Score Analysis Heading into the IBO World Championships and Post Tournament

Prior to the IBO World Championship, I paused to evaluate my scores for the year in 3D. The distance I have been shooting in competition was a maximum of 45 yards while using a bow with fixed pins and a short stabilizer. That bow set up meets the requirements for the IBO Professional Hunter Class.


Since the 2015 3D season began I’ve averaged 9.1 points per target. The score per shot improved as the season progressed with the ‘better’ scores averaging 10.35 points per target. The worst performance (the first 3D tournament of the year) the average was 7.65 points per target, which included a miss and a mess of fives.

It takes a lot of numbers to make a good database. The sample set used here isn’t large enough to be definitive. But, it did give me an idea of my likely score at the tournament in New York. That score should have been around 364 which would have landed me in 12th position.  In fact, I shot worse, ending up 13th place. The distance didn’t turn out to be my major downfall, it was my lack of experience shooting at steep uphill and downhill angles.


This sort of analysis is beneficial to help determine areas of weakness and topics for shooting improvement.

Day One Shooting at the IBO World Championships

I went into this shoot feeling really good. It didn’t last long. There is a lot so say about shooting uphill and downhill. Living on the coast nearly all my shots are on level or nearly level ground. Mountains and hills within mountains certainly add a new dimension to archery.

Wes sizing up what was truly the easiest shot of the day.

These archers that live in areas where they can practice on ranges with steep slopes have a practiced ability to find a foothold and stand steady were in their element. Some of these guys were like mountain goats the way they could hang on a steep incline. For me, I was mostly hoping, on many shots, not to slip down while taking aim.

There are two pro classes here: those shooting with a fixed pin hunting rig and those with long stabilizers and adjustable scopes. We shot on the same range; so all the stakes were either a max distance of 45 yards or 50 yards. The hunting rigs have a max distance of 45 yards.

On more than one occasion the group using the pro hunting setup ( 45 yard max) was placed further back than the pros using the ‘unlimited’ arrangement. This was seriously one difficult range and the IBO really setup challenging targets. More than once I’d get to a stake and need a minute or two to find the foam critter. Seriously, a brown turkey, partially exposed behind a log with a tree behind it, up a hill, surrounded by smaller trees, 36 yards away – that’s tough. (And for me an 8, off a bit to the right)

The group I shot with were all veteran pro archers. By that I mean none had been shooting less than 7 years with me as the exception. In fact, one of the scorekeeper’s IBO number was in the very low 8000s. Mine, I was the other scorekeeper, is over 91,000.

These guys shot better than me today. On the level or nearly level targets I definitely held my own. But, every target that required a major bend at the waist, well I was taken to school.

Despite their efforts to school me, the other guys had a day of managing tough shots. Our group had at least one very high score (probably in the top 3 at the end of the day) and even though there were 5 in our group we didn’t create a backup. I think the hike through the woods was so difficult that it was taking enough time to trek from stake to stake that crowding wasn’t a problem. Honestly, on some walks between stakes our group stopped and took a break.

It was a long hard day on the range. Looking for some redemption tomorrow.

Latest Website Stats

I check this site through a number of services about once a month.  Today, I pulled this data following a search on Goggle.  Certainly, I understand that much of what I write isn’t top shelf literary work.  However, I know I am like many of the folks that read this site – someone with a dream.

The difference is that I am sharing this experience, going from a novice archer to a professional.  August marks my second year of shooting.  Next week I’ll be back at the IBO World Championships.

Last year I competed as an amateur.  This year, I’ll shot in the pro division.  Tomorrow is my last practice tournament until next Friday –  day 1 of the World Championships.

At the World’s I am not competing in the Senior Pro Class.  I’m 60 and could have selected that division.  But, I decided to really put it on the line and shoot against the younger men.

I’ve kept a record of this adventure which has been followed by many readers.  Here are the stats from this morning:

“ seems to be quite trustworthy website, it is 1 year old. The website was registered by and has its servers in United States. The site is ranked 5,286,829 on the Alexa list of Top websites by visitors.” (There are about 250,000,000 active websites)

Now, write about it

Burning Strings

When I bought my first compound bow in August of 2013 I asked, “How long will this strings last?” The string looked complex and expensive compared to the string on my recurve. The salesman, with all the confidence and authority he could muster said, “These strings last a year or two.”

That seemed to be a reasonable amount of time until the string needed replacing. I bought a Mission Riot expecting to go back to a recurve bow with a few months. Since that day, nearly two years ago, I’ve not shot a recurve. The Mission Riot has been replaced. And I’ve burned though six bow strings.

