I’ve not lost an arrow during practice in a very long time. To me, losing an arrow is money down the drain. It was one of those things I didn’t see coming.
I’d been practicing at 80 yards. After 30 arrows I moved back to 90 yards. That’s when it happened.
The range is bordered on either side by trees. I keep their limbs trimmed to provide clearance for arrows. The problem with trees and limbs is they continue to grow.
On the very first arrow at 90 yards I heard the slight snap as it intersected with a limb. I then thought I heard the arrow smack into the target. When I walked up to pull the arrows there was one missing. Where is landed I may never know. I searched to no avail.
Behind the target butts there’s a slight natural berm. It is covered with underbrush. You probably couldn’t find a wallet in the ground cover there much less an arrow. Still, I tried. The entire time I looked I was hoping not to find a rattlesnake or copperhead. Last year I shot an arrow at a rattlesnake there in the brush. The snake twisted, squirmed, and slid deeper into the brush. Then, there was silence. I didn’t verify the outcome deciding the arrow, which seemed to have passed through the snake was sacrificed.
If you’ve read this website for long you may remember there was once a page for sponsors. I took it down. Before I removed it I politely said good-bye to those companies that had once supported me. They were all good companies and I used their products. But, overtime I became tired of their game. The products on this site, now, are mine.
The sponsorship game was essentially this: I promoted their gear, I got a discount, I submitted quarterly updates, if the company had a booth at a tournament where I attended I was expected help at the booth, I’d only use the company’s gear, and I’d pay for the gear out of my pocket. There would be a discount on my purchase of 25% to 70% depending on the company. To be fair one company never charged me for their products. Nevertheless, I parted ways with them, too. Two of the companies were carry over sponsors form cycling and triathlon (those were the ones with the big discount and free goods.)
The whole archery deal felt off to me. Actually, the whole deal is a marketing program where those sports companies use amateur athletes to help promote their products. I understand, I was in business most of my working life.
During that time of my life, before I retired, I did all sorts of business activities including product development, marketing, and was Vice President of Marketing. I was also an Executive VP & Chief Medical Officer, and VP of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs. I wore all sorts of hats.
I, too, ran marketing programs aimed at promoting my products. One thing I always did was paid attention to the folks helping me with their expertise. In my area the expertise wasn’t 100% an athletic skill it was mostly brain skills. Essentially, the academic/clinical environment was where my work and products were placed – for the most part.
There was a segment of my work that dealt with sports. There I worked with professional and amateur athletes. That work ranged from professional football players, track and field athletes (pro & am), triathletes, cyclist, runners, and event mountain climbers. One of our key athletes was Jerry Rice who you may remember wearing a “Breathe Right” Nasal Strip. Our segment of that market was medical but it was still cool to see Jerry Rice making amazing catches while wearing the “Breathe Right” Nasal Strip. We even had a nearly life sized cardboard ‘standee’ of him in our boardroom.
With both venues, the brains and the brawn, one key function of our marketing department was to stay close to these thought leaders and athletes. As a result we built a community or network of individuals that benefitted from our support and we benefitted from their support. The goal, of course, was to benefit people. I can honestly say we succeeded. There are people alive today that might not be had it not been but for the work we all did.
Furthermore, that combined group had crossovers, brainy people can be athletes and athletes are smart, and those people worked together on projects. It was a pulmonologist that inspired me to become a triathlete, Dr. Nick Hill a tremendous athlete. One of the toughest cyclists I ever trained with is an anesthesiologist, Dr. Chuck Law. Another close friend, a World Championship level cyclist, later became a toxicologist earning his degree from the Medical College of Georgia, Dr. Howard Taylor. These are just a few examples that come immediately to mind as I type this post.
Sometimes our company supported a project for the scientists or athletes and other times we did not. Those times we didn’t provide support, financial or equipment, we did provide our help, if only to bounce ideas around, when it was needed even if the project held nothing for our benefit beyond the friendships we developed. Years after retiring (We sold the company, I took my piece of the pie and called it quits.) that network still functions as a social group where ideas are exchanged.
The sponsorship or “Pro-Staff” arrangements I’ve been associated with thus far in archery have been extremely one sided. There does not seem to be a commitment on the part of sport industry to create long-term associations with athletes beyond the young and the few. Personally, I could care less which bow a 17 year old is shooting. Odds are that 17 year will be putting his or her bow down during their freshmen year of college. A very few will continue with their advancement in the sport.
