Playing on the Pro Tour and Shooting Bare Bow

You never know whom you’ll be shooting near on a public range.  You might show up for practice and be standing next to Reo Wilde. If you are an archer you will more than likely recognize Reo Wilde.

If you’re an extrovert you might strike up a conversation with a stranger. Many times those conversations can enrich your life.  You might find a new friend and you could be amazed by the character standing next to you.

Months ago while working on an indoor range there was this guy a few feet away from me practicing with a bare bow.  Every so often you notice a different attitude toward the practice of another athlete.  In this case, there was something different.  Eventually we started talking and I learned he’d been shooting bare bow for 27 years, now 28 years.  I picked up that he is an accomplished bare bow competitive archer and hunter.  One thing is clear, he can shoot a bow.

Someone had mentioned to him that I’d once raced bicycles and the Tour de France was what he wanted to talk about.  He’s one of the few archers I’ve met that is a true fan of professional cycling.

He asked about my racing past, my bikes, the training, diets, and my experiences racing bikes.  In the short time between ends, I could only approach answering with the briefest of responses.  It was pretty incredible to find an archer that appreciated what a cyclist deals with to race.

But, that conversation didn’t answer my questions, perhaps because I was busy answering his, as to who is this guy. I’d later learn just how out of my league he is as a professional athlete.

As I was overhearing a conversation between this bare bow archer and another I heard him talking about an interview on ESPN with him and Jack Nicklaus.  Wait a minute, was I hearing that right.  Turns out I was hearing that right.

Do you play or watch golf? Many of you probably do.  I don’t play golf.  I do watch it from time to time.  When I lived in Augusta, Georgia I used to sneak onto the National Golf course and run the cart path.  Once (in 1989) I even got to watch a Masters Tournament in person. The weather was foul and my neighbor, being a bit under the weather, gave me his annual pass.

The bare bow archer is Tim Simpson.  Tim is a professional golfer who played the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour.  While I was sneaking onto the Master course to run in Augusta, Tim was playing there.  He played the Masters 6 times.  Additionally, he played the US Open 12 times, the Open Championship 4 times and the PGA Championship 11 times.   He’s, also a native Georgian.

Tim was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended high school at Woodward Academy where he was the Atlanta Junior Champion, Georgia Junior Champion and Westlake National Junior Champion. He attended the University of Georgiain Athenswhere he made All SEC, All American, and College All Star teams.  He left college early and turned professional at age 20. He earned his tour card at 21 years, 1 month (Among of the youngest in history).

His first win as a professional came at the 1982 Cacheral World Championship in Nimes, France. His first PGA Tour win came three seasons later at the 1985 Southern Open. His career year was 1989 when he captured the PGA Tour’s Comeback Player of the Year award, and won two Tour events: the USF&G Classic and the Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic. He had another good year in 1990 repeating as Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic Champion, and posting his best finishes in the U.S. OpenBritish Open and PGA Championship. Simpson was awarded the 1990 Georgia Professional Athlete of the Year award. He has 66 Top-10 finishes in PGA Tour events. (1) And achieved the status as a top-10 player on the PGA Tour in 1989 and 1990, finishing 6thand 8thon the money list for those years, respectively.

Tim’s career wasn’t an easy one, as if it ever is for any professional athlete.  After back-to-back years being in the Top 10 PGA Tour money winners Tim, contracted Lyme’s during a hunting trip. One of the numerous manifestations of the disease he was left with a tremor in his left hand.  In 2005 Tim had Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery to remedy the condition.

In 2006 Tim, universally considered one of the world’s greatest ball strikers in history, joined the Champions Tour having an unparalleled comeback lasting five more seasons before career ending injuries forced his retirement in 2011.

Today, Tim coaches a mental management program to golfers and archers. He also lectures on mental management for athletes.  In talking with Tim about his mental program he shared things he’d noticed about me of where I’d slipped.  Tim’s application of sport psychology is unique coming from an elite athlete who can translate mental coaching to fit another athlete’s needs.

He was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.  Like I wrote, just never know whom you’ll be shooting next to on an archery range.

Reference:

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Simpson

If you are interested in becoming a client of Tim’s he receives inquiries at: Timbogolf@gmail.com

Ode to Winter Archery Practice

My nose runs snot

It’s not hot, you see

There’s winter in the air

 

But, practice I must

Or my scores will go bust

Oh I wish I’d worn long underwear

 

My cheeks are numb

My toes are froze

Still, Eastons they fly though the air

 

Is that an eight I shot?

