It Is 99° Out There

This morning’s practice was easy.  Pretend tournament practice – sort of.  Rather than shooting ends of 6 this session called for ends of 10.  This drill works on endurance.

Scoring is 70 arrows rather than 72.  Of the 70 arrows the score per 10 arrow ends are averaged.  Once the average is taken the average per arrow is multiplied by 72 to give an approximate score for a 72-arrow tournament.

Unlike the real event 20 arrows are used for a warm up rather than 18.  Let downs are counted in the total but not included as a miss.  It takes more energy to let down than to release so that energy isn’t wasted by not included the shot.

Including those let downs the total morning practice was 95 arrows.  During the time on the range the temperature reached 94°F. Yesterday the temperature in the afternoon peaked at 101°.  The 94° temperature felt cool by comparison.

Yesterday the total arrows shot (excluding let downs) was for 90 arrows in the morning and 30 in the afternoon. Today, the afternoon arrow count was 100 arrows.

The increase is to build endurance. The afternoon drill was to shoot 100 arrows at a shorter distance, 40 yards, and keep them all in the yellow rings.  The drill adds a step: the arrows are shot fairly fast.  Fast enough to get a nice pace going but not so fast arrows land in the red.  At least that was the plan.

Admittedly, I hit the red a few times.  Of the ten 10 arrow ends I only had 2 clean ends.  My worst end landed 3 arrows in the red.  The drill focuses on endurance.  It is a good work out.  When it was over I was sweating like the pig that knows its dinner.

There was a good reason for the sweat.  I noticed the temperature when I came inside – the air conditioning felt cold set at 78°. Outside it was 99°. Toasty.

 

 

Gator Cup

I got lucky with my Airbnb rental.  My last trip to Newberry was awful.  The prior trip to Newberry for the Indoor Nationals that Airbnb was how I’d consider what it must be like to attempt to sleep during a prison riot.  The Gator Cup Newberry Airbnd was just about perfect.

This rental was a camper, larger than my old camper, situated in the middle of watermelon fields and cattle pastures.  It was quiet, comfortable and minutes away from the event.

During the tournament I’d gotten my sleep, nutrition and hydration right.  I shot well during the qualifier and ended 7th which bought me a bye for the Olympic round.

The 1/8 elimination round had me shooting against a fellow that spoke Spanish. As a result we didn’t do any talking.  He took the first of five to lead off in his favor 2 to 0. I tied the next making the score 3 to 1 in his favor.  I won the next tying us at 3 to 3.  I took the next and led by two winning before winning the next end to move into the quarterfinals.

In the quarterfinal I ended up losing a very tight match 6 to 4.  I had a liner on the last end requiring a judge’s magnifying lenses to call the shot a 9 for the loss.  The other archer and I had on the end before shot all arrows in the gold.

As it turned out that opponent ended up winning with a 6 to 2 score.  Of the eight archers remaining in the quarterfinals it might have ended differently had I not landed next to the eventual winner. Who knows?

What I did learn is the first three shots are really important.  It is probably harder coming from behind.

Shoot Fast, Circumvent Near Disaster

Often I hear archers discussing their version of target panic.  Generally, their woes go in one ear and out the other. I don’t try to chip in a remedy.  But, at the last Georgia Cup I earned a panic that I didn’t accept.

I needed a bio-break.  Of course, my target was number 2, the only target further away from the rest room was target 1.  Four minutes to make the hike, about 80 yards total, get some relief and return is plenty of time. I’d actually measured the time it took prior to the tournament starting.

Half way through the 72 arrow tournament I needed a break. The A/B line was next up and being on the C/D line no problem.

Things can go slow during an archery tournament where children are competing. Arithmetic is their downfall.  I’ve suggested before if your children are at an archery tournament to practice math skills you have them at the wrong venue.  Judges:  it would really speed things up if children have adult volunteers to help with adding. Assuming the adult volunteers are better at math than the children.

It often takes so long I rely on the official timer to remember which line is up.  I’d watched the timer when I decided to make a dash to the bathroom. On the timer A/B was illuminated.  I asked, “Is A/B up next?” The response, “That’s what the timer shows.” No problem. I kept my eye on the timer until I entered the restroom.

