Tuesday, 12 November 2013

So, what's been happening?

Well, it has been a long while since I last posted on my blog. This year has been a quieter year for me, intentionally so, as I changed jobs and did not know where that would lead me. As it turns out, I can pursue my archery just as much and with more flexibility around shooting time, so that's good.

This year has been actually pretty good. I have shot more PB's than ever before, even though I have not shot as much (through work and some by choice), and I really feel I am better than previous years not just in technique but understanding of bow setup.

So the highlights this year are:

  • Re-qualified my EFAA SFM classification.
  • Won the EFAA Spring Champs.
  • Shot an EFAA national record for the Forester round.
  • Shot numerous PB's for the Field, Hunter and 3D rounds in EFAA competitions.
  • Came second at the SCAS Field Champs (with a FITA Field PB and my first MB score).
  • Won the Surrey Field Champs and retained my title from last year.
  • Gone back to a Mathews C3 as I think this is more comfortable to shoot, even though the PSE Supra was superb over the last two years.
What will I do for next year? I am going to focus more one FITA Field and get that cracked as best I can. I would like to get at least my MB next year and start to push for GMB, but its really down to what happens on the day and the course, but its a goal to aim for. but I will continue to shoot IFAA as well, time permitting of course!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Whitemark Bowmen 3D Memorial Shoot, a National Record and the EFAA Spring Champs

It has been a busy few weeks shooting wise. First, the Whitemark Bowmen 3D Memorial Shoot was cancelled and put back to the end of April. I had hoped having shot a PB on the Hunter round I would take some good form into this shoot. However I got sloppy on some targets; not coming down when I should do and gave away some cheap points. It was enough for second place though, with a score of 534 for the Precision round, but I take no satisfaction from that. I also had a few problems with the fibre pin on my new scope to sort out.

However, on the bright side I shot an EFAA National Record at Panther Bowhunters for the New Marked Forester round, upping it from 930 to 995. My form was much better and more like what I know I can shoot like. I received my certificate at the EFAA Spring Championships.

And finally, this weekend was the EFAA Spring Championships, comprising of a Hunter round on the Saturday and the New Marked Forester on the Sunday. Day one was a bit of a disaster, shooting under 530 for the first time ever with a 529. I could not get any form going and shot a succession of 19/20 throughout the day. It was enough for 3rd, and a place in the top group on the Sunday.

On the Sunday I headed for the practice range and did some blank boss shooting, with the hope I could figure out the problem. I worked out it was my rear elbow alignment, and as a result I shot a brilliant first 2/3 of the round. I hit a bit of a stumbling block where my arrows started hitting above the spot on the last few targets, and I fell short of beating my own record with a final score of 985. But, it was enough to win the FU class by a mere two points across the two days.

This was a pleasing result, simply because I worked the problem and dramatically turned it around to come away with the win, even with the pressure of shooting effectively head to head in the top group with the second placed archer, who on day one was way out in front. Not only did the blank boss shooting give me the insight into what the problem was, but also a comment from an archer I shot with on the first day. He was talking about his days as an international archer, and he said you have to want it so badly that you could walk up to the target and smash your fist through it. That stuck on my mind for the rest of the weekend.

Next up, the EFAA Bowhunter Champsionships, an un-marked 3D round over two days. This is going to need some serious practice!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

EFAA Hunter round PB

I shot a Hunter classification round at Panther and put in a very nice PB of 544. It's my aim this year to be clearing 540+, and having narrowly missed out on my last classification shoot, it was nice to do it on my second of the year. That means I have also re-qualified for my SFM classification.

I started the round with a lowly 17/20, and other than the last few targets when the rain came down hard, the round was probably the best I have shot for a long time. I did finish the last target, a 70 yard walk-up, with a really nice tight group for a 20/20. I will need to learn not to cramp up when things get wet!

This form was attributed to my release aid grip more than anything else. Keeping a constant pressure across the whole hand mean't that my aim was not bobbing up and down so much. Often, the grip pressure is uneven and can cause, I think, the release aid to pivot, which transmits to the d-loop and ultimately the bow.

What has also helped is that the last few weeks indoors, I have been shooting on a blank boss to get the feel of the shot. The results are starting to now show so I will continue with doing this.

