Focus, Focus, Focus…

This past weekend’s shoot was at Central Maine Archery. I like shooting at their range as it is large, well set up and the owners Tom and Jess Hartford run a good shop.

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This shoot was a little different for me because my inlaws, Laurel my wife and my kids were coming to watch. I wondered if this would affect my shooting knowing I had an audience as I usually go on my own, I was very appreciative of them taking time out of their lives to come out and support me so I figured it’d be what it would be.

My in laws George and Greta showed up first and between ends I explained what was going on, practice ends, and next would be the first scoring end.

The  first scoring end started and it was on like Donkey Kong (always wanted to say that).  I scored fine on the first end then I heard the door open and someone else coming in, some whispered voices and I could hear a camera clicking away and I figured it had to be Laurel and the kids, and this my dear friends is the whole point of this little tale, I let my focus wander.

I’ve been learning (the hard way) that when your focus is not all about the X twenty yards away that it just doesn’t go as well. This little event providing ample proof. My five arrows for that end were X, 4, 2,2,2 for a 15 out of a possible 25 per end.

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I’m the recurve guy.

I rallied in the right direction with a 20 on my next end then shot another 15 – 4,4,3,2,2, as my son would say “OMG!”

After this I settled myself focused on shot  sequence, shut the world out and sure enough my scores went up with all my ends in the 20 + range, on the 8th end I shot a  23 with 3 X’s – X, X, X, 4, 4. Perhaps this made me feel confident as I lost my focus on the following end with a dissapointing 17.

Scoring

Scoring

Overall this wasn’t my best shooting but it did provide a valuable lesson. Focus is  just as important as any of the other components of your shot. I spend a fair amount of time practicing these components but other than to put myself in competitive situations I have spent little time practicing focus, can’t say I even know how to practice it but it is on my list.

Let me know if you have found ways to improve your focus on the range.

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My Vampiric practice schedule and shooting at Central Maine Archery

With shorter days this time of year and balancing time between work, family, activities, etc. I’ve found myself having to squeeze in time for archery practice wherever I can.

I don’t always have the time to drive to the range and while I can tolerate the temperatures, I’ll practice at night, usually in the mornings and evenings before and after work. This nocturnal schedule has had me feeling somewhat vampiric, but hey if that’s what it takes… I can’t imagine I’m the first archer to rig a spotlight on their target.

There is the added benefit that aside from practice, the stars are often out and it can be a moment of calm in the busy lives many of us seem to lead.

The practice has been paying off and I’ve watched my scores rise at the weekly “Shooter of the year” competition put on by the Maine Archery Association. This is an indoor competition at 20 yards using NFAA blue face targets, it is a 300 round. I scored 214 – 6 x’s the first time, 227 – 8 x’s on my second shoot and yesterday on my 3rd shoot I scored a 244 – 4 x’s under the barebow division.

Archers on the line at Central Maine Archery

Yesterday’s shoot was held at Central Maine Archery, I’d never been there and found that they have an excellent range and a clean, well thought out facility. The shoot was well organized and the little interaction I had with the staff was good. My quick perusal of their shop revealed a good stock of bows and components, and I can personally vouch for their hot dogs, which were good!

Scoring

Although I was happy with my score, I did have a handful of right arrows, that scored me 1’s and 2’s. I think that they are the result of nervousness and not being fully aligned, settled in and locked into my back muscles before releasing.

Calling out scores

I did  much better on the 2nd half of the shoot than the first half, again I think I’m just calmer and more settled, all I know to do about it is to do more of it and get comfortable with the process. It’s interesting that all my 1’s and 2’s are in the first five ends.

Something to practice and figure out, later tonight of course…