Shoot 3 Arrows, thaw

It was cold running this morning while running.  It is cold every winter. Nice things about winter and trail running are no snakes and no bugs.  During the run I was thinking that it will be cold shooting.  Most days like this one I try to shoot indoors.  However, I’ll be shooting indoors tonight in Social Circle and I didn’t want to spend the gas to make two trips.

River pausing during the run to take a sniff

This is how archery went:  Shoot three arrows, thaw, shoot three arrows, thaw….

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.

A Christmas Miss

Locally, there was a Christmas indoor tournament over the weekend.  I’d heard the start time was 0900.  It was actually ay 1000.  There was no way around the extra hour and errands that needed to be completed.  Maybe I’d have made it home in time to have completed my assignments and maybe not.  So, I chose to miss the competition.

That was likely for the best considering the way I’ve been shooting.  For a while things were looking up.  Now, things are looking rather flat. Those things are scores.

Data is important to record.  If you’ve not collected your practice and performance data you really don’t have much information to establish way to manage your progress.

After the completion of the weekend’s errands following the abandoned Christmas shoot I looked over my 18-meter data.  It wasn’t inspirational regarding advances in performance.

The data reviewed includes just those post 18-meter inner 10 ring rule changes.  There was a linear slope upwards over time.  However, the log of those numbers showed a much flatter slope.

Scoress were moving in the right direction then did a nose dive

Nope, there weren’t any moments of insight regarding practice changes to improve the slope.  But, there were a number of little adjustments found in the notes associated with the score. Those notes may help refine my 2020 training plans and hopefully I can get back on the right track.

I missed the local Christmas shoot but ended up having a little extra time to take an in-depth dive into my 18-meter data.  That review may end up having been a better way to have used that time.

Expensive Targets

If it’s not simple, it simply won’t get done.

Someone wrote an article I read wherein he advised to cover all targets and target butts. I don’t cover all of my target butts.  None of my 3D targets are ever covered.   As little 3D as I shot last year maybe that should change.  I doubt there will be a change. Two targets butts are always covered.  Those seem to be the most impacted by rain so I put a large outdoor grill cover over them for protection. Aside from those two every other target butt and 3D animal on my ranges are waiting for an arrow.

We’ve not had any rain to speak of in this part of Georgia so the damage from water has been a non-issue. Sure, that will change.  In the spring I’ll be conducting amateurish repairs to everything that ends up with an arrow in it.  Those repairs last about a year.

A big expense and watching money burn is when it comes to paper targets.  I buy them in bulk looking for the best deal, typically found at Amazon. Last week I paid a premium for vinyl 18-meter targets.  I thought the extra money might equate to longer lasting targets.

The vinyl targets are certainly high quality.  The center, however, shoots out just a little more slowly than inexpensive paper.

I ordered 10 of the pricey vinyl targets, which are great for outdoor shooting.  If it rained on them they would hold up.  They’re really nice.  But, after 90 arrows the center is pretty much gone – just like paper. Ninety arrows is one morning practice.

The vinyl targets stayed up between morning and afternoon practice.  They’ll need to be replaced for tomorrow. I use two pinned to a butt trying to make the most of my time.  Walking back and forth every 3 arrows eats a lot of time.

I’ll definitely have days where I’ll just shoot ends of 3 rather than 6 – just not all the time. Sometimes I even shoot three targets pinned to a butt having ends of 9 arrows.

Nine shoot before pulling is one way to go

 

Five years ago the vinyl would have been perfect.  Five years ago I got my money’s worth out of paper.  That is, I shot all the colors.

I’m still not going to cover my target butts.  It takes too much time to cover them.  When I’m ready to shoot, I’m shooting.  Anything that eats time away from practice or makes practice less simple to achieve I try to remove.  Removing extra covers is not difficult but less simple.

The vinyl targets were a good idea for outdoor practice.  When I shoot up these I’ll be going back to inexpensive paper.  No matter which target I flinging arrows into, it is nice to have them ready and waiting for practice.  Simple.

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!

