No, I don’t have sudden delusions about my abilities and, no, I have not started entering big competitive events. But, I did shoot in my club championship. If I am honest it wasn’t really a lot different to a normal shoot, a little more formal but not much else. However, it was a bit more interesting than usual for me for other reasons.
First of all, I was coming off the previous session – which had been a total disaster. Now, when I say this I mean it. I scored a grand total of 175 for a Short Metric round – that’s half what I scored the first time I shot one! Second, that terrible score cost me three arrows. Yes, three. The first two gained dents and serious bends but the third broke, snapped into two pieces.
Now, I only had eight aluminium arrows to start with and we can only use aluminium arrows in the field. So, at the end of the shoot I had a terrible score and not enough arrows to even shoot at the club championships on Saturday. Not a great session all round. Although, in fairness, the arrows may well have been bent before and I only noticed at this session – I had not been checking them closely enough.
Around £85 and a trip to Chiltern Archery (great shop by the way, highly recommended) later, I had eight new Easton X7 Eclipse 2214 arrows. I could have gone for more of the Easton Blues I had before but I thought a small step up might be worth it. Arrows are expensive and the X7’s were the best I could afford.
Armed with my shiny new arrows I showed up to the club championships, thinking I had properly prepared myself. My scores had suffered since adding stabilisation to the bow, I figured that was down to all the extra weight so I just took the long rod – the V-bar, extender and short rods all stayed at home.
I stepped up to the line to shoot sighters for my Short Metric round at 50m and . . . missed the boss completely with every shot. Okay, adjust the sights. First end and . . . missed the boss completely with all but one arrow. One of the other archers said all my arrows were going really low, so I adjusted the sights and then shot the second end . . . missing the boss with every arrow. Another of the archers at the field (who wasn’t shooting) said they thought the arrows were hitting my sight so I moved the sight in a bit. Shot another end with no more luck, only to be told it looked like they were still hitting the sight. So, I moved the sight all the way in. Shot another end, good news – they weren’t hitting the sight any more; bad news – I still missed everything as now my sight marks were way off. So I adjusted the sights, shot an end, readjusted the sights and shot another end – finally hitting the boss but scoring poorly – and . . . it was time to move the targets to 30m! Half the round gone and a total score of 31 from 5 hits.
For 30m I, once again, adjusted the sights and began to shoot. Finally, every shot at least hit the boss! 36 out of 36 hits at 30m, a score of 206 – nothing spectacular but not terrible. I even got a 10. Of course, with a round total of 237 I came dead last of the Gents Recurve shooters by some margin but, at least, I now had some idea of where it had all been going wrong. Bent arrows and some, or all, of the hitting the sight on the way through did explain a lot. Now I have somewhere to start from where I may actually be able to improve.
The help I got from fellow archers was invaluable but brought up an issue. There’s an unwritten rule that you don’t offer help or advice to other archers unless they ask for it. This seems crazy to me, why would we not want help if it was offered? If you don’t want it then just ignore it or say no thanks. Personally I need all the help I can get and will gladly take it!