If you are fortunate enough and good enough that you are at a minimum getting free gear in return for donning that factory archery shirt good for you. If you paid for the shirt and get a 25% discount on products that has a 70% margin – well that’s your choice. If you see me wearing a company logo, you can bet that the arrangement has both benefit and detriment for both sides. That and I believe their gear helps me perform better.
3D archery has pretty much fallen off the list for 2019. At the beginning of the year I had high hopes for the 2019 3D season. Sadly, a few months into the year I no longer had a 3D bow.
I do have a bow. But, that bow is configured for target archery. I tried shooting 3D with it using those skinny outdoor arrows and a lens. It simply didn’t feel right to me. In 3D I prefer using a hunting rig.
It wasn’t as if the skinny arrow arrangement barred me from shooting 3D. In my mind it subtracts from the spirit of 3D, a discipline developed to simulate hunting. I’d never hunt with a long stabilizer, scope and sight other than pins.
Of course, I could switch the bow over to a 3D rig and go back and forth with the gear arrangements before practices. I’ve done it in the past. But, it isn’t simple and if it isn’t simple it often times simply won’t get done.
I had two bows at the beginning of the year. One was returned to the manufacturer in hopes they’d either resolve the problem or exchange the bow. Since the bow was returned there’s been no reply. Oh, I’ve checked on it. The response has been silence.
Then, I discovered an old bow that shoots. It is an old Mathews Conquest Apex 7. It was my first bow, purchased the year before it was discontinued. I’d sold it. The person that bought it wasn’t shooting it. He told me I could “have it” when I asked to borrow it.
On the Friday before a local 3D competition I took the stripped bow to a local shot. There they added a PEEP (one I had in a tackle box) and I’d already added a pin sight, it still had a D-loop on the string, and I attached a short front stabilizer. I also had an arrow rest; the one removed from the long ago returned malfunctioning bow, and it bow was ready to shoot.
Before leaving the shop the bow was paper tuned and tested. It shot fine. During the afternoon I sighted the pins against known yardage so that the bow close to being ready to use in a tournament.
When I arrived at the local 3D shoot, Mathews Conquest Apex 7 in tow, the first words anyone spoke to me were from a PSE representative. He asked, “What is that you’ve got in your hand?” I explained the situation and he suggested I try on of his products. I’ve already tried that bow. It is nice. It doesn’t come for free. The Apex 7 came for free.
Now, I am certain that over the years since this Apex 7 was developed there have been advances in bow technology. I know marginal gains are available with advanced equipment. Since I’ve not been shooting 3D, it doesn’t matter. I was just looking to have some fun on a 3D range with the bow in my hand.
There’s always that awkward moment with I show up to shoot at a local 3D event. I’m new here – still – by archery group standards. As such, I have to do that milling about hoping to find a group with which to shoot. I really hate that part and miss the group I shot with in North Carolina. Before every 3D event we get in touch with each other the night before to make our plans for the tournament.
My first attempt to connect with a group failed, as did my second. I got lucky and group of two invited me to join with them. Having only shot about 30 arrows with the Mathews bow, where I was finding the pins and range intersections, I’d hoped to finish sighting the bow before I actually went to the range. I got 6 shots and was off. The group that offered the invitation was ready and as the leader put it, “I’ve got things to do today.” I appreciated her sentiment and invitation; beggars can’t be choosers.
The windage was off a bit and the first target was wide to the right. Wide enough to earn a 5. No one complained as when I made my only adjustment. A few cranks to the right and I’d do the best I could with the arrangement.
From target two until target eight there were no problems. The old bow has minimal let off so I had to really be in the shot. That helped and I was shooting par. Target 8 was a trick. A javelina sitting down a hill at 38 yards. As a rule that isn’t too difficult. But, today, I knew 38 yards was an in between two pins as best as I could guess. I guessed a bit off and shot another 5 – a tad high just off the eight ring. Beyond those two shots I ended up with all tens other than two 12s and two 8s finishing with a 190 in the senior hunter class. (20 targets no bonus target)
For the first time in years shooting a bow without a significant let off and shooting a bow for the first time of any merit I wasn’t too upset with the score. Now that I’ve got this bow maybe I’ll be able to finish the 3D season with a few more competitions. One thing for certain, the arrows float off the bow and there’s little room for yardage error.
