a little of Plymouth.

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The CSS Albemarle (Ironclad replica).

Latest Website Stats

I check this site through a number of services about once a month.  Today, I pulled this data following a search on Goggle.  Certainly, I understand that much of what I write isn’t top shelf literary work.  However, I know I am like many of the folks that read this site – someone with a dream.

The difference is that I am sharing this experience, going from a novice archer to a professional.  August marks my second year of shooting.  Next week I’ll be back at the IBO World Championships.

Last year I competed as an amateur.  This year, I’ll shot in the pro division.  Tomorrow is my last practice tournament until next Friday –  day 1 of the World Championships.

At the World’s I am not competing in the Senior Pro Class.  I’m 60 and could have selected that division.  But, I decided to really put it on the line and shoot against the younger men.

I’ve kept a record of this adventure which has been followed by many readers.  Here are the stats from this morning:

“Puttingitontheline.com seems to be quite trustworthy website, it is 1 year old. The website was registered by and has its servers in United States. The site is ranked 5,286,829 on the Alexa list of Top websites by visitors.” (There are about 250,000,000 active websites)

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Now, write about it

Burning Strings

When I bought my first compound bow in August of 2013 I asked, “How long will this strings last?” The string looked complex and expensive compared to the string on my recurve. The salesman, with all the confidence and authority he could muster said, “These strings last a year or two.”

That seemed to be a reasonable amount of time until the string needed replacing. I bought a Mission Riot expecting to go back to a recurve bow with a few months. Since that day, nearly two years ago, I’ve not shot a recurve. The Mission Riot has been replaced. And I’ve burned though six bow strings.

Strings don’t last as long as promised by the confident salesman. In the “Coach’s Corner” of the second quarter 2015 issue of Archery Magazine Bernie Pellerite answers the question: When should I replace my string?

Coach Pellerite writes that a string should be replaced every two years or when it is starting to fray. The string on my bow is beginning to fray. The bow is new – about 6 weeks old.

Coach Pellerite further mentioned that a bowstring is good for, on average, 3000 – 5000 shots. This means that a string should last me about two to three months months.

Coach Pellerite’s answer certainly makes more sense than “These strings last a year or two.” His answer also means I am probably not changing string as often as I should.

Yardage, Practice Performance, Measurements, and Shooting Class: An Objective Review

At the IBO World Championship the maximum distance from the target in the Pro Hunter Class is 45 yards. The equipment is the same as for the hunter class. In this class there is no distinction for age.

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Yep, this about sums it up

Other classes allow for age separation. The pro senior class has no restriction on sights, stabilizers or style of release. The maximum distance is 50 yards and the age to shot in this class is 50 years or older.

There is a category for archers that are 60 – 69 years old, is the Master Class. My age would put me in that class. In the Master Class the maximum distance is 45 yards, while the senior hunter needs only shoot from 35 yards and has an entry age beginning at 50 years old.

It is all somewhat confusing. To reduce the confusion and meet a personal goal I began shooting in the Pro Class. This means shooting further from the target – simple; not confusing. Generally speaking it means shooting against a more skilled archer.

The more skilled archer is a generalization. In the amateur class I’ve seen scores that suggested an archer should be in the pro class. Their reasoning for remaining an amateur could range from the added expense to shoot pro to simply not wanting to fool with that class. For me, shooting in the pro class meant working faster to become better at competing against archers who, at a minimum, figure they are professionals.

Shooting from the stake furthest away from the target, even a few yards, does make a difference. That difference, however, isn’t too outrageous. For example, at a recent ASA State Qualifier the average distance for the men’s bow hunter class was 29 yards and the average distance for the pro class was 36 yards. I’ve considered that difference as part of a study to determine where I should be focusing my practice.

When I shoot where the average distance to the target is 42 yards my average score (over 20 shots) is 8. The difference between my estimation of the yardage and the measured yardage to the target was 1.2 yards during this experiment. The maximum distance was 52 yards for this set of values.

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It’s just this easy

When the average distance to the target is 24 yards, my average score was 10 points per target. Not a perfect score (all 11s would be perfect) but the shots were not easy. By that I mean 45% of the shots (for both the long sample and the short distance sample) were aimed at a turkey or a wolverine. Both of these are smaller targets with smaller center shots. Judging distance when closer to the target was slightly better with a variance of 1 yard per target or 0.2 yards better than when aiming against the target further away. (For these data only, 40 targets)

In all cases my equipment remains a short stabilizer and fixed pins on my sight.

The data I’ve collected over the past several days of shooting led me to a better understanding of my current performance level. As a full time archer working to earn a living shooting a bow and arrow it is important to evaluate performance though a detail statistical analysis. This type of review can provide objective information that can be used to focus practice.

Using stats to set a goal

I like studying number and I enjoy statistics. In all sports, athletes, coaches and fans measure performance. However, in archery a number of shooters have advised me not to look at my scores.

That advice hasn’t taken hold. Some say, “The score will get into your head and make you miss your shot.” In my brief experience with competitive shooting there’s not been a tournament where I didn’t either know my exact current score of had a really good idea of my score.

I think it is useful to practice knowing my points total. This way in real competition I will be accustom to dealing with my numbers.

Stats give me a solid reference to gauge my shooting. Over the past few days I’ve been recording detailed evaluations of my shooting and analyzing the data. What I observed is improvement based on a general understanding of where I was weak.

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This suggests (also this isn’t one of my worst shots) I needed work on longer distances

In three days I’ve brought a falling score up by two points while increasing the mean distance per shot. My goal is to increase the mean value by one more point over the next week and hold it there.

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Two days later, further away and a better shot.

