Twenty yards to sixty-five yards at five-yard increments doesn’t sound to tough. Go shoot these distances and you’d discover it is pretty tough.
What might become clear is: You can drop points at 20 – 30 and gain points at 55 – 65 yards. Or you can drop points at every distance. Or you can hit the center at every distance. In other words – it is tougher than one might think.
Shooting set distances even 70 meters isn’t as complex as shooting multiple distances. Seventy meters is a long shot (@ 77 yards) but you’re set and can make corrections should you be off a tad.
Shooting an international round you get three shots per distance and move to the next target. So your sight must be spot on.
Say you shooting 55 yards and the arrow on your elevation scale looks like it is in the correct position. The needle on the elevation block has a diameter and can cover your calibration mark and still be a few clicks high or low. If either is askew despite a flawless shot execution the arrow will be off the mark.
Walking through a forest, on and off of fields, and through mixed shade will have an impact on lighting and center placement of a shot. Chances are it won’t be horrible but light can still impact aiming.
Then, there are, at times, the potential for a shift in target elevation. When the angle becomes significant aiming at your usual center will float your arrow high whether shooting toward a downward set target or an uphill target. Shooting a set distance, such as 50 meters (compound) or 70 meters (recurve) this isn’t an issue.
When preparing many archers focus on improving their long shots to the neglect of the shorter distances. The result can be slight improvement at the long shot, over confidence at shorter distances and overall less than optimal scores.
To prepare build a training plan. For example, practice twice a day once in the morning and one in the afternoon. There are ten distances. In the morning pick a short or long distance and shoot 100 arrows. For the afternoon shoot another 100 arrows at the reciprocal distance. Over 5 days you’ve shot 1000 arrows at 100 arrows per increment. Then on one of the two remaining days do practice International Rounds – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. With warm-up shots this is going to put you in the range of 1200 arrows per week. (Your shot count can vary depending on your time available for practice) The last day is reserved for recovery. Start your international practice as far in advance of an International Competition as feasible in consideration of your event schedule. (If you’ve been shooting less than 100 arrows per day adjust your load to prevent an injury)
Rolling into a tournament tired isn’t good. I’m tired. It showed my practice this morning. I compete in 3 days.
The fatigue isn’t from shooting. It is from planting spring crops, running, cycling, building an extension on the chicken run, blowing leaves and pine straw, and power washing the back of our house. All of this happening on my archery ‘recovery’ day. I need a recovery day for my recovery day.
While shooting felt good this morning I looked at my arrow placement afterwards. I am practicing on a 5-spot. Typically, 70% if my arrows on a 5-spot are Xs or 5s the reminder (out of 100) are 4s. I do this twice a day. This morning, 45% of my shots were 5s or Xs. It was weak.
It was raining a bit and very dark at 0830 when I began practice. But, I often shoot in similar conditions or worse. I can’t blame it on the weather. Nope, I blame it on a 17-year-old brain in a body that is nearly 70.
In nine days I’ll be heading to the Georgia State and USA Archery Indoor Championships. At the moment I am shooting like crap.
Over the past week or so my practice scores have been decreasing. The volume of practice has been high. Obviously, fatigue (hopefully) is a symptom of reaching a point of diminishing returns.
A friend of mine is an ex-pro golfer. He once said not to go into a tournament tired.
From past sport experience I understand that excessive fatigue can impact quality of performance.
With that in mind I’ve dropped my daily arrow count o 140 arrows broken into two practice sessions. Still my scores aren’t competitive. However, they are creeping up, again.
This afternoon during the 4th quarter of my practices my groups began getting tighter. I’d jumped from 8.45 points per arrow to 8.8 points per arrow. Then, on the final five ends the average increased to 9.125, closer to where I expect to be shooting at this point with my recurve.
It was hard to stop shooting, but to continue deviated from the plan. There’s nine days left before I hit the road for the tournaments. That is a realistic taper.
Since I began shooting an Olympic recurve 186 days ago I’ve taken 49 days for compete recovery. I understand that shooting a recurve isn’t something that can be picked up over night. Still, I’ve managed, starting with a lower volume of arrows per day and working my way up, to shoot 16,728 arrows. That’s an overall average of 122 arrows per day. I’d peaked at 1000 arrows per week but have now dropped to 700 (allow two days break per week at this point) per week.
