What The Heck?

What the heck?  Seriously, what is up with these numbers?

Shooting an Elite Victory 37X with 60-pound limbs adjusted to around 50 pounds seemed a bit like pushing the limit on the bow regarding how much weight to take off the limbs.  I changed limbs and went to 50 pound limbs set for 50 pounds.  I expect to see an improvement in my scores.

The results weren’t what I expected.

The final ten practices using the weight reduced 60 pound limbs shooting a vertical 3-spot at 18-meters my average score was 580. The new 50-pound limbs, after collecting 10 sixty-arrow practice sessions the average score is 565. The arrows were the same as was the release.  The difference is extremely significant, unpaired t-test were t= 3.969 (this means the difference is real).

Shooting a higher average, the 580 score, the standard deviation was 12.07.  Shooting the lower average, the 565 score, the standard deviation was 2.89. The lower score is very consistent.  This suggests the shooting variance is similar on most of the shots.

The variance, however, is currently outside of sight adjustments.  Reviewing the misses, the arrows are evenly distributed around the X. In both sets of numbers there are no single arrow scores below 9.

Time to take the bow and the archer to get evaluated.

It’s Not What You Know…

Mama often told me, “It’s not what you know, and it’s who you know.”  There’s a lot of truth to what Mama said.

When I worked a day job I knew a lot about my field of employment.  Academically, I’d earned a doctorate and a law degree.  Even so, I never let my schooling get in the way of my education (M. Twain.). Along the way, as I piled up college credits, if some credentialing exam’s testing requirements had been satisfied by my study I took the test.  I piled up a lot of credentials as a result.  Most I never needed.

Over the years I built up a lot of knowledge and made a lot of contacts.  Those contacts eventually led me to a very satisfying career.  Without the contacts I’d still have had a very enjoyable career in academia but not one that could have been as richly rewarding.  As it turned out I was able to retire at age 57.

The early retirement offered me a chance to work at a sport.  At 57 cycling or triathlons would have only been fun pastimes. Archery, which I stumbled upon by chance, meant if I got good enough I could earn a few dollars.

I have earned a few dollars here and there.  Those rewards have been exclusively shooting league events.  Among them all I’ve had to compete against archers often younger than my children.

In my age group I’ve done well at the NFAA and USA Archery events as a non-professional.  USA Archery, of course, doesn’t have cash on the line.   The ASA and IBO offer cash winning as does the NAA.  There is also money available via contingency programs.  However, the big money is set-aside for the young professional archers not the Master/Senior level athletes.

Shooting, as a Senior Pro and winning everything wouldn’t yield the return of a young professional winning one of the major events.  On the bright side archery is not as age impacted as other sports. On the down side, all the young pros are really good.  In other words, once you hit 50 and if you shoot outside of the Pro division you’re not going to reap much reward. That’s too bad if you consider most competitive archers are over 50. (1)

There’s the potential for an older archer to become a “Pro” Staff shooter.  I have no idea to the extent of support a “Pro” staffer receives.  I tried that pathway with minimal success.  I mostly got support in the way of discounts on equipment. One company, that had known me as a triathlete, gave me some free stuff.

During a tournament I learned an opponent was a “Pro” Staffer with one of the companies where I held a “Pro” staff position.  I further learned he’d received hundreds of dollars of free gear where I had been awarded a 25% discount.  The gifted archer has never beaten me.  But, he knows somebody at the company whereas I know no one at the company.  Mama was correct.

Reference:

  1. hitting-the-bullseye-reel-girl-archers-inspire-real-girl-archers-full

My Goat Broke

A few days ago my TRU Ball Goat release malfunctioned.  The hinge seemed to lock in place and failed to release.  TRU Ball / Axcel will have the release in a day or so in order to make repairs and return it to me.  In the meantime, I’ve been shooting a Tru-Fire thumb release during practice.

Busted

After the Goat broke I first shifted to an old Scott Longhorn Pro Advantage release.  The rubber band that helps bring the hinge into the proper location to load an arrow busted after a few shots.  I jiggled and flipped the release until the hinge had aligned with the little half moon to make ready, but that soon became old.

