Archery Individual Lessons and Personal Coaches

Archery is not really a team sport.  You shoot on a team, but those people are generally competing against you.  And unlike a team sport, shooting with your team isn’t much different than shooting with anyone else.  In a team sport, it will different playing a pick up game and playing with your dedicated team.  Unlike head to head sports like tennis (reacting to the other person’s shot) or soccer (moving without the ball, playing defense in a team), archery has no real lessons to learn from the team.  In archery, when you are with your team, you are practicing your shot sequence.  When you practice alone in archery, you are practicing your shot sequence.  As such, archery is one of those sports where coaching is usually done on a 1:1 basis.  You may join a team, but more than likely you will pay for lessons separately.  In private/personal lessons the coach works directly with you, possibly over a very long time.

A high ranking coach in USA Volleyball once told me, “The game teaches the game.”  This is why the USA Volleyball team plays game after game in practice.  Isolated drills have value, but they can only approximate the game.  In archery, there are only a limited number of drills a shooter can do that aren’t a full shot sequence.  So the archery equivalent is “Shooting teaches shooting.”  You can certainly hear echoes of this sentiment when you listen to Steve “Big Cat” Anderson.  For those people who need more feedback on the process of shooting, you have a personal coach.  You see this in other sports that have teams, but focus on the individual – track and field, wrestling, etc.

With the return of indoor season, we are also back on track with personal lessons.  Her coach participates in the fairly crazy summer outdoor season and is traveling at least 7-10 days every month without an ‘r’.

No Limits Archery Range in Welby Colorado

Indoor Archery Range

As a parent, you have a lot of down time with archery lessons.  A lot of ranges are working on razor thin margins anyways, so amenities are few and WiFi is rare.  Here’s a pretty typical Monday at her home range.  After 6:30 or 7:00 PM, there will probably be a league, but maybe not…it is hunting season and that will tie up a lot of the compound shooters.

In this picture, the 4:00 student is packing up, the 5:00 student is still working on something, and the 6:00 student is getting personal coaching and feedback.  This is not unusual.

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Finger Tabs With Too Many Options

From what I can tell, the FIVICS “Saker” has become one of the most popular and imitated finger tabs.  Originally released as the Soma, the Saker comes in at least three models (Saker 1, Saker 2, and Saker3) and at least three materials (Aluminum, Brass, Carbon Fiber).

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The Saker 1 is on top (blue), the Saker 2 is on the bottom left (green), and the Saker 3 is on the bottom right (red).  Which one is right for you?  This is especially important in the age of online shopping and limited selection in retail.  Importantly, it’s not just the color (more on that later).

They are not named by “quality” either, the Saker 1 isn’t better than the Saker 2 or the Saker 3.  It’s more about the design.  The Saker 1 has more metal and sits back into your hand.  That triangle on the end may not be very comfortable for many shooters. There also appears to be some other accessory that can be added to the back triangle. The Saker 2 has less metal and the Saker 3 has even less metal.  It comes down to how much you like the extra metal and this other fact (that isn’t published on many retailer sites but is available on the FIVICS site ) — what is your preferred positioning of your fingers on the string regarding the load of drawing?

saker-angles

Model Index Finger Middle Finger Ring Finger
Saker 1 30 50 20
Saker 2 30 55 15
Saker 3 40 50 10

Besides the fit in your hand, this other bit of data may be an important decision making point. Kisik Lee in his book says the right distribution is 40, 50, and 10. That would make a good choice the Saker 3, particularly if the Saker 1 is uncomfortable.

Now, what color? Surprise, you don’t pick a color. You pick a size. But most of you are shopping online. What size do you need? FIVICS has put out this guide (PDF), but again, it’s not easy to find. My copy surfaced on a Slovakian site.

fivics-guide

You’ll note Dark Blue is XL and at the other end, Green is XXS. The guide may not be flawless, so I found this extra information.

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(From Online Archery Equipment in the UK)

Finally, there are three materials. The aluminum model is by far the most prevalent. It’s also the only one with color selections. The brass model is three times heavier than the aluminum model and that may be important for some shooters. The carbon fiber model is lighter and probably stiff than the aluminum model with less chance of deforming.

We ordered the Saker 3 and soon, she’ll be able to tell me how it is to shoot with it.

Indoor 2017/2018 Season Begins

The indoor season begins.  Probably the same number of changes on the team this year.  Some kids age out, some kids may burn out,   Those kids aren’t back.  We will miss all of them.  The younger one is still the only one in her age group shooting the 10 meter distance.

Rocky Mountain State Games – 2017

We returned to the Rocky Mountain State Games. This year, we are one year wiser with a few more outdoor tournaments under our belt: less confusion about the tournament format, our canopy, the event duration, and generally what to expect during the shoot. For July, the weather was exceptionally accommodating. Lots of clouds and a cooling breeze.

Memorial Park is a great facility – real grass and a lot of open space. The organizers ran out of bales and registration was capped. You can see more than 35 bales here and a new bubble roof over the velodrome. With the mountain backdrop, the venue offers up fantastic cloudscapes. The format was the same as last year: thirty arrows at thirty yards, thirty arrows at twenty yards, and thirty arrows at ten yards. This is the distance for her age band which is determined by her age the day of the shoot. This will change next year with longer distances for her age band.

