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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Morning Workout 3.30.15

2×20 cat back / hollow back
2×20 hollow up
2×30 crunches
2×20 inclined push ups
2×20 “stability ball” crunches.

That’s it for this morning. Making some changes to the workout routine to help support my growth in archery and participation in outdoor FITA, so you’ll see more tiny posts like this one.

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Practice Log 3.24.15

Practice Log 3.24.15

After shattering my own confidence on Sunday, I went back to the range Tuesday. Of course, I had my coach there to hold my hand. We figured stuff out. I’m working on how to get this split fingered tab to sit on my string. To keep my elbow and shoulder moving down and into my spine so that my index finger doesn’t come in contact with the arrow. And making sure that my bow arm is going through the target, my elbow on my draw arm going through the imaginary wall behind me.

And there was improvement!

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Vertical alignment. And the tendency to shoot extreme right or left corrected

I’ve been shooting this distance for less than two week. Shooting Olympic Recurve and split finger for about a month. So I’m not going to sneeze at this. I “lost” my anchor, because I made improvements to both bow arm and draw arm. But that’s OK. I’ll find it again.

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My coach and her husband shooting at 70. They are amazing!

One day I’ll grow up to shoot like coach 🙂

Yesterday’s practice was much more about getting the right mental space back, than fixing anything physical. Coach Holly really helped to ground me and get me back into reality.

The Man and I talked later last night. And he helped with mindset too. “You can go to this tournament thinking you want to be competitive. You’ll fail, miserably. And it will take months for you to go back to practicing as much as you have been lately. Months to recover mentally.” Or, he said “You can go, have fun, be up close to the action, learn how things work, enjoy it, and hunt for arrows in the grass because shooting things is fun. Then come home and keep right on practicing. The choice is yours. But I don’t expect you to be competitive, to win anything, for 2 or 3 more years”.

Oh. It was that last line, that he wants me to go but he certainly doesn’t expect me to win. And that he doesn’t think its a waste of time even if I just go play ” hunt for arrows” that really hit me.

I needed permission to just go have fun. I have it. I’m good now.

Morning Workout 3.25.15

Keep in mind that my morning workouts aren’t made to be extreme or one of those hour long workout sessions that leaves me “high”. They’re just a way to get in some targeted focus on areas where my body needs to be stronger.

2×30 crunches (legs lifted and held up)
2×20 toe tap planks
2×15 squats
2×15 tricep dips.

Morning Workout 3.23.15

2×30 crunches

2×25 riser lifts

2×20 riser squats

2×20 cat back / hollow back.

Soon I’ll have video examples up of each week’s morning routine 🙂

Practice log week ending 3.21.15. Plus 3.22.15

Practice log week ending 3.21.15. Plus 3.22.15

I didn’t do a very good job of logging my practices this week. So I’m logging them here all in one post. Hopefully. Let’s start with Tuesday. On the 17th I practiced mostly at 30. And took these pictures.

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Tuesday After Work Practixe

I felt pretty good here because I was grouping. Not super tightly, but the goal was not to be uber dialed in at 30. Just to do well enough to justify the next step.

And I took a pretty nice picture of my set up

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Because Just Looking at It Motivates Me

Thursday started out good at 50 meters.

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No more 30m for me. On the road to 70!

And continued right up until dark.

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Bright nocks make arrows easier to see at dusk 🙂

Again. The goal wasn’t to get uber dialed in at 50. Just get good enough to move on to 70. And that happened on Saturday. I shot for almost 3 hours with my coach, and officially shot my first end at 70 meters on Saturday.

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Grouping at 50m. Time to move to 70!

And then, Sunday. After a lot of shooting already this week, and a Saturday night of staying up late playing games with a houseful of friends. And maybe drinking. A little. I hopped on out to the range today all full of confidence. Which promptly got shattered.

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Low, Left and Off the Bale

At least I grouped. Even if it was on the ground 😦

Next practice date is Tuesday March 24. We’ll see if I can get back to 70.

