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.

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.

Break Time

When I switched to recurve a designed a training schedule based on a week’s practice.  When a week was complete there would be minor changes like increasing the number of arrows per day.  The weeks are connected to specific process goals.  Each week has planned recover days.

The recover days are important.  Changing from compound to recurve means there isn’t a let-off of the poundage a full draw.  Keeping days open for recover is important to avoid an overuse injury.

There are two days of recovery per week, Wednesday and Sunday.  Eventually, there will be only one day.  For now two seems wise.

Deleting one rest day is a gradual process.  For example, I practice archery twice per day.  At the moment, I am shooting 80 arrows in the morning and 80 arrows in the afternoon (800 arrows per week).  This week I began to abbreviate the recovery.  Rather than entirely skip Wednesday I shot 80 arrows in the morning and none in the afternoon.  This will increase my weekly load to 880 arrows.

The goal for routine practice is 1200 arrows per week.  Right now, I am holding at 880 arrows per week for the month of September.  Sunday remains a complete recovery day and Wednesday is a ½ day break.

I’ll Take the Heat

It has been hot.  When I finish practice I am soaked with sweat.  When I finish running I am soaked with sweat. When I finish cycling I am sweated with sweat. But, I’ll take the heat over the cold. While the temperature is warm I can practice on my property and avoid expensive range fees.

There are several more months of nice weather before it gets so cold it becomes uncomfortable to practice outdoors.  I put up with the cold as long as possible.  Using an indoor range costs me $60.00 per month here.  It was $30.00 unlimited use per month in North Carolina.

At one shop in Maryland, where I was a frequent customer, I paid nothing to us their indoor range. I didn’t even spend a lot of money there.  I was there frequently and had become friendly with the owner and staff.

When the cold weather arrives the cost to practice increases if you are going to use an indoor range.  I suppose it is the price we pay to play. Until that time, I’ll enjoy the heat and save some cash.

Who Says This Stuff?

I’d been off a bike for several years.  In fact, I didn’t even own one.  I ridden most of my life but graduate school, law school and work created a time-induced pause on cycling.  But, I knew I would ride again if for nothing else fun.

When I finished law school (the last of my ‘big’ degrees, but not the least) I bought a second hand bike.  It was strictly for fun and fitness.  That lasted about 8 weeks before moving up to a better used bike.  That bike became one of three bikes, once I bought the third and I’d found a group to ride with.

The group was filled with State Champions, National Champions, and World Champions.  It was a mix of about 50:50 pure cyclist and triathlete.  A few were professional athletes.  Occasionally Olympians would train with us.  It was an amazing group of athletes.

On my first ride with the group a fellow said to me, “We’re not even on our outer chains rings, it is going to get hard now.”  It wasn’t shared to be friendly.  He was taunting me.  It pissed me off. I might have responded if I’d had enough breath at the time.

Years later, when I was representing the USA as a Team member at the ITU World Championships in the Long Course Duathlon I thought about that jerk.

In early 2014, I’d been shooting a bow for less than a year; I was struggling during a 3D event.  This fellow said to me, “You’re never going to beat us.”  I had plenty of breath but I held my tongue. No point debating a fellow with a weapon in his hand.

I think about that comment nearly as often as I think about the cyclist rudeness.  Neither is any sort of motivator for me to work harder.  Both comments are mysteries of rudeness that simply would never be uttered by me.  I wonder what kind of a person thinks of such to say.

The cyclist that made the comment remained with our training group, as did I.  After a few months I began to reclaim old form and the rude rider never made another nasty comment.  Or at least not one I ever heard.

That group of archers that ‘I’d never beat’ well I haven’t seen them in years. Most of them are really decent archers.  Could I beat them now if our paths crossed in some tournament?  No doubt in my mind.  In fact, the last time I saw them they were shooting in a 3D IBO World Qualifier were I was getting my ticket.  I didn’t shoot against any of them.  As I recall, their max distance was 35 yards and mine was 50 yards.

We were all shooting the hunter class the distance typically is max at 35 yards for the amateur divisions.  I was shooting 50 yards because I was qualifying for the Pro Hunter division.  I won the qualifier and had the highest score for the day overall.

No one from the group, especially the fellow who’d mocked me months earlier said anything rude toward me.  What I’ve never understood is why make a stupid comment to begin with?

I don’t expect to see any of these fellows again.  We shoot in different circles these days. If our paths were to cross – well, I’d be pleased to see any of them.

Yellow Game Another Rainy Day

It wasn’t all that rainy, but it did drizzle.  Not nearly as intense of a rain as during practice a few days ago.  The rain didn’t stop the yellow game.

As I’ve mentioned the yellow games is scoring the percentage of time an archer’s arrows land in the yellow.  I find it a fun way to move though a practice session.

Having changed to a recurve bow 35 days ago the yellow game is a fun challenge. The goal is to keep all the arrows in the yellow.

My recurve is not equipped with a clicker.  I think a clicker may help improve my yellow game percentages.  Still, repeating each shot as exactly as possible without a clicker is probably a fair way to train for now.

Today’s wet percentage was 52.5%.  That was after 10 ends of 8 arrows shooting a vertical 3-spot at 18 meters. The non-yellow strikes were primarily 8s with a couple of 7s and a couple of 6s.

I am already looking forward this afternoon when I repeat the game.