Competition Baby Powder

This past weekend, I participated in the Ontario Spring Classic held at Woodlands Park in Toronto, Ontario. Toronto just happened to have very hot and humid weather during the tournament.

Heat and humidity can affect your arrow flight. Humidity can cause your arrows not to spin as quickly leaving your shot grouping lower since they do not gain as much distance. Heat affects the archer too with hot and sweaty hands. Sweaty hands affect your grip on the bow possibly changing your point of power and the heat causing your hands to swell which in turn affects your feel for the string in your fingers. Check out my previous blog about other effects of various weather conditions.

 Weather is a great metaphor for life – sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and there’s nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.  -Terri Guillemets

This year I packed baby powder, something that every competitive archer needs to bring with them to every outdoor competition.

A little baby powder on your…

…under your anchor point will help allow your hand ride along your chin smoothly

…inside of your string arm keeps your arm from becoming too sticky keeping your draw and release smooth.

…bow hand helps deal with sweaty hands that can affect your grip of the bow

… string fingers to allow your fingers to have a good grip on your finger tab making it easier to control your drawing and releasing of the string cleanly.

…cheek bones under your eyes, if you wear glasses or sunglasses, will help prevent them from fogging up.

The Ontario Spring Classic is a two-day tournament with high-performance archers including past, current and future Olympians hopefuls with the winner in each category receiving $500.00 prize money. This open tournament is a great way to measure your development against some of the best archers in Canada. If you are ready to take the next step in competition in Canada, I suggest you plan on attending next year and pack a little baby powder just in case.

Getting more Distance

Summer is here and with it the outdoor archery season. One of the biggest differences between indoor and outdoor archery, other than weather, is distance to the target.

Indoors everyone typically shoots at 18M however outdoors, depending on your age, division and category, you can shoot anywhere from 15M (Peewee) to 90M (Senior Male). As young archers get older and move up in division so do the distances they are asked to shoot. For instance, a pre-cub only needs to shoot maximum 30M in a target competition, however as a cub they need to shoot 50M. I remember trying to shoot Junior/Senior distances as a Cadet; 70 meters was a challenge. My sight was at the bottom and I was still not getting the distance I needed.

If you are struggling with a new distance you can make some equipment changes that can help such as ….

  • Heavier Limbs

Increasing draw weight will give you more force and therefore greater distance.

  • Move the entire sight down

Some sights, like the Cartel Mighty sight, you can move the entire T-bar lower. This allows you to lower the scope. Just remember to keep it out of the arrows flight.

  • Finger tab with a Shelf

Some finger tabs, like the Cartel Midas Finger Tab, have a shelf. If you adjust the shelf to be fully extended, you can lower your anchor point.

  • Spin vanes

For target archers you use synthetic feather fletchings, switching to plastic spin-wing vanes manufactured by Range-O-Matic can help a lot. Spin-wing vanes are lighter, offer less drag and are more forgiving as they help the arrows get into a tighter spin earlier.

Some times equipment changes are not an option because of cost, physical limitations and some times they only get you part way. Here are a couple of simple tricks that may help you reach those last couple of meters.

  • Wear a Mouth-Guard

Using a mouth-guard (or a piece Lego between your teeth) keeps your jaw open lowering your anchor point.

  • Mount your Sight Backwards

Mounting your sight backwards inside your bow, moves your sight marks lower and therefore changes the trajectory.

  • Use your Limbs as a Sight

In clout, a long distance (100M to 200M) sport you use your bottom limb as the sight. This can work for target archery as well. Pick a spot near the top of your lower limb to aim with for your possible distance.

If you have any tricks or tips to help gain more distance, I encourage you to share them.

Out of the Shadows

Yahoo has an article about Archery in the spotlight in time for the London 2012 Olympics thanks to the success of the “Hunger Games”.

Two-time Olympian Jennifer Nichols’ eyes light up with she talks about her sport finally climbing out of the shadows.

“The Hunger Games” has shined a bright light on the ancient sport of archery and fueled interest across the country in picking up a bow and arrow…

Read the entire Yahoo article here.

2012 OFSAA Archery Invitational Tournament

On May 16th to May 17th 2012 Richmond Green Community Sports Centre again hosted the Ontario High School Archery Invitational Tournament, a sanctioned Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) event.