I’m too cold to care

How I wish for long underwear

 

Is that rain on me

That would be cruel you see

Nope it’s sleet that falls down on me

 

I finished the day

In a very cold way

Next time there’ll be long underwear

It Is Cold

There were some nice warm days in December and January – until now.  It has turned cold.  The indoor range where I practice is closed while the folks that work there enjoy the ATA Meeting.  I’m practicing outside. It is awful.

First stuff these into my pockets

Unlike my nice warm shed I had in North Carolina, here in Georgia when I can’t get to practice indoors there’s winter in the raw.

Next, turn on the little heater

Sure, it isn’t like winter in say Pittsburgh, Cleveland or Baltimore. I’ve lived in all those places and winter was an entirely other animal compared to a Georgia winter.  Nevertheless, cold is cold.

Get ready and warm

Because the cold here in Georgia isn’t in the same league as a north Ohio winter, yesterday I tried to practice wearing as little clothing as possible to stay warm and not make the shots more difficult.  That was a total failure.  Three layers weren’t enough.

This didn’t last

What started off as a good day quickly rolled downhill into shoot, thaw by the little outdoor heater, then shoot again.

Putting It On The Line

When I began this website it was a chronicle of what I’d go through when I began shooting a bow in November 2013.  I remember the date, November 1st, because my father died the same day. It was a bit if a surprise he died.  But, dad was 86 and he was no longer a young man.  Dad never did see me shoot a bow.

When I made the decision to take up archery and retire from a prior career it wasn’t one of those moments. You know, one of those: your father dies and you decide to make a life altering change.  Nope, I was ready to retire.

I could have continued in my profession.  I could still be working in the medical or legal fields.  But, I’d had enough and saved enough.  I was 57 years old.  I’d been working since I was 14, not including earning money cutting lawns around my neighborhood before I turned 14.

I started a real job using a child labor work permit at Memorial Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia. I worked in the lab.  Memorial has since changed it name, but it will always be Memorial to me.  I essentially grew up at MMC.

I’d go to school, junior high school, now called middle school, go to whatever sport practice I had after school, my mom would pick me up and take me to work at Memorial.  Over time that part time job became a full time job.

The school, academic sports, and work routine stayed pretty constant until I finished high school. Then, in college the routine of work took priority over school since I needed the money to pay for school.  I dropped a lot of classes to accommodate work. Sport continued to be a major part of my life.

There was a brief time when it appeared I could have a job as a professional cyclist.  I was invited to Europe by a team in 1973 and offered a small salary and place to live.  I turned it down – a good choice in hindsight.  I turned it down because I feared the move would be too much.  Basically, I chickened out.   Eventually putting more focus into education and less on sport was a way to compensate for being to afraid to move to Europe at 18 years old.

Education became my competitive driver.  Each degree I completed meant it was a point to extend the education.  I thought I was done when I earned a doctorate.  That lasted six years then I went after a law degree. Law school fried my brain for a while.

Instead of seeking other degrees after the Juris Doctor, I enrolled in graduate programs and professional development courses.  Those where very satisfying.  Then, I felt I needed more and took a fellowship in sleep medicine.  After that point, I decided that each year I’d pick a new academic project to immerse myself for the next 12 months. In 2019 it will be Georgia History.

Throughout it all sport remained a passion. I raced bikes, ran races, and did duathlons and triathlons. Just competing wasn’t enough.  I went to Nationals in Cycling, Track and Field, and World Championships in cycling, duathlon and triathlon.  I did sports science research publishing papers based on that research.  But, I’d never hit the big time in sport as an athlete.  I was good, just never the best. Then, came archery.

Never would I have thought I’d be an archer.  I stumbled onto the sport by reading that archery and shooting are the two sports where someone over 50 can become an elite.  I am not an elite. But, I am trying to become one.

I figured I’d be near the top of the sport between 5 – 8 years.  I decided archery was an area where I could transfer talent to shorten the learning curve.  Sadly, this sport is so different from the others I’d done that I see very little advantage from decades of training and competition.

The website, Puttingitontheline.com, is where I keep my form of an archery training journal minus all the data. There is a lot of other stuff, not always here, from coaching to science that collectively amount to what has come to pass to reach this point in this archery adventure.

I have no idea what my father would have thought about all of this.  It’s more likely he’d have never read any of it. What does surprise me is that over 26,000 of you are now reading about this adventure every month and the number is climbing.  Perhaps, there is a pearl or two of archery wisdom you find every so often that helps you in some fashion.  I hope so.

Thank y’all for reading and landing this website in the top 1.6% of all active websites.

Searching for the Root Cause

A few weeks ago I increased my 30 arrows, inner ring X, goal to reach an average of 295.I’d been pretty steady at 290 and felt it was time to most up a bit.