Cold and Wet

It was a miserable day of practice at least weather-wise.  Typically, on these types of days I drive to Social Circle and practice inside.  We’re down to one vehicle for transportation at the moment so I’m staying close to home.  Hence, no driving to Social Circle to practice.

Two things to deal with, a major tournament this weekend and a weather cold blast.  Skipping practice is not an option and neither is being warm.

You could feel the rain coming

To make matter worse or add insult to injury a light rain fell during the morning practice.  I considered stopping but didn’t.  The first 30 arrows were just so close and I could feel I was just off but couldn’t figure it out.  I decided to continue in the rain until I worked though whatever problem it was that had me missing.

During the next 30 arrows my shots improved. I stayed out, in the rain, because what had been missing felt like it had returned or at least was returning.  When I finished I was cold, wet, but seemed to have found a good spot.

Rain meant not heat

The afternoon, the rain had stopped and I switched to a 5-spot. There’s been enough yellow, red and blue staring at me from down range.  The blue and white was a nice break.  There’s another State Championship in two weeks and the 5-spot is the target.  So, aside from a visual break it was good to see how I’m shooting against the giant X ring.

The rain wasn’t to bad.

A day later, record cold temperatures are the rage with the weather people.  I’ve also emptied the propane tank on the outdoor heater. Yes, it is cold and windy. But, going out in the cold is better than sitting inside all day. Even if I go to an indoor range, I’ve spent time outside.  I’ll run outside nearly every morning.  I have gear for all weather.  Sure, sometimes it is cold and sometimes it is hot.  You simply deal with it.

You know, when it is freezing cold outside (or when it isn’t that warm), I’ve never needed the local weather person to explain how I should wear warm clothing when I go out.  I suppose when the weather person makes that recommendation they’re feeling as if they’re being either helpful or smart. I really don’t know if they’ve achieved either.

Staying Warm, Shooting Cold

I’d say it was freezing outside practicing at 18-meters this morning, but it wasn’t that warm.  I didn’t get all that cold, I’d worn multiple layer of clothing, had the outdoor propane space heater running, a glove on my bow hand, and pocket full of hand warmers. One bonus, the wind wasn’t blowing.

Nevertheless, my practice scores were not anything worth sharing.  It was a weak day.  It wasn’t a physical weakness, I felt pretty good coming off two days of rest.

Typically, one day is enough for a break.  The past few weeks have been intense so two days off was the prescription for recovery. I’d recovered.

It wasn’t even mental weakness.  My brain felt good. No sir, shooting while wearing enough clothes to stay warm changes things.

Distractions, A Stink Bug, and a Little Luck

Last week, on an indoor range, I was practicing at 18-meters.  There weren’t many other people there at that time.  Steve was there. Steve’s a coach and was working with a student.

I’m accustomed to practicing while coaching is happening around me.  I listen to what is being said between ends.  I’ve picked up more than one free tip from Steve while he’s coaching.

Anyway, I was working away at 18-meters. I’d been shooting pretty good. Then, on one shot I hit a 9.  Now a 9 isn’t bad but I’d been hitting 10s. Here’s what happened – Steve walks over to grab arrows from a ground quiver about 2 inches from me.  The distraction was all it took to miss the 10.

I laughed and said, “Thanks, Steve!  That 9 is on you.”  He, too, laughed and added, “You need to learn to block distraction.” Of course he’s right.  Who knows, I may have hit the 9 regardless of Steve nearly knocking me over.  (Yes, Steve that’s how I telling it) I mean, it wouldn’t have been my first 9.

Distractions happen. They really can’t be allowed to mess with your shooting.   The other day I had another distraction.  A stink bug.

This stink bug hopped off my bow after the shot. He stayed around for a photo opt.

Practicing at 18-meters on my outdoor range I was again doing pretty good.  At full draw, all focused, letting my brain relax, finding silence, being one with the arrow and channeling my inner Yoda, this stink bug lands on the lens of my scope. Yep, the arrow was off in the millisecond of bug to glass impact.

I heard the arrow hit the target.  I was expecting to find it some where in the white and glad it didn’t sail off into the woods.  I lifted my binoculars to find the arrow.  What I found was a real surprise.

