USA Archery Level 2

This was a bit of effort. Classes, classroom tests, online courses with more tests and a background check.  Glad to have this complete.

If you live in the Athens, Georgia area and are looking to try archery or are already into the sport and would like some help give me a call.

https://www.teamusa.org/usa-archery/judges-and-coaches/coaches/usa-archery-coach-locator

I Chose the 5K

This Saturday there were two events from which to select: a 5K race and a 3D tournament. Both were within minutes of my home here in Good Hope, GA. Either one of them would be fun. A choice needed to be made.

Stegeman Coliseum – University of Georgia

I chose the 5K. The primary factor that pushed the run over archery was I wanted to race. I run nearly every day. I ride a bike most days. I have not done a race in awhile.

When we lived in New Hope, NC getting to a race was a joke. There were races in North Carolina and Virginia if you were up to an hour and a half to two hours drive or further.   There were three I knew of that were 30 minutes to 45 minutes away, I raced those every year. Driving further for an 8:00 am start time seemed a bit much, so I rarely made the drive. I did get up extra early to do a few races on the Outer Banks. That too got old.

Good Hope is on the cusps of Athens. I can race every weekend and only need to drive 30 minutes or less to find a race. The archery tournament, a 3D shoot, was equally close. However, the 5K was on the UGA campus.

I really wanted to run the University of Georgia campus. On the weekend, early (but not too early) before traffic with time to enjoy the sights – that sounded good to me.

The start and finish were at the Stegeman Coliseum – how cool is that! The run passed Foley Field and Sanford Stadium. Runners that are UGA fans would have enjoyed the run. I certainly did – and having another win was pretty nice as well.

I could have gotten more pictures had I not been running. I did slow down to take a few.

Just under a mile

One of my 3D targets

I’ve gotten some nice trails cut though my property here in Good Hope, Ga. The original intent was to create a nice 3D range. That turned out pretty good. The second reason was to clear so paths so that I might avoid stepping on snakes. Next is to spread the piles of mulch, a result of clearing trees.

Photo taken from 50 meters

It is still pretty thick in the forest behind my house. But, I’ve ended up with a 70-yard target range, a 3D range and as it turned out a running loop that is just under a mile.

Nice trail for running

I’d rather to loops in the woods than out and backs next to a road. River likes this better as well – she can run free range.

USA Archery Coaching Program

Over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend (March 17th and 18th), rather than celebrate, I attended a USA Archery Level 1 and Level 2 NTS Coaching class. The class was tough.  It was to prepare student to become instructors.  I passed the two-day workshop.

In order to complete the program I took and passed a number of required “Safe Sport” courses. I had my background check completed and submitted before I took the two-day workshop.

The results of the workshop on coaching are at USA Archery. This I know because they confirmed they had the results.

I was issued a range pass on March 25th. After checking I was unable to find any indication I’d completed the coaching program. I sent an email on March 30th and got a response on April 5th. The response indicated that USA Archery had my results and I might expect a notice of completion in a matter of days. Today, April 10th, there has been no acknowledgment that I completed the program.

Let me just state that the early enthusiasm for the program is diminished.

Talent Transfer: ‘n’ = 1

In November of 2013 it was not my intention to be competitive in archery. It was only suppose to be a backyard pastime. Then, I read, “Faster, Higher, Stronger: The New Science of Creating Superathletes, and How You Can Train Like Them” by Mark McClusky.

In his book McClusky writes there are two sports where an athlete over 50 can be an elite: shooting and archery. He further writes about talent transfer and the 10,000 rule. Looking into this with more depth archery became a sport wherein I decided to become competitive.

At that point, I was 58 years old and looking to extend my competitive life. Honestly, I cannot not tell you how many running races, cycling races, duathlons and triathlons I’ve completed. I do know that I was not interested in being that old guy in Lycra hanging onto the back of a pack of cyclists. Certainly, I still run nearly every day and ride a bike 3-5 times per week. I may enter an occasional race for fun, but that’s probably the limit. It is too late for me to be an elite in endurance sports even if I could be an elite age grouper*. So, I picked a new sport – archery.

