Personal Walk of Shame

On Facebook, an archer whose is one of those, Robin Hood shootin, Pro-Staffer, big game huntin’, Bull’s Eye hitting, experts posted his latest heroics. He’d grabbed his bow, a newly acquired hunting rig, stood at 18-meters, faced a vertical 3-spot, and landed a perfect 30X 300.

30X – Take that you whimps

On his Facebook update describing the shooting wonder he thanked his many ‘sponsors’ by hash tagging everyone and attributed to them his success. (I am not sure how those hash tags work. Because I’ve no organization with which to accredit my archery performances I’m not worried about the hash tag.) He further acknowledged his many blessings (in this case 30 of them in the X), thanked heaven, offered an Amen then called for others to blanket the Internet with an Amen rally as proof of their worth.

His devotees rallied to this glory – Amen. In unison they begged him, using that new out-of-the-box hunting bow, to take on the hot dot shooters at the next major tournament and to walk away with all their cash taken via stunning and absolute defeat. To the dismay of his fans he humbly replied he’d stick with 3D in 2019, barely being able to wait, and salvage the embarrassment of the world’s best 3-spot archers. In the meantime, he was going hunting with plans to take down “Ole Buckster” the monster and elusive trophy deer seen on his trail cam, now that he was equipped with the new bow.

This trail cam monster is going down

His peeps gnashed their teeth and wrung their hands with sorrow.   If only, if only, their king would take on those lesser archers at Vegas, Lancaster, or any World Cup event. Going though my head was, if I could just land a solid 300 on the big ten that might be good. Clearly, my thoughts were far from the ones that led to hugging replies for the semi-famous 30X hitting ubiquitous Pro-Staffer.

I come close nearly every day to matching Mr. Pro-Staff. Close, that is by measurement, to a 300 or 600 shooting the big 10. But, 300 and 600 remain goals. Additionally I remain committed to shooting an occasional 8.

Today, I once again came close to a 300 and even a 600. I was low – missing the mark. My all time new low, during this practice, was to walk away from my target, return to the orange flagged 18-meter dirt spot out back that represents my archer’s box, reach down to grab an arrow and discover the arrows weren’t in my quiver. Yes, you guessed it; I had left them lodged in the butt.

Thankfully, this was an error made in private. Although, I am compelled to share it with thousands of you here. I share this because it seems fair. This is a way to balance the extreme elite performance of a fellow archer, Mr. Pro-Staffer, who can pick up a bow, rigged for hunting, march onto an indoor range and shoot 30 perfect Xs and share his magnificence.

Five Years of 3-Spots Data Review and Projections.

During the past 5 years I have improved. Five years ago I was hammering a 3-spot racking up scores below 500. Five years, well four years, eleven months and 29 days, later I’m seeking that elusive 600.

My first record of a 3-spot score earned me a mammoth 447 points. That  was at a time when the big ten was still a ten. Today, the inner ten is the only mark that earns an archer 10 points under the USA Archery 3-spot scoring system. Archery has gotten more difficult. Scoring  applying the old-fashioned, ego stroking, outer 10 ring method, today I’d have shot a 598.

There’s a coaching tip in here

Even having shot a 598 against the outer ten ring, I missed the center inner ten enough times to earn a 580. That’s a lot of near misses. It can be frustrating.

Target number two for this morning’s practice.

Scores on the inner ten in my database show that there is improvement. From scoring around 550 (on average when the little ring became the only 10 ring) to 574 for a recent average. My best thus far is 584 which I managed a time or two. That’s not a bad score and if I kept this up over a two-day indoor competition that would land me at 1168.

An 1168 could put me in first place at the USA Indoor Nationals in my age group based on the 2017 scores. That year 1155 won the gold in the Master’s 60-year-old division. But, I can’t depend on my best scores to win. I look to my average for the last month or after I’ve incorporated a major change, like a new bow, new release or new arrows as a baseline score to get an understanding of how I’m shooting. Considering an average, which allows for good days and better days, at the moment I fall in with an 1148, good enough for fourth at the 2017 indoor Nationals. I actually finished 13th place in 2017, taking 1st at the regional.