As a tween, she’s starting to take responsibility for her gear; however, this is a decent road trip from our house and the early morning start had us both running around. She forgot her ball cap so she borrowed mine. A good lesson in getting ready the night before. Because there are so many shooting categories, the foursome on this bale included the recurve young ladies and some compound young men. Of course, as the distances got closer, the groupings around yellow got crowded.

Without being able to check the scorecards for all the nearby shooters, it’s hard to know the specific category of each participant on the line.  I wasn’t really sure who she was shooting against.  She found her own cadence and for the most part ran by her self for the whole shoot.  For reasons I don’t understand, there is mixed support for the State Games from the JOAD coaches.  Maybe it’s a conflict with other shooting events, maybe it’s not focused on the youth as much.  As such, I can only provide a little commentary on her shot sequence and mostly encourage her to slow down, mimicking her real coach.

There’s no practice ends for when the targets move closer.  As such, it was good we had cataloged her site settings during our last long session at the practice range.  It’s also great that the event speeds up as the distances shrink.  I think the longest distance clocked nearly two hours for thirty arrows.

At the end of the day, compared to last year:

  • Distance 30: slightly better (218 compared to 210)
  • Distance 20: better (267 compared to 250)
  • Distance 10: same score as last year (282 compared to 282)

She won her second gold medal at the Rocky Mountain State Games

Returning to the Range

A month ago, the younger one had withdrawn from the shoot.  We returned to practice this weekend at our outdoor range.  She proclaimed she was so excited to be able to shoot again.  And overall it went really well.  She was appropriately distracted by various bugs and a fearless little bird she named “Tinee”, but she completed more ends than I expected.  We were out there for almost four hours because the older one was getting ready for her second state games.

We worked on form, as every archer does during every practice, or at least that is what every practice has been for these kiddos.  Maybe Mackenzie Brown gets to do something else with her practice time at this point.

Understandably, her form was a little rough.  I decided to use Hudl Technique with her.  I was hoping to slow things down so I could see it.  I’ve used Hudl with the older one and I also wanted to make sure the younger one knew she was special too.

It was easy to see at 1/4 speed even if it is hard to see your iDevice with full sun.  I shared it with her and she felt like she could keep her bow arm extended and work on her draw arm elbow.

Meanwhile the older one was getting her site ready for 30-20-10 distances that the next tournament uses.  She was doing her sport and I didn’t have to pay too much attention other than recording her site positions.

Having a camera helps, but we also record them in her archery journal so that when we get to a tournament, we have backups.

She really likes this Shibuya site.  There are more expensive models, but this one works for her.  Since she started using it, we are both seeing more of them around, probably some sort of cognitive bias.   At Salt Lake, Steve Anderson spoke to the archers at breakfast.  Later, we saw he was shooting a Shibuya too.

archeryworldcup2016stage2medellin958vtdackx6x

There summer is winding down.  School starts again in a few weeks.  That means the outdoor season is winding down and the indoor season will be ramping up (with a lot of overlap).  I think the Byrds sing a song about this.

Outdoor 30 er 15, Younger Edition

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The younger one wanted to sign up for the outdoor shoot.  The USAT style shoot has no category younger than Bowman.  As a Yeoman, there’s not really a division for her.  The Director of the Shoot decided to create a loophole.  Younger shooters could shoot a 15M target, but they would be doing it outside of the normal competition.  We had practiced 20M at our practice range and I thought it would work out.

It didn’t work out.

She didn’t want to be there and her head down photo above is only a snapshot of her attitude.  After the warm up practice rounds, she withdrew.  Archery and other things may be on hold for this one.  It was a frustrating day.

Outdoor 30, El Dos

The second round of the five part buckle shoot was scheduled over the Fourth of July weekend.  I would guess about half the number of participants as the Father’s Day buckle shoot.  It was a strange distribution of shooters.  Her mentor (pictured above) was the only Junior Female Recurve, meanwhile the Barebow division was full of all ages of shooters.  In her own division, there were the same number of kids as last time.

The other two photos are taken from a former teammate, Sara Martin.  In a time when everyone has a great 10 yard camera on their phone, Sara brings another perspective with a long lens SLR.

Conditions were the same, hot and windy.  She decided to wear her dress from Furry Feline Creatives.  I’m fairly confident she’ll never encounter another archer with the same outfit.

She stayed strong throughout the shoot and had enough energy during the elimination rounds.  She came up short against her principal rival and captured a second place podium finish.

Outdoor 30

First outdoor tournament of the year for the older one.  She is a “bowmen” class and that means she really can’t compete in the big national tournaments that have Cadet and Junior programs only.  Technically, she can shoot in those older age divisions, but the shooting distance starts at 60 and you have to pull a pretty big bow to shoot that distance.  Locally, one (or maybe two) of the JOAD clubs has set up an outdoor series.  This includes shorter distances for the younger divisions, including 30 for bowmen.

Like all archery events we have attended outdoors, you have to deal with the sun and the wind.  This was no different.  Our car thermometer said it was 101.  She had ramped down lessons over the last month, so this was her first event in at least a month.  She shot outside at the park and she got reps in on the side yard.  She used her new Easton outdoor arrows.  She ended up in third place.