Shooting arrows perfectly doesn't happen without much practice. Also, you can practice your tail off and still come up short. Just ask the Team USA archery team. They shot great yesterday and still ended up one point short. They still snagged a silver medal, which is fantastic. It is the only Olympic event I have ever been 100% into. Great job, Team USA!! Now getting back to my original point - practice. Friday evening was range day. I met up with Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen, Kerry Mackey, at my house and we ventured over to El Dorado Park, where we met up with Brett, Brandon and Tyler. After some introductions and chatting we got to shooting.
For the past couple months, I have been shooting every Friday and I have been doing fairly well. Then, last weekend I adjusted my peep and noticed my string needed a half twist to get it just right. I didn't want to run to the pro shop right away, so I rotated my d-loop and got my peep set. I had taken my bow to the range and thought I had everything dialed in. That is, until Friday evening.
|Brett, myself, Brandon and Kerry at the El Dorado Park archery range in Long Beach, CA.|
The first few arrows I shot were atrocious! Then it proceeded to get even worse. I was shooting low and left all night. I always put more pressure on myself because I want to get better and better, but Friday it took a bad turn for me. The guys said it didn't seem that bad, but I felt like crap. I kept hearing a weird noise and I mentioned to Brandon a couple times that I heard a noise and felt a vibration. I looked high and low and could not find the problem. My arrows were still all over and I was frustrated. When we finished shooting I was dejected and ticked at myself. No pity party, just downright ticked. I went home, set the bow down and called it a day.
Waking up Saturday morning felt good. Almost immediately I thought about the prior nights shooting. I couldn't shake it. Then I sat down and watched Team USA vs. Team Italy in the gold medal match of the Olympic archery competition. Watching these guys shoot made my day, but it also showed me that you can be the best of the best and still not be perfect. I think that was God's way of telling to stop putting so much pressure on myself to be 'perfect' and to just enjoy bowhunting. It was a wake up call.
Knowing I had a busy week, my loving (and awesome) wife decided to give me some time to get a few things done and to relax a bit. Her plan was to take my daughter out for a few hours which would leave me to focus on Friday's fiasco at the range. Before she left, I took my daughter out to shoot her new bow for a few minutes. Just seeing the smile on her face made me a proud papa. Then the girls packed up and left.
My next stop was my personal archery shop, a.k.a. the garage. I wanted to find my bow level set to be sure everything was perfectly level. There I go with that word again. I searched the garage high and low and could not find it. The frustration was beginning to take hold again. In all of the places I knew it had to be... it wasn't. Grrrrr!!! I filled the afternoon looking for the set, taking my recycled bottles and cans back and cleaning the garage while looking for the levels. No dice. The frustration was too much and I hit the gym for a solid workout before my girls came home. It felt fantastic to sweat!
After explaining my woes to my wife, and discussing how I rarely misplace anything, I went to the garage again knowing full well the levels HAD to be there. I stopped and thought about it. I had been putting all of my tools in my backpack so I'd have them on hand at the range. Was it there? No way. Why in the hell would I put it in there? I felt an urge to check and in the side pocket were the two levels I had been searching for. I suddenly felt like there was a huge weight off my shoulders. I proceeded to check out my bow and found it completely level. I had worried about the 3rd axis and everything being level for no reason.
When I took the bow off my workbench, I noticed my stabilizer looked funny. Not funny really, but it had a slight 'bend' to it. Upon further inspection I saw that my stabilizer was coming unglued from the mount!!! When I held onto it and moved it, it nearly came off in my hand. Three more wiggles and it did come off! I am 99% sure I found my vibration problem. I fixed the stabilizer and added the weighted end that I had removed prior to this season. My bow is now balanced in my hand with a full quiver of arrows. I feel much more confident now, even if I haven't taken it back to the range.
It just goes to show you that you can practice all year and have one event happen that frustrates you beyond belief. It also showed me that I just needed to look over the bow, avoid the frustration and just take a breather. Some days it's harder than others. I am looking forward to hitting the range this week to test out my theory. Wish me luck!