It Has Turned Cold – Again – and Time for 3D

Weather in Georgia isn’t too bad in regard to winter.  It is certainly a far cry warmer here in January than Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Baltimore, all cities where I’ve lived for enough winters to know.  Still, it can get cold and today starting out at 26°F was cold enough.  The cold can’t limit one to the indoors.  Especially, aside from the cold, it is nice outdoors.

Each day River, my nearly decade old Lab, and I run.  In the cold she’s too happy to hit the trails.  She becomes less energetic during the peak summer months.  River has jumped into water, breaking through ice, during the coldest times, just for fun.  She is built for it.

When it is cold I prefer to run, skip cycling (when temperature drop into the 30’s – something I didn’t do decades ago) and head to Ace Hardware in Social Circle to train on their indoor range.  This is perfect right now when preparation for 18-meter tournaments is on the agenda.

This is pretty nice and warm

Ace’s archery range isn’t open on Mondays.  I skipped archery in the morning and used that time to run errands and hit the gym.  This is my normal routine. It was also time for a haircut.

Here in Georgia our 3D competitive season is about to begin this Saturday.  During the afternoons, after the temperatures have risen a bit, I’ll practice 3D.  Today was the first time I shot my 3D targets.  I’ve been shooting the 3D bow at paper trying to get a feel for the lighter equipment.

I’d hoped to compete in the ASA Super Senior division in 2020 but that’s not happening.  My target bow, ideal for that class, is set for indoors.  I have just enough equipment for that bow to remain specific to 18-meters and enough to use my hunting bow for 3D. Sure, I could switch the sight around for the 3D arrow but that means taking a chance and screwing up what is right now working.

Plus, it isn’t simple.  When outdoor season begins I’ll use skinny arrows not 23s.  Switching back and forth between practices, outdoor target and 3D, with a single bow isn’t optimal.  If it isn’t simple, it simply won’t get done.

I’d considered buying more gear to assemble a 3D target bow to macth equipment in the Super Senior class but dropped than fantasy after reviewing the price.  2020 3D will end up another season of competing in the hunter class shooting against younger archers.

The light can the funny this time of year

My first day shooting the 3D faux-animals wasn’t too horrible.  Getting a feel for pins versus the scope I’ve been using has taken a bit of adjustment.  Plus, the lighter bow means really being careful to hold properly.

This bear is at 41 years. You know I was thinking I might end up an arrow short.

Generally, the practice went well. I shot for a couple of hours and scored a few 8s.  Mostly 10s where the score of the day with a few 12s for good measure.  There was one miss.

The bear turned out okay

The missed shot was 33 yards and I messed up with the pins.  For 33 yards, a yellow 30-yard pin sits on top of the ten ring and a green 35-yard pin sits on the bottom of the 10 ring.  I screwed up by putting the green 35-yard pin on the top of the 10 and the other yellow, the 40-yard pin, on the bottom of the 10.  It was a small boar target and the arrow bounced off the spine of the foam boar.  Fortunately, the bounce slowed the arrow; it smacked a branch and landed, undamaged on the ground.

The bad shot turned out to be a careless error at 33 yards

After a couple of hours in 36°F temperature I called it quits.  I considered a bike ride then thought better of it.

Slow Down

Over the past month the exercises in my training plan have all been those associated with starting from the beginning.  Weeks were spent shooting at targets 11 yards away.  Then, those targets moved to 15 yards, 17 yards and finally 20 yards.  Each move occurring after scores had reached an acceptable level.  Each arrow was judged not on the score rather whether or not the shot had occurred properly.

Admittedly 100% proper form was not achieved.  At 11 yards the arrow might land in an X but the form may still have been off.  The further back the more pronounced a poorly formed shot scored. With an indoor State Championship less than three weeks away 18 meters is the distance of focus.

Rushing shots or depending on luck are not methods for consistent scoring.  Both of those bad methods to shoot remain in my quiver.  They are hard habits to break.

Two things hamper shooting: rushing the shot and slamming off an arrow hoping for a bit of luck.  We’ve all been lucky a time or two.  On the other hand that luck isn’t always good.

A friend and early coach once told me, “Get one arrow, shoot it, retrieve it and shoot it again – one arrow at a time.” Boring!  Shooting arrows is fun, if it weren’t archers would probably become runners. (I know you are unlikely to run unless you’re being chased – that was a joke.)

I took the advice after years of avoiding the one at a time practice.  I held in the game for 15 arrows from 18 meters before I broke.  It was a boring as I’d imagined.  (I considered going for a run at arrow 10)

Off to a goot start
Okay, one 9 and one 10 the rest Xs

The practice did make me slow down and focus on just one arrow at a time.  The results were painfully good.  It taught me that if I slow down I shoot pretty good. Hopefully, once was enough although I doubt it.

Georgia State Indoor Championship versus the Super Bowl

It shouldn’t even be a conflict  – an archery tournament versus the Super Bowl.  While I don’t play football I love the game and did play for six years. Had I not raced bicycles and made the choice to focus on racing when I was 18 I’d have played football longer.  I wouldn’t have played at one of the big colleges, but I’d have played.

I don’t regret the choice to stop playing football irrespective of being scouted and having talks with a few colleges during high school.  Cycling was my choice and it took me further in sport than football might have done.

