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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Art of Archery II

One of my first entries ever on this blog was dedicated to my favorite past time: archery. It is one of those endeavors that one never truly masters. It is similar to golf in that regard, the sport I gave up to take up archery. Some of the costs are very similar to golf as well.

Over the course of the last several years I have tried many different things to help me in archery. I've tried avoiding caffeine. I've tried extra caffeine. I've tried shooting a lot the morning of a tournament. I've tried shooting not at all the morning of a tournament. I've tried eating light, not eating at all, and over-eating prior to a shoot. None of these seemed to have a profound effect.

In the end it is inexplicable as to what will cause you to have a good day, a bad day, or an in between day. Last year at the IBO Worlds I managed to shoot my best score ever. There was nothing really different about that shoot than prior shoots. Nothing tangible can be pointed to as to why I had such a good go of it.

The only possibility I can think of is something that has sort of become the theme of this blog lately: hard work. Practice, practice, and more practice. Last year in January I joined an archery league. Which means I was shooting during a time of year that I rarely continued shooting through in the past. Normally after deer season at the end of December, through April when outdoor 3D season begins, I shoot little to none. Joining the league meant I regularly shot through that time period.

When outdoor 3D season began I hit the ground running. I was now practically shooting daily between practice and shoots which was not unusual beginning in April. The difference was that I was already in shooting form from the practice I got through winter and early-spring. I believe that is why I had the best 3D archery season of my life.

Experience also has something to do with it. I am much better about judging distances, which is 80% of the sport, than I was even 3 or 4 years ago. My overall knowledge of the sport has increased as well. I know what equipment and techniques work and which do not. I understand now that consistency is a key ingredient as well.

Archery, as I've said before, is an art, not a science. In the end though, like any endeavor whether art or science, there is no substitute for hard work. It is through hard work that skills are honed, knowledge is gathered, and experience is gained. If you want to be a better "fill in the blank", then work at it. Whether the work is studying, reading, doing, practicing, etc. Just do it.

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