Walking out of the restroom I noticed there was 187 seconds left on the timer, which read C/D.  I knew I’d not been in the restroom more than a minute.  All I could do was not panic, jog to my bow, walk to the line and shoot 6 arrows, which by the time I arrived on the line read 127 seconds.

Getting ready I said to the person I’d asked regarding A/B display, “What happened to A/B?” He said, “They changed it.”

Sometimes I practice for just such an event.  I’ll shoot 10 arrows as fast as I can.  Generally, it is at 40 yards, not 60 meters. It takes arrows longer to go 60 meters than it does 40 yards.  But, 6 rushed arrows are better than 6 misses  – which would be my score if I didn’t try.

My first arrow flew at 117 seconds remaining on the timer.  My last arrow, the sixth landed with 33 seconds on the timer.  I wasn’t even the last archer on the line!  I scored 45 points out of 60, my worst end.  Six arrows in 84 seconds or 14 seconds per arrow. (My average to shoot 6 arrows in 26 seconds per arrow)

Having had practiced for such an occasion paid off.  No panic.  Just do what I’d practiced.  At the end of the day I won.

Move That Sight

At the 2016 NC ASA State Championship, in Mt. Airy, shooting a compound bow my arrows were all shooting to the left.  In my group was the eventual winner of the division.  He’s won a lot of tournaments, been a National Champion, Shooter of the Year, and has a stack of other championships.  In fact, I competed with and against him numerous times.  He offered me some simple advice, “Move your sight.”  I didn’t listen.

I figured the off-shots were me and that I’d gain control then begin hitting 10s and 12s rather than 10s and 8s and any moment.  I never did and walked away 5th. If I’d only listened.

During that NC ASA State Championship I was still very new to archery. I’d been shooting for 32 months.  I wasn’t at all comfortable fidgeting with my sight during a tournament. Today, that is different.

Time to twist a knob

I’ve also put down my compound bow for an Olympic recurve bow. Using that bow I’ll twist the sight knobs without a qualm.

That’s better

Adjusting your sight isn’t something that needs to be done on every shot.  If you fling a bad arrow it really might be you not the sight.  But, shoot enough and you’ll feel when it is you versus the need to make an adjustment.

Measure and Manage

On a weekly basis I use one day to replicate an archery tournament. For example, the next event on my calendar is the Georgia Cup.  I’ll shoot that tournament in the 50-year-old division at a distance of 60 meters.  That’s the practice tournament done this week – 60 meters.

During the week I’ll shoot hundreds of arrows ranging on a daily basis from 60 arrows to 200 arrows.  The maximum will eventually work up to 300 arrows per day.  The most I’ve shot in a day is 400 and I may go for a 500-arrow day this year.  For now, however 200 is my daily maximum.

Flinging arrows is good for stamina and control.  It aids in working on specific matters of form.  The practice tournament is a way to measure progress. The outcome further helps in determining adjustments for the subsequent week’s training plan.

Aside from recording the score I record the time remaining on the shot clock.  Reviewing those times versus the end’s score is important to ensure relaxed shooting during an event.  It eliminates needing to watch the clock.  It is much like an NFL quarterback who knows there is 25 seconds to receive the hike. It is a method of comparing time versus score.

If I add calories, such as a sport drink or some solid calories I record that as well.

Having a solid understand of performance during a mock-tournament will help during the real thing.

Help Getting Ready to 2022 Outdoor Archery

“The light was bad”

“My arm hurt”

“The arrows were wrong”

“By bow is out of tune”

“The guy next to me kept taking”

“My release felt funny”

“My cams weren’t right”

“My sight must have slipped”

“My wife has me working on a honey-do list and I haven’t been able to practice”

“I need a Hoyt so I can shoot better”

“I need an Elite so I can shoot better”

“I need (which ever bow it is that isn’t in your hand) so I can shoot better”

“I need fatter arrows”

“I should have the green pin rather than the red pin”

“I had fried chicken grease on my hand and my release slipped out of my hand” (Yes I actually heard this one)

 

 

Greater progression of athletic performance in older Masters athletes. (1)

For some time now I’ve been pointing out that Masters athletes are doing really well.  I’ve also said that Masters athletes in some sports can successfully compete against Senior athletes. That seems especially true for a sport like archery.