Prepping for Long Distance

Prepping for Long Distance

The last week has been full of shooting and new things! The Central Texas Shoot Off Uno! is in two weeks. My coach recommended I participate.

One problem. I’ve never shot 70 meters before! And the idea was a little daunting until I actually started shooting longer distances.

I started out at 30 meters. Trying to get both my sight and my form in line. My split finger tabs weren’t in yet, so I was still shooting 3 under.

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30 meters on Wednesday

On Wednesday I was pretty low. And not grouping. I’ve been working on my new anchor for a while now, and I just didn’t have it down yet. Plus other problems. My bow arm was collapsing inwards, to the point that I would get to full draw and think wow this feels really cramped. Only to discover that my elbow was bent. Let down and try again.

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Friday at 30 meters

On Friday I was improving a lot! And by the end I was able to group on and around the tiny five spot face that had been taped to the target. My bow arm was still collapsing, but not nearly as often. I was opening up again. And my anchor was…better.

It had been raining all day Friday, and was so wet that we didn’t want to risk driving the cars down the dirt road so we left them parked up top. I have never been so grateful for my new Easton backpack bow case. It made hiking up and down the hill a breeze! And was very comfortable on my shoulders.

I did try shooting 50 meters Friday evening. It was close to dark and I didn’t get a picture. Which was OK, because I don’t think I made it onto the bale anyway 🙂

Saturday I had a lesson outdoor with my coach. I got to put on the new limbs, Hoyt 720’s. And they are so smooth it makes me wonder why I ever shot with anything else! And I got to try out the new split finger tabs. The AAE KSL aluminum tab needs trimming. It was almost impossible to shoot with. The W&W 360 is what I used, because I could shoot with it, with some difficulty, without any trimming. And I finally got that anchor nailed. We started again at 30 meters.

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So much improvement!

And then moved on to 50 meters. My coach asked, “how does it feel to be working on your anchor and on transfer and holding at 50 meters?” And all I could think was this is freaking awesome!

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Grouping at 50 Meters!

Who would have thought that I could group at 50 meters on my first day? Some of the lower arrows were caused by the string hitting my jacket, which slowed velocity. But I fixed that later in the day by picking up some long sleeve hoodies that snugly fit my arms so I can shoot without freezing. Coach’s quick fix was to wrap her Columbia chill zone sleeve around my bow arm with the jacket on. So now I need a pair of those, too! But proof that when I do it right form wise, I can do the distance. Just need to work on aiming.

This week I’ll be shooting 50 meters and preparing for 70. I can hardly believe I’m actually doing this!

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Friends at the Range. Coach Shot Gold!

What Women Want in an Archery Instructor

What Women Want in an Archery Instructor

I’ve been wanting to write a post about my USA Archery Level 2 Instructor course, but every time I go to write it, I get hung up on this topic. A nice and knowledgeable gentleman introduced himself to the class by saying ” So many women are getting into archery and hunting these days. I feel like I have a lot to offer and I want to be able to teach them and help them ” (paraphrased).

And…I started to scoff. I didn’t know him well yet, and I figured he was seeing dollar signs in the influx of new archers and the girls influenced by Brave and Hunger Games. I didn’t think he was genuine, and that was partly due to my beginnings in archery and partly due to the thought that kept creeping into my head. Does he even know what a woman wants or needs in an archery instructor?

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Don't we all want to be Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games?

My first archery instructor was a guy who had been shooting compound for decades. I was shooting barebow recurve, and pretty set in the mindset that I wanted to stay barebow recurve at that point in time. That was the first mismatch. He didn’t know enough to help me beyond the very, very basics. And I didn’t know enough to know he didn’t know enough to help me. Never once was the “what do you want to get out of archery” question asked. And that question is a really, really important one. Even if the answer is “I want to have fun or blow off steam”.