Cycling took me to World Championships and made me a member of a USA Team.  I still ride.  But, my competitive ‘fix’ comes from archery.

Sometimes at archery tournaments or while practicing with others I find that should the topic of football arise there’s a smaller group of fans than one might find in a bar on a Saturday or Sunday during the football season.  So, it comes as little surprise to me that a major archery event in Georgia has been scheduled on top of the Super Bowl. Heck, the past two tournaments here have been held in conflict with UGA games.

During the University Georgia Football game overlaps with Georgia archery a couple of friends and I managed to get the tournaments in before rushing to a bar to watch the college game.  After the game we made it back to the tournaments in time for the awards.

The next archery State Champion, the one on February 2nd, is a minor problem.  Picking the morning (0900) shooting line I’ll have plenty of time to make the drive home before game time. Those poor souls that love football who travel further and pick the afternoon (1300) shooting line will miss the televised game, have to record it hoping they don’t hear the score before watching, or listen on the radio.  That is unless they stay in a hotel overnight.

Super Bowl Sunday is typically a full day event for my family.  This year I’ll have to hold back on the pre-game festivities at least until I’ve shot my 60 arrows from 18-meters.  As far as hanging around for any award I might earn – I’ll find it later in the event I place in the top 3.

New Year Resolutions and Facebook

Entering the roaring 20’s I have zero resolutions.  I have training plans and goals, but no resolutions.  Each year I pick a new topic to learn.  This year I have one that I began a bit early having completed my 2019-learning course early.  None of this relates it how much I dislike Facebook.

In 2019 there were specific fitness and sport objectives related to archery and running.  Those sport objectives have been rebooted for 2020.  Like 2019 I am entering 2020 with a level of optimism.  That optimism has nothing to do with Facebook.

If it were not for this website I’d remove myself from Facebook.  Aside from the posts by friends Facebook is overwhelmed with commercial crap and bogged down with unedited untrue “Fake News.” (Not limited to a political party, cause, position, religion, race, sex, economic resource, nationality, pet preference, automotive brand favorite, or stance on global warming)

Certainly, some Facebook posts are occasionally factual.  But, I am not about to sort through the bull on the world’s largest social media warehouse attempting to find them. Often times I skim past commercial offering designed to separate people and communities.  I particularly despise those paid posts. For the most part I too often see commercial posts that are meant to be inflammatory.  That’s no way to make a living that is by building division. For example, I often see t-shirt offerings where the shirts have offensive and divisive slogans.  You may see them too.

I stay on Facebook for the hard to find, thanks to all the commercials, posts by friends.  The posts are there by I must weed through the garbage to find them.  The weeding has become too tedious for me.

If it wasn’t for the connection between the folks that read these ramblings who find their way to this site via Facebook I’d have been gone years ago. In 2020 I am going to do an experiment whereby I stop posting as often stories from Puttingitontheline.com on Facebook.  After a while I’ll measure how many visitors Puttingitontheline.com continues to have per month.  If there is no appreciable difference – so long Facebook.

In the meantime, I’ll work through my 2020 archery plan and see how that pans out. And by the way – Happy New Year.

Sometimes You Just Grin and Bare It

This past summer we got very little rain here in Athens, Georgia.  We seem to be catching up now that the weather has cooled down.  It has been raining non-stop for the past few days.  It has also been cold.  I can take the rain or I can take the cold but rain with cold is a whole other agony.

Yesterday was a wash – literally.  Running wasn’t missed.  Archery and cycling were scheduled rest days so it worked out.  This morning we awoke to more rain.  Running on trails does provide some slight cover, less so now that the leaves are mostly on the ground.  There are plenty of large evergreen pine trees and the trails are dense but running still leaves one human and one dog wet.   On top of the rain and cold the wind pitched in to support sub-optimal conditions.

River, my lab and running partner doesn’t mind the rain.  In fact, puddles provide opportunities to crash through water at full speed.  She comes home a happy mess.  I come home wet and cold. Still, it is more fun to run than not to run.

The weather forecast suggested there would be a short break in the rain.  The forecast was accurate.  The break meant at least an hour of archery practice could be attempted.

We got a short pause from the rain

As soon as the rain paused I headed out to the range.  Today’s practiced was a focus on form; an effort to reclaim the accuracy I had a year ago.  Since November of 2018 my scores have been slowly sliding into an abyss.  Recent training has all been about regrouping.

The rain on pause, the temperature into the 40s, it was go or miss the day.  Rain was predicted to return after a short breather.  The wind on the other hand was in full form.  In fact, in our woods we’ve had four pine trees blown down during the past few days.

That’s a full tank of propane that remained useless.
The wind was so bad I couldn’t even hang the targets straight

The wind was harsh enough to prevent my outdoor propane heater from staying ignited. It would fire up and fade out.  But, it was just going to be an hour or so of shooting so all that could be done was grin and bare it.

Conditions remained windy without rain for the hour and a half I got to practice.  It wasn’t so bad temperature-wise.  The wind did get me a couple of times but I kept everything in the yellow. Certainly practicing outdoors was more fun that staying indoors, maybe less pleasant that practicing at an indoor range. (The indoor ranges were all closed)

Re-hanging the right target and finishing. The last 6 arrows of 75.

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.