Very first archery competition

My current goal for training is to average 590. That score would place me tied with Reo Wilde in sixth place among the Men’s’ Senior Division in 2017. To have a 590 average there will be scores above 590 and below. It will need to be relatively tight groups to achieve that level of performance.

Performance in a sport like archery requires a lot of practice. During practice I set out with a specific goal in mind. Developing a process that incorporates goals is an optimal method for carrying out training. Today, for example, the goal was to shoot all arrows in the outer ten ring. I failed by 2. The failures were still both nines but a failure nonetheless. The mid-range goal, average 590.

By keeping detail records of performance I am able to review my work. I know what arrows I used, the bow, the poundage, the release, the weather conditions if practice was outside, and the indoor lighting and range distractions if I’m on a fancy  “you-gotta-pay-for-it” range. Those details and graphs let me know how my improvement is proceeding and whether I need to make a change and if I’ve changed something I can’t see.

Becoming an elite in any sport takes time. Having data can help you see progress. It can alert you to problems. It can also be a stroke to your ego as you monitor your advancement. You can further predict your rate of change in order to set realistic goals.

So Close, Yet So Far

Out of 600 possible points I shot a sad 564.  It was a rough morning. It was a bit cold and windy. Windy enough that the chilling breeze had my eyes watering at times.  The wasn’t horrible, it was just cold. The wind wasn’t blowing arrows off their paths.  And it wasn’t like I was missing the X by landing arrows all over the target face.

No, it was like this – X, 9,9 with the nines missing the inner ten and landing on the line of the outer ten. Or X,X, 9 with an outer 10.

This has been my burden for the past few days

After shooting up the remains of yesterday afternoon practice target I thought a new face might have been beneficial to my accuracy – nope.

If I’d been aiming for the large ten it would been more pleasing.  Still, an arrow did find its way to a nine against the larger ten ring missing the outer ten.

New paper, same result

So close, yet as far away in score as if I’d landed arrows on the line between the yellow and the red.

Going to Miss That Little Heater

In North Carolina, at our old place on the Little River, I had a shed with a heater. From inside that shed, during he winter months, I could practice 18 meters and stay relatively warm. There would be snow on the ground and I was fine. We no longer live in North Carolina.

My little heater in North Carolina

We moved to our home state, Georgia, last January. The house was ready per the builder plans. His plans didn’t match with our plans. So, as soon as we closed on the house, we began remodeling. The entire process took several months.

By the time I had a practice range for 18 meters it was Spring and I wasn’t cold when I practiced outside. Although I have a shed, it isn’t heated and not near my range.

Today, during practice it wasn’t all that cold, it was in the upper 40s. It was a little windy, but not all that windy. Still the combination of a little cold and a little windy was enough to get me pretty chilled during practice.

By the time I was at my last three ends I was ready to get inside. The last three ends were three nines, and six Xs. When I started I felt I was on my way to at least a 590. As my body cooled my accuracy cooled. I finished the morning with 44 Xs and 16 nines. I’d felt better and warmer at the beginning of practice.

Shooting outside in the cold isn’t the most fun activity. Driving to an indoor range, a hour round trip, and paying 10 bucks to practice 6 days a week isn’t cheap in time or money. Doing that would eat up $240.00 per week. At that price I’ll be cold.

Leaving where we do in Georgia is great. There is always something to do that is nearby. There are archery competitions and leagues shoots all within a short distance. There’s running and mountain biking, fishing and hunting. Living around Athens, Georgia (Go Dawgs) is just about perfect. The only thing that could make it any better is a little heater to keep me warm while practicing archery in the winter.

A Little Outdoor Adventure

The trails on my property at 0545

This morning, like the others lately, it was dark when I ran. Running trails in the dark is fun. Afterwards, I was at Ace Hardware in Social Circle, Georgia shooting at 18 meters. Again, a lot of fun.

Ace in Social Circle, Georgia

Here’s the thing, aside from archery, there are other ways to get outside. Actually, this morning I was inside while shooting. But, mountain bike riding is pretty much an outdoor activity and I chose to hunt for riding trails near my house during my midday workout.