This weekend is my first 3D competition of the year at Whitemark Bowmen. If I shoot as well again, I should be in the running.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

EFAA Field round PB

Today I shot an EFAA Field round at Whitemark Bowmen (classification shoot), hoping to get near the 540 mark. Rather than trying to get the minimum SFM scores (530+), my aim is to start hitting 540 and higher this year.

I nearly did it. In the end I shot 534, with the last arrow on the last target of the day missing the face due to a cracked nock that exploded on release. It was a decent shot on a shortish target so it was a theoretical 539, just short of 540.

I am not disappointed though. Despite dropping some silly points, I shot well overall. I have been working on my thumb position on the trigger, having been shooting with the tip of the thumb on the trigger recently. This has not been working, and so have gone back to wrapping my thumb around it and being positive with pulling through the shot.

What has also helped is putting a little more weight on the back rod, which has resulted in the aim becoming steadier, hence me being more relaxed, therefore resulting in better execution. A more balanced bow can result in shots being squirted upwards if the hand pressure is not right, but I think I gain more than I lose. No such problems today.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Whats next for 2013?

I have been considering what I want to do for 2013. I maybe changing jobs soon, and it may have an impact on my shooting time. At very least, I may not have regular shooting slots any more. So, I need to have a way of just being able to shoot with no frills.

Last season, I shot a lot of FITA Field, including un-marked, and is an area I need to improve to be good at it. However, I just need to spend my time shooting, so unmarked will take a step back this year. I will focus on EFAA shoots, as I enjoy the precision nature of the Field and Hunter rounds, and marked 3D. This way, I just turn up and shoot good shots.

I have also decided to make a "guest" appearance at the Surrey Target Champs this year as a one off. By the time the shoot comes around in July, I wont have shot a FITA in two years. I wont practice hard for it, I will just get some sight marks and maybe shoot a few ends at 90m in the weeks leading up to it. Then we will see what happens...

I did have a go at 90m today though on a 80cm FITA Field face. After getting a sight mark, which involved pulling the sight all the way in a messing around with the windage, I shot a rather nice group!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

TAC 3D Pro Shoot

Last weekend I attended an unmarked 3D shoot put on by The Archery Company. This was my first unmarked 3D shoot, and what a baptism of fire!

Several misses, shooting the wrong targets and smashed arrows meant I ended up in a lowly 21st position (don't know the total number of compounder's, but its not much more then 21!). I knew this would be hard but not that hard.

However, I enjoyed the day and was pleased with my execution. As somebody said on the day, shooting 3D is much like shooting blank boss; no spot to aim at so the focus is on good execution.

But, its something I would like to do more of, as it will really hone my unmarked skills.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

2012 Surrey Field Champs...and a nice surprise!

I had man flu, the weather was icy cold and windy at times, but I shot well and won the Surrey Field Champs (National Animal Round), with a respectable score of 615/640.

The points I dropped were on the simplest of targets, three wounds on one easy target alone. Strange, but overall very pleased. The Supra and my 305gn Carbon Ones did the business.

I found that estimating distance is easier if I try and find a halfway point and then ground walk up to the halfway point, double it and add a few metres for luck! The bow is pushing the arrows out at 293fps so there is plenty of speed to handle any small errors.

I also had a nice surprise in the form of a certificate from the EFAA saying that I had equalled the national record for the EFAA Marked Big Game round as the EFAA 3D Champs (max score of 560/560).

P.S. I shot a 30m Frostbite round a few weeks ago, my first "target" round for well over a year. Put in a 356, quite pleased with that considering!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sussex Champs and EFAA 3D National Champs

I shot an unmarked FITA Field PB by one point at the Sussex Champs (374). Was fairly pleased with my days shooting, I had a strong second half. However, again, I got the face size wrong (60/80cm) and also set the wrong sight mark on one target. I need to be more professional if I am going to succeed at FITA field.

Next up was the EFAA National 3D Champs. I saw this as a bit of fun, which helped, because I came top of the AMUL category. I am a national champion for the first time ever! The first day score was pretty decent, with a 532 for the 3D Precision round. The next day, I maxed out the Big Game round (as did the whole top group). The Supra and the Protours shot amazingly well over the two days.

I must admit I am getting excited about 3D archery. This was all marked, but it was still a real challenge, especially when it came to aiming and working out where the scoring zones are. It's something I intend to do more of. The ultimate will be unmarked 3D, but one step at a time...

