Checking Web Stats – Who’s Reading

Periodically, I check this site. The areas covered in the check include reader stats, Alexa ranking, safety (verifying the site hasn’t been hacked by some nefarious individual or organization) and other reviews available via a search.

Looks safe

Studying the stats about readers is easy – GoDaddy.com provides that data. Other data requires some hunting.

Puttingitontheline is primarily about archery. Drilling down, it is about a retired medical professional making a run at a new sport.

This places Puttingitontheline.com in the top 3% of all ‘active’ websites

The number one activity among retired men relates to sports. The bulk of those men “watch” sports as a pastime. Still others concentrate on their golf game, fishing, hunting, running, cycling, triathlon or other activity. I have one friend that retired early. He was not an athlete. After retirement he started running. The last time I spoke to him he’d run 53 marathons including, New York, Chicago and Boston.

Archery is a growth sport – it is growing thanks to lots of popular movies that have super hero archers. Women seem to be a major growth section of archery. There also seems to be a lot of younger people in the sport thanks to programs like JOAD and 4H.

I know of 16 and 17 year old archers, certainly greater shooters, which have already signed deals with major archery manufacturers. This is a bit like Nike signing a high school runner without the shoes or money.

The younger archers really aren’t my demographic. Certainly, archers younger than 50 read the postings here. But, the bulk of the readers are not youngsters.

According to data on this site it is popular. The readers aren’t younger they’re older. This suggests a lot of older that may be new to the sport coming here for information and stories. It suggests to me there is a market segment of archers over 50 that I believe aren’t getting the same degree of attention by archery manufacturers as the youth.

There are some great archers over 50 that do have a high level of industry support. Many of them have had that support for years. When it comes to newly minted “Pro” jersey wearing master archers, the few I spoken to have paid for that jersey.

Most of them compete as a pastime and aren’t earning much if any money shooting. There seems to be a lot of them.

Stats from April 1 – April 7, 2018. It takes about three minutes to read a post and look around this site a bit.

I think there is an untapped market among the Masters archers. Archery is a sport where age is a relatively independent factor. That is, someone over 50, in my opinion, can become an elite archer. Within the readership of this website, I believe more than a few of those future elites are out there.

This Is How I Practice for 50 Meters

Fifty meters is a fairly long shot. It includes a lot of walking back and forth. Twenty meters is a faster practice because of the shorter walk to reclaim arrows. Now, the walking isn’t a real endurance work out, it just slows things down. Having a 50-meter range behind my house is a bonus.

50-meter practice, for this session, meant about a mile of walking and took nearly two hours.

Being slow in archery isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Rushing a shot is a bad thing. When I practice I’ll frequently set a timer and measure how many seconds remain following a six shot end.

The thick lines are the trek back and forth pulling arrows

During practice, I could fire off more than 6 arrows – I don’t. I try to make practice close to tournament conditions. That means: shoot 6 arrows, walk to the target, record my scores, pull the arrows and repeat. Practicing with a timer gives me confidence that I’ll get my arrows off with a routine buffer of time. I don’t want too much unused time. On the other hand I don’t want to be thinking about the clock during competition.

On average I have ample time left on the clock after six arrows. Between each shot I use an 8 count as I go through the shooting process. Using an eight count, I go through it 3 times. Each set of the 8 count associated with the shot process. Counting slows me down and clears my head. Since each set of eight has parts of the shooting process associated with the count it makes me aware of the steps to getting off a good feeling arrow. By the time I reach the third and final 8 I am ready to release the arrow. After the first 3 arrows, I make an effort to take a conscious pause before shooting the final three arrows.

When planning a practice I vary it to some degree. The practice may be two sessions a day at 84 arrows, 12 warm up and 72 for scoring or shorter sessions three times a day at 42 arrows, 6 warm-up and 36 for scoring. I almost always record my shots and make notes. I carry a pad in my quiver to making records. My notes and measurements are later transferred to an Excel spreadsheet. (Some days I’ll purposely not record anything and shoot for fun only)

A spotting scope is a handy tool for longer distances. (This one an early birthday present from one of by daughters, her husband and one of my grandsons.)

