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A month ago, the younger one had withdrawn from the shoot.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.


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.


Hot Enough for Outdoor Shooting in March

We returned to Bear Creek Lake park for our outdoor range.  She began by shooting at 30m.


It was hot and dry out there.  Because the USAT Qualifiers are beginning soon, we needed to get a handle on how well she could shoot at 60m.  The USATs only have the Cadet and Junior divisions.  Cadets shoot at 60m and Juniors shoot at 70m.

We moved up to the 40m target and had to adjust her sight, but even with the sight at it’s limits, she wasn’t able to use it to aim at the target, she had to use it to aim at the trees way behind the target.


The angle of her bow means she is shooting in an arc to reach 40m.  The sight is also practically useless for this distance.  I think she would have to increase the draw weight of her limbs to shoot 40m with less arc and that would probably be another increase to get to 60m.  With this information, it doesn’t look like we would be getting much out of the USAT Qualifiers this year and will consider Outdoor Nationals where she can shoot at 30m.


Too Much Gear

The younger one is doing pretty well shooting with her (left) hand me down kit (Hoyt Grand Prix Horizon Pro 25″ – still available even with model year turn over) and with a splash of black accessories, the bow doesn’t look like it used to when the older one used it for a palette of ocean colors.

But wait, who is that in the background?  Have we found a home for her right handed bow?

Swap Meet

The Prodigy XT 25 arrived and a whole bunch of other stuff.  Time to get this hand me down process started.  First, time to build up the older kid’s bow with the help of her coach.  We adjusted tillers and checked for staightness.

Her coach had some used limbs we could buy and that means her draw weight poundage is going up.  These limbs are made of wood.  That seems appropriate for her for now.  Future choices include all carbon, foam, and even bamboo.  Sometimes it feels less like innovation and more like product specialization.  Although, the only perspective I have is that of the customer.

Her Shibuya stabilizer, the Shibuya plunger, and Shibuya sight joined some vanity Hoyt tillers and her blue string to make one sharp looking white kit.

Then, on to the refitting of her old bow (Hoyt Grand Prix Horizon).  Black and teal seem to be an acceptable scheme for the younger one.  A teal left handed quiver goes with her new-to-her riser.  More work to do…

Rocky Mountain State Games

This was her first outdoor tournament.  Our trip planning over estimated the amount of time we needed to arrive at the facility, so we got to Memorial Park in Colorado Springs with plenty of time.  This park is huge.  The scale of the map will mislead you.  Outside of the velodrome is a green field large enough for several full size soccer fields.  That was the home for archery.


The range was set up for 40 bales or lanes.  Depending on the groupings, two to four shooters would be on each lane.  It was her first time shooting on grass – every where else we have shot has not been a manicured lawn.  Our friend, Sean, told us a canopy was the norm.  I’m glad he let us in on that secret.  We had a canopy and the extra time we had from arriving early was put to use by staking out some ground in front of the 30 yard bales.

Slowly, the field filled in with more and more canopies.  Some elaborate and larger than 12×12, but most were 10×10 and cooperated with each other.  Thus began the Rocky Mountain State Games.  I wasn’t sure if they rotated through the lanes, moved the lanes, or moved the targets.  We had been practicing a lot for 30 yards, but I wasn’t sure what those other distances were.  There’s a first time for everything.  This outdoor tournament certainly had a lot more categories than an indoor JOAD tournament which has only three styles and five age groups (more here on JOAD).  For NFAA, there are seven age groups and ten shooting styles.  This is confusing.  If you want to see the class system, check out this document.

We got started and it was going to be 30 arrows at 30 yards, then 20 yards, then 10 yards.  The summer sun started slowly, but was in full blaze by 10:00 AM and there would be a lot more shooting.  At this tournament, they moved the targets towards the shooting line.  She was going to have two official rounds of warm up at 30 yards, but none at the shorter distances.  We had documented her sight and had her settings for 30, 20, and 10 yards.  She was off and running.