Here are some pictures of me shooting and collecting my medal. Thanks to Gary, Tony and Martin for being great group companions over the two days (and well done to Tony and Martin on their placings as well). Photos by Matthew Murdoch.

Monday, 10 September 2012

EFAA National Champs...and a decent result

I attended my first EFAA Competition on the weekend of the 8th/9th of September at March Hare Archers in Worcester.

The first day I shot a good PB on the Hunter round of 536, which put me in third place and seeded me in the top group for the second day.

The second day (Field round) started well; my first half of 269 was strong, but I faded a little in the second half and had some odd targets with windage issues, and overall ground out an OK score of 530.

Overall this was good enough for 3rd place, and not too far off the 2nd and 1st placed archers (who have some pedigree), so I came away pleased, but a load of things to work on and improve if I am to bridge the gap to the next level.

In a few weeks I have a FITA Field shoot at Crawley, and EFAA 3D round and a GNAS Foresters. Ideal prep for the Surrey Field Champs in November.

Then I need to sit down and work out a plan of action for next year. As EFAC is no longer an option, the Welsh Field Masters Tour (WFAA) is probably my main focus for next year, along with the various EFAA national championship shoots.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

EFAC is off!

Been totting up the cost of going to the EFAC comp in Hungary next year. Its was getting expensive with the need to buy decent cases for the bow and equipment to fly it over.

Alas, I have had to knock it on the head. Shame because I would have love to have shot it.

So, my plans for next year have changed. I want to pursue IFAA shooting but on harder courses. So I will take a look at the Welsh Field Master tour, which is held over 5 one days shoots through the year, to see if that offers the level of challenge I am looking for. Then of course, there are the  FITA Field comps that also offer plenty of slopes.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

EFAC 2013

Well I have taken the plunge and registered for the EFAC IFAA Champs held in Hungary next year. It's a five day event comprising of 2 x Field rounds, 2 x Hunter round and 1 Forester round.

This is a chance to shoot alongside the very best IFAA shooters in Europe, on what looks like a challenging course in a mountainous region on the northern Hungarian/Austrian border.

Oh, and it happens to be the Q-School for the 2014 Pro Series! My chances are going to be very slim at best, but I will give it my best shot (pun intended!). With all this in mind, I need to use my time intelligently and come up with a plan for the next 10 months that gives me the best chance of doing well.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Progress so far...and what of the future?

Well its been a while since my last post. As I have said before, I have cut down my blogging and general archery related forum activity to focus on actually shooting.

Since my first forays into field, I have done a few more FITA field comps and have joined the EFAA.

Firstly, the FITA field comps have been mixed. The SCAS individual champs started OK on the first day, but a miss (shot the wrong bunny!) meant I missed out on a PB. Then on the second day I made the fatal mistake of switching to the hinge release. Less said about that score the better!

Last week I attended the SCAS Regional Field Champs at Fort Purbrook. A fantasic venue; shooting of the fort, in the tunnels and corridoors. Conditions were tough; windy outside and dark and gloomy inside. But this is what field is all about for me. The scores were not great, but I did enough to help Surrey win the SCAS compound team champs (along with Dave Morris of Nonsuch Bowmen).

Some lessons have come out of this. Some euqipment releated (specifically drawlength on my new bow), but also my field craft on the unmarked is still under par, but that will come with time and experience.

Finally, I joined the EFAA this year and have attended three shoots, two of those classification shoots. Being an avid watcher and follower of the Pro Archery Series, I wanted to shoot the same rounds and get a small taste of it. In my first two classification shoots I have gained the higest classification possible, Supreme Field Master. I have also done my first 3D shoot, which was fantastic fun.

The discovery of the different field disciplines has reinforced my desire to pursue field archery long term. I have booked into the EFAA National Champs and EFAA 3D Champs, and I will look forward to those. After that is the Surrey Field Champs, which I will be working hard to do well in this year.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

First FITA Field shoots...a good start

Since my last post I have shot my first FITA Field shoots, at Pentref and Overton (British Field Champs). Both were difficult courses, with very tough but contrasting weather. Pentref was very wet and windy, whilst Overton was very windy but stinking hot.

Whilst with field its about shooting the course, not the score like target, I am pleased that I have not disgraced myself. The unmarked at Pentref was 373 (day 2 was cut short due to weather, then even more so due to equipment failure), and at Overton, I shot 353 (unmarked - VERY windy on the top ridge) and 373 again for the marked (VERY hot). The two 373's are just a shade under MB; for two hard courses that's a good start.