In practice, I warm-up with 6 to 12 arrows, shoot 30 and record the score, pause, then shoot another 30 when I’m preparing for indoor 18-meter events. I repeat this practice during the afternoon.

Along the way I may change the focus of the practice. Some days I shoot for timing, other days I spend looking for improvements in form, there are times I change releases from a thumb to a hinge. Throughout it all I record how I did on each arrow minus the warm-up.

A 295 for 30 is half of the total count for a 60-arrow competition, or a final score of 590. I’d managed the 580 – 588 range, a 290+ thirty arrow score, enough times that it was clearly time to move the goal. Then, things began to fall apart.

Obviously, the primary consideration is the archer. After about a week I took a look at the equipment. That’s where I discovered that my 60-pound max bow was firing arrows at 46 pounds. Corrections ensued and the scores remained lower that the prior 290 thirty arrow goal. The cause seemed to be  the archer. The scores were better but still below the earlier average.

Paper tears where shot, adjustments taken and repeated. Arrows finally flew straight, but I could not get comfortable. The first few arrows would be fine then shots began to drift. Once again, the poundage was checked and this time measured around 58 pounds. For me, that is too high. A turn was taken off the limbs and the score drifted up a little. In 25-meter tournament last weekend I shot the first 30 better than the second, a revise of how I typically perform. Today, once again, arrow placement started off good then drifted.

My data shows that I shoot best at 50 pounds. So, I took another crank of the limb screw for my second 30 arrows this morning. The bow immediately felt better. The arrows immediately grouped tighter and the score improved by 9 points. Still below average.

When I bought this bow a few months ago my gut told me not to purchase a 60 pound bow and rely or cranking the limbs out to achieve the maximum variance allowed for the bow at 50 pounds.  It has been a matter of tinkering to keep the bow at a steady poundage.

In an all out rehab, the bow, less than one year old, was restrung, timing adjusted, poundage checked, and paper tears verified.  The the rear stabilizer was replaced moving from a 15-inch to a 12-inch and the bow was balanced.

Getting a bow tuned for the archer and arrow spine is a key element in performance. A few pounds one-way to the other can have a detrimental impact. The root cause of this recent score fluctuation remains uncertain.  What I did discover, is while the bow in question was undergoing it’s rehab I shot my old supposedly lesser model and scored higher. (Both bows by the same manufacturer)

I haven’t given up on the new bow, yet.

Puttingitontheline Readership Continues to Grow

There are methods to improve the search engine opportunities for Puttingitontheline.com.  I don’t use any of them.  In fact, my search engine optimization is really elementary.

This site is fun for me. No one pays to have me for marketing their products and no one pays to read what I write.  Ideally, I’d like to see this site generate some revenue.

A 2019 goal is to figure out how to earn some money while running this website.  I tried getting help to do just that a few years ago.  I’d hired an “expert” to set up all sorts of income generating approaches and connections.  After a few months I removed all of his ‘work’, his effort generating noting but a mess.

Maybe in 2019 I’ll figure things out that will lead to Puttingitontheline becoming a revenue stream. It isn’t a top priority.  The top priority is to continue to see the readership grow by publishing articles people want to read.  If you have suggestions let me know.

In the meantime, Puttingitintheline is doing pretty good.

2018, rolling data, the 13,711 value is for the month of December though the 17th. (Metric from GoDaddy data)

A Cone of Warmth

Last month I paid $60.00 for unlimited use of a local indoor archery range. It was a good deal. In North Carolina the same deal was $30.00, a better deal. I made the purchase of the archery pass because the weather during the past month has been cold and rainy. The problem with the $60.00 deal is the drive.

The $60.00 range is excellent, the time spend going back and forth is in my opinion is wasted time. The round trip takes an hour. An hour might not seem like a lot but it does impact training. While an hour on the road might not be spent in direct physical activity it does impact how I recover from a morning practice period before entering an afternoon practice period. To make this matter better I got a gift from my son-in-law, an outdoor gas heater.

Glowing red this little heater does a decent job of keeping a limited area warmer.

The little heater makes a big difference. While it doesn’t match an indoor climate controlled environment it does provide an ever-escaping cone of warmth. It uses propane, which is selling for $0.76 a gallon. The gas heater operating on the lowest setting is all the heat needed at around 38°F along with a few layers of clothes. Hopefully, this will help save some cash and time.

Georgia State 25-meter Championship

It feels like a long time between major archery tournaments. The last one was an outdoor championship in September – the 15th and 16th to be exact. Since then there have been a few league shoots. This weekend, finally, there is a major tournament in the State.

