2014 Ontario Indoor 10-ring Target Championship

IMG_7714All this week, from February 15th to February 23th, clubs across Ontario are hosting the mail-in scoring tournament. The 10-ring target championship is an indoor FITA tournament and is the standard format for the Canadian National Indoor Championships and all World Indoor Championships. The tournament follows standard FITA rules using a 10-ring 40cm target ( 60 cm for Cub and Pre-cub Recurve) with two rings each of Gold, Red, Blue, Black and White and everyone shooting from 18M. Consistent archers may choose to use a vertical 3 spot to avoid breaking arrows and nocks.

Yesterday, I shot in my 9th Provincial Indoor 10-ring Target Championship. Although I have not always won a medal, I have always enjoyed it and this year was no exception. Being away at university and focusing on my education and career development, I was unable to participate in the Provincial Indoor Field Championship. That aside, I have been able to train. Redeemer has been extremely generous to afford me the gym a couple of days a week to train and practice. I have been fortunate enough to be able to co-ordinate some virtual training time with my awesome coach Kathy Millar via SKYPE. That aside, archery is a social sport and although it has been great to keep shooting, what I really missed was shooting with sister, my little brothers (both who are not little anymore) and my archery family. I had a lot of fun shooting, joking around and spending time with my family and friends.

If you live in Ontario and have never competed in an indoor target championship, check out the Ontario Association of Archer’s website for host site and dates near you. Hurry as pre-registration is usually required.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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This first semester of university has been crazy, just trying to adjust to school as well as find time to have fun. Then there have been exams, needless to say that was not fun, but I studied hard and now they are done. I have been lucky enough to able to shoot on Tuesdays and Thursday for a couple of hours in the main gym, which is really nice because I know there are some people that have to give up training altogether. I am hoping to continue to arrange some more hours practice hours in the gym this coming semester. It was kind of weird going from shooting in my garage to a big gym by myself, however, it was kind of cool as I got to meet lots of people as they came by to just watch me.

I made a few new friends so far in university, one of them who actually shoots a compound bow. It has been wonderful getting to know all these new people, however it is also really nice to come back home and spend the holidays with my family. Soon I will return back to school with a new semester and hopefully this one will be even better than the last. Thanks again to all who have been reading my blog, I hope that you too have had a wonderful Christmas and that the new year will be even better than the last.

I have had a wonderful Holiday break, it has been lots of fun.

Happy Shooting!

Keeping Your Equipment Dry

NB 2013 1 546All weather conditions present various challenges for competing as my earlier blog about weather can attest. If you have been shooting for some time, you probably already have experienced what the weather can do to your equipment. The rain, or any adverse weather, can have some undesired long-term effects on your bow.

Rain is especially tricky as it can get into all kinds of small places that you would never even expect like inside your string, inside your plunger or other various tiny screw holes. It can even impact the inserts for your limbs. If ignored, rust can form and make things very difficult to adjust in the future, which can lead to a lot of work to fix or money to replace.

peeledRain can also create havoc during competition with your equipment like impacting plunger performance, making your handle slippery, and it can even impact limb reaction speed. However the most common and problematic is with your sight. Besides the potential of additional weight on the arrows, impacting your sight marks, there is the potential of faded sight marks or the sight mark tape losing adhesive and peeling completely off.

Although shooting in the rain is unavoidable for any competitive archer, there are a few things you can do before, during and after a rainy competition.

Pre-Competition

  • String: Make sure your string is waxed
  • Handle: Add grip (adhesive or wrap) to the handle
  • Pack: A Towel, Small Tarp, Plastic bags, Umbrella, Footwear, etc…

During Competition

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  • Before Each End:
    • String: Pluck your string to remove any accumulation of water.
  • Between Ends
    • Sight : Protect your sight with a Ziploc or small plastic bag when not shooting
    • Bow: Store your bow under a tent, tarp or umbrella
    • Finger Tab: Store your finger tab in a dry place.
  • During Breaks
    • All Equipment:  Use a towel to dry off all surfaces

Afterwards

  • String: Pluck the string before taking it off the bow.
  • All Metal and Plastic Equipment: Thoroughly dry off all surfaces and meticulously towel dry all small parts of your bow including sight, limb fittings, plunger, any screws, etc..
  • All Other Material Equipment: Take a hair dryer to your finger tab, sling, arm guard etc…
  • Bow & arrows: Towel dry each arrow shaft and dry your feathers.

