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.

The Yellow Game

No, this isn’t a game about cowardice or micturition.  It is a fun practice challenge to land all arrows into the yellow of a target.

For some you work to land all arrows in the X circle of the yellow.  I’ve played that game with my compound bow.  I’ve never won. I have come close, but there was always an eight or two (red ring) to ruin it.

Thirty-four days ago I switched to an Olympic recurve.  Hitting the target seemed like a good place to start.

As my groups got tight, all in the target, I moved from the barn wall to a single spot 40 cm paper target. Next, I moved to a 3-spot to reduce the stress on my arrows.

The arrows are inexpensive.  They are truly beginner arrows, Easton Vector 1000, which you can purchase from your local archery shop for $70.00 per dozen or from Amazon for $66.00 per dozen.  Still, breaking these arrows is fairly easy.  Pop a nock and you’ll likely find a cracked shaft.

My Easton Vector 1000 arrows are a tad weak for my poundage.  I didn’t know that at the time I bought them.  I trusted without verifying.  I’ve done it before; I’ll do it again.  They’re pretty close and for a beginner learning I am not too disappointed.  If shoot three to four of these inexpensive arrows at the same target I don’t cry when one breaks.

That target right is the yellow of the vertical 3-spot.  Right now I am limiting the number of arrows per day to 70 in the morning and 70 in the afternoon.  I’d started at 50 in the morning and 50 in the afternoon and have been working my way up at weekly or so increase depending on how things feel.  It is easy to over do it and end up with an injury.

The yellow game is hard at present.  On August 20th, 28 days after receiving the Olympic recurve, I switched to a 3-spot.  It really isn’t any harder to hit than the larger single spot.  It is just as hard keeping all the arrows in the yellow rings.

It isn’t a game unless I’ve shot the quota of arrows scheduled for the practice session. In other words, if I shot 9 out of 10 on the first end and quit, that 90% doesn’t count.  I did once get chased inside because a rainstorm became too fierce after 40 arrows and those arrows didn’t apply.  No the full count of planned arrows must be achieved.  There’s no stopping early to prevent fatigue from lowering percentages.

Since the beginning of the game, now in its 14th day my average is only 48.2%.  So, out of 1104 arrows fired during the game 530 have hit yellow.  Not even half.

If you’re a numbers person you might think 1104 is not many arrows over that amount of time.  Those are only the Yellow Game arrows.  Over the month, thus far, the arrow count is 3355.  I play other games; the Yellow Game isn’t the only one. There’s the tournament game.  That game is for another for a future story.

Even so, simply looking at 3355 arrows for the 34 days I’ve owned a recurve you might think, “David’s not shooting a lot.”  Maybe you’re right.  But, over those 34 days 9 recovery days, a ½ day lost to routine dentistry and one full day lost so that I could get 15 sutures put into a slice on my right shoulder.  Fortunately, those stitches didn’t seem to bother me.  Well, at least my scores don’t seem to have been hampered.  At this point it is hard to tell.

On my worst day I shot only 31% of the arrows into the yellow at 20 yards, my best day was 71% or 50 out of 70 arrows.  I’ve not shot 10 arrows in a row into the yellow; the best has been 9 out of 10.

I try not to rush the practice but don’t want too much time spent walking back and forth to the target to pull arrows.  So, each end is 10 arrows. I’ve got plenty of targets to save arrows. It is a game, after all.

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.