The next release in the trial queue is a Scott Black Hole.  I skipped it and went to the Tru-Fire thumb.

The Tru-Fire thumb isn’t a bad release other than the model I own has no method to make the release hot or cold.  You can move the knob for the thumb position, but the sensitivity is set.

I use the thumb method to trigger the Goat.  But, I use back tension to activate the trigger.  I feel more comfortable not using exclusively a hinge style back tension even though I initially shot that way.  The Tru-Ball needs a rather significant depression on the thumb trigger to release as opposed to a whisper of movement, like with the Goat,  making the switch a real challenge.

The Tru-Fire release seems to be more of hunting tool versus a pure target release.  Even though I can practice with it the groups are obviously less tight.  Points-wise the difference (averaged over 3 days using the True Fire; 360 arrows scored after 12 arrows warm-up.  A total of 396 arrows shot after sighting on day 1) is 21 points lower than with the Goat against a vertical 3-spot at 18 meters.

Among the arrows shot using the Tru-Fire there were no scores less than 9 points.  But, hitting the center 10 at 18-meters has been a frustrating activity. I decided to look deeper into the problem.

I went back to my data collected over the years when I used the Tru-Fire prior to getting the Goat.  The larger data set showed that the points difference is only 12 points over 100s of recorded scores for both releases. Twelve points is a lot!

The Goat does work better for me.  I expect once it is returned it will one day malfunction, again.  There are a lot of parts and adjustment points on the release.  It isn’t unforeseeable it will fail.

This year I’m on track to shoot around 34,500 arrows in practice.  All my equipment is put to test over than many arrows.  This is a main reason I wish I had multiple bows set up exactly the same, an abundance of arrows,  and duplicate releases.

Clearly, I’ve got to reestablish the feel for the Tru-Fire while I wait for the Goat to be returned.  That is one option. The other option is to grab the old Scott Black Hole and see how that performs.

If Your Butt Is Big Enough

The evening indoor league begins either this week or next.  I called to check, because I don’t know.  I’ll need to call back.  When I called the fellow that organizes the shoots wasn’t yet at work.

I also don’t know what targets will be selected on any given league night. I do know the distance, it will be 18-meters.  At 18-meters there are a number of target options.

I’ll just practice on all of them. Sooner or later I’ll need to shoot well against whichever piece of paper is hanging down range.

If the butt fits…

Time for a Break

I’d planned a short break between the final outdoor tournament in indoor training.  The day after the last outdoor event I set my practice range up for 18-meters.  Once it was arranged, resistance was futile.

All week I’ve shot and shot. I’ve shot morning and afternoon.  Through record breaking temperatures I sweated and shot.  In addition, I stretched every morning, ran everyday, went cycling (during the hottest part of the day), mowed, cut, and trimmed property, planted 8 trees, and completed daily chores.

On Saturday (a week after the two-day outdoor tournament began), after stretching and running, I headed out to the range. Twenty-seven arrows later I was heading off the range. There was no doubt it is break time.

Time to Start Indoor Practice

The last of the  Georgia outdoor contests is a part of 2019 archery history.  Perhaps, those events where I competed won’t make their presence known on Wikipedia. Locally, there’re a lot of folks looking forward to practicing in a climate-controlled environment.

Shooting indoors is a nice break from shooting outside if you can afford the range fees and have time to travel back and forth. Many of us are content to practice 18 meters in backyard nature-controlled conditions.

It is still hot here in Georgia with the high today expected to reach 98°F (37°C for most of the world).* So, 18-meter practice for me begins hot and moves indoor during December though February.  Along with that move goes $180.00 for the three months ($60.00 per month for anyone without a calculator or cell phone).  It is pay the price or freeze; north Georgia feels cold to me during the winter so I’ll fork out the bucks.

Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to the indoor season. I know by the time we’re done with it I’ll be hankering to shoot outside.

