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Category Archives: Tournaments

2nd Annual Texas Cup

Another weekend, another tournament. I don’t usually do tournaments back to back, but they just worked out that way this month. The Texas Cup was held in Plano, so I didn’t have to travel for if, which made doing both the Texas Cup and the Winter Games so close together much more possible. No time off work needed for either!

This was a full Star FITA, 120 arrows over two days, and a lot larger participation. The men’s senior recurve line was actually pretty large. And though the women’s senior recurve line was smaller, and we were all outnumbered by the compounds, it was great to see so many Olympic recurves and barebows all in one place!

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The senior men's Olympic Recurve medalists and me!

I was a little concerned about how I would hold up, since I’ve only recently gone up in draw weight, but I think the proof that I can turn my limbs up is that I had no fatigue even at the end of the 2nd day. So they’ll get turned up on Tuesday.

Saturday morning I grouped really well. I was happy with how I was shooting, but would have liked to not be quite so left. I feel like I just got the “left” problem fixed, and now its back. So while I had nice fight groups the scores would have been better if I could have nudged them a little more center. I did shoot the most 10’s I’ve ever shot in a tournament, though!

Today I don’t feel I shot as well.  The line felt more cramped. I didn’t feel like I could set up the way I wanted to. But I had a better score over all. I’m firmly in the averaging 20 points per end, which is such a huge jump for me!!

831/1200 was my final score. I walked away from my previous double FITA a full 200 points lower. And after a year of work I’m finally breaking past the 50% mark. I consistently shoot more than 50% of a perfect score.

All that aside. I learned a really important lesson. And that is…scores matter less than walking into your arrows. Yup. I walked straight into the nocks of my own arrows because I was talking to (and looking at) someone down the line as we walked down to score. I was that girl, the one who caused the entire line to be held because she needed a bandaid. I was going to continue on, but didn’t realize how bad it was bleeding. Ashley, who took first and was scoring with me, was over to the judges before I could even set my clip board down.

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The buckle helped soothe my hurt pride a bit

Team Fulcrum had four people shooting the Texas Cup, and two of us placed. Dacota took first in senior men’s compound and I took 2nd in senior women’s recurve.

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Team Fulcrum brings home some hardware

It was a great weekend! But I’m really looking forward to the next three weeks of practice and tuning.

Texas Winter Games

Texas Winter Games

I am so freaking proud of J!!! He went to the Texas Winter Games tournament with me on Saturday and shot. Not only did he shoot, but he came in first in his division. I’m more proud of him for going than anything else.

Texas Winter Games was interesting for both of us. It was a new range, not a FITA, and not in any way associated with USA Archery. We were on a lot of unfamiliar terrain.

The range in McKinney took us both by surprise. I was told it was a small tournament and not many people showed up for it. When we arrived, however, the range was packed! That’s a good thing, until there’s literally so little room that it took a concerted effort to not trip over each others bows. I was told we could, and should plan on, registering on site. But I’m pretty sure we gave the lady running registration a heart attack when we both showed up to shoot and weren’t on the registration list. Apparently everyone BUT us had pre-registered online and bale assignments were set. Oh. To her credit, Mrs. Witt found us both places on the line and was very gracious to us. She was less gracious about the person who had misinformed us. One last surprise awaited us at McKinney. Russell! Russell worked at the Dallas range on Walnut Hill before it closed, and we were pretty close acquaintances. I hadn’t seen him since shortly after that range closed, so it was a wonderful surprise to see him at McKinney. He came to the rescue as backup judge and timer manager.

Speaking of the timer, I did not realize I had become so clock dependent until we didn’t have one at this tournament. There was a timer running, we just couldn’t see it. I’m used to looking up after my 2nd arrow to see how much time is left on the clock. But there was no clock. I didn’t have a clue how much time I had. I started rushing. Badly. Really badly. J was having the same problem, so we started calling time for each other. Whichever of us wasn’t shooting would call out time quietly for the other at the 30 second marks. Several people thanked us afterwards for doing that. I just wish we had started sooner. Those first three ends or so of rushing and stressing took their toll on both of us. Thankfully he was on A line and I was on B line, so we could call time and spot for each other.