Both shoots, especially at Overton, I made classic field craft errors which cost me a lot of points, which will get ironed out as I gain experience. The marked score at the British Champs was especially pleasing, as taking into account just the second day scores I would have been in third place, ahead of one or two established international field archers. Despite the blistering heat and challenging slopes I shot some really strong stuff. Overall I finished 8th out of 30 gents compounder's.

Next up are the Northampton Field Champs, a seemingly flat course so a chance to improve on my current scores, but nothing is easy!

Will I go back to target? Not at this rate...enjoying this FAR too much!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Friars Gate Archers 2012 Spring Field Shoot

Shot a PB of 915 for this round, and came in in first place. Shot well and handled the distance estimate well other than a couple of targets that fooled me, but that's down to experience and will be sorted.

I really enjoyed the shoot, and am looking forward to field this year. I am joining Crawley Archery Club to make use of their FITA field course to prep for the up and coming field comps I have booked.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

All change please...all change!

In the last few weeks I have decided to move forward my field archery adventure to this year. It all came about a few weeks ago when I was practising target but all I could think about was field, and looking forward to next year. To me it did not make sense to spend a year shooting target but not being 100% committed to it.

So, all my target shoots have been cancelled and I am now looking at which field shoots I can attend this year. Some serious distance estimate practice is now needed.

And to top it all, a new bow is on the way. A PSE Supra ME, black riser and camo limbs. Mmmm!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

One month until it all starts again!

So, I have exactly one month until the outdoor season starts again. I am at the Meriden Pre-Season FITA Star on the 1st of April. Hopefully I will be no April fool!

I have set aside the next month to get into the groove of shooting timed FITA distances. I wanted to do this a little sooner but I have been attending some Winter Field League shoots so target has taken a bit of a back seat.

Whilst on the subject of field archery, as things stand at the moment I am intending to have a break from target archery next season and focus fully on field archery. The time has come to take a break from the yearly grind and do something different. I will still practice 90m weekly where possible to stay in tune with the big distances, but I do believe if I am to achieve my dream of GMB (if I don't do it this year), then I need to do something different and freshen myself up.

But this year is all about going for GMB, so I have booked up plenty of comps to give my self a decent chance. If I don't do it, I am not going to sweat it. I am proud of my achievements over the past two years and I am sure I will have a good season again this year.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Bow tuning update

I have been reading and watching some articles about nocking point height, d-loop length, peep height etc, by Alistair Whittingham and John Dudley.

One of the things I suffer from is holding low on the target, and the sight bobbing up and down, which invariable causes me to fight it, and hence introduces tension into the shot. Up until now, I have put this down to me alone. I have even thought it could be a mild form of target panic.

So I read and acted upon a couple of things. First, I am happy that my draw length is OK, so that has remained untouched. But I have played with the peep sight height, nocking point height and d-loop length.

The peep sight height was easy. I moved it down just a mm or so to get a more comfortable view of the scope, especially at the longer distances. In fact all distances feel a little more comfortable.

Next was the d-loop length. This has been shortened by maybe 2 to 3mm. The suggestion was, making the d-loop shorter (if your DL looks OK), would help lock in the drawing arm at anchor. My d-loop was a little long and it caused the arm to floating around a bit, and most likely causing small movements that meant the bow bobbed up and down.

The final and probably most compelling change is the nocking point height, or position, on the string. This is in effect good old fashioned tiller tuning, but instead of leaving an uneven tiller (I shoot a single cam bow, so the tiller is uneven anyway, so in this case, it would mean the limb bolts simply being unwound a different number of turns), the position of the nock point is moved up and down until the aim steadies. As it turns out, my nocking point was about 3mm too high, and after some experimentation, the aim has locked into place. This has also meant the pressure on the bow hand has changed, moving it lower towards the wrist joint, so the pressure of the bow is directly over the bone. Before, it was a little high in the grip. All of these changes together have had a remarkable affect.

For the first time in a long time my aim (when the form is correct) is much steadier, where as before I seemed to always be fighting it. I have only moved things by a couple of mm, but it has been worth the effort.

The video/article in question can be found @ Performance-Archery.tv | Episode 24 | Dot Holding Low and Tiller tuning and holding steady

Monday, 2 January 2012

Yet another year gone and another to look forward to...