There are also days where I’ll practice for 50-meters by shooting from 60, 65  or 70 yards.  Fifty meters is roughy 55 yards.  The extra yardage makes 50-meters feel easy when I return to that distance.

When it’s cold I wear a thin glove

Everyday practice isn’t always possible. For instance, it stormed yesterday. Today, despite it being the middle of April it was cold. Cold does not prevent practice. Neither does wind and today it was windy. Even when it rains, other than down pours, I’ll be on the range. (It is important to note that everyday practice does include a recovery day. Taking a day for rest is an important element to any sport. That recovery day for me is on a 7-day and 10-day cycle)

My bow setting at the 50-meter mark.

Practice and shooting 50-meters presents outdoor challenges we don’t face during indoor competition and training. Space for a range is a problem for many archers. When we built our new house having enough land for archery was a must. Finding a local 50-meter range then getting to it does add another burden to long-range practice. (Not unlike finding a pool to practice swimming – they are available.  It is nice when it is a simple walk to practice.) Fifty meters ranges are available, it sometimes takes a bit more effort but it can be done.

Blame it on John Pinette

John, today’s poor practice shooting was entirely your fault.

You may not know John. He was a failed accountant. He stopped practicing accounting shortly after receiving his degree from University of Massachusetts in Lowell. His friends talked him into giving up that career convincing him he’d do better as a comedian. They were correct.

John was a master comedian. He was also an actor and Broadway star. He died a few years ago. (2014 – he was only 50)

One of his comedy albums in on my phone. While practicing today I put on music. Occasionally, the phone would shuffle through songs and play John.

I should be able to remain clear headed and shoot somewhere near the center of the target regardless of what going on around me. Today it was impossible to do so while laughing. Even when I started skipping John (my phone seemed fixated with him), his lines would float through my head and I’d start laughing again.

John Pinette

If you want to work on centering yourself for archery, John Pinette is a good distraction. If you can get though listening to him while practicing and shoot well you’re probably ready for about anything.

Getting into the 3D of Things

The range is up. It is raining. I need to practice 3D.

This coyote is fun. The shot looks longer than it was, 38 yards.
Yep, that javelina is in that hole about 40 yards away

When rain seems to have stopped, I head out to practice. Twenty shots later it begins to rain. I head back indoors. Two hundred yards pass along the walk to cover and the rain stops. I turn around, shoot 10 arrows and it starts to rain, again. I head back, go 200 yards, and the rain stops. I gave up stayed outside and got wet.

Zoomed in a bit so you can see the target
Worst shot of the day. I thought I’d managed a center 12. Nope, that’s an 8.

Not everyday has been so much of a weather challenge. Yesterday was pretty good. It was cold and windy. Out in the woods the wind is subdued a tad. My main concern was a limb breaking free and landing on my head. No limb crashed onto my skull.

This is a tough turkey

Practice was by design interesting. Shooting the same targets day in and day out, you need to find training sessions to keep things interesting. This is especially true when you train alone.

Practice on this little target is always, shoot a center 12 and a 14. Don’t move on until the 12 and 14 are shot in sequence.

This day’s training was: the first arrow at an unknown yardage for scoring followed by four others for yardage training. The shortest distance was 18 yards (rabbit) and the longest was 45 yards (deer, bear, and mountain lion.)

This is only 27 yards, but the lane is cleared so the target can be worked out to 50 yards.

3D practice, time per arrow, is slower that 18-meters. Generally, you walk further which slows things down. Plus, it takes a little longer to judge yardage. I don’t find one disciple, 18-meter, 3D or 50-meter, more fun than the other. They are all about the same to me. The major difference is it rarely rains indoors.

This poor ole bear is beginning to wear out in the center.

What is a “Professional Archer?”

What is a ”Professional Archer?” That was the question that recently circulated among people that subscribe to ArcheryTalk. I read a few of the responses. The question wasn’t novel. Every so often someone tosses that question out. Each time similar reactions occur. That is, a bunch of folks response with a bunch of opinions.

Being more long winded and having my own website I decide to put in my opinion here. It has no more value or greater clarity and the other opinions offered at ArcheryTalk. It may be less important to you than your own opinion.

First, to compete in a pro division, for the most part, all that is required is to pay a more expensive entry fee. That’s right, the Pro divisions cost more than the non-pro divisions should you want to shoot against the best. You know if you’re ready to make that investment. You know because you know your scores.

