Sunday, May 4, 2008

Archery Takes Off, Part 4: Upgrades and Preparation

I continued my weekly trips to Archery USA throughout my first year of law school and into the summer. As August turned to September, and fall began, I made a big decision, and a few things changed because of it. The decision was to enter the Bay State Indoor Open at Archery USA. The changes were upgrading my equipment, and upping my archery schedule.

Upgrading my equipment went to two items. First, I bought a clicker. The clicker is a draw-check device. Using a clicker properly helps tremendously with consistency, as you know that you are always drawing the arrows back to the same place. The main risk of a clicker is releasing a wayward arrow. Without a clicker, if you draw short, your aim will be slightly off, but most likely points will still be scored. With a clicker, if you draw short, and do not pull the arrow all the way through, the arrow will fly completely off the target, and if you are lucky, you might score one point, but I wouldn't count on it. The reason for this is that the clicker rests on the side of the arrow, and when the arrow is pulled through the clicker, it snaps in (or "clicks") against the riser or a clicker plate, and then you release the string and the arrow flies towards the target. If you do not pull through the clicker, however, it continues to put pressure on the side of the arrow, and will push the arrow in the direction of the pressure. In my case, not pulling through the clicker means the arrow will fly dramatically to the left. It is horribly embarrassing when this happens, but fortunately it does not happen often.

The other upgrade to my equipment was in the arrows themselves. When I got this set of arrows, they had been ordered for someone else, who ended up not needing them. The arrows were long, and had vanes (instead of feathers). Because I did not have a clicker plate for my bow (it having gotten lost at some point along the way), the arrows were too long to use a clicker. Anthony helped me take some measurements of my draw length, and determined that the arrows were actually too long and incorrectly spined for me. To fix the problem, I got my set of arrows cut to the proper length, and refletched with feathers. Things were starting to come into place.

As for my schedule, I upped it from once-a-week Saturday trips to the range to double-weekend trips. I also started running mock-tournaments, keeping score for a double-round each day. I cleared 200/400 (Archer level), and 210/420 (average score of 7 points per arrow). I was getting hints and tips, as well as some unofficial-official timekeeping, making my practice sessions as close to actual tournament conditions as I could. I had my final prep sessions the weekend of October 13 and 14. I was as ready as I would ever be for my second tournament.

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