Strings don’t last as long as promised by the confident salesman. In the “Coach’s Corner” of the second quarter 2015 issue of Archery Magazine Bernie Pellerite answers the question: When should I replace my string?

Coach Pellerite writes that a string should be replaced every two years or when it is starting to fray. The string on my bow is beginning to fray. The bow is new – about 6 weeks old.

Coach Pellerite further mentioned that a bowstring is good for, on average, 3000 – 5000 shots. This means that a string should last me about two to three months months.

Coach Pellerite’s answer certainly makes more sense than “These strings last a year or two.” His answer also means I am probably not changing string as often as I should.

Using stats to set a goal

I like studying number and I enjoy statistics. In all sports, athletes, coaches and fans measure performance. However, in archery a number of shooters have advised me not to look at my scores.

That advice hasn’t taken hold. Some say, “The score will get into your head and make you miss your shot.” In my brief experience with competitive shooting there’s not been a tournament where I didn’t either know my exact current score of had a really good idea of my score.

I think it is useful to practice knowing my points total. This way in real competition I will be accustom to dealing with my numbers.

Stats give me a solid reference to gauge my shooting. Over the past few days I’ve been recording detailed evaluations of my shooting and analyzing the data. What I observed is improvement based on a general understanding of where I was weak.

This suggests (also this isn’t one of my worst shots) I needed work on longer distances

In three days I’ve brought a falling score up by two points while increasing the mean distance per shot. My goal is to increase the mean value by one more point over the next week and hold it there.

Two days later, further away and a better shot.

All athletes study their performance. Looking at the fine details of scoring and where the numbers indicate work is needed is done by 100% of professional athletes. Personally, I see the value in making mathematical measures then setting numeric goals for performance based on the results.

Having a Blast On My Bike

Over the months I’ve mentioned that aside from archery other exercise is important. For decades I’ve enjoyed competing in cycling, running, duathlons and triathlons. Of those sports what I like most is cycling.


Cycling gives me a since of freedom. I’ve always felt it is the closest humans can come to flying under our own power. Then, there is the benefit of being able to see so much of the land and scenery while cursing on a bicycle.

Worth the stop for this picture

Today’s ride was no exception. I carry my cell phone with me in case of an emergency. That phone is also my camera. Using it I recorded a fun encounter from today’s ride.

Dogs are frequently running after me when I ride. Most of the time this  isn’t a problem since I can see or hear them well in advance of their approach. Dogs typically can’t run at a 30-mile per hour pace for long. When I see them, I crank it up and hope I can outlast their sprint. As a rule – I win.

Hey – Wait up!

Most of the dogs I met along my rides are friendly. Having be chased by them for decades I’ve learned to recognize the happy ‘I’m glad to see you’ bark versus the ‘here comes a bite’ bark.

I found a stick

Ten miles into this ride at a dead end road I heard the happy bark. Sure enough, this golden retriever was out for a sniff and offered to play. Naturally, I stopped to join the fun.

Of course, I stayed and played (and for those that know bikes that is an 11 – 19 cluster)

It is tough to beat a good bike ride topped off with meeting a nice dog along the route. The bonus is that cycling is a great form of exercise.

Back home on Little River

Getting a New Sight and Setting the Pins

We’ve just returned from a 10-day road trip. During the excursion we stayed in Brevard, NC, Tignall, GA and Savannah, GA. Brevard was a true vacation and we enjoyed 5 days of adventures and festivities. Tignall was to celebrate the 4th of July with family, and we made an overnight jaunt to Savannah to see my mother. During all of this I didn’t get to practice as much as usual.

To compound the lack of practice the day before I left I changed sights on my bow. The pin sight I’d been using was fine, however, I wanted to change to a sight that was easily removed. I selected one the same company’s products only this sight slides on and off making it easy to switch to a scope.

35 Yards

Setting a new sight is a tedious process, at least for me. In Brevard I shot a bit on the block target I carried on vacation, but wasn’t yet on par with the pins. In Tignall I did more practice more adjustments and still wasn’t right where I wanted to be with the alignment.

Twenty yards was fine, twenty-five even better than before. Thirty yards was making me crazy. Thirty-five yards was only exacerbating my craziness. Forty was fine but 45 wasn’t so fine.

Today, the clicks and twists were beginning to make a bit more sense. The short shots, 20 to 30 yards were clicked in so I backed up. Thirty-five yards worked fine. But the better test would begin at 40 yards.

View at 40 yards

The first short at 40 yards was low to my right. The second was acceptable, as was 45 yards. Fifty yards felt great and my second shot at 55 was on the money.