It feels like a huge drop in volume. I hope it works.
I can take the cold or I can take the rain but the cold and the rain is hard to take. This morning’s practice was both cold and rainy. Practice was still practice.
If you’ve done a few outdoor archery competitions you may have been caught in the rain. Shooting in the rain is a condition that will happen if you enter enough archery tournaments that take place outside. Archery doesn’t stop for rain.
Archery does stop for lightening. Running around with a lightening rod in your hand can lead to shocking outcomes. If the rain isn’t a storm that causes the judges to call the event and you want to finish you have to shoot through the weather.
It is a good idea to practice in the rain. Typically, the rain is associated with outdoor distances. Practice at the moment, here, is 18-meters. So, I could have skipped the rain since it is unlikely I’ll ever face rain during an indoor tournament.
Nevertheless, I shot through this morning’s rain. It wasn’t stormy weather just a constant light rain. It actually became kind of fun. The temperature was around 40°F so even the cold wasn’t horrible.
Sometimes is can be fun to break a daily pattern by practicing in less than optimal conditions. Despite the conditions this morning I admittedly enjoyed the session. This afternoon, according the local weather report, should be dry.
I was hard to shoot today. The weather was the matter. It was cold and windy.
I’ve got a nice outdoor propane heater I stand near while shooting in the cold. It doesn’t get used until the temperature is below 40. At 40 with the right amount of clothing it isn’t bad without the heater. However, that right amount of clothing makes archery difficult.
Today I wore nearly the right amount of clothing and used the heater to compensate. Had it not been for the wind 18-meter practice would have been fine.
Days like this it is easier to stay indoors. If we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic with unrealized promises of a vaccine no doubt I’d have been practicing on an indoor range. Alas, I remain antibody free and susceptible.
So, that means practicing in the cold, wind and at times rain.
Like last winter and the winter before this winter is cold. Unlike the prior winters I am not headed to an indoor range to practice. The ranges where I’ve practiced in the past are mask free at the peak of a pandemic. It is easier to warm up after practice than it is to recover from lung disease.
With that in mind I head outside and stand next to an outdoor propane heater trying to stay warm while not setting my self on fire. The colder it becomes the layers of clothes I wear. The more clothes I wear the lower my scores become.
It is a balance to wear the right number of layer and still be able to clear my bowstring on the release.
This is Georgia so I know warmer weather isn’t that far away.
I was an innocent question, “So, do you train 3 to 4 times per week?”
I honestly didn’t want to answer the question and tried to side step it. However, our friend, a yoga student of my wife’s, was persistent. I provided the short version:
I train everyday. If there is a day off it is part of a plan for recovery. Generally, this is how it works:
When I wake up in the morning I spend 26 minutes stretching. I eat breakfast then run for 30 to 40 minutes. When I finish the run of skip rope using a speed rope for 5 minutes. Then, I shoot my bow for an hour to an hour and a half. Next I eat lunch followed by a short nap taken on the floor so I don’t get too comfortable.
From there I get up and have a snack. After the snack I ride a bike for 30 minutes to an hour. This is also the time when I’ll write something for this webpage or one of the books I am writing. Then, I shoot my bow for another hour to an hour and a half. The last part of my training is to play my trumpet for 30 minute to an hour (brain training). Playing music, I believe, helps with concentrations and seeing ahead. By seeing ahead, I mean having the notes written on sheets of music in my head before I play them. For me, this is like seeing (and feeling) where an arrow is going to land before it is released.
After dinner I watch something on the television, usually something on Netflix, Amazon or the BBC. Sometimes it is YouTube where I watch archery videos. That lasts between and hour and forty-minutes and two hours. I am never in front of a screen until 7 to 7:30 pm aside from this computer. Then I go to bed and read for a short time before I fall asleep.
Essentially, that’s it. It doesn’t explain the training plan, shooting reviews, practice objectives, etc. That detail would have certainly put an inquiring mind into a deep sleep. It is a six days a week occupation.