Early in the day, shooting 30 yards.  “Woof” hat in place

Some of her archery friends were here and that put a smile on her face.  She was shooting well.  The first thing I noticed is that through the first 20 arrows or so, everything was on the bale.  That’s not exactly how practice at Bear Creek Lake ends up.  She was really shooting well.  I didn’t bring my binoculars and it was hard to see the arrows with four young ladies shooting at the same bale.  This was also her first time shooting on the 122 cm target.

Because of the strange number of shooting styles, it was never clear to me how many girls were direct competitors and I couldn’t tell by looking at their bows.  After the switch to 20 yards, it felt a lot easier to her.  She shot a 250/300 for that section.  Then the target moved to 10 yards.  This was sort of comical.  Everyone was shooting well.  I know at least one robin hood happened a lane over.  So many arrows converging for the yellow space.


She decided that a good song was Coldplay, “and it was all yellow”

I knew she was doing better than the girls around her.  Her scorecard told the tale.  She did all of the hard work at 30 yards and her scores from the 20 and 10 yard rounds just kept pushing her forward.  Very consistent across the 90 arrows.  The value of her practice time was showing.  In the end, she won easily by more than 140 points.  Her averages were 7 points per arrow at 30 yards, 8.3 points per arrow at 20 yards, and 9.4 points per arrow at 10 yards.  Across the day, she also shot 9 Xs.

She was smiling, proud, way too much sun, and worn out at the end.


A big medal for a big day.

Full results in this PDF.


With her sight, it now seems obvious that grouping of arrows equals consistency in the shot sequence.   As a Barebow shooter, there are too many little changes to account for.


If this were a grouping from a sighted bow, you would move the sight up to move the arrows down (See why here Recurve Sight).  If you have variance in your groupings with a sight, you probably have shot sequence problems or weather challenges outdoors.

Adjusting to a Recurve Sight

The sight is a piece of equipment that is optional in recurve archery.  By observation, it looks far less optional in compound shooting since every compound bow I’ve seen has a sight on it.  The sight is a piece of equipment that is fixed to your bow.  If you have a metal riser, you probably have screw holes already drilled for the sight.  If you have a wood riser or a knock down bow, you may not have an option for a sight.  The sight consists of some mechanism for attachment (“mounting bracket”), a horizontal bar (“extension bar”), a vertical bar (“sight bar”), and a scope that travels up and down the vertical bar (“sight pin assembly”).


Simple sight parts – photo courtesy of Australian Archery

The sight is an interesting combination of relative and fixed instrumentation.  You get the sight roughly in place and then make adjustments up and down the sight bar.  This part can be confusing.  I created this simple illustration to show how moving the sight pin assembly in the direction of the error corrects the position of the bow.  If you start and the arrows are shooting too low, you move the sight pin assembly down.


Making adjustments to a sight in response to where the arrows go

The adjustment in my illustration are exaggerated, but are meant to show how the sight pin can be used to make an adjustment in the up and down direction of the riser and the bow.  Similarly, if your arrows are going to high, move the sight pin assembly up and that will cause you to tilt your bow down to keep the pin on the target.  There are all kinds of adjustments on a fully featured sight.


Full featured sight – photo courtesy of Jordan Sequillion

It could take quite a while to get all of these knobs adjusted and dialed in.  It is recommended that you work with your sight a lot to learn how it’s adjustments work and to be ready to shoot at different distances.  Recording your position (horizontal and vertical) is important.  The scope can also be adjusted left to right with other knobs.

If you need to shoot longer distances, you may need to move the site pin assembly closer to you by adjusting the extension bar.

There are lots of adjustments and your sight may or may not have all the features.  More features means the sight is going to cost more.  Materials are either aluminum or carbon fiber.  Carbon fiber moves less, so it is ultimately a better sight, but it costs a lot more too. The sight is probably another example of buy nice or buy twice.

After these basics, find out more at Jordan Sequillion’s site.