So 2011 is over. It has been my best year yet outdoors, making MB for the second time and edging closer to GMB. However I am mindful that my biggest failing is not my technique or equipment, but falling short in the mental application department. Don't get me wrong, I have had a very good year, but I want more, and want to be better, and this is the area I have to now improve.

This year I embark on another trail of competitions, trying to get to GMB. This year I have to do things differently, change something, otherwise it becomes yet another year of going through the motions.

What's been going on lately? Well I have been shooting outdoors almost every week, shooting the big distances, and getting stuck into some Field by shooting in the Winter Field Archery League. This has been a welcome distraction, but at the same time it has been very useful. I have now started shooting timed rounds at the club in preparation for competitions that will start in April. It gets too easy banging in the big scores at the club with no pressure.

Indoors has once again been difficult. I do shoot every week indoors, but I have struggled to muster any enthusiasm for indoor rounds. I have a dedicated indoor bow, that I am still to get set-up properly. I tend to just practice form and technique @ 18m instead. Not a bad thing, but I wish I could be better indoors and learn to like it. That gap has been filled with the Field shoots however, so that is likely to be the direction I take in future years in the winter.

In the last three months or so I have been working on my physical strength, and have been doing weights most days. This has helped with aiming and will no doubt be worth points in the coming season. I will see if I can fit in some running as well to improve my general fitness for the outdoor season.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Trigger thumb position

Been thinking and working on my thumb position on the trigger for a while now. I purchased my new release aid a few months back and have been able to get a much more positive position, but its still not perfect.

The problem has been that I have come to full draw, anchored and settled into the aim, and then move my thumb onto the trigger. This has then caused my aim to become unsettled because I have had to move to get into position. Also I have not been able to really get the right part of the thumb on the trigger, and generally its too far forward towards the pad of the thumb. This has left no potential movement left in the hand to activate the trigger. Having it further back allows the back of the hand to relaxed and act against the trigger.

This has resulted in me changing my shot sequence to position my thumb after I have drawn the bow but before I have anchored and settled on the aim. This has allowed me to get the right position. I have been practising today, and once I had got into the rhythm of doing this every time I was able to shoot some really good shots back to back.

It will take a while to build this into my sequence sub-consciously (got 4 years of shooting to change!), but I am looking forward to this improving my shooting that little bit more.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

2011 Surrey Field Champs

I attended my first ever National Animal round shoot at the Surrey Field Champs; no practice, no estimating system; and shot a respectable 575 out of 640.

It was the three misses in the morning session that stopped it being a far better score. I was fooled totally by the long range targets, all about 45m plus, and I was 5m out on all of them. The morning session finished on 280. The afternoon session was much better, no misses and I ended on 295 out of 320. If I had converted the misses to tens, I could have had 605 and joint 3rd.

The rest of the round was well shot. But, that is something I can sort out with practice and by developing a ranging system, rather than just ground walking by eye and guesswork. What I am really pleased with was my shot execution. It was a top notch performance in that respect, even with difficult slopes (well, the most difficult I have ever shot!), and my pre-shot sequence was good; ensuring the bubble was level, alignment, trigger placement and pressure etc.

I feel that with field I am far more relaxed than when shooting at a target competition, and as a result shoot my natural shot. With field, there are so many other variables to consider that shooing the shot is just one part of that. Target is much more focused on score and outcome.

So, having done this, I am more convinced than ever that field is something I want to not only do more of, but excel at as well. But I need to make a decision as to whether I still give target shooting priority as I chase GMB. I have been told that field will improve my target shooting and so could compliment it well, but I need to ensure I practice the 90m/70m targets every week to keep that skill level up. GMB is my ultimate goal in target, and having spent the last three years slogging away and getting ever closer, I cant afford to throw that work away now.

When I get to GMB, I will then switch completely to field and see how far I can get with it. But I do think that field archery will make me in the long run more relaxed generally, and this will transfer to target shooting. I know when I am on form I can put in GMB level scores no problem (I do it in practice, so that proves it to me!).

Monday, 24 October 2011

Some field action!