When it comes to equipment, as athletes become better performers, their gear makes a difference. British Cycling has a team, the Secret Squirrel Club, that’s composed of engineers and designers. Their job is to make equipment best suited to provide marginal gains for elite cyclists. Small gains at an elite level can make a difference when thousandths of a second can mean the gap between a first place and second.
Archery is no different. As we improve our groups become tighter. The accuracy of shots becomes more repeatable. It is this way with all top archers. Equipment in archery is generally quite good. Searching for marginal gains through technologically superior equipment can provide the archer with marginal gains that can make the difference between a first place and second place.
I can’t recall how many times I’ve now lost a tournament by one point, a one point shoot off, the X count, or the inner X count (I do recall that one). Each of those close matches I know, whether or not the archer was simply one point better, that my opponent on that day used equipment at least more expense that mine. At times, most times, the archer shooting to victory held gear that has a retail sticker price of more than double of mine.
I asked a coach/sales person, “How can I buy more points with improved gear?” First off the bat were the arrows I was shooting for outdoor contests.
He suggested I switch to a more expensive arrow. The price of the arrows I shoot is $150.15 vanes and nocks included from Amazon. The tips are another $21.00 at Amazon. Total price is $171.15.
The arrows the coach/sales person suggested aren’t available at Amazon; they are from Lancaster Archery Supply. The shafts alone for those arrows are $239.99. Built and ready to shoot the price came to $407.99. The coach/sales person said he’d gone to those arrows and his score had improved by 10 points. Ten points is a lot.
Next he suggested a different arrow rest, the price for that suggestion is $248.00. The arrow rest on my bow is $127.00 on Amazon. His suggestion is not available on Amazon. He claimed his recommended arrow rest is the best on the market. He should know he is an ex-pro.
Sure, there are all sorts of “Pro” archers. He was a major professional and former “Cover Archer” among the marketing literature for one of the companies he represented. His opinion is the expensive rest would add 5 more points to my scores. I do believe he knows what his talking about.
At that point I was looking at an investment of $655.99 for an additional 15 points (potential). That’s a lot of cash. Then, there’s the bow.
Last year, I purchased a bona fide target bow. It shot great for a while. Then it began doing something that spread the groups. What I noticed was the cable guard was becoming pitted. The action of the slide on the cable guard appeared to be sticking and gouging small pits and creating ripples on the cable guard itself.
After nearly a year of complaining, calls, and bow tuning I finally got support from the manufacturer. The bow was returned. The bow remains AWOL but I do have a receipt. You can’t shoot a receipt. Even so, that bow remains among the least expensive target bows on the market.
There’s a point in all sport where excellent equipment can provide an advantage. One thing I did change which was a huge success was my release. Aside from that my equipment is generally fine for a good time shooting.
Marginal gains are real. These gains can be found through better gear. Considering the marginal gains projected around the $655.99 of upgraded gear, which I have not purchased, there might be as great as a 15-point gain. I may never know. What I can say for certain is that the best bow is the bow that is in your hand.
Ten grains sounds like a lot to me especially when is comes to arrows. I needed an arrow update, the ones I’ve been shooting for outdoor events have really gotten hammered. Calling around I found a shop that could get me more of those arrows. I’d learn if they were up to meeting their promise.
Heading over I brought several of the old arrows with me to the shop as examples. The question was could they duplicate the arrows. Heaven knows having a quiver full of assorted arrows leads to poor scores. The shop manager promised they could duplicate the arrows based on the examples. Furthermore, the arrows would be reading in about two weeks. Later, he phoned to confirm the tip weight and the process was underway.
Sure enough within two weeks the arrows were available for pick up. Eager to get the arrows I drove to the shop to collect. Before paying for them I weighted them. The new arrows were 10 grains heavier.
The shop manager held up his hand, made a circle the size of a quarter using his thumb and forefinger then said, “Unless you’re shooting groups this tight 10 grains won’t make a difference.”
I put his claim to the test. Results – 10 grains equals two clicks!
I like the new arrows okay even though they don’t match all the other arrows. I won’t use them for practice along with all the other arrows, the 10 grains is too much of a difference. But, I’ll drop my elevation by 2 clicks and use them in tournaments.
Spring is time to make repairs to 3D targets. It is also time to start trimming the growth on the 3D range.
Of course, before any of those chores started a little 3D practice was called for.
If I can find some local 3D events in which to compete, I’ll not be following with the original 2019 3D plan. That plan was to use a bow set up for competing in the hunter class – pins and a short stabilizer. Unfortunately, the target bow I’d been shooting is a bust and the backup bow, used for 3D, is now the primary and only bow.