The first order of business, aside from getting a bow, some arrows, and such, was to determine if that 10,000 hour rule could be broken by a 58 year old cyclist/triathlete turned archer. There also needed to be a measure of where that might be properly evaluated.

The measure I selected as a goal was equivalency in cycling. At my best, as a cyclist I won State Road, time trial and sprint Championships in the same year. In 2017 in archery I won State Indoor, Outdoor and 3D Championships. I also won at the USA National Indoor Championship held in Snellville, GA in 2017 – I got second in 2018 (in my age group)

It took less than 48 months to achieve those objectives in archery. It did not take 10,000 hours. I competed in my age group so it is a loose measure of equivalency.

The 10,000 hour rule is based on what judges might say is a summary of the time it take anyone to became an elite performer. I do not have 10,000 hours of archery practice under my belt. Because I’ve some championships does that mean I’ve broken the 10,000 rule to become an elite performer in archer? Simply, no.

Look at three archers considered elite: Brandon Gillenthien, Jesse Broadwater, and Reo Wilde. Some of their recent (2018) published scores for 120 arrows at 18-meters comes to an average score of 1183 or 1190, 1190 and 1170, respectively. My best score for 120 arrows at 18-meters in 1158 or 2.1% lower than the elites’ average over one event where they competed. While 2.1% doesn’t look like a lot it is a huge difference – 25 points. It is this variance that separates me from an elite based strictly on score.

The next question is how long will it take to close that 25-point gap? As a rule, I generally know how many arrows I shoot per year. I have not kept hours of practice logged but do have a rough estimate of 1250 hours per year. Along with the 10,000 rule this matches the eight-year rule. The eight-year rule says it takes eight years of deliberate practice to become an elite. At my current rate of practice I should reach the elite level in 2020. However, my improvement percentage change year on year has me reaching the scoring level for elite status late 2018 or early 2019.

What I have learned is that Talent Transfer from endurance sports to archery has only minor advantage. The main benefit is focus on training. In endurance sports there are a lot of long hours of training – much of it alone. In archery there are a lot of long hours on the range. Beyond that, the sports are so dissimilar that there is little crossover. It certainly isn’t like being a mountain bike rider that crosses over to road racing as in the case of Cadel Evans winner of the Tour de France (2011) and Olympic Mountain Bike racer (9th place Atlanta 1996).

But, there is some advantage to adjusting from endurance sports to archery. The mental edge and ability to focus on a sport is the primary transferred edge. In any event, I’ll continue to plug away at shooting and see where it leads.

*As an age grouper I did earn a spot on the USA Team to the 2007 World Championship Long Course Duathlon.  I repeated that in 2012 but declined the spot on the Team due to other commitments. My spot then rolled down to the next fastest duathlete. (Duathlon is Run – Bike – Run, long course distance is similar or longer than: 10K run, 100K bike and 15K run).  But, nothing in sports I have done compares to the 2008 Ironman World Championship on the Big Island if Hawaii where I raced in 2008.

Waiting for the Dust to Settle

2018 has been a blur of activity. We moved to Georgia. We added more construction to the property in Georgia. I’ve cleared, mostly, about 3 acres for a 3D range. I’ve added a target range for 50 meters and out to 80 meters.

I also completed a USA Archery Level 2 Coaching program. Competed in four tournaments and weekly league style shooting. Plus, I bought a new bow.

New Elite Victory 37

The new bow is another Elite. This one is the 2018 Elite 37. To be honest, my scores are pretty much exactly what they were with the 2015 Elite 35. In the long run I think the 37 will be worth the investment.

Another benefit to being here is the running and cycling. I can run in my neighborhood but must to laps to get in any serious miles. There are excellent trails to run all within a short drive.

Cycling is the best. The terrain here near Athens, Georgia is rolling hills. Rolling hills are my favorite type of road. Flat gets boring. Too steep becomes more of fight to go up and then coast down. That was pretty much how I trained when we lived in Pittsburgh. That too got old. When we lived in Kennesaw, Georgia the roads were rolling hills. From my experience, rolling hills are the most fun for training.

I am yet to get a decent long-term training program going. Typically, I run, shoot, rest, ride and shoot. I’ve gotten that in a number of times but the past 12 weeks have been a challenge.