Nevertheless, I don’t expect to see potential sponsorships –  aside from the marketing and sales tactic of pseudo-pro staff – making way into the Masters division in archery or other sport. Masters athletes don’t get the same interest by large sport corporations as do Senior athletes.

It is affirming to know I am not alone in recognizing the advancements on the Master athletic arnea. Here’s a study that looks specifically into the matter:

Greater progression of athletic performance in older Masters athletes. (1)

BACKGROUND:

The number of new world records has decreased substantially in most athletic events in recent years. There has been enormous growth in participation at Masters events, and older athletes have been competing at the highest levels with much younger athletes. However, the progression of athletic performance over time has not been well investigated in Masters athletes.

OBJECTIVE AND METHODS:

To determine whether older Masters athletes improved athletic performance over time, running and swimming times from 1975 to 2013 were collected biennially. The running event of 100 m was chosen specifically, as it is one of the most popular track and field events that would have attracted a large number of competitors. The middle distance of 400 m as well as 100 m freestyle swimming were also examined to determine whether the results in 100 m sprint event can be confirmed in other events.

RESULTS:

The improvements in fastest 100 m running times over time were not significant. However, all the Masters age-group records improved significantly over time. The slopes of improvements over the years were progressively greater at older age groups with the greatest progression observed at oldest age groups of 75-79 years examined. The general trends were similar for 400 m middle-distance running and 100 m freestyle swimming.

CONCLUSIONS:

While younger athletes’ performance has stagnated, Masters athletes improved their athletic performance significantly and progressively over the years. The magnitude of improvements was greater in older age groups gradually closing the gap in athletic performance between younger and older participants.

Reference:

1.)  Akkari A1, Machin D1, Tanaka H1. Greater progression of athletic performance in older Masters athletes. Age Ageing. 2015 Jul;44(4):683-6. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afv023. Epub 2015 Mar 8.

 

 

Your Brain and Fitness

During my working career I did lots of interesting things.   All of my work was cognitive. I used to say, “I think, therefore I get paid.” I did of lot of thinking, figuring things out.  So, my brain has been and remains an important tool for me.

Aging is an area where I have an interest and I’ve done a little research. As a result I have a fair grasp of what to expect as I age and how I’ll perform in sports.

I stay is pretty good overall fitness as much for my physical abilities as for my brain. I like my brain – it entertains me. It turns out that fitness does a lot to help my brain. It can help your brain, too.

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When you consider archery, there is a lot of brainwork going on to make a good shot. Primarily, you need to have an active brain that converts to a meditative brain (alpha waves –described here in an earlier post) to get that great shot time after time. In order to accomplish the brain process, a healthy brain is a significant advantage over an unhealthy one. And it turn out that exercise, not archery exercise, helps make the brain healthy.

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In a systematic review a group of scientists concluded that a sedentary lifestyle led to impaired cognitive function. In their conclusion they wrote, “Our systematic review provides evidence that limiting sedentary time and concomitantly engaging in regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity may best promote healthy cognitive aging.”

I would not rank archery as moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. In fact, the less vigorous we are when we shoot the better. But, to be really calm, it may be beneficial to be fit and healthy. Being unfit and in poor health would make it hard to for the brain to relax – an important component to making a good shot.

Archery is one of the two sports where an athlete over 50 can be or become an elite. Making it to over 50 in good health takes a bit, not much – you don’t need to be an Ironman or marathoner – of exercise. I highly recommend a routine and somewhat structure plan for exercise. If you’ve never done any exercise, it is not going to be easy at first. Heck, there are times when it is never “easy”. Easy is a sedentary life style. Over the decades an easy lifestyle will catch up with you. So, do a bit of exercise, in the long haul you’ll benefit from the effort.

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A bonus is, you get to keep your brain operating at a high capacity. Which in turn will help you with your archery.

