Thursday, November 13, 2014

Archery Break 2

Well, I really enjoyed the presentation at the North Brooklyn Boat Club tonight, and I actually got some pretty good pictures of this most urban of the urban kayak clubs. Here's my first sight of the place as I was crossing the Pulaski Bridge over Newtown Creek - pretty cool, yeah?:

It ended up not being a terribly late evening and I did think about going ahead and doing a writeup tonight, but there were a couple of things I needed to take care of first and I didn't get going early enough - I do need to get a reasonable amount of sleep tonight and I suspect my report of tonight's fun is going to be one of those posts that ends up taking a lot longer than it should (for starters it's going to be picture-heavy and photos take time to upload). I'll circle back to that in a day or two!

However, I'd also been wanting to jot down some notes from my Monday night return to Gotham Archery; I went back for a practice session so that I wouldn't forget what I'd learned the week before, and ended up getting a lot of good suggestions that I want to keep in mind for my NEXT practice session (yes, there will be another one, I'm still not a great shot but I'm still enjoying it). I'd mentioned that I was going on Facebook and said something about updating my profile shot with the new target if it showed any improvement; earlier today a friend asked if I'd done that and I went ahead and posted it and also did a quick writeup with those things I wanted to remember.

Figured I'd post it here too. 

Unfortunately I'm not sure it shows progress as much as just sheer dogged patience in the face of my own mediocrity.
But then that's how I got to be a good kayaker, so I'm not particularly frustrated. 
Although I'd only paid for practice time, the instructors were stopping by my lane occasionally to check out what I was doing and give me hints.
Things I should remember for next practice:
-Stand up tall.
-Hold the bow vertically while loading (this is out of consideration to your neighbor, the lanes are very close together).
-Turn my head completely to look at the target (I got into this thing of looking at it out of the corner of my eye - I also noticed I was tending to rotate my torso towards the target instead of keeping my shoulders perpendicular to the line - good grief, if there's one thing I should be in control of it's torso rotation).
-Don't rush. Draw, settle (one, two, three), shoot.
-Fingers open on the bowstring, don't pinch the end of the arrow between the index and middle fingers. It's nocked on the string, it will stay. Pinching it just disturbs the flight.
-The drawing hand should come straight back to touch the face.
-Further to the drawing - Work on draw consistency - one of the instructors noticed that my hand landed on a slightly different spot each time (probably overdrawn as that was what I was doing in the intro class). Index fingernail to right corner of mouth. Why is this so hard?  
-Release. I was just opening my fingers but there should be a little more energy to it - the hand sort of flies back. I don't understand why this makes a difference but it did.
-And nobody told me this, but CONCENTRATE. I had this thing going on where I would get one good shot, and then the next shot would be close to that one, and so would the next one, and then the next one would just be whacky and I would realize that I hadn't thought through the steps. I really have to do this little mental checklist thing to get it to work and whackiness happens when I don't. So then I would slow myself down and think the next shot through and it would be better.
Not sure why, but they'd decided at the beginning of my session that I wasn't going to be on the clock this time, and I worked on it for over two hours, which was the point at which my arms were near falling off. I kept at it until I finally got a nice tight grouping with all five of my arrows in the center of the target and close together, then decided to stop on a good note.
Next practice session will tell whether that was just luck, or whether things are sinking in.

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