Personally, I love shooting in the rain, it can be lots of fun if you are in the right mindset. So, if you are prepared, all you need to do enjoy it.

2014 Canadian National Championships

NB 2013 1 325To all my followers, I’m sorry I have not blogged in a while, however my family and I just got back from Woodstock, New Brunswick for the Canadian Nationals Archery Championships.  This year’s trip to Woodstock was a 10 hour drive from Kingston, Ontario which was long however not as long as the drive to Saskatchewan a couple of years ago.

This year was the first time that all of my siblings competed in the outdoor Nationals (my sister Sydney’s and younger brother Cole’s very first nationals). We all did really well and we had a lot of fun. For me, it was great seeing all of my friends from across Canada again and spending time together as a family since it was also our family vacation.

This year’s national’s format was a little different, mainly because of the number of competitors, and setup of the venue. To accommodate everyone, the FITA 1440 and Field were split, with the Compound archers shooting the field on Wednesday, while the Recurve archers shot the FITA 1440 and on Thursday they switched.  On Friday, everyone shot the 720 round with Recurve archers in the morning and the Compounders in the afternoon.  The venue also sported two shooting fields (Range A and B ) so they had the senior males on one field, and the youth and women on the other field. It was cool, a little different from other tournaments where we all shoot together.

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The main event this year was the weather, there was sunshine, rain (light and down-pour), lightning and fog. There was sunshine on Wednesday, light rain on Thursday, and torrential down-pour with lightning on Friday and back to sunshine of Saturday. The FITA 1440 on Wednesday was my only day with nice weather. The field course on Thursday was very cool and I thought it was very similar to Saskatchewan’s field course.  I loved shooting in the rain and the course was a lot of fun with all the mud and big puddles. Friday morning’s 720 was very challenging, the fog was so thick that you couldn’t tell whose arrows were who’s even through a scope. Luckily the 30-minute break because of the rain and lightning helped clear that up and we were back to rain, mud and puddles.

NB 2013 1 417The only thing that I would have like to have seen handled a little differently was the Canadian Open held on Saturday.  Since, this year we had a large number of Americans participate at the Nationals it reduced the number of spots for Canadian archers in the Open. Although, I believe the Americans have every right to participate, I would have liked to have seen more Canadians in the Open. See, I believe it is very important for the development of archery in Canada to make sure archers are exposed to the elimination rounds. The elimination round is very different, are not that easy, and the primary format for international tournaments. All archers wanting to compete at the international level should become familiar with the elimination round as much as possible.

Also, in Canada to increase your ranking, you need to compete in eliminations rounds, however there are very few elimination rounds hosted in Canada. One is the Quebec Provincial Championships in September, two others are held about the same time, the Canada Cup (West Coast) and Spring Classic (Toronto) and the third is the Canadian Open during the National Championships. I hope in the future, the National archery committee allows everyone to participate in the Open if they want to.

The next Canadian National Outdoor Championships are being held in Lac La Biche, Alberta in August 2014. The schedule includes 3D from the 1st through 4th, the Field on 5th and 6th, and Target on the 7th through the 10th.

Bowstring Maintenance & Replacement

P1230461In the last blog, we discussed the purpose and application of bowstring wax as a part of proper string maintenance. Another way to prolong the life of your string includes proper storage. Obviously, you should store your string in a safe dry place, and protect it the best way you can to prevent damage. However, you spend time tuning your bow including adding the “perfect” number of twists to the string, therefore you should store your string to maintain this tuning.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to interlace the teardrop loops together as shown here.

