November Update, 2017

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Another few weeks have passed and I’ve been working away at my new fitness program and trying to make some minor form changes a natural part of my shot process. Having to think about the new changes and make sure that I’m doing them is a bit of a distraction, but the more I train, the more automatic they become.

It took a while, but now that I’ve adjusted to shooting 18m again, I’m starting to see some substantial performance improvements from last year’s indoor season. Last year, my personal best (and only score over 530) was a 532 and while I have only shot the one 530+ at a tournament this year, my league and training scores are frequently higher; into the mid 540s. Just last night at league, I bested my old PB of 544 by 1 point for a new PB of 545. Here are a few recent scores from this month; the first is from practice at Peel Archery Club. The 2nd and 4th are from league at The Archers of Caledon, and the 3rd is from a tournament at Saugeen Shafts by Peterborough Archers.

Nov6, Nov15        Nov19, Nov22

I’m really enjoying plotting my arrows and using that data to reflect on and pair with my mental image of how the shots felt. ArtemisLite a free download on Google Play if you’re interested in trying it out.

IMG_20171123_102943And finally, the pins I earned from the outdoor season have arrived! During the summer, most of my scores were over 500 and a a few were over 550. That’s what earned me the white and black pins, respectively. I’m getting really close to the WA 18m indoor threshold of 550 for the blue pin too! But since the score must be shot at a World Archery registered event, I only have a few opportunities this season to qualify. Even if I don’t qualify for a pin, I’ll still be very happy with my progress and performance 😀

Just for reference, here are the score requirements for each pin colour.

Event

White

Black

Blue

Red

Gold

Purple

WA 720

500

550

600

650

675

700

WA 900

750

800

830

860

875

890

WA 25m

500

525

550

575

585

595

WA 18m

500

525

550

575

585

595

More information about World Archery Awards from Archery Canada can be found here: http://www.archerycanada.ca/en/wa-stars/world-archery-awards-page. If you’re outside of Canada, you should contact your local national archery body for information.

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Volunteering, Learning, and Looking Forward

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I’m still here! I know it’s been a few weeks since my last post, I’m sorry. But, I finally have some things to share!

First, I have started volunteering at The Archers of Caledon and with my Streetsville Bowl bowling league, and they have been keeping me very busy! Second, I have been learning a little about string making and live streaming it on my Facebook page. I have also edited out most of the downtime from the streams and uploaded them to my YouTube channel, which you can also see below. I make lots of mistakes, but manage to successfully make a recurve bow string in the first video, and talk about how to position nock points in the second one. These videos took a long time to edit and upload; they started at about 90 minutes long each!

Looking forward, Norm and I have several exciting events and dates coming up! Next week, I’m going to meet with my physiotherapist at Kings Cross Physio to figure out a fitness program for the winter (I’m really excited to finally get back to some more intense training). At the end of the month, Norm and I will be taking a coaching clinic to become trained coaches for beginner archers. Shortly after that, there is the Zombie Apocalypse event at OCCS, which is a very fun event that also helps to raise non-perishable food items for the Mississauga Food Bank. At the end of January, we’ll be travelling to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to compete in the Lancaster Archery Classic. And in February/March we’ll be competing in the Provincial, National, and Americas indoor tournaments.

Hopefully I can find a flexible job really soon that will allow me to continue training while earning an income so that I can afford to travel to some big tournaments in the US and Canada next year. I’m really looking forward to experiencing some of those huge events, but travel is very expensive. If you’re hiring, please send me a message, I have a wide variety of skills!

And finally, I’m just going to leave this epic photo of Natalee, Norm, and myself here 😀

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New Skills and Old

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As I mentioned in my end season summary, there are going to be some slow weeks coming up. Well, this is definitely one of those weeks!

My arrow volume is finally back to where it was before my injury, and I will continue to increase that amount a little over the next few weeks.

As I continue to look for work, I frequently do little programming projects to learn new skills, refresh my existing skills, challenge myself, and hopefully create something I can add to my portfolio. My latest project is a replacement for the many spreadsheets that we use in my bowling league. This year, I have been appointed secretary / statistician of the league, and there’s a ton of data that needs to be maintained with lots and lots of formulas and calculations for high scores, handicaps, standings, and more! It’s been a long time since I did any sort of database design, and this one is quite complex!