Haven't posted for a while, deliberately as I try an focus more on shooting than writing. As its Winter, time for shooting is a little sparse, and I am only getting about 150 to 200 arrows per week. I am not that worried too much yet, as I am continuing the weights and this is keeping me strong. I have decided to take part in the Winter Field Archery League (WFAL). I have always fancied doing some field shoots, and having done two Foresters rounds, I have got the bug and want to have a crack at FITA Field. Why? Well to keep things interesting rather than spend all Winter shooting at 18m indoors or 90m outside. My priority is still target, so I will not sacrifice the long distances too much, but I believe in doing something different to keep the motivation levels up, and to continue with a level of competition other than just indoor comps. I shot my first FITA Field on Sunday, shooting two 12 target marked rounds (WFAL rules). I put in two solid scores of 181 and 189, not too bad for my first go. I was pleased with my form on the second circuit, and some great shots. I must however ensure I have a coherent plan for the Winter, so I don't drift around and not make progress. I have rested a little over the path two months, but its now time to start ramping things up a little.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Release aid update and weight training

Release aid really going well. My shots have been very strong now that I can get the thumb trigger in the same place each time. Also, I have been doing weights for the last four weeks, only dropping two nights as I had shot a lot on those days. Upper body looking and feeling really strong and powerful. This has translated into rock solid aiming and has built my confidence up. I have a week off due to holiday, but will be thinking about what I want to do over the winter (indoor and/or field). My indoor arrows and bow are coming together nicely now and an keen to get shooting with it very soon.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Friars Gate Archers Summer Field Shoot

Took part in only my second field shoot ever, which was a Foresters round. I had shot the FGA Spring shoot earlier in the year, and had shot a half reasonable score back then for my first ever field shoot. I went into this just wanting to relax and enjoy myself, and I did, adding 90 points to my previous score, to bag 900 for a 28 target round. This landed me a close second place behind a top score of 940. This was the first round I had shot with my new release aid, a Stan SX2. I had swapped this for the Carter JbC, simply because the Stan allows me to get the thumb position I want. I can naturally place the bone of the thumb on the trigger, without having to hunt for the position like on the JbC. I often ended up putting the fleshly part of the thumb on the trigger and this lead to lots of inconsistencies. It worked! Once I had got into the groove I was really drilling the shots home, and with some good distance estimation not missing much in the middle. Looking back I didn't really think much whilst shooting, just got on with it and my technique took over and got the job done. The indoor season is now starting, and I am close to completing my indoor set-up, which is my old C3. Looking forward to it.

Monday, 5 September 2011

End of season and a new beginning

It's been a while since I last posted, and that has been deliberate. I have cut short my last outdoor comps and have tried to cut away all the archery "fluff" around the edges to firstly give myself a bit if a break and to try and focus on the core aspects of this sport that matters. At the end of the day its a hobby, not life and death.

My last comps were the Andover FITA Star and the Kent County Champs. I put in two solid MB scores of 1332 and 1339, but left the KCC halfway through the round as my mind was not in the right place. I have worked hard this season and needed some down time.

Looking back I have had a really good season, my best ever. Eight MB scores on the trot, some in difficult conditions (weather has been rubbish this year). The highlight for me is my 1350 FITA at the UK Masters, which was a competition PB and I finally got my 1350 Star. Just the 1400 Star to go...

I am now looking forward to the winter season with confidence and enthusiasm. My C3 is being converted to a dedicated indoor bow with 50lbs limbs so I can focus on technique. I am also doing the FGA field shoot and hope to do some more field over the winter to keep things interesting and fresh, ready for next year.

Monday, 25 July 2011

First real low and some lessons learnt

I shot another practice FITA this weekend in preparation for next weekend's FITA Star. It was a little windy and I knew shooting the hinge would cause some mis-aimed shots.

However, I allowed the breeze to affect the shot too much; becoming tense whilst I fought the dot into the middle which made things worse and I really did not shoot as well as I could, and should.

In the end I put in 1330 (313/339/329/349). The 70m distance was pretty good, as was 90m considering, but 50m and especially 30m was not well shot. I forgot the basic principles of shooting.

In fact I was so unhappy with 30m I shot a dozen @ 30m again, this time really applying myself, and put in 120. It proves that regardless of the weather, being relaxed but strong in the shot will return a good score.