Say, you want to shoot in the Pro class at a 3-spot indoor event. You generally score a 600 with 55 to 59 Xs. By all means you are ready, pay up and shoot your best. Does this make you a pro? Nope.

I haven’t checked, but I heard that the NFAA now requires an archer to shoot a 300/48X minimum to enter the pro class during one of their 5-spot indoor events. Even if you can just do that, keep your money. A 300/48X in the senior men’s pro division will not land you in the top 10 by a long shot. Should you wait until you always score 300/60X?  No, but wait until you are nearly there and mostly there. What I mean, by that is a 300/60X is not a rare score for you.

3D seems to have a lot of archers that compete in Pro divisions. Most are adding their entry fee to the pot to support the winners. Will you improve your shooting by competing in the pro divisions? No, you’ll improve your shooting by practicing. Really, you should know before you show up at an event pretty much how you’ll place. If you are a Professional you will know.

Certainty, things can happen that might cause your score on any given day to fluctuate a percentage point to two. Professionals know that range as well as their average score and X count. This knowledge does not make one a professional.

Professionals often know a lot more about their shooting, training, and tournament performance than amateurs. However, some amateurs know just as much about their abilities. Still, this knowledge does not make one a professional.

It is my opinion, despite all the professionalism displayed in the Pro divisions, is that unless you are earning a living wage as a Professional Archer, the sport is a past time. There are professional archers. They make a living wage competing. Their competition earnings along with sponsors that pay them and endorsements do provide the athlete with a good annual income.

I pointed out that Professionals are “paid” by a sponsor. Having a “Pro-Staff” shirt that you paid to wear and shooting a company’s equipment you bought with a 25% “Pro-Staff” discount does not make you a professional. It makes you a marketing asset. Nothing wrong with that as it is, in this sport, a first step on a pathway to earning a living wage for many archers.

On that pathway there is a lot of practice and training. If you can shoot about 30 arrows a day four to five days a week enjoy your dream but keep that day job.

If you are not earning a living wage as an archer but earning a good bit of money on the side shooting that’s great. Is archery you’re full time job that provides a living wage? No, well you are still not a professional archer.

There are very few professional archers in this sport. There are very few professional basketball players. There are very few professional athletes. You see that point – right? It is rare to be a professional athlete.

There are a whole lot of really great archers. Many are just as good or are very close to performing as well as the top elite professional archers. But most know there are better ways to earn more money. Those professional level archers enjoy the sport, get the ego stroking cash prize from time to time and support their families with their day job.

Most of all, whether you are a professional, consider yourself a professional or are a weekend warrior, remember why it is that you have chosen archery as your primary sport.

Shooting 3D for the first time in a while.

Eighteen meters has been my focus for the past eight months. My goal was to score two day total of 1160 at the USA Archery Indoor Nationals.  Then to score a 600 with 110 Xs at the NFAA National Indoor Championship in Cincinnati.  By early December of 2017 I was feeling fairly confident that I’d come close or exceed those marks.

In the meantime, we’d built a new house. The foul fall and winter weather delayed the house’s completion.  This ended up generating a 580-mile move right on top of the end game for my eight months of practice.  By February of 2018 I was scoring lower than February of 2017.  It wasn’t just the move; it was a move, being unable to move right into the new property, then a solid month after the move in to complete construction.

This bear has one of the two ‘wide’ lanes and can be targeted out to 60 yards
She’s in a congested area and can be out up to 40 yards
The pine trees that line this shooting lane narrow as the distance increases. It’s a pretty cool shot the further back you get.

You’d think we move into a new ready to go house and we would have if the builder had been cooperative. He wouldn’t allow refinements to his building to occur until we’d closed on the property. As such, after closing, closets had to be redone, fencing put up, sheds constructed, sod to be installed and land cleared.  Oh, there was plenty of time to have had this done before closing but it wasn’t allowed.  This meant little to no archery practice in the month before the main indoor events for 2018.  I scored fewer point than usual and seemed to find a solid position in second place everywhere other than the NFAA Sectional where I earned a tight 4th and the NFAA Nationals in Cincinnati.

This is an interesting shot.