2.68 miles from my driveway

So far I have only found a few. I can take my mountain bike over to Hard Labor State Park and ride; they have plenty of trails. That means time wasted making a drive. If I can find trails out here near my home, that is better and a time saver.

Most of these trails are short or blocked

Right now, I can pretty easily get an hour of mountain bike riding if I include a gravel road less than a mile from my driveway. That’s not too shabby. From that gravel road I can cut off onto several trails in the woods.

Several old buildings and what might have once been a church are falling down in the woods near my home. I wish I knew the history of them.

That’s what I did for an hour before heading home.  The trails are okay, they seem to have be made by ATVs. I’d have taken more time looking through the woods on those trails by there’s an afternoon archery practice waiting at home.

So, now that I’m off the bike, had a snack, I’ll head back into the woods and practice 3D.

Running, Archery, Cycling – With Archery in Mind

On multiple occasions I’ve written about health and fitness. Part of that is to provide examples of how to increase your quality of life and maybe add some years to your life. There could be some unfortunate accident that ends mine too some but there isn’t much anyone can do to avoid unforeseeable events. I go into methods of staying alive as long as possible in my book, Simple Ways to Add to Your Life, which is available in Amazon. On this site I basically share some of my activities. Included among them are running, archery and cycling.

Buy my book. Inexpensive, few typos, not too many words

Everyday, I try to run and ride a bike. Everyday I follow a training plan for archery. These other physical fitness workouts are in support of living longer and become a better archer. An example of this is:

Coaching tips
Starting to get light

Wake up, and after stretching and having breakfast I trail run. Right now it is dark in the morning when I start running so I wear a headlamp. I am also wearing bright orange. On my run course I pass 5 deer stands. So far, no hunters, but that is probably going to change soon. On the weekends I stay strictly on my land. During the week I hit other trails not on my land. Those trails are locally known as renegade trails. Meaning the trails have been cut through private land without permission.

I just run them. These trails are all over the place
I pass tree stands everyday in the woods

I understand there are hundreds of miles of renegade trails around Athens. Most were cut by mountain bikers. I can’t say who cut the trails leading off my property but I am using them. There are zero no trespassing signs.

I also run pass these and mostly run smack into them

After running I move directly into archery practice. At the moment it is 18-meter practice. Today, rather than shoot another three-spot I took aim on a five-spot. The primary objective of today’s practice was follow through so I didn’t matter a lot whether I shot up a three-spot or a five-spot.

Time to change practice

Archery practice in the morning lasts an hour and a half to two and a half hours. From there it is usually lunchtime. I have a light lunch and almost always take a short nap. By short I mean 30 to 40 minutes. I always take that break lying on the floor. The trick is to be comfortable enough to doze but not so comfortable that I fall into a complete REM cycle.

This is one smoking fast bike

Once I get going again it is time to head out for a bike ride. Cycling in and around Athens is just about as perfect as it gets. I don’t take real long rides, only an hour or so. When that’s done it is back to the archery range for another hour to two hours.

A couple of days a week I go to the gym and lift weights. I’m not trying to build body mass, just support the muscles I do have.

It can be a grind. But, by setting goals, measuring the results and finding ways to keep things fresh makes this is a good system to become better at archery.

Some Days I Get the Range Pretty Much to Myself

Typically, I practice archery at home. I’ve got a really nice range. The archery butts are a mess. But, a short walk versus and 30 minute drive to shoot at an indoor 18-meter range is a real pleasure.

When it is raining I’ll still shoot at home unless it is just too much. With Hurricane Michael bringing wind and rain I decided to make the drive to stay dry.

The range,at Social Circle Ace Hardware, is nice, has good lighting, the butts are in pretty good shape and arrows are easy to pull. There’s always a bit of friendly conversation from the pro-staff. It is a bit of a drive but the atmosphere makes up for the hour round trip loss of time.

All arrows shot from the same position.

It is usual to find a few other shooters at the range. The past two days, I’ve pretty much had the place to myself. Other archers came in, shot a few arrows and left. I don’t think anyone came in and practiced more than 15 minutes. They seemed to be simply checking out their equipment for hunting.