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A couple of months ago, we had the opportunity to learn how to make bow strings from Sean at OCCS. I passed on it at the time, but Norm jumped at the chance. Now with the recent down time, I decided it would be a good time to learn, and on Friday Norm taught me how to make a recurve bow string. It took about an hour and it turned out great! I’m pretty excited to start making more too! I may just have to get/make my own jig so I can start making strings at home. Super special thanks to OCCS who let us borrow their jig!

 

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Renovations

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With my outdoor season being complete and the indoor season still a month or two away, it’s time to take a bit of a break from training to recharge and rebuild a little. While I’m going to keep shooting, it just won’t be as much as usual. I will instead focus more on physical training as well as getting a few things done around the house that we have been putting off; mainly renovating the basement. Coincidently, that just happens to work out well as physical training!

When Norm and I moved in to our first home a couple years ago, one of the first things we wanted to do was to fix the basement. There were a few issues that ended up convincing us to tear out most of the semi-finished basement to correct them. I had been slowly picking away at it, but had to stop for the summer because of my injury. Finally, I have been able to get back at it and have made some good progress. It’s a lot of work, but demolition can be rather satisfying! Of course, we could always use some extra help; let me know when you’re available 😀PANO_20170917_171428.jpg

In archery related news, I’ve been shopping around for some new arrows. I’m planning on going up in draw weight in the Spring, and I would like to upgrade my arrows to something of a little higher quality. This has mostly involved talking to other archers at tournaments, online, and at clubs to see what their experiences have been with various products. I think I have decided to go with Easton A/C/E shafts, but I’m not quite 100% sure yet. There is still the matter of trying to figure out the proper spine (stiffness) and point weight too. Thankfully, I have found some amazingly knowledgeable people that have been giving me some great advice!

I’m thankful for all the time I’ve had this summer to be able to dedicate to training, but I’m still unemployed and there are bills to pay. If anyone in the archery / computer programming industries is hiring, please let me know!

End of the 2017 Outdoor Season

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This weekend’s Caledon tournament marks the end of my first outdoor season. Similarly to what I mentioned at the End of the 2016-17 Indoor Season, this season I was involved in a few more charity events, I set a couple new personal bests under tournament conditions (one at the Canadian Championships), I learned a lot about my form and the sport, I started a physical training plan, I met even more wonderful new friends, had my first injury to deal with, and I even managed to win another medal at a Provincial Championship!

It’s been an amazing few months, and I’m sad that it’s coming to an end. I am just now feeling recovered from my injury and I was just starting to really feel like I was getting into a good groove outside. I guess I’ll just have to figure out how to take that mental state and bring it inside for the Winter season.

Review of Plans and Goals

In my last end of season post, I talked about some plans and goals Norm and I had for the summer. While I didn’t achieve all of my goals, I did achieve many of them, and I’m really happy with how the season has gone overall.

First off, physio and physical training. I definitely didn’t put as much time into hitting the gym and working on cardio as I had hoped to this season. The back injury in July was a major setback, and delayed the advancement of my training program. It did however give me some much needed time to work on the mental side of things and to take a short break, which I feel was very beneficial as my average score for a 720 round jumped about 30 points during my recovery.

The early morning training that Norm and I had talked about doing was actually very successful! Most weeks, we were out at the range Tuesday and Thursday mornings by about 7am. We were even pleasantly surprised to be joined by another archery friend for many of the Spring mornings! Even though getting out of bed is hard sometimes, it was a really fun experience, and one I’m sure we’ll do again next Spring/Summer!

I feel like I have moved away from the weekly arrow counts I threatened you all with, mostly because I created a home just for them, and I felt like it was kind of boring for you. I did however keep up my promise of weekly posts, in a mostly journal type format. I expect this trend to continue, but during the shooting season transitions, there may be weeks where there’s nothing to talk about. I don’t really want to say nothing during those times, so I’ll have to come up with some interesting content to fill the gaps. Now that I have an Athlete Page on Facebook, there’s a good chance that I may do some live or pre-recorded videos. Suggestions have included Tutorials, Q&A, Equipment Reviews, and the like, but I’m always open to hearing other ideas. What would you like me to talk about? What would be interesting or useful for you to see on here?

