I’m grouping these together as they were somewhat uneventful. Session 13 I shot 40 yards for a bit, then, for fun, had a go at the 100 yards just to see if I could. I shot ten arrows and hit with the tenth (to a cheers from the line of watching archers, not without a sense of humour). Here’s one that sailed on past to about 140 yards, which is encouraging because at least if a clout session comes round I’ll feel I can have a go.
The good thing about the longer distances is that the arrows are easier to find. At 40 yards they bury themselves flat in the short grass and are a bugger to find.
[At this point, before session 14, there was a field shoot, but that’s to be another post.]
So, session 14 was all about 60 yards. There’s a countywide competition coming up hosted by my club and I’m taking part for the fun of it. Most of it is about shooting 60 yards, I’m told. So, I thought I’d try this distance again. I did give 60 yards a go a while back but at the time it seemed like the hundred yards does now – some comical distance to be shot only for fun and left to the compound and recurve shooters.
I might have hit the boss once or twice, which ain’t great in an hour of shooting ends of nine arrows (why nine? That’s all I have left after losing and smashing the rest!)
So, session 15 I was back and earlier. An hour and a half on the 60 yards. This time, a bit better. Getting used to it.
Advice from person A: don’t point at the sky, you’ve no reference point, move your anchor from the side of your mouth to under your chin.
Person B: You need to split fingers, three under will make you shoot low. Use a glove, not your tab.
Person C: But some people say…
And I tried all their variations and decided to stick with what I knew. Three under. My tab. But actually the anchor under the chin does work for me just to get the height I need with the 40lb bow at 60 yards.
Person D watched my shooting. Still a bad release but in part because I hold the string too close to the arrow and sometimes touch it. I hadn’t realised. I was doing that back during my beginner course. Have I learned nothing? Also my release is sometimes sloppy and sometimes fine. Need to concentrate on using back muscles, which I suspect I don’t as much as I should. Obviously a heinous error. As is adjusting my bow grip during the drawing process – how did I get so many bad habits after just a few weeks of less practice?
He also talked me through bending at the waist, not angling the bow or my arms differently. The others points were error correction, but this was the first time I was really understanding this. It made the whole thing easier and my accuracy improved. But also I relaxed. He pointed out I was straining my neck at times before doing this.
One of the things I’d realised in a previous week was that when I just relaxed I shot much better. Somehow, finally, I had got back to where I was when things were going alright. Sure, I’m not as good at 60 as 30, but I’m getting better.
Unfortunately, no more practice before the competition. Not that it matters. I’m going mostly to experience it as a new thing, help out where I can, and fling a few arrows in the process. Apparently there’s cake.