First shoot was a little off at 40 yards, the second was good
View at 50 yards

Tomorrow, I’ll head back out to re-test my adjustments. Next, I’ve got to re-set my scope. These activities take time and I’d rather just shoot. But, it has to be done.




Why worry about alleged cheating?

On April 16th I posted an article describing cheaters. For the most part I rarely notice cheating. Sometimes I do, but honestly it seldom concerns me. On July 5th, one of the archery-focused groups on Facebook where I’m a member went crazy regarding an alleged cheat.

When I have noticed or suspected liberal scoring I’ve sometimes confronted it on the range. Once, during an indoor shoot I knew a 10 was a 9 but in that case said nothing – even though it happened a few times. What I did was “suggest” the shooter get a new target. He’d shot out the center ring, which made accurate scoring impossible. Let me emphasize, “He’d shot out the center ring on all three targets.” Not a bad strategy if you can pull it off.


This is how I look at competition: If I am not hitting 10s or higher, in 3D, I am off. I’m off from time to time. But, those times are becoming less frequent. Indoor shooting if I hit a 7 I’m off, when shooting a 3-spot. If someone has to cheat to keep up, it is unlikely they’re someone that worries me. Actually, on the range no one worries me. Off the range I do keep up with how the guys I shoot against are performing.

Of those archers, no one cheats. Their scores are too good and everyone sees their shots. If you are not shooting in a competition where key archers are being closely watched, not for cheating but to admire their performance, then you are shooting for fun.

So, shoot for fun. If your attention is on a trophy, you’ve probably lost that award before you started. That said, the Gold Medalist shooter (rifle) in the 1976 Olympics had an attitude regarding the medal. Before he fired his first shot he knew the Gold Medal was his, so he shot relaxed, in his mind he’d already won, and consequently he walked away with the Gold. When you walk onto a range and you’re worried about winning the trophy or that someone allegedly cheated you out of a trophy, especially a local shoot, well you were never really in the competition.


Needing arrows

I am running low on arrows. When I get this short on projectiles the pressure is on not to lose an arrow, break a nock, or lose fletching.

Losing an arrow doesn’t necessary mean missing a target and watching an arrow vanish. Of the dozen Black Eagle Challengers I bought about a month ago I have 5 I can shoot. Two were broken hitting something inside a target. The points jammed into the shaft and the arrows were trashed. One got lost in a tournament where I under shot a target. Goodbye Black Eagle – you’re free. Four have a combination of broken nocks and liberated fletching. That leaves me with 5 shootable arrows.

The little nock I use needed to be ordered and haven’t arrived. The dozen new Black Eagle arrows I ordered haven’t arrived. Five arrows are enough, but I like a cushion. I like a dozen on hand with unused in kept a tube kept cool and stored.

We’re heading to Brevard, NC, Tignal, GA and Savannah, GA. You can bet I’ll be shooting at all three stops. You can also bet I’ll not be making any “experimental” shots with only 5 arrows for a 10 day trip.

Shooting in Brevard

Being on vacation doesn’t preclude archery from the fun things to do while on vacation. For this leg of the trip, the Brevard – western NC – stay, I brought several toys with which to play including my archery ‘toys’.  Even though I will not be able to compete in a tournament on this trip, I did get to shoot.

Brevard is known for its waterfalls

With me I brought my bow and the five arrows I own that can be currently used for shooting. I also brought a block target that can only be shot using the smaller sides. The large sides barely slow down an arrow.

In Brevard the canopy of leaves that surround the property we’ve rented makes judging yardage a new game. Ambient light is minimal and there isn’t level ground to be found. On the east coast of the state, my home,  I shoot on level ground in very bright light toward shadows, or at brightly illuminated targets, or from shadow to shadow. In the woods here it is just dark or darker and hilly.

Miss a target in this jungle and forget about finding the arrow

Having only 5 arrows and a small target, considering the light and hills, I was very conservative while practicing. I used one arrow only, shot for the middle of the target, and limited my distance to 40 yards.

At 35 yards, this is a tough shot at a small target. Miss and goodbye arrow. (The target is in the center of this picture)

The result was I didn’t lose or break the arrow. I got some decent practice in lighting to which I am unaccustomed and gave myself an hour* each day to get a feel for hilly terrain. One nice thing about a small target is that it’s easy to move around.(*I am on vacation, so I limited my practice time to an hour per day. )

Here’s a closer look at the target and what’s behind it.

The other toys that will be used on this trip, bikes, kayaks, and running gear have yet to make it into the game.