The Final Countdown

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It’s finally here! Norm and I leave for the Lancaster Archery Classic tomorrow morning. After league tonight, we’ll be finishing up packing then it’s off to bed early to prepare for the 8 hour drive to Lancaster, PA early tomorrow morning! If you would like to follow our adventure, stay tuned to Facebook and Instagram, or check out the live scoring and video streams – I’ll be shooting on the 1/26 12:00 pm Qualification Line)! We will try to take lots of photos and videos to share our experience, but I have a feeling we may get too swept up in the experience (or too busy shooting) to record everything we intend to. If you’re attending too, send us a message and maybe we can meet up!

.. and now, some new accessories! Brian at Grey Wolf Archery did an amazing job making and painting some new stabilizer weights to match our bows. We’re really pleased with the results and can’t wait to show them off! If you would like some custom coloured weights, definitely get in touch!
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.. and now, new used gear! From Lauren, a hard bow-case for when we start travelling with our bows in the air. And from April, some Carbon Express Nano-XR arrow shafts. I’m just waiting for some new points and some free time before I can try them out though.

.. and finally, I made up some new pink and purple arrows for the upcoming Canadian Archer’s for a Cause’s Boob Shoot charity tournament on February 3rd at Shooter’s Choice in support of the Grand River Hospital Breast Centre in Waterloo. If you would like to donate to the cause, you can do so at: http://www.grhf.org/event/cafac/

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New Form, New Year, New PB

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In the last week of 2017, my coach had some really helpful tips and made some subtle changes to my form. It will take some time to work the changes into my process, but I have already noticed some drastic improvements to the overall look and feel of my shot.

2018-01-01.pngThis morning, to start the new year off, I decided to score a round at 70m, and it turned out to be a new PB! Having access to an indoor 70m range has been fantastic for keeping my outdoor form in check, especially with all the changes we’ve been making to it.

The new form is still taking a lot of mental focus to ensure I’m not reverting back to older habits, but it is quickly settling in as the new normal. It helps that I have been shooting more than usual during the past couple weeks. I’m planning to keep a higher weekly arrow volume this year, which I think will really help to integrate any form changes more quickly.

Looking back at my goals for this indoor season, I have already had a peak score over 280, and have also many scores in the 270s (enough to call that goal achieved as well), now I just need the 560! Form changes are usually accompanied by a drop in scores until the changes get worked in, but I think these changes are coming along nicely. League this week will be the first real test to be certain. But even if my scores do drop a bit, I know my form is much better than it was, and the scores will come back.

The transition to the indoor season has nearly completed, and this upcoming weekend will mark the beginning of the indoor competition season for me. It’s looking to be pretty busy, with only 3 weekends without a tournament between now and the end of March! I’m pretty excited!

Holiday Archery Fun Times

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There’s a fun tournament this weekend at OCCS, and I was joking around with them that I would decorate my bow with tinsel and lights. They seemed excited and encouraging .. so I did it! Here’s a short video of the first two test firings:

I had to take the tinsel string dampeners / silencers off, partly because they were making a mess of the floor, but also because they slowed my string down so much that my arrows no longer flew consistently.

I will update this post with photos of my Christmas Elf outfit that I plan on wearing to the tournament tomorrow, and to league on Wednesday. As always, check out my various social media for more immediate updates!

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Not pictured, bells on my shoes and the necklace of bells that I had to take off.

Prior to the fun bow decorating, I had a really good session with my coach at The Archers of Caledon. We managed to identify three issues and developed a plan to hopefully eliminate them.

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The first issue my coach found was that my sight pin doesn’t always track vertically down on to the target. Quite often I’ll have to adjust horizontally, which can increase the time at full draw and cause a rotation in the arm/core, both of which will lead to becoming fatigued more quickly.

The second issue I’ve been struggling with for a while now; an inconsistent vertical pressure on the grip. When I’m shooting well, the pressure on my grip is fairly centered, but sometimes that pressure will drift a little higher or lower, causing lower or higher shots respectively. After some discussion with my coach, he made a suggestion that I think is going to work very well. The suggestion was to place either a texture change or a small bump on the grip where so I can consistently focus my hand pressure on that spot. Once it becomes more natural, we can remove the aid from the grip.

And finally, during video analysis of my release, we saw that on shots that didn’t feel as good as others, I was engaging a muscle that shouldn’t be engaged. The result is very minor, but with the high speed camera, we could see that my elbow was dropping a little just before executing the shot, rather than coming straight back. The solution, for now, is to simply be a little more mentally confident and strong to ensure that the elbow stays straight all through the shot process.

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 is 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.

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)