Once again, I was able to compete on behalf of my high school Kingston Colligate and Vocational Institute alongside my sister Sydney.  We had a great time meeting up with several of our archery friends from all over the province.

This year, well over a hundred girls competed in Olympic Individual division which produced a close competition, a difference of only 34 points separated the top 10 finishers. I was fortunate to capture the Silver Medal between friends Odelia Wong of Parkdale CI and my MICA teammate Lindsay Fulmerton of St. Michael’s School. My sister shot extremely well and improved on last year’s performance to finish 17th. The new KCVI Archery Club, for which we are founders and I am the coach, has been making progress towards participating in the annual OFSAA tournament. Next year we should be ready to enter a team in the Girls Olympic & Standard Divisions. I hope that we will have enough interest to have a Boys’ Teams as well.

This tournament was a lot of fun and hopefully, the results for the entire tournament will be posted on the Ontario Association of Archers shortly. Any high-school that has or is thinking of starting an Archery Club should really consider participating in this OFSAA sanctioned event. It is an awesome event to gauge your archery club’s development and it is a lot of fun.

Magnification: Zoom in on the Target

If you have ever competed outdoors in a field, 3D or target tournament you can understand the importance of being able to zoom in on the target to see how you are shooting. Although using a telephoto scope on your bow is not allowed in competition, you can use some after-the-shot magnification with binoculars or a spotting scope which can be extremely valuable.

For field and 3D, most archers use binoculars, since they are portable and much easier and quicker to align with the target and can be positioned quickly, which is important since you are changing targets often. The use of a spotting scope would be cumbersome to carry and setup from target to target.  Although binoculars are allowed in field and 3D tournament, range finders are usually prohibited.

For target, most archers use a spotting scope (also known as a sport telescope, fieldscope or minocular) because once setup the spotting scope does not need to be changed very often. Although you can use binoculars, the value of a spotting scope over binoculars is the magnification and the angled eye-piece which reduces the need to reposition your shooting stance to check the location of each arrow. The rules allow you to set-up a spotting scope within your shooting line space of 80cm. The challenge is making sure it is set up so it does not interfere with your or your opponent.

If you are new to outdoor competitions, consider investing in some type of magnification, since no matter how good your eyes are, the distances become farther and farther as you get older. Understanding how you are doing during each end, instead of after it can be the difference between standing on the podium or admiring it from a distance.

Canadians Win Bronze in Team Archery

Congratulations to the Canadian team of Marie-Pier Beaudet, Vanessa Lee and Kateri Vrakking won the bronze medal in the team event at the archery continental qualification tournament in Medellin, Columbia.

Read all about it on the CTVOlympics website here.

Hunger Games great for Archery

Anytime a movie features an archer the archery business gets a good shot in the arm, however with the success of a blockbuster like The Hunger Games, and with less than 100 days until the Olympic Games, I believe it is a great time for archery coaches and businesses everywhere. Many businesses are already reporting increases in business since the movie opened. I personally have witnessed a significant jump in the interest in archery recently when I had 10 new people show up to join my school archery club at our last meeting.

The Hunger Games is about a game show where young people between 12-18 years old are pitted into a life-or-death situation. Twenty-four Tributes, as they are called in the game, one male and one female from each of the 12 districts in a post-apocalyptic future to fight each and the elements until there is a single victor. The movie is based on the first book on the young adult trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. With the popularity of the film, which has grossed over $350 million worldwide so far, Loinsgate has already announced it has plans for a sequel based on the second book “Catching Fire” and it will be directed by Francis Lawrence.

The movie centers on Katniss Everdeen, played by actress Jennifer Lawrence (no relationship to Francis), who uses her hunting archery skills to survive. Jennifer developed her archery skills in preparation for the role under her mentor Khatuna Lorig. Khatuna, originally from Georgia and a naturalized American, is a five-time Olympian and earned a bronze medal as part of the women’s team at the 1992 Olympics.  With the movie having a strong female heroine, I am sure the interest of young women all over the world will reach new heights.

If you have not had an opportunity to see the movie yet, I highly recommend it and afterwards contact you local archery club to try archery for yourself.