  • Note:  The temperature reached 99 degrees breaking the old record high temperature of 95 degree!

Sponsors, Hunger Games, and a Little Cheddar

Using GoDaddy.com I check data on this website.   I also check sources that provide a test on safety and ranking.  (Need to ensure Puttingitontheline hasn’t been linked to those more nefarious sites out there.) This site is visited often and folks take their time trying to read what I’ve written.  I appreciate your efforts.

I read your paper and understood

For the most part you are not too critical regarding my writing skills.  I’ve written a lot despite my lack of sentence or paragraph construction ability.  You might even find it surprising to learn several of my “scientific” papers actually earned unsolicited awards.  Then, science types not English or writing majors reviewed those papers.

What is it they say about a fitting shoe?

Once a reader slammed my sentence structure on Facebook.  I accepted his criticism and requested he send me an example of his writing so I could learn a thing or two.  I never heard back.  The article he slammed is one of the more read and shared works.

I kept the angry review posted on Facebook for several years. If I’d get writers block I read it, have a laugh, and write something. There are many errors online that can be blamed on spellcheck and haste.  Others are simply the result of failed education.  My mad (I’d assumed he was mad based on the language he used) critic seemed to have reached his limit with either prose or me.  (Shared wisdom of Mark Twain: “I never let my schooling get in the way of my education. With that we are of the same mind despite his being long gone, perhaps missing before his demise or he was just more enlightened. The point is, the critic seemed un-educated, perhaps from a lack of opportunity or lack of effort. Both conditions can be overcome by trying.)

Despite most photos we see, Twain was not always a grey haired witty geezer.

Another obsessive-compulsive reader seems to live for typos.  One here never slips his examinations.  I’ll hear from him as soon as I post this writing. I write a lot and there are errors to support those works.

There’s a book and essay for sale here.  The book will have a few areas that might bog readers down. But, it is short and you won’t hurt yourself reading it. The book does have a paragraph or two that caused me to laugh when I read them.  Then, I knew what I was thinking when I wrote them.

The essay, while short, is a nice read.  You can buy both for under $10.00.  (Go to the Products tab to make your purchase) Do so, I’ll appreciate it. (Those last five words are one of those sentence things to excite my OCD reader.)

GoDaddy says there are about 26,000 visitors using this sight per month. That is a reason I keep writing, but not the exclusive driver.    One data site claims Puttingitontheline.com “shows us how good and useful this site is.” (1) They further had a link tempting me to recruit their support to monetize Puttingitontheline. It reminded me of a ProStaff agreement.

Alexa currently ranks Puttingitontheline.com in the top 1% of all websites.  I’m number 18 million out of 1.5 billion. Really there are only 200 million ‘active’ websites, so Puttingitontheline is among the top 9% of all ‘active’ sites. (2,3) Still, not bad.

There are a few similar websites that are more popular than this one.  Prime, the archery manufacturer, is listed as one of those sites.  They occupy a slightly higher spot on the Internet hierarchy. Archerydude.com is another site that out ranks Puttingitontheline. It is a pretty nice site with loads of commercial connections. I wonder if Archerydude is netting any cheddar. Those sites showed up in the data analysis because they had similar content as programmed in the algorithm used for the comparison.

Puttingitontheline isn’t a moneymaker.  I hope that changes.  There were “Sponsors” once on the site.  None of them truly sponsored anything.  They didn’t pay for the space.  One of the “Sponsor” top dogs claimed he was only getting about 30 referrals from my site to his per month. He let the numbers slip during our conversation. We were talking about having the company pay a little for the support and exposure they were getting form Puttingitontheline. He declined the invitation.

I estimated his company’s sales per month from those referrals to be $2250.00 or $27,000 annually. Again, the figures here are based on slipped information. The company isn’t a Wall Street titan and has an annual revenue of under $400k. The referrals meant Puttingitontheline helped add 6.75% to their earnings.  He didn’t want to share any of that so I dropped them as well as everyone else.