And finally, goals. I had set out to open the season shooting 510/720 and end the season by getting up into the 550 – 600 / 720 range. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet my 575 or 600 score goals, but they were pretty lofty. Looking at my Tournament Scores chart for Outdoor 720, 70m, you can see that I have definitely been improving. I didn’t start out as high as I had hoped, but I feel very satisfied with how I’ve developed over the season and how I’m consistently scoring in the 550 range now, which is where I wanted to end the season. I learned a LOT about shooting outside, with changing weather and lighting conditions, and how they can affect your equipment and your shot.

And as a reminder, it’s not about how many 10s you shoot, it’s all about minimizing those lower scoring arrows. As evidence, I shot four 720 rounds this weekend, and I had almost the same number of 10s in each of those rounds. BUT, in the two rounds that were about 550/720, I had 12 arrows that scored less than a 7, while in the two rounds that were about 520/720, I had around 21 that scored less than a 7. Sure, more 10s won’t hurt, but less 3s, 4s, and 5s is even better!

Indoor Goals

For this upcoming indoor season, I have a few goals in mind. Firstly, I would really like to be consistently shooting 270/300s and having a peak score of at least 280/300 for a half round and 560/600 for a full round.

Second, there is at least one major indoor tournament that Norm and I have talked about travelling to; the Lancaster Classic in January. If we can get the time off work and afford the trip to Pennsylvania, it will earn us some very valuable competition experience, and we’ll have the opportunity to meet and shoot with so many archers we haven’t met before.

And finally, I would like to keep up, and advance my fitness program and arrow volume so that when Spring comes around, I’m able to go up in draw weight by a couple pounds.

Video

Winter is Coming

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Earlier this week, the evening weather and lighting were pretty amazing, so Norm and I did some more videos! I have already posted the time-lapse to Facebook and I’ve just now finally gotten around to editing Norm’s handheld closeup footage. I had a little fun with it, and tried to synch up different shots together. I’m pretty happy with the result, and how consistent my shot timing is from shot to shot. Be sure to select the 1080p version of quality to see some cool slo-mo arrow flight on the shot as seen from above my head!

Fall is just around the corner and Winter is Coming. I may have mentioned it already, but Fall/Winter classes are starting up soon and may fill up quickly. If you or someone you know are curious about archery and want to give it a try, check out one of the awesome clubs near you! Many of them have multi-week classes or one-off private lessons available. I made a post already about a few clubs in the Greater Toronto Area, but if you’re not near any of them, I’d be happy to help you try to find a club near you 😀

I’m going to create a new page on here that will list (and hopefully map) archery clubs and shops. I know when I started shooting, that kind of information was difficult to find.
UPDATE: I created the page!

Peterborough
Saugeen Shafts

East York / Scarborough
Shawn’s Archery Instruction

York Region
York County Bowmen
Target Pro Archery

Caledon
The Archers of Caledon

Mississauga / Oakville
Ontario Centre for Classical Sport

Hamilton
● Hamilton Archery Centre (formerly Brockley Archery Club)

Eclipsing Eclipses; Eclipsed

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I don’t know if you heard, but there was a total solar eclipse earlier in the week that was near enough to make it seem like it was cloudy when there were no clouds. Unfortunately, that’s the darkest it got here, but it was still a really interesting experience. However, in 2024, I should be lucky enough to have a total solar eclipse pass almost directly overhead! This week, I eclipsed my previous weeks arrow counts by shooting 375 arrows; the most since starting recovery. To commemorate this event, we reenacted the eclipse, with me playing the Moon:

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Norm and I have been talking it over, and I think we’re going to go ahead with some exciting new plans for our blogs. I’m not sure when, since it will be a lot of work to get things started, and we may need to get some outside help. But the idea is that it will be more interactive and engaging for our followers, creating an overall better experience. You could say that it will … eclipse our current blogs.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I occasionally mention Team Storm, well that’s us; STephanie & nORM. I think the core premise will be to rebrand ourselves as some variation of STORM Archery and to do more vlogs and videos rather than blogs. We may also do product reviews, tutorials, Q&A videos, and have lots of guests as well if there’s interest. If you have any suggestions, ideas for what you would like to see from us, or if you would like to help contribute, please let us know!

Here is a little sample of some of the footage we captured this weekend. Most of it was just an experiment to see what things would look and sound like, so it’s not very polished. The first one is a time-lapse of a 90 arrow training session, and the second is a view of the target during the same session.