The GBAA and NFAA Section in Statesboro

In Georgia, I have lived in these cities and towns: Savannah, Isle of Hope, Tybee Island, Thunderbolt, Statesboro, Augusta, Lincolnton, Columbus, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Kennesaw, and now Good Hope.   This past weekend, I drove from Good Hope to Statesboro to shoot in the GBAA State Championship and NFAA Indoor Sectional. Driving though the State, passing so many familiar places was nostalgic.

Much has changed during the past eighteen years when we’d not lived in Georgia. Augusta and Statesboro have grown. So has every other town I passed though during the trip.

We lived in Statesboro in the early 1980’s. I’d not been back to Statesboro in decades. It has really changed. Georgia Southern University seems to have moved up the polished University ladder. The GSU campus was impressive. The archery tournament took place on the GSU campus at their Sports Education Shooting Center.

Georgia State University, Shooting Sports Education Center

Over the past 51 months of shooting a bow I’ve seen some nice and not so nice ranges. The GSU Shooting Center is a whole level above the other ranges. There was ample  storage room, space and chairs for archers to sit down when not shooting, spectators had bleachers, and there easy access to clean rest rooms. All shooting lines were either full or close and it did not feel cramped. Before the tournament some folks had warned me the lighting wasn’t great, it seemed just fine to me.

Another bit of information I’ve been noticing since returning to Georgia, overall everybody seems to shoot “real good.”  From Cub level to Pro 300 for one day and 600 two-day total score was common. Inside-out X count was a necessary tiebreaker for many classes.

That’s me standing next to the giant.

For me, I lost again by one point. Still, things are improving following the transition for North Carolina to Georgia. Something I am not getting over is how nice it is to be back home.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Well, it wasn’t what I planned. It wasn’t part of my visualization. It was not how I’d trained.  I wasn’t even close. But, hey – there’s always 2019.

For months I worked, practiced and trained through all sorts of weather. I shot on average 120 arrows per day. All in preparation for one archery tournament. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to win. Although I did want to win. More than that, I wanted to hit a specific score. I was on track to do so…..

Then, we moved and for six weeks before the USA Archery Indoor Nationals in Snellville, GA practice was impinged.

When I did get to practice I was off. My scores dropped and have remained low. There seems to be a relationship between practice and scores.

If the National tournament hadn’t been so close to our new home I’d have skipped it entirely. The event was just 40 minutes away from our new home. So, I went and I lost.

Second Place

Soon practice and routines will be back in place. And before you know it, it will be 2019.

Getting the Dope On

I am not new to international sport competition. I have a medical background (PhD). I am fairly new to archery.

For decades I competed as a junior, senior and an age grouper in running, cycling and triathlon. I was pretty good on a local and regional level in the US. I’ve gotten on the podium a few times at National events and earned a place on the USA Team for the World Championship Long Course Duathlon.

I did okay racing in the smaller events in Europe. I have trained or raced in: England, Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Israel, Australia, and Japan. Racing, however, is not the sole area my interest in sports and health.

I have published a good many peer-reviewed medical manuscripts most on medical aliments, some on sports physiology. I was on faculty at a major medical school where I did much of my research. I’ve also given medical presentations of my academic work in those same countries where I’ve trained or raced. After over four decades of sports competition and medical research I have gotten pretty good at spotting dopers. (I have never pointed anyone out I suspected. Although, some I suspected in cycling and triathlon did get caught.)

In age group competition, the doping is bad. In archery is seems worse than other sports among age groupers. I understand that banned substances may be necessary for the well being of many age groupers. However, it does give them, what I consider, an unfair edge in archery.

Being athletic is good. Shooting a bow isn’t all that phyically demanding compared to competing in an Ironman or running a marathon.  Archery requires a different kind of skill.  Still, archery practice combined with a program to improve physical fitness will benefit an athlete.

It isn’t easy to remain fit for a lifetime.  It is less easy to be an athlete.  It becomes increasing hard for amateur athletes and professionals where income from sport do not provide a living wage.  For them work gets in the middle of the day meaning training becomes more of a scheduling trick. It is possible.  Athletes that take on the extra effort to remain fit enough to reach a podium without banned supplements shouldn’t be, in addition to their work, put into a position where they must surpass other athletes unwilling or unable to adapt a total fitness program.