I’ve continued to follow the $400k company since I released them.  Their reported sales have decreased 9%. That might not mean anything because in general archery equipment sales have been dropping since 2016. (4)

Jennifer Lawrence showing us how to shoot a bow

Catching Fire, that Hunger Games movie came out in November of 2013. (5) The last of the series hit the box offices in 2015. (6) There was a peak during the Hunger Games series in archery sales. After that archery sales have settled back down to the pre-Hunger Games growth curve, if you could call it a curve. But, $27,000 is still $27,000. (The chronological drop in sales of the subject company did not line up with the movie sequence.  It did line up with their absence from Puttingitontheline.com)

Jennifer Lawrence does look better with a bow (and without one)

What I need is a movie about an old fellow that picks up a bow and becomes some kind of comic book hero to the Social Security demographic.  Maybe the hero is a wizard, like Gandalf from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, except the action takes place in the future – not Middle Earth. The Gandalf-ish character uses a magical bow to fling magical arrows saving those distressed in an apocalyptic age. (Literary trivia note:  The Hobbit was written in 1937 and has never been out of print.)

“A bow and arrow? Never!”

Should that movie develop with success the bow manufactures will reap rewards when all the silver haired movie goers decide to give archery a try. Pharma would see an uptake in beta-blocker sales and maybe some of those ex-ProStaff sponsors might fork out a few bucks for a link from here to their site.

Champions

Reference:

(See those references? I don’t just make it up – not all of it.)

Winning

In 2010 at the Ironman World Championship Mirinda Carfrae won setting a new course record.  In 2009 she’d set a new marathon record for the course. In 2009 she lost the Ironman World Championship to Chrissie Wellington. In 2010 Wellington didn’t race.

Mirinda Carfrae

During an interview Carfrae was asked whether her 2010 victory seemed less meaningful because Wellington hadn’t raced.  She replied, “You can only race against those who show up.”

Recently, I won a State field championship.  I knew whom I was shooting against having competed against them a number of times. Some of the guys I’d shot against in the past showed up, some didn’t.

Chrissie Wellington

Overall, the event was not well attended and for some champions they were alone in their division. “You can only shoot against those who show up.”

A friend of mine just won a State championship.  He was solo in his division.  He shot well and deserved the win compared to past scores.  He loves to shoot.  Seemingly the shooting is more important than the winning.  He often doesn’t stick around for his award after a tournament. He pretty much shoots then hits the road before the awards ceremony.  He never brags about his victories. It is more likely he’d complain we’d not performed as well as he’d hoped.  The tournament isn’t a matter of winning, it is a matter of shooting.

Competing in a tournament where you are the only athlete in your class has got to be a let down. Nevertheless, you compete by doing your best;  next time you might not be alone in the field.

In my division the field is never empty in my experience.  In fact, if doesn’t matter if I’m competing in archery, running, cycling, duathlon or triathlons.  There are always others who have shown up to win.   There is always someone else to push. Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t.

There’s also someone that says, “We’ll you had fun.” If I earned a second or third, it really wasn’t as much fun as a first.  Overall, I have not won more times than I have won. Winner is hard.

In general, I compete to better my results. (And to win) That can be done simply by shooting in the backyard.  There are  incredible archers that won’t compete because they refuse to pay the price to play.

I had a friend, a cyclist, who in his 60s could train with and do well against younger athletes of a national and international caliber.  I asked him why he didn’t race.  He said, “I don’t have time for that.” Sadly, this athlete expired in his 80s.  He was still riding his bike days before he kicked the bucket. His position on not having time for a ‘race’ makes a bit of sense to me now that I’m in my 60s. Racing is fun, but it is expensive and takes a lot of time.

Archery is expensive.  The major tournaments can be very pricey.  Archery, however, costs a lot less than a triathlon. Archery prices for competitions are about the same as running events.  Some of the local events cost about the same as a 5K.  The bigger events cost about the same as a marathon. Regional or State level tournaments are in the ballpark of a 10K or half-marathon.