Because there are easy to find outdoor target events that backup bow is now set up with long stabilizers, a sight and scope, and set for skinny arrows. Those skinny arrows will have to be the arrows used for 3D because I’m just not going to switch things around everyday to practice with skinny versus fat arrows. So, 3D will be solely for fun being at a slight handicap on arrow diameter.
When I practiced 3D today the skinny arrows did miss a line or two leaving me with a 10 that might have been a 12 with a larger diameter arrow. It would have been nice to have two bows – well I did have two bows – that is two bows that performed well.
You might think it is all me regarding the “nicer” bow that failed and is now banned from my range. But, after a solid year of saying to anyone that would listen that the bow wasn’t right I let the numbers do the talking. Keeping data on both bows revealed the backup bow out performed the ‘fancy’ bow when in my hands (7% better – 7% is a lot of points at 50 meters). For me, the backup bow is much better and that means one bow rather than two for the different archery disciplines.
Even so, shooting on the 3D range is a nice break from flinging arrows at dots.
It’s you not the Bow! Well, we’ve all heard that one.
Last year I bought a new bow specifically for USA Archery and NFAA target shooting. The old bow was fine. The old bow is a catchall advertised to be useful for hunting, 3D and target shooting. It is exactly as advertised.
I was at a point where my groups were tight; I’d won a number of tournaments with the one-bow-does-it-all and felt it was time to invest in equipment that might yield a few more points. Specifically, a bow marketed exclusively for target shooting.
This would mean a longer axil-to-axil for certain and perhaps a few other target specific alternations. I bought a highly recommended target bow, which according to the salesman, “All the top pros are shooting this bow.” I bought it.
With the new bow I practiced and practiced. At each tournament, new bow in hand, I lost and lost.
The groups would be rather tight then there’d be a flyer. The groups would widen and my scores would drop. I just could not figure out the problem. One day things would seem okay, the next arrows flying all over the place.
In the middle of 2018, after losing in a major event where I was up 6 points going into the final six arrows I put the bow down. I loaded up the catchall bow, went to the next tournament and set a new State record. I figured it was a fluke. I grabbed the fancy target specific bow and started working with it, again. And again, I lost and lost.
I took the new bow to my local archery shop and they checked it out, made some adjustment and returned it. It shot well for a while – then arrows began landing in shotgun patterns. I emailed the manufacturer and explained what was happened. There was no response.
Most notably, when shooting at increasing distance, the windage needed to be adjusted. Those adjustments were not slight. Arrows would land wider and wider as the distance increased. Oh, there was no wind and it was the same target. I’d shoot at 30 yards and work my way out to 70 yards adjusting the windage every ten yards. It felt like it wasn’t me and I began asking more questions. I even hired a coach to see if I’d gotten out of tune.
When it came to the problem of shooting the new bow there were all manner of answers and voodoo remedy: “You have to bend your bow arm with this bow,” “You need to keep your bow arm straighter,” “ You bend your bow arm and keep it straight at the same time,” “Keep your bow arm and back really extra tight, “ “If you’re too tight you’ll shoot your arrows right with this bow,” “This bow likes to be closer to the thumb of your bow hand,” “You need a new string,” “The string has stretched, “ “It is a little out of tune,” ”Your peep rotates,” “You’re too short for this bow,” and finally, “Maybe you just shoot the other bow better.” No doubt about the last comment. But, the question is, why? The other older bow isn’t a true target bow. The flawed new bow is a true target bow.
Working with bow techs every manner of adjustment was tried and tested. More weight, less weight, different release, different arrows, new angle on the front stabilizer, shorter rear stabilizer, etc. The course of less tight groups marched onward.
The ‘flawed’ term is what I’ve determined. Over and over the new bow fails to shoot consistently. You’d automatically want to blame the archer. The archer gave the bow a solid year of practice and over that time scores diminished with the new bow, while scores increased with the old entry level catchall bow.
Today, I shot 5% better with the catchall bow compared to the super target bow. The comparison was over two days. I went back to the data on the two bows. Looking back over two years I averaged 10 points higher at 50-meters with the one bow does it all. In a final test, I took the catchall bow to an indoor range and shot a 5-spot.