Some age group archers that are not physically fit yet practice consistently have an advantage over athletes who shoot and combine healthy life choices with competition. The poorly conditioned archery age grouper that is able to consistently practice shooting can have the competitive advantage of drugs used to compensate for high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms.  Those drugs assist both the patient’s condition and shooter’s ability. As such they do not need to approach archery as a complete athletic process. Rather, they can practice with their bow, be in miserable overall fitness (non-athletic) and have the advantage during competition of their prescribed drugs.

Individuals that are on beta-blockers may be able to receive a therapeutic use exemption (TUE).  In many cases, beta-blocker use might be reduced or eliminated through healthy choices and exercise.

Dr. Sheps of the Mayo Clinic writes:

If you’re overweight, losing even 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms) can lower your blood pressure. As you slim down, it may be possible to reduce your dose of blood pressure medication — or stop taking your blood pressure medication completely. Don’t make changes to your blood pressure medication on your own, however. Do so only after getting your doctor’s OK.

Remember, high blood pressure isn’t a problem you can treat and then ignore. Even if you’re able to stop taking blood pressure medication, it’s still important to maintain healthy habits. Here’s how:

  • Eat a healthy diet — the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is an effective eating plan for lowering blood pressure.
  • Get 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Schedule regular checkups with your doctor to make sure you’re keeping your blood pressure in check. (1)

Being new to archery I have found it frustrating to train hard and enter an event on an unleveled playing field. Shooters are clean or they or not. If an age grouper is taking a beta-blocker at a minimum they should have a TUE. But, so long as USA Archery allows the unchecked use of beta-blockers by age-groupers during competitions it is not promoting the overall health of the sport.

I doubt that USA Archery is going to put much effort into screening age groupers using banned substances without a TUE.  For age groupers that are fitness focused they need to shoot well to win knowing that similarly trained unfit archers talking prescription drugs have an edge.

From USADA and applies to WADA:(2)

Substances Prohibited in Particular Sports

Some sports have additional rules about the use of beta-blockers. If participating in any of the following sports, please consult the current WADA Prohibited List or Global Drug Reference Online (GlobalDRO.com) before using beta-blockers.

P1. Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers (including, but not limited to atenolol, bisoprolol, carvedilol, esmolol, labetalol, metoprolol, propranolol, sotalol, and timolol) are prohibited for the following sports:

  • Prohibited At All Times (in-competition and out-of-competition): Archery, Shooting
  • Prohibited In-Competition Only: Automobile, Billiards, Darts, Golf, Skiing/Snowboarding in ski jumping, freestyle aerials/halfpipe and
  • snowboard halfpipe/big air, and Underwater Sports as specified.

References:

1.) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/blood-pressure-medication/faq-20058056

2.)

Athlete Guide to the 2018 Prohibited List

Nice shooting Mr. Lain and here’s your lunch…

I’ve been practicing archery with a new crowd. Well, they’re new to me. They all know one another. Each one seems to have a fairly easy time hitting Xs. This group practices at Ace Hardware in Social Circle, Ga. From what can be guessed most are still in high school.

There are a few veterans in the Social Circle mix. These old war horses smack X after X.  On the line you’ll hear them, “$5.00 on the last arrow closest to the X.”  Then, “Okay.” There will be six Xs .  The last arrow closet to the X, meaning dead center, wins $5.00. As yet, I remain apart from contributing $5.00.

I’ve been practicing with them on Tuesday and Thursday nights. It is a downright humbling experience. There’s generally at least one archer that will shoot a perfect score. The others will come close.

For me, a perfect score has yet to happen. There are occasional nice ends. Those are always acknowledged by the youngsters with, “Nice shooting, Mr. Lain.” Then, they skip off, laugh and giggle, and check their smart phones, before lining up to shoot three more Xs and repeat.

Reo Wilde in the Elite T-shirt. Winner of 9 Gold, 3 Silver and 1 bronze at various World Archery Championships. (1)

Then, there are those fellows that show up and shoot perhaps a hundred or more Xs in a row. Being around such good archers does help to raise the game to a higher level.

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reo_Wilde