In other news, I finally got around to converting the last of my old arrows. The points needed to be slightly lighter, and I needed to add wraps from ArrowSocks and vanes from XS Wings to match the rest of my current arrows. I now have 15 good arrows, 3 rough arrows that may get turned into pens, and 2 bare shafts to aid in tuning.

And just for fun, another photo!

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Full Recovery Mode, GO!

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Now that all of the major summer tournaments that I planned on attending have been completed, it’s time to get into full recovery and rebuilding mode. At Nationals, I learned that my back is very nearly healed, but my stamina had suffered greatly with all the time off. The plan now is to slowly rebuild back to my pre-injury arrow volume and finish off the outdoor season with Caledon’s September tournament. To start things off, I shot 206 arrows this week.

I had to skip this weekend’s Caledon tournament, but I did manage to get a few arrows in before and helped to run it and keep things organized. My back is feeling pretty good, and I’m getting some really solid groups, but stamina is still an issue. After only 20 or 30 arrows, my form gets sloppy and the groups get larger. One thing with shooting a small number of arrows in a session means I’ve had to really focus on making each shot a good one; I think it’s definitely helped the mental side of my shot process.

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2017 Canadian Archery Championship | Championnat Canadien de tir à l’arc

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This past week was all about the Canadian Nationals in Brossard, QC. I shot 314 arrows, nearly double what I had been shooting the two weeks prior and I worked with my physiotherapist earlier in the week to figure out some final plans and ideas to help minimize the effect of my injury. The plan worked out really well, and my back is feeling MUCH better. But, because I had been taking it easy, I had lost some of my stamina and struggled to continue to shoot strong shots by the end of each day. I’m meeting with him again tomorrow to work out a recovery plan. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to full time training again in a week or two.

I shot a personal best on the first day, and achieved the first of 3 score goals I had set for myself for this season. I didn’t shoot as well on the second day, but it was still one of my highest scores for the season so far. During the elimination rounds on the third day I started strong, winning my first match, but I wasn’t  quite able to keep it up in the second. I lost two sets by only a single point or two and wasn’t able to keep up with my opponent. It was a great experience, and being only my second time doing eliminations, I learned a lot and and can’t wait for the next opportunity do it all again! Overall, I am very happy with my performance. It hasn’t fully set in yet, but top 10 in Canada with a 7th place finish in qualification and 9th in eliminations is very satisfying!

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Like other events I’ve been to, this one was no different. The organizing committee and all the volunteers work so hard for us. I can’t express enough how much your hard work means to us. Merci beaucoup! Every event I have been to has been full of friendly, hard working, dedicated people. The archery community is definitely one of the best! There is always a new friend at each event waiting to be made and so many interesting conversations to be had.

Michele, Dakota, Norm, and I carpooled out to Brossard and shared a room for the week. We had lots of fun and became better friends because of it. Thank you so much Michele for everything this weekend, I’m not sure we could have done it without you! Congratulations to Dakota and Norm who also shot personal bests this weekend, you guys rock!

Preparation & Recovery Planning

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As my back slowly heals, I’ve been able to get out shooting a little more in preparation for next weekend’s 2017 Canadian Championship in Québec. It wasn’t a lot, but this past week I shot 177 arrows, slightly up from the week before. It’s really hard forcing myself to not shoot as much as I want to, but I have to take it easy to avoid making this injury any worse. My physiotherapist and I have come up with what I feel is a pretty good plan for dealing with the injury leading up to, and during Nationals. When I get back from Nationals though, I will likely take two or three weeks off to get some good rest and hopefully fully recover from this injury.

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Since the injury isn’t directly related to archery, knowing that I was still able to perform well with the pain and discomfort at Provincials, and having had a couple really good training sessions this past week with Norm, I feel very strong and confident about my form overall. There are still a couple issues that I’m trying to work through, but knowing what they are and how to fix them is a great start; I just need to stay mentally strong and focused for the duration of the tournament to minimize their impact. During my break, the mental game is something I’m going to be spending a lot of time on.

We’re really excited and looking forward to this tournament. It won’t be the last of the season, but it is the one we’ve been working toward all year. Plus, we’ll get to see more of this great country and meet many other fellow archers!