All athletes study their performance. Looking at the fine details of scoring and where the numbers indicate work is needed is done by 100% of professional athletes. Personally, I see the value in making mathematical measures then setting numeric goals for performance based on the results.

Day Two of Analyzing 3D Stats

A statistical analysis of my scores during practice on Wednesday revealed, as anyone might expect, that the further away from the target the lower the score. So, on Thursday, again,  I increased the overall distance for practice.

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This buck is at 50 yards

Judging yardage isn’t a problem. The difference between what my range finder measured and my eyeball was only 1.6 yards. This was slightly better than Wednesday’s difference of 1.8 yards per target. However, today’s score over 20 targets dropped 5 points to 165 or down to an average of 8.25 points per target. That is a decrease of 0.25 pointers per target.

The primary variable that seems to be associated with the decrease is score is distance. The average distance per target was 35 yards on Thursday, where the average distance on Wednesday was 31.8 yards.

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Mountain lion at 45 yards

Essentially, the further away from the target the lower my score. However, at a maximum distance of 50 yards, center shots are not all that difficult. In fact, if I exclude the two fives for distance greater than forty yards; my average is 8.8 (including an 11 – IBO center shot score – at 48 yards).

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These shots were from 28 (front – 11) and 24 (side – 10) yards.

Interestingly, the average score per target at a distance not greater than 35 yards is 10.3; my early summer average when the maximum distance I shot was 40 yards. Since I’ve begun competing at distance out to 50 yards max there has been a drop in points. With practice and patience and that too will improve.

(All shots using a 7-pin sight and short stabilizer)

Working on improvements

I took a brief warm-up of 21 arrows at 20 yards before moving onto my 3D range this morning. The plan is to focus on 3D with increasing difficulty over longer yardage. I was able to set myself up for some tough shots. My final score proved I’d succeeded with the plan. The intent of the session was to analyze why my 3D scores have dropped over the past six weeks.

The IBO World Championships are only a few of weeks away. During the past several weeks my average score per target has continued to drop. I was at 10.4 points per shot in the early summer and as of today’s morning practice down to 8.5 points per target. Something has changed.

Shooting in the woods I carried a note pad and recorded distance, score, and type of faux animal target.  Returning from practice I did an analysis of the shots and review of each.

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The targets included a bear, wolverine, coyote, turkey (shot from two sides), a buck, and a mountain lion. Since the turkey set-up had two presentations (front and side shot) that gave me 7 targets. I shot twenty arrows in a series, hitting one target then moving to the next, recording the data, until I’d completed 20 shots.

The distance varied from 11 yards to 50 yards. I added the 11-yard shot because short shots seem to be popping in competition. The average for distance for all shots was 31.8 yards with 8 targets over 35 yards. The average distance for the shots over 35 yards was 41.6 yards. Six targets were at 40 yards or greater, max at 50 yards, for an average of 43.5 yards.

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Mountain lion at 50 yards.

Prior to each shot I judged the yardage then compared my distance to that measured using a Simmons range finder. The values were within a maximum variance of 5 yards – one target had that large of a variance. When there was a variance I used the distance I’d guessed rather than the range finder when aiming. On the target yielding a 5-yard difference between my estimation and the Simmons measurement (40 yards my guess, 35 using the Simmons) I shot an 8 the arrow hitting low left an few centimeters out of the 10 ring. The general variance between my eye and the electronic eye was 1.8 yards.

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I ended the session with three fives, a clusters of eights and a fair number of tens and elevens. The higher scores were insufficient to significantly improve the overall score. (It is hard to fix a five)

Review of the fives exposed one major error where I aimed with the wrong pin and shot high. That was a careless mistake that has been plaguing me for months; I’ve done it twice in competition, both times earning a goose egg. There was one clear yardage error where the shot was low but inline with the center 11 (IBO scoring). The third 5 was wide to the right and a poorly executed shot ( I knew it the second the arrow released, all shots using a hinge style release). The average distance for a 5 score was 43 yards.

There were also three 11s and 5 tens. The average distance for these shots was 27.3 yards with a maximum of 42 yards (10 scored). The remainder of 8s led to an average of 8.5 points per targets and a final score of 170. The percentage from perfect, based on a maximum score of 220, is 23% (77% scored),

Overall accuracy seems distance dependent. Right and left error weren’t a significant problem. Up and down was the issue, primarily when judging yardage over longer distances.

Picked Up a Dozen New Arrows

On Wednesday, I picked up the Black Eagle Challenger arrows I ordered a few weeks ago. These arrows aren’t the $5.00 Wal-Mart “ThunderStorm” arrows I used when I began shooting a Mission Riot less than 2 years ago.

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The longer arrow is the “ThunderStorm”

I’ve gone through a lot of arrows during that since August 2013. I’ve also got a pile of arrows I don’t shoot any longer. Black Eagle is the brand that was recommended to me and I accepted the suggestion. One of my friends, Brian Coles, wears a Black Eagle ProStaff shirt during competition. I hope he’s getting his arrows for free. I don’t.

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Brian Coles with another podium finish

Granted, these arrows aren’t  the most expensive on the market. But, fletching, inserts, tips, nocks and shafts add up to a pricey purchase.

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New arrows.

When I raced I got lots of free stuff. In archery, for the moment, I get a few free things, and mostly I get discounts from sponsors.

I suppose many of you archers get major discounts and loads of free products. Since I have to pay; I need to be careful with my purchase. Obviously, I don’t have money to waste on inferior equipment or supplies.

So, unless I find myself in a jam – like running very low on arrows – I’ll do more research on products before I make a purchase and post the results. I did product evaluations on medical devices for decades. It could be interesting what I discover when using a scientific eye to measure products used in this sport.