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Although, proper maintenance and storage of a string can help a string last years, every archer will eventually need to change their string. Before any shooting sessions or tournament, it should be a part of your regular routine to check your equipment for damage. Where your string is concerned, if there are signs of damage such as signs of fraying or one or more strand breaks you should consider changing your string.

Although as string materials have evolved, the strength of individual strands have far exceeded where they need to be in terms of breaking under strain.  The number of strands impact the nock fit and when shooting with the extra strands added, it was found that it could help make the bow a bit more stable. Competitive archers rarely will shot with even a minimally damaged sting since it may impact the performance and therefore, any competitive archer should have two strings for tournaments. The two strings should be exactly the same, ideally created at the same time, on the same day, on the same jig, by the same person; this way you can swap them confidently. Personally if a single strand breaks, I immediately switch to my backup string or alternatively during a tournament to my back up bow.

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Strings are so important that some archers schedule string changes so they can maintain the same performance, since strings can stretch over time, and also not worry too much about potential damage.  Depending on your budget this may or may not be an option. Another option includes custom strings and making your own using a string jig however that is the topic of another blog.

Bowstring Wax

Applying bowstring wax is part of regular maintenance and the main purpose is to help prolong the life of your string. It also helps keep the string together longer, maintain the number of twists in the string and protect the string from fraying and moisture.

uvbowwaxUsually manufactured strings are purchase pre-waxed and only need to be maintained. How often depends on the amount you shoot and the condition of the string. Often you can tell if your bowstring needs waxing as small “hairs” or “fuzz” appear on your string. This happens because bowstrings are made-up of multiple strands and the fibers get dried-out and separate from regular shooting and the elements.

To re-apply bowstring wax to an existing string, apply wax to all sides of the string (avoiding the center serving) and use your fingers and rub it up and down 360 degrees of the string, this will heat the wax up so that it is able to soak into the string.

Quick Tip: You can use a piece of dental floss to spread the wax by wrapping the floss around the string once, holding both ends and dragging it up and down. Note: It has been my understanding that using leather is another option however this must be done very carefully as it can also damage the string.

For those of you who choose to make your own strings, you will need to apply bowstring wax several times before shooting the bow the first time.

Bowstring Wax is usually a silcone-based wax sold in tube form for easy application and is usually available at almost archery retailer or repair shops. Alternatively some archers use bees wax mixed with other materials to produce their own recipes. Here are a couple of recipes I found on the web include

  1. 2 parts beeswax to 1 part anhydrous lanolin (available from pharmacies)
  2. 4 parts beeswax to 1 part pine sap
  3. One pound of bees wax and one wax toilet ring seal, melted together
  4. 3 parts beeswax and 1 part coco butter
  5. 50% bear grease (rendered bear fat) and 50% beeswax
  6. 3 parts bees wax and 1 part toilet bowl wax ring.
  7. OR Pure bees wax needs no softening, it is perfect like it is

Proper maintenance will help keep your string in tip-top shape and tournament ready and help make a string last several years. However there are times when you should replace your string and in the next blog we will discuss string replacement.

A field guide to archery

Reblogged from Bow International:

Field archery is the ultimate challenge, whatever your bow style, and many of the world’s elite concur that their field exploits represent their finest achievements in archery. The accuracy that a quality target archer brings to this new experience is an obvious asset, but a greater set of skills need to be honed if one is to master this testing, yet satisfying, aspect of shooting.

My return to the sport as a Masters competitor, with time as an ally in retirement, yielded National Championships and then world gold in both FITA and IFAA disciplines. But I must stress that this was not done without considerable focus, practice, and knowledge of my recurve equipment. The transition to ‘the dark side’ has required a reassessment of those field skills, and a re- education of what exactly my compound is capable of under field course conditions. It has been a fun challenge so far.

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So what exactly does a target archer venturing out into the woods need to learn, in order to reach a reasonable level of competence around a field course?