However in hindsight this was a good lesson. It proves that even when I really do not shoot my best, and the weather is not great, I can still shoot a solid MB level score. However I am lacking a bit of confidence and need a good solid FITA Star to settle any doubts that I can shoot good scores with the hinge under competition pressures. Lets hope for good weather this weekend.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Shooting the hinge; more practice PB's and my first competition

Have shot a new practice PB of 686 for a 70m 720. Some really great shots, some mistakes still but it felt really good. Also coupled with a slight tweak to my stabilisation to move the COG forward a little.

I shot the hinge on the first day of the Surrey FITA weekend, on the 70m 720. Conditions were far from ideal, and got blow off for a 4 and 6 on two ends. However, it showed real promise in hard conditions, and without those gusts I would have been close the to leaders.

Unfortunately the first day was abandoned due to the weather, and was unable to make the FITA due to family issues. I now look forward to the Andover FITA Star, hopefully the weather will be calm and I can really test my progress at competition level.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Practice FITA

Shot a 1359 (324/337/343/355) FITA in practice today. Was nervous, stupid really in practice, but I guess its the anticipation of shooting so well with the hinge recently I am getting ahead of myself. I didn't shoot that well, far too much tension but when I did force myself to relax the shots were great.

50m was brilliant, putting in a practice PB of 343; shot when relaxed and letting the dot float around the gold. This distance has really improved for me over the last 6 months, and has been really strong.

The Surrey Champs are this weekend. I have two days before hand to practice and get together my form. I know if I shoot my best, and am not nervous I can put in a big score. Even today, with nerves and not so good form I can still shoot a good score, so I have nothing to be nervous about! All I need to think about is the 1350 I shot at the UK Masters and draw on that confidence.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Another PB...

Shot a 680 FITA 720 @ 70m. A PB by one point. Again shot the hinge. Some iffy ends and about seven 8's shot in total, but they were made up by some blistering ends of 60, 59's, 58's.

I know the poorer ends are just getting to grips with shooting the hinge properly, but already I am putting in better groups and scores after just a few hours using it. I know I will get better with it and am excited about using it. I just need to relax and keep pulling and it will dump them in the X.

My aim is a little steadier than when using the trigger release. I may also set the hinge a little faster as well. But overall, progress is good.

Finished the night with two 10 arrow ends @ 70m. Put 16 in the 10, 4 in the 9.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Practice update...

Shot a 662 Long Metric during the week, which is a new county record. Shot OK but struggling a little with the trigger release, so after the round I got the hinge release out and shot three ends of 11 arrows @ 70m. I put in 32 golds out of 33 arrows. I don't get the hinge out that often but this really felt good.

So tonight I shot a Short Metric with it and scored 694, a practice PB by one point (and would have been a county record, but no witnesses...). Dropped some silly shots but overall most of the shots were fantastic, really committed and explosive.

After the Short Metric, I shot an 11 arrow end at 90m, and again the shots were really nice, a couple of reds but put in X X X X X 10 10 10 9 8 8.

This leaves me with a dilemma. I have the Surrey County Champs in a few weeks, and if I can shoot this well with the hinge, do I ditch the trigger release? I will practice more with it in weeks leading up to it and see how I get on, but its looking pretty good.

Monday, 27 June 2011

2011 Allington Castle "Sir Thomas Wyatt" Double York

This was a tough shoot, windy on the first day and blisteringly hot on the second day. I shot 1224 and 1222 with a total for the double of 2446 (which increased my county record by 42 points). Two more solid MB scores.

I was very confident going into this shoot of winning both days, which I did but was pushed hard all the way. However what won the event was consistent shooting. Much of it was not pretty due to the conditions, but my game has developed a much tougher mental attitude now. Even when I am nervous (which I always am, something to work on still), or the conditions are not good, I am making myself hard to beat. On the day I made less mistakes than the following pack. Over the 288 arrows, I only had 3 outside the red (one at 100yards, and two at 80 yards - one being totally down to me).

I now have three weeks until the Surrey County Champs. My goal is to win those champs, so I can put the York rounds aside now and focus on the FITA distances, hope for good weather on the day and push onto GMB.

But, I must get over the nerves. I have no need to be. Nerve free I can shoot huge scores (i.e. at the club), but this is still holding me back in competition. I have shot 6 comfortable MB scores this year under pressure so I can do it. But it will happen, I am sure.

I am now halfway through the outdoor season and delighted with my progress. I am much better than last year, far more consistent and shooting high level MB scores. Last year was more high and lows. Even if GMB does not happen this year, I am patient and will strive hard until I do.