I didn’t want to pretend I was Katniss while never shooting farther than 8 meters. I wanted other things. I wanted more. Which meant I needed someone who had slightly more knowledge with recurves than how to pick one up and hold it.

Speaking of. During those first three or four lessons I bow slapped myself constantly. I turned my left arm black, blue, purple, green, and yellow for weeks on end. People at work became alarmed if I wore short sleeves.

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This was not the worst I did to myself in the beginning

And because of who I am and what I wanted out of archery, I wouldn’t stop shooting even when the pain was pretty severe. I distinctly remember a lesson where Instructor #1 said I was shooting well. I was grouping pretty nicely! And I didn’t want to stop shooting because I was doing so well! But every time I shot, I bow slapped myself with 28 pounds of draw weight. I didn’t break skin, but I came close. And this was after he knew I was having this problem. At the very end he asked if I had slapped myself. I told him yes, every shot.

I think that scared him, honestly.

Look. Women can be tough. Driven. And those of us participating in traditionally men’s sports, like hunting, don’t want men to think we are somehow less up to the task. Which means, unless you the man who is an archery instructor make damn clear that archery isn’t supposed to be painful, we may not tell you when something is going wrong.

So. It’s important for you to know enough about a particular style of archery to be able to teach the basics. And it’s important for you as a coach to know when your student has outstripped that knowledge. Pass them on to someone who knows more. Or, talk to archers in other disciplines and expand your knowledge so that you can help your student grow. Take some lessons of your own! But don’t pretend like you know what you’re doing when you don’t. You’ll only wind up hurting your student.

I made Instructor #1 nervous. He was uneasy around me. It showed in the way he stuttered or stumbled over words. It became even more apparent when he couldn’t discuss parts of my anatomy and how they impacted my archery practice. Dudes, women have breasts. Women who are well endowed have breasts large enough to impact how they move their arms or hold their bow. Women may have trauma in their past that make them react differently to the bow string touching the side of their breast. I’m a 38G. Let’s just get the uncomfortable stuff out of the way. I had to learn how to maneuver my arms around my boobs. I also had to spend a week or more of conscious effort to not move away from or hold the bow string away from my chest. My current coach has, from the beginning, been very good about this. She’s been good about pointing out ahead of time where the string would touch. How it might be uncomfortable. She never let the string catch me off guard. But more importantly, she never made it out to be a big thing. Anatomy is anatomy. Archers are part of their weapon. Our bodies make up a large piece of the weapon we are shooting. So if you’re not comfortable with bodies, fat ones, slim ones, well endowed ones and tiny ones, then maybe you should stick with coaching guys.

If you wind up with a female student who gets even somewhat serious about her sport, and you are her male coach, you will eventually have to have an uncomfortable discussion regarding two things. Chest guards and sports bras. Chest guards fit women very differently than men. Go to Artebo chest guard measurements. See all the different measurements they take for a custom chest guard for women? Are you comfortable talking about those measurements with your student? Even if they don’t want a custom chest guard, you’ll need to be aware that whatever you choose together will fit her differently that it does a man. It may ride up more, or shift. She may need a larger size to accommodate her cup size, but then have to shorten the strap that goes around her chest or over her shoulder, or both. Remember my measurement from earlier? I don’t currently wear a chest guard even though I’ve gotten to the point that I need one. Because I refuse to wear one that doesn’t fit me well. The last thing I need at a tournament is to be yanking my chest guard back into place constantly.

And yes. You’ll need to talk sports bras. As in, the right one makes archery a lot easier. The wrong one makes it harder. Or at least less comfortable. A good sports bra, like Enell, can help immensely with posture. And good posture is imperative for good form.  An ill fitting or poor supporting sports bra just doesn’t help.

These are probably the most uncomfortable topics you’ll have to face as a male instructor coaching female archers. If you are serious about targeting this demographic. My demographic. Then I hope you’ll take seriously addressing these topics. Please, don’t pretend they don’t exist. We know better.