Read More…

Excellent article about field archery!

2013 OFSAA

ofsaa_kcvi_2012The Ontario High School Archery Invitational Tournament, a sanctioned Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) event is once again being hosted by Richmond Green Community Sports Centre. To my knowledge, Ontario is the only province in Canada offering a high school archery championship. I am very happy the organizers have decided to move forward with the event, since it is a good stepping-stone tournament for archers in their development into competitive archery.

Last year’s tournament saw over 440 archers compete in four divisions. Both boys and girls in Olympic recurve, Standard (one-piece fibreglass bows) shooting on a 60cm face, and compound fingers and compound release shooting on 40cm faces with everyone at 18m. This year compound bow and standard divisions compete on Wednesday, May 15th and all Olympic recurve divisions compete on Thursday, May 16th.

Participation is expected to be slightly less this year because of the Ontario Teachers strike impact on high-school clubs. However, if you are interested in participating in the event, please contact your high-school archery coach to find out if they are sending a team to the event and get registered.

Bow Tuning – Advanced Tuning

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So far in this series, we started by discussing the basic Olympic recurve bow setup. We covered what tools you require for bow tuning and to basically setup your bow. This included limb alignment, how to measure, installing the arrow rest, nocking point and setting up your basic center shot.

Now that your bow is basically setup, you have been practicing with it and have a fairly consistent arrow group it is time to do some advanced tuning of your bow. Remember that basic step-up and tuning can be done quickly to get you started however advanced tuning is a time consuming task through trial and error.  Proper shooting technique is always the first thing every archer should focus on. If you are still struggling with the basics then get your bow basically setup and work on consistency.  To avoid massive amounts of frustration, it is very important to focus on changing and tuning one thing at a time. Read my earlier blog about Consistency and Change.

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Next we will focus on individual areas for you to tune such as nocking points, bowstring fit, centering, clearance, brace height, sight alignment, tiller, clicker and plunger adjustment. Since I already created several blogs about tuning specific components your bow, you should start by reviewing the following…

Sight : Following the arrow and adjusting your sights

Clicker : Adjusting and shooting with a Clicker.

Arrows and various tuning methods : Arrow Series – Part 8 – Fine Tuning and Numbering

Remember, bow tuning is an advanced technique and if you can I recommend you employ the knowledge and experience of a trained coach, since another pair of eyes can really help make the difference between a good tuning and perfection. In the next part of the series we will continue and take a deeper dive into the remaining areas of your bow that can be tuned. 

Ontario Provincial Indoor 10-Ring Championship

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom February 16th to February 24th Ontario will be holding the second of the two annual indoor provincial championships, the indoor 10-ring Target Championships. Similar to the indoor Field Championships, this annual tournament is hosted by many sites across the province with mail-in scoring. It was at  this tournament that I won my very first medal at 12 years old, although I didn’t find out until two-months later at my archery club’s Annual Awards Ceremony because my parents wanted it to be a surprise.

The target championship is an indoor FITA tournament and is the standard format for the Canadain National Indoor Championships and all World Indoor Championships. The tournament follows standard FITA rules using a 10-ring 40cm target ( 60 cm for Cub and Pre-cub Recurve) with two rings each of Gold, Red, Blue, Black and White and everyone shooting from 18M. Consistent archers may choose to use a vertical 3 spot to avoid breaking arrows and nocks. A vertical 3-spot is also mandatory for all Indoor World Championships.

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With mail-in tournaments there are no elimination rounds where archers have head-to-head competitions. With the updated FITA target faces in 2012 there is no X ring anymore therefore ties can happen.

This tournament is typically the start of the premier shooting period in Ontario with the national indoor championships at the beginning of March and then COPARCO Multi-national Indoor Championships of Americas (North and South America) mail-in championship to follow. If you live in Ontario and have never competed in an indoor target championships, check out the Ontario Association of Archer’s website for host site and dates near you.