100% luck

The shot turned out good. Sometimes luck is a good thing to have.

295 (Not the Loop around a city)

It is time to reset a goal. Over the five years that I’ve been shooting a bow I’ve set goals. Some are short term; there are mid-range, and long-term goals. Setting them brings an athlete out of a comfort zone.

The score of 290 out of 300, doing it twice in a row, to reach 580 as a final score against a USA Archery style 3-spot has to change. It seems tough to hit 290, but the data on practice says it is time to make a change.

In the past moving up was hard. I don’t expect 295 twice will be easy. Shooting a consistent 590 is a pretty good score. It isn’t perfect. It does mean fifty Xs and ten 9s. Certainly, I’d love to shoot 600, but for now 590 is the target, that is hitting 295 on the first 30 arrows and doing it a second time.

That’s an average. I could reach 590 with a 289 plus 291. Any way you do the math, it is a lofty goal. By breaking it up, 295 and 295, it doesn’t sound a difficult as scoring 590. It is also a reachable goal.

Hitting 580 or a personal best (in practice so far) of 588 you might wonder way not set the goal for 600. Six hundred is the ultimate goal.

Coaching Tip

Six hundred has only be achieved a few times. It is better to set an obtainable goal, for me anyway, of 590 (2 X 295). Once that becomes comfortable, then jump to the next level.

It Takes Time

November 1st  (2018) marked 5 years of shooting a bow for me. Sixty months isn’t such a long time. During these past sixty months USA archery changed the way we score a 3-spot. That is, we changed from scoring 10s and Xs to only the X ring equaling 10 points. The sport got tougher and it is taking longer to achieve a level of expertise than I’d initially guessed.

When I began shooting this would have scored as 30 points or X,X 10. Today it is X,X, 9 or 29 points.

The smaller ten ring (inner ten)  makes scoring a perfect 600 tougher. Heck, scoring a 600 using the old scoring method remains tough. I’ve not yet shot a 600 using either scoring method. I’ve come close scoring the old 10 ring. Last week I shot 599. It was going well until the last six arrows. With six arrows to go I shot 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10. On the old larger ten ring mind you.

Inner 10 scores over the past three years. (There are data like this in a 3D file, 50-meter file, 5-spot file, etc.)

The little ten or inner ten or X ring, whatever you want call it this dime sized 10 point ring remains the same in size. But, the outer ten is now only worth nine points. At 18-meters (20 yards) a dime is a small target. The thing is I thought I’d been shooting with a bit more accuracy after 5 years.

A steeper slope would have been nice

When I began shooting arrows I thought it would be pretty much like switching from cycling to duathlon. That was pretty easy. All I needed to do was start running. I could already ride a bike and had won all sorts of prizes racing bicycles in the US and Europe.

Run like you’re being chased

Sure enough duathlon moving along pretty rapidly and I earned a spot on the USA Team to the World Duathlon Championship about a year after I picked up running. When I added swimming, part of the plan to become a triathlete, I learned swimming was not a strong discipline for me.

A few years ago (@2011). This triathlon was in the fall in Cambridge, Maryland. The water was cold.

Still, I did well in shorter triathlons where I didn’t lose so much time during the swim. Eventually, I moved up in swimming from the slowest 25 percentile to the upper (faster) 25 percentile. I even brought my long distance, 2.4-mile swim (Ironman distance) down to around an hour.

2007 ITU World Championship, Long Course Duathlon

Transfer talent from cycling to triathlon wasn’t all that difficult particularly competing in my age group. Archery, however, is another matter. There are some elements of sport that do transfer such as determination and discipline. The mental focus is, in my opinion, different. Archery requires a mental effort unlike that of racing an Ironman.

By looking at a rolling average I can set goals. A goal was to average 290 points out of 300 or 580 out of six hundred. Now that I’ve hit that goal I reset the goal to 295 or 590.

Archery excellence or at least elite level performance based on scores and winning, is going to take time. Five years into this sport I’d hoped to be further along. It can be frustrating. Thankfully, I have data that shows progress, even though part of the progression included making the ten ring smaller.