I couldn’t decide if the trip from Georgia to Ohio was worth the investment considering the way I’d been shooting. By the time I made the decision to go for the experience I realized I’d let time get away from me and it was too late to make the drive.

On a brighter note I did get my 3D range up on the 3.25 acre plot behind our house selected for the targets. It isn’t a huge plot of land but it is idea for 20 targets.  I only have 12, but 8 more will fit nicely when I get them.

I am pleased, so far, with how the foam animals are arranged. The are no “give me” shots and all targets can be shot to at least a maximum of 40 yards with other out to sixty.  Sixty yards is more than I need other than for field archery.

Another wide lane for long shots without worrying about overhanging limbs

Last week was the first time in a long time I’ve shot 3D. For that practice I use a hunting rig with pins rather than long stabilizers and a scope.

I admit I was a bit off on a few shots, but no target was missed and there was only one 5. For the first full 3D practice, 3 hours and 63 shots, I averaged 9.3 points per shot.  The mean distance was 33 yards with a minimum of 18 (a rabbit) and a max of 45 (deer, mountain lion, and bear).  Needless to say 9.3 points per shot isn’t good.   This year seems to be all about getting back into the swing of things.  Maybe, that swing will come back in a hurry.

New 3D Range Nearly Complete

After nearly 5 weeks of waiting by the fence my foam menagerie of 3D critters have a new home. Several already have lanes cleared well enough to shoot. Most are in place and need some small trees and limbs cut down to get a shot.

These 3D targets are no longer hanging out next to the fence

This new 3D range is nice. It is significantly tighter than the old one in North Carolina. There are two that have fairly wide lanes for shots over 50 yards. Nearly all have been arranged so that each target can be practiced on out to 50 yards.

It is too late in the day for photographs but I’ll share some soon.

The GBAA and NFAA Section in Statesboro

In Georgia, I have lived in these cities and towns: Savannah, Isle of Hope, Tybee Island, Thunderbolt, Statesboro, Augusta, Lincolnton, Columbus, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Kennesaw, and now Good Hope.   This past weekend, I drove from Good Hope to Statesboro to shoot in the GBAA State Championship and NFAA Indoor Sectional. Driving though the State, passing so many familiar places was nostalgic.

Much has changed during the past eighteen years when we’d not lived in Georgia. Augusta and Statesboro have grown. So has every other town I passed though during the trip.

We lived in Statesboro in the early 1980’s. I’d not been back to Statesboro in decades. It has really changed. Georgia Southern University seems to have moved up the polished University ladder. The GSU campus was impressive. The archery tournament took place on the GSU campus at their Sports Education Shooting Center.

Georgia State University, Shooting Sports Education Center

Over the past 51 months of shooting a bow I’ve seen some nice and not so nice ranges. The GSU Shooting Center is a whole level above the other ranges. There was ample  storage room, space and chairs for archers to sit down when not shooting, spectators had bleachers, and there easy access to clean rest rooms. All shooting lines were either full or close and it did not feel cramped. Before the tournament some folks had warned me the lighting wasn’t great, it seemed just fine to me.

Another bit of information I’ve been noticing since returning to Georgia, overall everybody seems to shoot “real good.”  From Cub level to Pro 300 for one day and 600 two-day total score was common. Inside-out X count was a necessary tiebreaker for many classes.

That’s me standing next to the giant.

For me, I lost again by one point. Still, things are improving following the transition for North Carolina to Georgia. Something I am not getting over is how nice it is to be back home.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Looking out the window here at our new home in Good Hope, Georgia, there is an unusual sight. There is blue sky!

It has rained and rained since we move here a couple of weeks ago. The rain has hampered some of the work we’re still doing to the property here. Despite the bad weather things are moving along.

What is hurting the most is archery. Two days a week I can’t shoot at the indoor range located in Social Circle, Ga. They are closed on Sunday and Monday. Shooting outside is now possible, except when it’s raining.

Looking at the sky I now see the blue was only a tease. Maybe it won’t rain and just remain overcast.

New Tires And A Tried Lecture

One of the chores I’ve been putting off for years was replacing the tires on my LeMond Maillot Jaune road bike. The old tires were slick as ice. Because I have other bikes I have been lazy about changing those old tires.

