Ontario Spring Classic

Ontario-Spring-ClassicThis past weekend, I attended the Ontario Spring Classic, one of Canada’s premiere archery events usually held in Toronto. This year’s event attracted over 110 archers from Nova Scotia to British Colombia and several international archers including France, Netherlands and the United States.

photo 2The Ontario Spring Classic is a two-day tournament and usually held every year over Father’s day weekend. The tournament starts with a ranking round on Saturday consisting of either double 720 round OR FITA1440 round. On Sunday the tournament finishes with a complete double elimination round.

photo 1This year’s Spring Classic was a double 720 held at Bill Connor Secondary, and doubled as trials for the Youth Olympic Games and the Pan Am games trial run. This year’s competition marked my first outdoor tournament of the 2014 season. Saturday’s weather conditions for the double 720 were crazy. For June, it was very cold at 11°C outside and there were a lot of swirling winds that caused havoc for everyone. The winds were totally unpredictable, they were constantly changing direction and speed, forcing you to really watch closely on each and every shot.

For me, I took the approach to have a good time, talk with friends, continue to embrace it as a new challenge, and a true learning experience. Although the weather finally cleared up for the last two ends, after fighting the winds, I was happy to get back to the hotel, take off my shoes, and sit in the hotel’s hot tub.

photo 3Sunday was a complete reversal of weather conditions, sunny, calm and about 20°C. It was an absolutely beautiful day for shooting. I did manage to last through three rounds of elimination, finally losing to my World Indoor Championships teammate Gayle from Nova Scotia. For me, the best part was getting back to competition, shooting with some of Canada’s top World and Olympic archers, seeing all my friends and spending time with my mom and sister who accompanied me.

ATA Trade Show to Record-Breaking Numbers

Posted by Amy Hatfield on January 16, 2014 in Trade Show2014 ATA Trade ShowA record-setting total of 1,047 retail and distribution buying companies represented by a near-record 3,193 individual dealers, distributors and buyers attended the show, which is good news for the business value of the event. Photo: Shane Indrebo

“We all wait with anticipation as major bow manufacturers…release their newest products at the ATA Show in January each year. This year it’s no different…trust us, there’s plenty to drool over.” – Petersen’s Bowhunting

It’s been dubbed the “big show for the bow,” and that rings true as a rallying cry for the annual ATA Trade Show, but it’s also a million other things.

For starters, it’s like a “second Christmas.” At least that’s what many eager retailers called the event through comments and posts on their shop’s social media accounts. Yet, the 2014 ATA Trade Show, held in Nashville, Tenn., at the newly constructed, downtown Music City Center, remains — first and foremost — a business opportunity for thousands of ATA members.

Read More…

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

NB 2013 1 437

  • 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.

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.

Drying Feathers

Now that we are in the outdoor season there is an opportunity to shoot in all kinds of weather. Weather itself effects the way we shoot, and you can read my earlier blog about different weather conditions and their effects on shooting. As competitive archers, we love our equipment. We have invested time, money, and countless hours in finding the perfect setup for us. So,once the tournament is complete we need to care for our equipment. We need to have our equipment in perfect condition for the next tournament.

Perfect shooting conditions rarely require additional maintenance, however not all tournaments are shot in ideal conditions and rain has the potential to do the most damage if not dealt with immediately since metal rusts, wood warps and fletching matte.

Once out of the weather, take the time to properly and thoroughly dry all your equipment. Using a clean dry cloth, wipe down your limbs, riser and stabilizer. Carefully dry your sight making sure not to lose your sight marks or damage your scope. If you use a spotting scope or binoculars make sure no water has damaged or fogged up the lens.

Finally, carefully dry your arrows by wiping the shafts dry. Plastic Vanes can be dried using a clean dry cloth however feather fletchings will need to be air dried so that are not squished. If your fletchings, plastic or feather, are matted, you need to open them up again and allow them to air dry by following the following guide:

How to dry your feathers

You will need: your arrows, a pot, water, and an oven/stove

  • Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil
  • Hold each arrow’s fletching over the steam
  • Patiently wait for the fletching to start to open up. Remember the fletchings will open the rest of the way as they dry.
  • Place the arrow in a clean dry spot with the points facing down until dry.
  • Repeat for all your arrows and turn off the stove.

Taking the time after a rainy tournament to attend to your equipment, can save you money and grief.

Weather Conditions

For outdoor tournaments, it has been my experience that organizers only cancel archery tournaments for lightning and tornadoes.  Therefore, as an archer, you have to shoot through a wide variety of weather conditions. Although wind is a common troubling weather condition for all archers there are many other types of conditions can also adversely affect your shots at any given tournament.

SUNNY

 “A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” Steve Martin

Most people would think that a bright sunshiny day would be the ideal conditions for shooting outdoors and this is “usually” the case. However, it depends on how the target field has been setup. If the sun is behind the target, then you can have the sun shining directly into your eyes, which it not that ideal. If the sun is directly behind you and the target has a reflective surface you have the same effect.