Georgia Southern University

The Georgia State 25-meter Championships is today at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA. I’ve never shot a 25-meter tournament. So, this is pretty cool. A bonus is that the competition is being held at the Georgia Southern University Shooting Center.

Georgia Southern’s Shooting center

There are 149 archers competing as of December 6th. So, when I say major tournament, I am speaking on a State level. This tournament isn’t like a National Championship or a Vegas sized competition.

Most hotel rooms remind me of a box

I drove from our home near Athens, Georgia for this Statesboro, Georgia shoot a day before the Championship. On this trip I didn’t travel with my RV. The weather forecast is for rain, ice and a little snow. Not the idea conditions for pulling an RV. It will mean two nights in a hotel.

Regardless the outcome, and despite the hotel stay, competing at 25-meters seems like it will be a lot of fun.

Something has clearly gone afoul

Heading out early on Saturday morning I was on the way to practice at Ace Hardware’s Indoor Archery range in Social Circle, GA. The weather has been sort of tough for practicing outside. So, I’d purchased a month’s supply of practice time on the range. The temperature wasn’t bad on this morning; it was the downpour of rain that herded me inside. (The forecast was for 3-5 inches over the next several hours)

Arriving at the range I was surprised to discover the parking lot nearly full. It isn’t too much of a surprise; Ace’s archery pro-shop is often really busy, especially on the weekend.

Collecting my gear, heading into the building, it was pretty much packed with people. Seriously, there was minimal space to simply walk. A voice called out in my direction, “What are you doing here?” asked a friend. “I came to practice,” was my reply.

It turned out there was a tournament underway. Warm-up was just started and I figured I’d sign up if there was room. Seemed like a great form of practice and I got the last unassigned lane.

I got assigned a great spot to shoot from, 8D. There was a lefty in 7D – ideal. As an aside that lefty is ranked number one in the world. He’d just returned from competing in Argentina. I was pleased to be able to compare my shooting to his.

Ace is a great place to shoot and just down the road.

Well, I was pleased for the comparison at the beginning. What started off to be a decent performance soon dropped into the depth of near embarrassment. To be fair, I wasn’t bouncing arrows off the floor or sticking them into the ceiling. But, I did fire off two eights and a boatload of nines. There was a fair share of X’s and 10s at the beginning, but those shots migrated to the lower scoring rings after short time.

After a few days of trying to figure out what went wrong, I remain at a loss. The day after the failure to win, I took a critical look at form and equipment. I did discover the lens of my scope had rattled loose and my rear stabilizer had shifted a tad. Neither of those minor conditions should have led to an eight, much less two eights. What I do know is that my average scores have dropped from around 290 (small ten ring, 30 arrows) to around 280 over the past 10 days. Ten days ago I’d moved my 30-arrow goal to 295, now I’m messing around with 280s. What is just as concerning is that over the last 1000 arrows I’ve shot three eights. Something has clearly gone afoul.

The day after the poorly executed tournament I took a critical look at my equipment. It seemed okay, but I’m not 100% certain there isn’t an issue with the limbs of my target bow. That concern will need to be addressed by a professional bow technician.

At any rate, there is one more practice league competition, and one more major practice session before heading out to Statesboro, Georgia for the State 25-meter championship at Georgia Southern University. There are also two easy practices and on rest day scheduled for the week. After that, I’ll have to be as ready as I’ll be for Saturday’s big event.

Archers Run

If you’ve read “Putting it on the line” you know I’m an archer as well as runner and cyclist. You know that I think fitness is critical to sport including archery.

I try to post stuff that supports fitness and athletics beyond shooting a bow. Often those posts are about bicycling or running.

Cycling isn’t a 100% everyday activity because of weather. I’ve ridden in the rain or cold, but rather not ride in the rain and cold. I’m also not heading out on a bicycle in a storm.

This trail leads home

Running is another matter. Unless the weather is really bad, I’ll run. Once I read a saying that went, “Athletes Run.” In a general sense that seems true. Archery is a bit of an outlier in that many great archers don’t look like they could run 10 yards. There was a time, however, when archers ran as a matter of course.

In the early days of archery, say 1480 England, archers not only needed to shoot well, they needed to be fit. They needed to be able to run away from or toward a battle. In some accounts they joined a battle from their positions to finish off an opponent. They didn’t wear armor making them more mobile and perhaps fresher than the enemy that had been taking a pounding. Anyway you look at it archers were fit.

Found this remains about a mile from home. Not far from a road. This deer probably got hit by a car and made it into the woods before dying.

Fitness training is an excellent adjunct for the sport of archery. Taking a morning run through the woods is pleasant. Along a trail run you get to feel the outside. You never know for sure what you’ll pass and it is always a bit of an adventure.