Probably the other biggest factor for me at McKinney is the line of plywood dropped from the ceiling about a third of the way down the range. I typically let my eye follow my bow up during set up. Then my eye goes to the target during draw and I can watch my sight come to settle on the target. Except my eye would hit this line of plywood, my brain would immediately seize in a “too close don’t shoot!” momentary panic and I would have to almost force myself to look down at the target and draw. Never got all the way into my back, never got into true holding, never got my elbow behind the arrow for something like the first half of the tournament. We were only doing 10 ends, so 5 ends of brain freeze was 5 too many. I don’t know why the plywood is there, and it was only afterwards, talking to another shooter, that they mentioned the plywood was messing with my depth perception.

But despite the challenges, we finished the tournament! I got to shoot next the cutest darned barebow shooter I have ever laid eyes on. She couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10, with long red hair and a teal Bubba Bateman quiver. The rubber bands on her braces matched her quiver!! I spent some time talking to the girl who took first place in our division. Turns out she was supposed to try out for the Puerto Rican Olympic team but had to have surgery instead. She was immensely nice and knowledgeable and just fun to be around. And I spent some time talking to Troy Albert, the owner of Fulcrum Archery. More on that conversation later.

Then it was awards time. My scores weren’t great. J was disappointed in his scores. Neither of us thought we’d win anything.

Surprise! J came in first in his division! And I came in second in mine! Turns out we are now eligible to shoot in the State Games of America in 2017. I think. More pics to come later, after I grab them off my phone.

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2nd place Texas Winter Games

Planning My Competitive Year.

Planning My Competitive Year.

It’s the New Year! A lot of you are making resolutions, setting goals, and planning out your year. I typically skip making resolutions. They’re easily broken and easily forgotten, especially if there is no plan in place to make them a reality.

But I do plan out my goals for the year and my competition schedule for the whole year in advance. It can be difficult to choose which competitions to go to, and if you’re a working person, like me, with a family, like me, it is very important to be able to plan for competitions in advance. It helps with keeping track of time off work and arranging for child care.

It also helps with making sure your competition schedule fits with your archery goals. I think the goals are more important than the competitions, so I lay out my goals for each year first. My coach and I have a five year goal that I set last year, and that is to make the 2020 US Archery Olympic team.

This year I used a Passion Planner to map out my ultimate goal, making the US Olympic Team, and this year’s goals to help me reach that ultimate goal. Competition experience is part of reaching my ultimate goal, but I wanted to leave plenty of time for lessons and practice and changes between big National competitions. So I settled on doing three National competitions, Indoor Nationals, Outdoor Nationals, and the Texas Shootout. That gives me two relatively close to home and one competition that requires much more travel, which will help me get used to travelling longer distances and competing in varied environments.

I can’t say enough good things about the Passion Planner. It isn’t your normal weekly planner. Throughout the year it redirects you to your long term goal and asks “what are you doing this week to get closer to that goal?” Having a tool that keeps me focused and ties together my weekly plan, monthly goals, yearly goals, and ultimate goal is extremely helpful!

So! Last week I mapped out my national competition plans. Then I started planning state competitions. I know that I want to compete in the Texas State Indoor competition, and the Lone Star Cup and State Outdoor Championship. Dates aren’t available for all of those yet, so I just pencil them in on the months I think they will happen.

Then I plan local competitions around the three national and three state competitions, making sure that I’m using them as stepping stones or a gauge for my primary focus, the national competitions.

So that’s how I plan my archery year!

Start Fresh

I was mildly chastised recently for not continuing my blogging about archery. And I decided that with a new year and 3 National competitions in my future for 2016 that I would go back to blogging about my archery journey.

So why did I stop?

Summer 2015 was rough. I was promoted in August, and for a full month did both my old job and my new job while management tried to find my replacement for my old seat. That was enormously stressful. Enormously.