Changing tires is one of my least favorite chores. It is also an inexpensive chore to farm out to a bike shop. Since the shop is selling a customer new tires installing them can typically be done for a small addition fee. In some cases as low as $5.00 per tire or even free when you purchase new tires. (I like free)

I’d tried to get this done in Elizabeth City, North Carolina at the one bicycle shop in town. I dropped the bike off expecting the new tires within a matter of days. Weeks later the Maillot Jaune was still wearing old sad tires. Rather than wait any longer I picked up the bike and connected it to my Computrainer where a flat wouldn’t leave me out in the sticks changing a tube that would likely go flat before I made it home. There, on the Computrainer is where this wonderful all Campy Record equipped bike sat for years. When we moved and I took the bike off the trainer. It was packed along with our household possession onto a large truck.

Notice the green tape? It’s a numbered sticker from last week’s move.

Once the movers arrived at our new home in Georgia the bike like everything else was off loaded from the truck.

So, being detached from the trainer the LeMond was going to have another try at getting new tires. I removed its Kovochi wheels and took them to Sunshine Cycle’s in Watkinsville. There I’d finally select new tires.

The wheels wore old Continental’s that were 21mm in width. That is narrow. All my other road bike tires are 23mm wide. Now, there are all manner of “research data” related to bicycle tire width. If you’re a serious cyclist you’ve already read a lot of that tire width research. I, too, have read a good amount of the work on tire width. Honestly, I don’t care a whole lot about the data presented in most of the papers I read. I care about the feeling I get from where the tire meets the road.

I love the feel of 21mm tires. I love the sound they make rolling on the road. Most of all it is being able to feel the road. So, I tried to get another set of 21mm tires to replace the old. It is a rare tire, the 21mm, and I didn’t expect to find them at Sunshine Cycle’s. They didn’t have any 21mm, so I bought 23mm along with new tubes. The work was done is about 30 minutes.

Even though the job for Sunshine was a fast bit of labor I didn’t want to wait having other errands to run. I came back the next day to settle my bill and get the wheels. When I picked up the wheels as a bonus I got a free lecture.

There are people in the world that are self-proclaimed experts or know-it-alls. I suppose they’re good-natured folks that believe sharing their wisdom is a mission. When I cross paths with such an expert I must wear a look of ignorance because too often I get a free lecture.

I always listen. There are times when the wizard’s pontifications reveal pearls of knowledge that I don’t yet own. Even lectures where the information shared is already in my head I listen to be polite. Picking up my wheels, I had to listen to be polite. However, the speaker nearly crossed a line.

That line is where the actor orates in a manner of speaking down to his audience of one. He will further throw out the affidavits of others to bring home his point. In that bike shop presentation, of which I will not repeat to prevent blood oozing from your eyes, I was put into my place for wanting 21mm tires.

An old license. I probably still have older ones laying around. This one is a “Cat 2”

I was admonished by the expertise of what the “Cat 1 and Cat 2” riders are currently sporting on their wheels.   My reprimand for the 21mm tires was non-stop while the reasons for my error highlighted the room.

Let me state that Sunshine Cycle’s is one of the best bike shops in the world. I’ve been visiting the shop off and on for about a quarter of a century. I’ve been in bicycle shops all over the world. My all time favorite the Yellow Jersey in Savannah, Georgia is gone. My second favorite Star Bike shop is still in Savannah. Sunshine is tied with Star for first place since the Yellow Jersey is gone. Second place is the Bianchi bike shop in Florence, Italy. When I raced in Italy, they were a great help getting me signed up for races.

An old international license used for racing in Europe.

Now, I don’t know what other “Cat 1 or Cat 2” riders are currently using on their bikes. I stopped bicycle racing in 2011 and had been focused on triathlon since 2006. I suppose if a cyclist is racing Paris-Roubaix his bike might be rolling 25mm or 28mm tires. Like I said, I don’t know. As a former, “Cat 1 or Cat 2” cyclist, I do know what it is I like to have on my wheels and 23mm is wide enough for me with the occasional 21mm to get a feel for the road. But, I suppose I just have that look that projects ignorance with a need to be lectured. Despite the speaker’s intent, I will order 21mm and ride them.