Sun reflects off everything, so if it is bright in your eyes you need to protect your eyes with a brimmed hat or sunglasses.  Although most tournaments try to abide by the rules about direct and reflective sunlight it is not always possible.

WINDY

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”  Jimmy Dean

The wind conditions are something every archer needs to watch. They are completely unpredictable and can quickly change speed, direction and location.  Windy conditions can be a nightmare for young archers who have a lightweight bow or low draw-weight for different reasons.  Lightweight bows sometimes can become a sail, catching the wind, creating a constant fight to keep it steady and aligned. Low draw-weight bows usually force the arrows into a greater arch to reach the same distance; therefore, they are in the air longer and more affected by strong winds.

Quick Tip: Check the trees, grass, and flags to understand the wind through your shooting plane.

Most archers need to be patient when shooting in high winds and wait for as long as possible for low winds. Remember, the more you practice in different kinds of winds the more you learn about how they affect you.

RAINY

“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain”Unknown

Unlike wind, which can blow your arrows off the target, rain only adds weight to the arrow and causes the arrow to fly a little lower.  Try to remember to keep strong through the entire shot and aim a little high. If your shots were weaker than normal, the rain will make that mistake 10 times more noticeable than it would be in clear weather conditions and produce lower scores.

HOT AND HUMID

“I like to play long matches and in hot weather. Those are my conditions. I like it hot because it’s bad for other players. A lot of them don’t like it hot.”Yuliana Fedak

Most new archers do not think about humidity affecting their arrows however, if the air is heavy it can cause varying effects. If it is very humid, it can cause your arrows not to spin as quickly leaving your shots grouping lower since they do not gain as much distance.

The 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. Another possible affect is quicker dehydration resulting in loss of energy that is extremely bad for any endurance athlete. Therefore, in the heat it is important to know how you react in the heat and humidity and know how to keep cool.

FOGGY

“It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.” Joseph Conrad

Shooting in the fog can be one of the most difficult and dangerous weather conditions. Whenever you are unable to see the target or able to review the shot and compensate it can be extremely trying on your patience and self-esteem. Some archers absolutely refuse to shoot in the fog with associated dangers and for fear of loss of arrows and the associated costs.  If you choose to continue to shoot in the fog focus on hitting the target and understand that tight grouping of your arrows can be a real problem.

Quick Tip: Numbering your arrows and tracking your arrows can help so you can adjust your shots.

COLD

“It doesn’t matter if the water is cold or warm if you’re going to have to wade through it anyway” Teilhard de Chardin

Although outdoor tournaments are rarely held during frigid weather with conditions of snow or hail, it can be very cold in the morning at the start of a tournament in the spring or fall.  Muscles tend to tighten up and you can injury yourself if you do not properly warm-up or wear appropriate clothing. Make sure you are appropriately dressed in layers that can be shed as the day warms up.

“I don’t see pitches down the middle anymore – not even in batting practice.” Hank Aaron

It takes time to figure out what happens to your shots in the different types of weather conditions; therefore, it is important to practice a lot, in all types of weather, to prepare for not so ideal weather conditions.

 “Practice is the best of all instructors.” Publilius Syrus

Thanks to Luke Pacholski for the use of his web images

Importance of Footwear

Shooting requires a good strong foundation therefore comfort and stability as equally important, so you need proper footwear to be successful. When shooting indoors, you need to make certain you are comfortable in the shoes or boots you wear.  Since indoor floors are level, you are able to distribute your weight evenly on your feet, the important things to remember include good arch support, low or minimal heel and lightweight.

Shooting outdoors presents various challenges including weather, location, and safety. Various types of tournaments with various types of weather create different types of obstacles for archers. For target archers who shoot on a relatively level field, the weather is the largest factor. An archer needs comfortable footwear however they also should be prepared for bad weather and/or wet ground to trek through.  You do not want to be stuck shooting in wet feet for several hours; therefore warm, dry feet should be the priority. Rain boots or waterproof footwear are recommended.

If you choose to participate in field and/or 3D tournaments, you are often trekking through the woods and shooting on uneven ground. Once you add in weather conditions, you might have to deal with mud, puddles, slippery conditions as well as bush, vermin and insects. I would recommend you invest in a good set of waterproof boots or Gore-Tex hiking boots. Boots help protect the foot and ankle from brush, and provide traction on uneven or muddy ground. A shoe covering that goes over the ankle is recommended in any place that wood ticks can be present.

Therefore, for outdoor shooting things to consider depending on the types of tournaments you choose to participate in, are comfort, good arch support, low or minimal heel, lightweight, warm, waterproof, breathable, good traction and decent quality. A good quality shoe or boot will help with your posture and in turn improve your scores.

Also, remember to practice frequently in all your different footwear, since every pair can have a slightly different fit and have a different feeling during shooting. A tournament is not the time to be adjusting to a new set of shoes.