Reference:

1.) Falck RS, Davis JC, Liu-Ambrose T. What is the association between sedentary behavior and cognitive function? A systematic review. Br J Sports Med. 2016 May 6. pii: bjsports-2015-095551. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-095551. [Epub ahead of print]

Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning

Archery is generally considered a sport where mental focus is paramount to success. Mental focus is critical for all sports. However, archery, by the sheer nature of the degree of clarity of mind needed to perform is in a unique class. The mental focus of elite archers is to such a degree that prior to executing a proper shot their brain waves are primary alpha, a wave associated with deep mediation.1

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A group of scientist considered the emotional state of pre-competition and subsequent competitive performance during archery. Their goal was to gain insight into individual psychophysical reactions accompanying an athletic event, and to test predictions of pre-performance emotions effects upon performance.2 They guessed that good performance was expected when the actual pre-performance emotions resembled the recalled optimal emotion pattern. Conversely, poor performance was expected when the actual pre-performance emotions paralleled the recalled ineffective emotion pattern.

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We all have these days

Their investigation comprised of individual emotion profiling, emotions and heart rate monitoring, final interview and performance evaluation. The study was conducted during the 1996 European Archery Championships, one of the most important international archery competitions.

Emotion profiling was carried out using an idiographic approach based on recalled optimal and poor performances, according to the Individual Zones of Optimal Functioning (IZOF) model. Emotions, heart rate, and performance were monitored across the five days of practice and competition.

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The Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning (IZOF) model postulates the functional relationship between emotions and optimal performance, and aims to predict the quality of upcoming performance with respect to the pre-performance emotional state of the athlete.3

What they learned was that individual pre-performance optimal emotion pattern, heart rate deceleration during shooting (not all research shows heart rate deceleration1), consistent shooting scores were revealed throughout practice and competition. The good performance predicted on the basis of pre-performance emotion assessments was met and was confirmed by the archer’s interpretation.2

Essentially what this means is that if you are focused, calm and shooting well in practice you are more likely to perform in competition in that manner.

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Reference:

1.)  Salazar W, Landers DM, Petruzzello SJ, Han M, Crews DJ, Kubitz KA. Hemispheric asymmetry, cardiac response, and performance in elite archers. Res Q Exerc Sport. 1990 Dec; 61 (4): 351 – 9

2.)  Robazza C1, Bortoli L, Nougier V. Emotions, heart rate and performance in archery. A case study. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1999 Jun;39(2):169-76.

3.)  Akihito Kamata, Yuri L. Hanin Sport Psychology Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning (IZOF): A Probabilistic Estimation JSEP Volume 24, Issue 2, June

Third Times the Charm

It was a local indoor 18-meter money competition.  They’re fun and at times I bring home some cash.

One night at the shoot a fellow (not a competitor) starting mouthing off about the Covid vaccine.  He got fairly loud.  Then, he stood (he’d been sitting behind the line) and got even louder.  Looking over I couldn’t help notice he’d moved toward me and squared off at me.

He realized he’d gotten my attention and simply turned red-faced with vaccine anger.  Not that he’s been vaccinated.

Some folks know I have a background in medical research.  Those folks often like to fuss at me about science.

Aiming his voice and posture at me he loudly proclaimed a raft of social media science toward me.  He told me he’d had Covid twice and each time came through it.  Obviously he’d made it, there he was raising his voice toward me.

His argument was weak but his passion wasn’t.  In cases like this it is often best to simply not engage.That is a case where a person is raising their voice, wringing their hands in the air and spouting verbal nonsense or VooDoo science based on information gathered from Twitter and Facebook experts.

Try as I might I couldn’t remain quite.  All I said was, “Yes, I’ve taken  the vaccine and booster.”  He suggested I’d need them every couple of months and the vaccine was only a method for other people to get our money. He strutted a few steps closer and empathically declared the Covid was no more than a cold, he’d had it twice and wasn’t going to take the vaccine.

All I could say to him after that announcement was, “Well, third times the charm.”

He walked out, it seemed all the wind was out of his sails or lungs.