Using the target bow I’d lost, taking second place, at the State NFAA 5-spot indoor championship missing the 5 three times. I’d wanted to go to Cincinnati and compete at the NFAA Nationals. In order to make the trip I set a minimum requirement for the State Championship. That goal was 600 points over two days and 96 Xs. I failed to reach that mark. However, when testing the catchall bow, using skinny outdoor arrows, I shot a one-day total of 300 points and 52 Xs. That was the final straw.
I believe good equipment is paramount at a certain level of competition with any sport. I also believe, in archery, shoot the bow you shoot best. Needless to say, I am extremely disappointed in the bow purchased with the intent to improve my scores a little. That new bow didn’t pan out. No, in this case, it is the bow. But, the question why remains unanswered.
Last year I purchased a bow specifically for target shooting. During practices I’ve had some decent scores with the bow. In tournaments, it has been another story.
Yesterday, during practice, using the target bow, I wasn’t shooting badly. However, I wasn’t shooting what I felt was going to reach my average score. I stopped shooting, took the sight, scope, and stabilizers off the target bow and out it on my 3D bow.
I’ve not shot the 3D bow too often since last year and it took a few ends to get the feel of it with the longer stabilizers. After practice I compared the scores. The non-target bow ended up scoring 5 points higher. While that might not be statistically significant, it could be extremely important in an archery tournament. I’ve lost more tournaments by a point than I care to think about. Heck, I’ve lost three with the same points as the winner. Twice I had the same X-count as the winner as well. Of those, I ended up losing by a one by a single arrow closest to the center shoot off. Another time I lost to the inner X count, and once to a one-arrow X margin. Those were hard loses.
Thus far, in tournaments, I’ve never set a personal best. In other sports competition is where all my personal bests were established. Adrenaline may help in running or cycling, but it isn’t a friend to the archer. In archery, anything than can help to reduce excitement and calm the performer can be a benefit. Maybe going with a different bow that feels a little trustworthier will help over the next two days.
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)
There seemed to be something off during my last competition. In fact, my arrow placement has been dropping. It was so bad during last week’s tournament I shot two eights at 18 meters.The last tournament was scored with the inner ten equaling 11 points. Despite a recent slump I was optimistic. Before long it was apparent something was clearly amuck.
Things started pretty good but didn’t last. Before I’d shot nine arrows I knew the monkey was on my back. My arrows were flying all over the place. My first thought was that I’d hit rock bottom. My second thought was that something was wrong with my equipment.
The equipment should be fine. It had been checked out in the previous week. Still, when I got home I took my stabilizers and scope off my Elite Victory X and put them on my Elite Energy 35. Low and behold – the arrows were landing more or less where I wanted them to land.
The arrows are Easton 2018s. The Victory X is a 60lb bow set up for around 54 lbs. The Elite Energy is a 50 lbs. bow giving me 52 lbs. I’d shot 2014s with the bows in the past and moved over to a stiffer arrow few weeks ago. With the Victory things had been looking good. Then, things didn’t look so good.
At last year’s Georgia 50 meter State Championship, I was training with the Victory. Prior to the Championship I went back to the Energy and won the event setting a new State record. I did the same for the next outdoor tournament and again set a new record* using the Energy. When shooting the Victory the arrows just seem to shift. I’d have to adjust windage when there was no wind.
Following that I took the Victory to the local bow shop where I’d purchased the bow explaining that something seemed off with the bow. I also contacted Elite looking for help. Elite didn’t respond.
Indeed, the limbs had somehow loosened and one was no longer matching the other. Corrections were taken and the bow performed well. Well, for a short while.
This latest problem was soon chased back to the bow. The Victory, set at 54 lbs. was tested and found to have a draw weight of 46 lbs. Forty-six pounds from a bow that has a maximum draw weight of 60 is seriously out of whack. At the Indoor Nationals last year (the tournament for which I’d bought the bow) during bow check in I discovered the bow had dropped the poundage. I’d assumed it was a variance between measuring devices.
The Victory X is a nice bow. Mine is nine months and 5 days old. I shoot about 100 arrows a day on average. My Victory X seems to have some issue with staying tight.
The recent discovered change in draw weight isn’t the first time – it is now the third. The first, I blamed it on variance of measuring devices. The second time, well no fault was assigned. This third time, well it is the bow. The third time is also the charm.
Today, while practicing, I had to pause and tighten the locking screws that are on the sides of the limb pockets. At this point I have no idea why this bow gets loose. But, I do hope it can hold together long enough to compete this weekend.
*Unofficial record. No higher score can be found online and I have contacted the State officials to verify – they’ve not yet responded.