No matter, I was there for a good long time and got my money’s worth. Oh, that’s the other thing; at home I don’t have to pay an extra fee to practice. (It isn’t too pricey)

Hump Day

It’s Wednesday. Sunday was a recovery day. Since then I have an hour and a half of running, an hour of stretching, three hours of cycling, a trip to the gym, and nine and a half hours of archery practice under my belt.

Big Sky over a bicycle ride near Athens, GA

This morning we, River my lab, and I were practicing. Well, I was practicing and entertaining my canine companion between ends, which is mostly tossing sticks as I walk the 18-meters back and forth to pull arrows. River seemed to have more spring in her step than me.

River runs with me in the morning. She’s almost 9 and still has plenty of spring in her step.

Working toward an athletic goal is demanding. At times it can be grueling. The long-term effort needs to have breaks. Those breaks are periods for recovery. On Thursday we go on vacation. On this break I am not bringing a bow. I will, however, bring a mountain bike and running shoes.

The sun is coming up later as winter approaches and the air is cooler at 8:00 am in the morning.

The cycling will be easy active recovery rides. Running may turn out to be walking. For sure, after archery practice this afternoon I won’t pick up a bow for a week. If I carried one on the trip I would no doubt be tempted. But, I also know that rest is too important to take for granted. So, the bow will be left behind.

There’s a coaching tip in this post.

 

The Big Dot Versus the Little Dot

The big ten on a 3-spot has been a nine for a while. The little dot, which was once an X is now just a ten. Shooting an ego friendly 300 or 600 isn’t what it once was. In fact, it is gone.

I admit, I am as yet to feel the satisfaction of a 60X or even a big dot perfect score. But, Lord, I have come close on the old big ring ten. Through the first 10 ends this afternoon I’d dropped two. By the final arrow I’d dropped six, all by just a hair.

Against the small dot X, now just a ten, I finished the day with a 576. So many were so close. My goals are to shot on average 590 aiming at the small dot and 600 on the old big ten.  The misses are just so close.

Another Day More of the Same

Each morning I wake up and stretch. As we age we can lose flexibility. If you don’t stretch you range of motion will deteriorate.

My wife, daughters and mother do yoga. Yoga is outside of my physical aptitude. I still stretch in the morning. Then, I eat, run, and shoot. During the afternoon I ride a bike and shoot some more. A couple of times a week I head to the gym to lift weight. There are days where I might not run, ride or shoot. There are scheduled recovery days in my program. But, stretching is done nearly every day.

All this exercise has, as a good friend once said, given me the metabolism of a hummingbird. I eat a lot. I eat throughout the day. With all this eating comes the byproducts of metabolism.

Typically, by the time I’m on the range in the morning, all dawn necessities have been eliminated. Sometimes, there’s a stubbornly timed clearance that arrives during archery practice. This is inconvenient.

First 3 shots of the day before a biological warning alarm

Maybe you’ve been in a similar position. You find yourself on the range and the urge strikes you. Don’t you just hate that?  Your warm-up is moving along great and you need to make an unrelated movement.

“Hey, where you going? We just started”

For me, that means taking a hike back to civilization and the luxury of the house. Sure, there are woods all about and I could manage things more primitively. In conditions of dire pressure, when shooting seems more important, I’ve learned that despite all efforts to have the brain override basic physiology the more primal elements will be victorious. Before there’s clear indication of a failure of control, there will be a dash home.

Only another 100 yards or so

Once, during a marathon in Delaware, less than a mile from the start, I saw a poor runner that had mis-judged her morning.  Rather than pause and seek shelter she let nature take it’s course while running.  That was, no doubt, repulsive. At most big races there are well placed portable stations posted along to course to provide privacy.  Sadly, she’d missed her opportunity before the start.

A well-timed hike off the range will lead to greater comfort, a brief moment to relax with a magazine, and better focus while shooting. Thankfully, in archery we have better resources at our disposal than sports like running, cycling, and triathlon.

If you’re involved with sports and do a lot of training, you know your body well.  You know your daily routine. Having a practice routine can, most times, help you not need to make a mad rush or get embarrassed. There’s value, at times, of doing the same things day in and day out.