Shooting Fives

There are days, in all sports, when athletes just don’t want to train. The hope is that that day coincides with a rest day – a rare event. For me, Monday was one of those days. Practice wasn’t bad once I got started and when I was off I was consistent.

Not quite 2 fives

3D was on my schedule for practice. Training included focus on form and judging yardage. People that coach me, those who are paid and those offering free advice (the vast majority), emphasize the importance of form. So, Monday was primarily form and secondarily judging distance.

Regarding form, Bart Shortall, an ex-professional archer, encouraged me to write down each step I take during my process of shooting an arrow. Breaking this into individual steps is a lot to remember. I decided to break my form into a series of “caudalocephalo” movements. (opinions are welcome)

Bart in his shop

Typically, when conducting a physical assessment (in medicine, not at the pool or beach) we start from the head and work down, a cephalocaudal approach. At least that is how I described it in a textbook on physical assessment years ago. So, I assessed the movements before, during and after a shot. The physical movements aren’t top-down. (Mental activations are another story.)

In archery I start with feet first and work up. Hence, a caudalocephalo method of creating a repeatable form. The technique provides me easy to remember groupings of moves: Feet, core, shoulders, draw, anchor, aim, and release. Mental dumping (trying to reach an alpha wave dominance*) should occur between aim and release. I don’t want to think about brain waves while shooting (which would prohibit achieving alpha waves) so I didn’t write it down – out of sight, out of mind. My seven steps are easy to recall so I am giving it a try.

Monday, for the most part, I shot ok. I keep a running score each time I practice; I make notes, and add them to a spreadsheet. The scored shot is always the first shot. Sometimes, I add additional shots to work on aim or range. My first shot total today was 33 points low from my personal best. Not my worst day – not a day I will lose sleep over. (I never lose sleep over this sort of thing)

IMG_1521 IMG_1522

I had good shots today, particularly on bears. On some targets I shot the same bad shot twice. Several times I smacked a five. When I do that, I repeat the shot. More than once I hit that five at the same point. Optimistically, I thought, well that was consistent, so why did that happen?

Seriously? Two fives, again

Shooting 3D is a challenge for me. Monday’s practice was a bit more of a challenge than others since I was off physically and mentally. It wasn’t a rest day and my physical fatigue wasn’t from archery; it was from cycling. A bright spot following practice, I left the range with the same four arrows I carried onto the course.



*Check out archery research for brain wave activity information.

4 thoughts on “Shooting Fives”

  1. Great article dave. Hope to see you and your “A” game at Swampy bottom’s final shoot tonight. Keep writing brother.

    1. Hi Chris, I will be at Swampy Bottom. I will bring my game. The grade for that game, to be fair, will be between A and D, which amounts to a 30 point + spread, particularly at Norman’s. There I don’t worry so much about losing an arrow as I do about catching something (Lyme Disease or malaria) or being bitten (copperhead or rattlesnake). That pointed out, so far so good. One lost arrow to date and no visits to the emergency room.

  2. Well written. Do you keep track of yardage, both judged and what it really was with respect to the animal? Are dark targets further than you judged? Are smaller targets further than you judged? Food for thought.

    I’ll be at Church Creek Saturday for a 40K.

    1. Hi Rik

      I do keep a record of yardage and shoot better on ranges where I have shot in the past. Sort of like pre-riding a MTB course.

      Good luck on Saturday. I may do the 40 K in the fall.



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