On the other hand I know athletes new to a sport competing where frequently contests have low turn outs for minor events. They, the new folks, have won such contests.  Some, when they do win, they pronounce themselves heroes. Sure they’re proud of their victory. But, no one else showed up. Worse their results are often made available for everyone to admire.  Seriously, too often such data should be held in silence.

There are, too, athletes that fall way short of the prize and should be celebrated.  A friend recently lost at the IBO World Championship. He didn’t even make the top 10. However, his performance was so close. If you are a competitive athlete you know that a few points or a few tenths of a second can be the difference between 1stand 10th. Once, at a National Championship I ended up in 8th place, less than a second out of first place.

In the case of the IBO archer he was proud and shared his results. They were impressive.  There was no braggadocio. I was proud for him and felt his happiness.  There was nothing hollow about it.

Then, there’s the fellow who won an archery target tournament where he was the single shooter who’d earned a low score.  He was proud and even a little arrogant.  His attitude and smug conceit were appalling.

You can only compete against those who show up in an athletic event.  When it comes down to it you can only improve yourself.   Should you win when there isn’t any one to compete against there’s no need to get a swollen head.  If you lose in a great field and perform well congratulations are in order.

In sanctioned events where you end up the only person in your division know this – records can still be broken. Don’t compete half assed knowing you’ve got that $2.00 medal in the bag. Perform to win. Everyday that winning attitude will pay dividends.

In 2011 Carfrae and Wellington went head to head at the Ironman World Championship.  Wellington won.

Finding a Positive Practice Environment

.Chrissie Wellington is a champion of the Ironman. In fact, she’s never lost a race at the Ironman distance, 2.4-mile swim, 112 bike, and 26.2 mile run. She has lost at the shorter distances, but never at the longest distance. She won the Ironman World Championship the very first she tried it – a rare occurrence. And, she always seemed to be smiling. Everytime she raced the 140.6 mile triathlon she won it.

Wellington needed coaching and a place to train during her development as a triathlete. She was already really good but needed some help. She found a coach and within that coach’s pool were other athletes.

Unlike the other athletes, Wellington, before deciding to become a professional athlete had a career with the British State Department and was a rising star for the English. When she arrived at the coach’s camp she was clearly a grown-up who had taken a gamble. That gamble led her to this coach who turned out to be a bit toxic.

Being mature and experienced with that sort of individual and environment she recognized it wasn’t for her. She left to become one of the greatest athletes in the history of triathlon.

So, here are some points: As an athlete it isn’t your job to “please” the coach. It isn’t your place to accept any sarcastic or demeaning comments by anyone on the coaching staff- even if they aren’t officially associated with you. If you are a coach, whether you are coaching a particular athlete or not, it is not your place to project toxic language to anyone. The coach’s place is to see toxic language and behavior is not included in any aspect. If you are an athlete and you find yourself in such an environment move on. And if necessary report the behavior.

I Lost An Arrow

I’ve not lost an arrow during practice in a very long time. To me, losing an arrow is money down the drain. It was one of those things I didn’t see coming.

I’d been practicing at 80 yards. After 30 arrows I moved back to 90 yards.  That’s when it happened.

The range is bordered on either side by trees.  I keep their limbs trimmed to provide clearance for arrows.  The problem with trees and limbs is they continue to grow.

On the very first arrow at 90 yards I heard the slight snap as it intersected with a limb. I then thought I heard the arrow smack into the target.  When I walked up to pull the arrows there was one missing. Where is landed I may never know.  I searched to no avail.

Behind the target butts there’s a slight natural berm. It is covered with underbrush.  You probably couldn’t find a wallet in the ground cover there much less an arrow.  Still, I tried. The entire time I looked I was hoping not to find a rattlesnake or copperhead. Last year I shot an arrow at a rattlesnake there in the brush.  The snake twisted, squirmed, and slid deeper into the brush.  Then, there was silence. I didn’t verify the outcome deciding the arrow, which seemed to have passed through the snake was sacrificed.

I never found it. Money down the drain.