Warming up for SoCal
It’s been a crazy week since getting back from Gator Cup, but I haven’t let that keep me from shooting my arrows everyday. My birthday was Tuesday and instead of going out for a nice dinner (it was a beautiful evening outside), I told R I’d rather shoot together in the yard. As it began to get dark out, we decided to hit up a local ice cream place that makes their own homemade ice-cream (and waffle cones on the spot) with the milk from the cows on their farm. It is no joke the best ice cream I’ve had since living in Ohio, so it was an awesome birthday treat!
The rest of the week flew by between work, shooting and crappy weather. I made some changes to the angle of my back stabilizer on friday, hoping to help some of the dipping I was getting, and then on Saturday, I tried all sorts of changes. My front shoulder had been giving me some pain lately, so I decided to try taking a little weight off the bow. I liked the balance, especially after moving the stabilizer, but I thought the entire setup may just be a little too heavy for me. We tried to take off the front and back in a way that would keep similar balance overall, and the lighter weight was definitely a nice change.
I also tried a .010 blade instead of my .008, adjusted draw length (both longer and shorter), a modified anchor position/hold on my face, and a host of other things. Eventually, the bow was put back to where it started, with the exception of the stabilizer weights that were removed. I found the biggest difference from the change I made to my anchor. With the weather supposed to be nice for the next day, I decided to register last-minute for the Ace Archer’s June Warmup, to test out my changes in a competition setting.
Since this seems to be the year of the wind, when we arrived at the field Sunday morning the wind was whipping across the field. It took me the full 3 ends of practice we were given to get my sight set at 50M (I had been shooting 70M at home), since my new anchor changed the angle enough to throw off my old sight marks. We started scoring, and I began with a bang…58 (my highest end yet in competition). Even though it was windy, I didn’t feel like my bow was getting throw around, so I took that as a huge plus with the new hold. With the exception of one end (55), I shot a 57 or 58 for each end until the half way break. That gave me a score of 342! I was pretty pumped as this was not only my highest score in competition for 36 arrows, but my highest in practice as well!
We had a 15 minute break, which personally I am not a fan of. That is the biggest struggle I have with archery tournaments, coming from other sports. I find there is too much downtime. I just want to compete and then be done, not take breaks and sit around and wait. We started back up and I shot a 52 on the first end back with three 8s. I was mad, especially since I hadn’t shot anything below a 9 in the entire first half! I knew I could come back if I shot well the rest of the time, so I concentrated on reading the wind and making good, strong shots. I was rewarded with a 59, just missing the perfect 60! I finished about average with no more really good (or bad ends), which gave me a 333 for the second half.
I knew this was nowhere near my first half score, but I knew I was still getting used to my new anchor and it takes time to build back up the muscle memory. Plus, a 333 was not bad and would have been my highest in competition if I wouldn’t have shot the 342 earlier. This gave me a 675 total (by far a personal best) and a win for the day. I was even happier when I learned that I would have placed 3rd in the men’s division, only 7 points off of a sponsored Hoyt pro from MA (I was only two points down after first half!).
Overall, I feel like I am making progress, and I hope to carry this over to SoCal and then Nationals. I am putting in the time with my bow, and all I can hope for is to continue to improve and shoot like I have proven I can.