Add on top of that the feeling for a while that I was utterly failing at archery and there was no way I was going to write about the tough stuff I was going through. Or the fact that I almost laid my bow down and walked away from it all. My coach and I made a form change that really didn’t work for me, but instead of accepting that it didn’t work I kept trying to force it to work. For months. I should have spoken up and I didn’t, because I didn’t have enough confidence in myself as an archer and an athlete. Add that to the stuff at work and I wound up in tears at the range one day.

I went to the Texas ShootOut and Olympic Team Trials in College Station at the first of September anyway. Surprise! I did not come in last. And it was quite a roller coaster ride of weather events. Then I took some time off. A couple of weeks. And then I went back to shooting but just on the weekends.

It took that stepping away, recalibrating, and then slowly easing back in to see that I want this more now than I ever did before. And that all the time is worth it. That my desire to become competitive has increased instead of decreased.

I’ll admit that 2016 is scary. My coach is about to have her baby. I’m afraid that I’ll probably lose her support for most of the year. So I’ll be left with coaching myself. I don’t feel qualified to coach myself. But I know I can do it. I may just have to reach out to new people for answers to questions.

Today I completed my registration for Indoor Nationals 2016 at Texas A&M in March. I’m also registered for the 2nd annual Texas Cup in Plano in January, and the Texas Winter Games in McKinney, also in January. Texas State Indoor tournament will be in February. I feel like all three of these will give me good feedback for preparing for Indoor Nationals.

This week I’ll be calibrating my clicker, and we came up with an ingenious way of getting a really good clicker set up with minimal guessing using video feedback. I’m looking forward to sharing that video with you all tomorrow! So if you’re on your own and have no one to watch you shoot for an hour or two to figure out where your clicker needs to sit, I have a solution for you!

Let It All Hang Out

I’ve been convincing myself that I’m too busy to blog. But that’s not the reality of it. The reality is this.

My brain believes that I need to post about the tournaments I’ve gone to.

I don’t like the scores I got at those tournaments, so I don’t want to post about them.

Hence I find other things to do besides blog.

But today I’m just going to let it all hang out there. Yes I’m afraid people will tell me I’m not a good archer and that I should just give up. But since I’ve already decided not to do that, those sentiments can just roll off into the muck. So here goes.

My first outdoor FITA tournament ever was in March in Austin Texas at the Central Texas Shootoff Uno!  I traveled down with my coach and her husband and one of our team mates. We had a blast! Not only that, but the weather was beautiful, the field was gorgeous, and I learned a lot about how outdoor tournaments work.

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The Field at Central Texas Shootoff Uno!

At this point I’d been shooting 70m for about 3 weeks. In previous posts there are some shots of what my practices leading up to this tournament were like.

I shoot with 28lb limbs. At this tournament they were even turned down a little. And yes, I still shoot feathers and uncut arrows. And my draw length is not 28 inches.

My best score at this tournament was…

24.

Yup. 24.

I was just proud of myself for making it through a 72 arrow outdoor tournament! With good form (most of the time)

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I even hit the target occasionally!

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Elimimation Rounds. Coach Shoots With the Guys

We came home. Turned my bow up. Added weight and vibration dampener to the end of my bow. And instituted new form changes every week between this tournament and the Texas State Archery Association Lonestar Cup in April. Lots of changes. Not as much time for practice. Thank you, work.

Then it was April. And time for the Lonestar Cup. And this time I was all on my own. Coach was teaching a certification course. Teammate was being held prisoner by work. So I packed up the car as weathermen were predicting dire storms for Dallas and drove down to Bryan, Texas. 

I stopped first at the tournament field to get in a little unofficial practice. And I’m glad I did. Conditions were pretty different. For one thing, we were shooting in a cow pasture instead of on an athletic field. Do you know what cow pasture + lots of rain equals?

Mud.

They had warned us. And instead of bringing my Converse I brought my trusty water repellant Columbia hiking boots. But I wasn’t expecting this much mud. Or the ankle deep standing water.

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Archers Will Shoot in Just About Anything

Practice went well though. I’m still aiming off, very high. For this field I was using power lines in the background as my aim point.

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But I Managed This!

And when I accomplished this blank bale feat I promptly wrapped up practice for the day!

Plus it was late and I needed to find my hotel. And food. I have no pictures of either because the food was McDonalds and the hotel is one I hope to never, ever, have to think about again. Ever.

I have no shots from day one. I was too busy shooting. But I got to shoot with some great people, like Stacey from my home range of TXAA, and Alex and his crew from the Competitive Archery Program in Austin.  The weather continued to threaten on both days of the tournament. Day 1 had a delayed start due to rain and lightening. Day 2 had threatening clouds and some pretty great wind gusts. But we persevered!

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Lonestar Cup

Did I mention I was the only Senior Female Recurve there? Just me and the guys slinging arrows across the field and squelching our way through retrieves.

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High Fashion. Shorts and Wellies or Cowboy Boots

Those brave enough to wear shorts were beset by bugs and high grass. I wore long yoga pants and was only beset by water leaching its way up to my knees.

Being the only girl in the adult recurve class did have some advantages though.

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Let’s call it a medal for most improved. Or most intrepid. Or both. Because my score this time was…

123

That is a 99 point improvement. Which means progress!

I’ll take it!

I came home begging for lessons so I could improve more. And begging to switch from feathers to vanes. And a whole lot of other stuff. Which means changes are in the air between now and the Central Texas Shootoff in June!

How to Fail at a Tournament.

Forget your quiver, which has your finger sling and tab in it. Decide to borrow a tab from the range, which doesn’t fit and has a horrible feeling spacer in it. Decide to shoot without the finger sling, so that you now have 2 fingers on the riser at all times.

Put on shiny new stabilizer. Shoot first three rounds with weight and vibration dampener on the end. Realize the weight is dragging your arm down. Taken off weight and dampener.

Realize that you’ve only had a few hours to practice with your new anchor point, because the weather screwed you over and you couldn’t get to the range all week.

Proceed to shoot way right the whole time.

Score 145/300.

But. Be proud, because after those first three rounds you started focusing less on the target and more on your form.

Go home. Immediately rearrange gear bag to contain quiver, which was hanging neatly on its hanger the whole time.

Never. Ever. Leave home without quiver again.

SYWAT, TAIL, and trials

Let’s get bad things out of the way first. I scored poorly at my first SYWAT tournament. And by poorly I mean extremely poor.

As in my average was 3 of 5 arrows actually falling on a score able part of the target. Most of those were in the 1 or 2 ring. It was an NFAA tournament, so the highest score for bullseye was a 5. I did not get any 5’s

It was a busy tournament, which I’m only mildly accustomed to. So going to tournaments right now is way more about desensitization than it is about scoring well.

And while I’m OK with a crowded line. I have discovered I am not so OK shooting surrounded by compound archers. Its not the compound that bugs me. Its the scores. You can only walk down the line so many times to count everybody else’s X’s while being grateful that you managed to just not hit somebody else’s target before that starts to mess with your head.

I am accurate solely because of my form. The exact same amount of tension through the back. The exact same anchor. The exact same way of holding the bow and drawing the string. Compound archers are insanely accurate without the same amount of concentration on form. But during a tournament on the same line, all I start to think is that I am a bad archer and they are some kind of X killing gods.

I want to be an X killing god.

I refuse to use a compound bow now, maybe ever.

So I bombed my first SYWAT. But I also did some good things. I remembered, after the first four ends, that I had stopped opening up using my back muscles and was relying solely on arms. I fixed that! I discovered halfway through part of the reason that my shoulder keeps lifting. And I fixed that! I discovered that I do have the stamina to shoot sixty arrows in a day and go on to shoot OK the next day!

All that fixing of form was too much to score well. Especially when it takes two ends just to fully realize that I really didn’t need to aim as high as I had been because now the proper muscles were involved and each shot had more power behind it.

So I took those lessons to the TAIL tournament. And scored 40 points lower than my personal best. Oof. That was my self esteem dealing with its second sucker punch.

But I learned things! My coach was there, and told me during practice that my right shoulder was the lowest she had seen it. That in itself is a reason to celebrate! What else did I learn? I learned that sometimes a tournament is the best place to figure out what is going wrong. But also the worst place to fix it.