|I had LT aim at the top point of the star. Great job at 40 yards!|
Meeting new bowhunters is something I love to do. Seeing the look on their faces when they hit that bullseye or when something goes right. That is awesome to me. Recently, I met Lautoua (LT for short) in a unique way. Although we live fairly close to one another and shoot at the same range, we never crossed paths. He happened to find me on ArcheryTalk and we decided to meet up at El Dorado Park in Long Beach. We met up a couple weeks ago on a Friday night, chatted for a few minutes and then went about our shooting. LT explained he was having difficulty keeping a good group at 30 and 40 yards. Having had similar issues in the past, I thought I could help him out. When I received a message from him asking if I'd be at the range on Tuesday evening, I knew my answer was going to be yes.
LT is one of those guys who is always smiling on the range, even when things aren't going his way. After talking about his run at the park, we jumped right into his errant arrow issues. After verifying he had the correct spine, we set up at 20 yards and I had him shoot an arrow. Immediately I saw the issues. First off, his peep had been set very low and he was having to lean over to see through it. We literally raised it an inch and it was like night and day. You could now see the comfort in his form as he relaxed when drawing. Sure, he had to adjust his sight now, but after three minor tweaks, he was dropping arrows into tight groups. His confidence level doubled in a matter of minutes. For a new archer (he just picked up a bow six months ago), LT has surprisingly good form.
The second issue was a simple fix. His release was set too long for him and he was punching the trigger. He admitted it felt weird shooting the correct way with it, but you could see the change in arrow flight almost immediately.
There was still one more underlying correction that we worked on that many archers struggle with. He was gripping the bow tightly, torquing it, and causing the arrows to fly errant left and right. After a quick lesson in torque and archery, LT began changing his grip. It took a few shots because he had been doing it for so long, but that is where anyone giving instruction must have patience. Right away he wanted to go out to 30 yards. This would be the test. He dropped arrow after arrow into a small window we had discussed. He did incredibly well! He mentioned this was his best group at 30 yards ever. I was super stoked for him!
LT didn't stop there and this is where I love seeing confidence take over. He wanted to shoot at 40 yards and who was I to say no! At 40 yards he did the same thing. Arrow after arrow was in the kill zone on the target. Once a few arrows started to drift left, I asked him if his arm was tired. He admitted it was and I encouraged him to stop shooting. Bad habits can form quickly when you shoot with a tired arm.
With LT dialed in, I was now able to get my HHA Sports Optimizer Lite King Pin sighted in at 60 yards. I figured I was close, after having shot on Friday and Saturday of last week, but I am a bit obsessive. I want to be 100% sure it was right on. Ten arrows later I was dropping arrows within 4" at 60 yards. That felt good! It also gave me the opportunity to talk single pin sights with LT. He had hinted at wanting to look at the HHA sights, so I handed him my bow to look over the King Pin. He was more interested in the Lite Ultra series, so I handed him a catalog and told him if he had any questions to give me a call.
Shooting at the range during the week can be tough to schedule, but this day worked out for both of us and the results were fantastic. LT is dialed in and so am I. We are now ready to hit the range whenever and start shooting without having to tinker with our sights. Meeting new bowhunters and sharing ideas is a great experience. I hope I have the opportunity to meet up with LT and many others this year. El Dorado Park's archery range seems like a great middle ground to meet, chat, and shoot. If anyone is interested in getting out and flinging some arrows and hearing boring hunting stories of my youth, feel free to email me and maybe I can meet you. Most Friday evenings you can find us out there at the far end getting in the zone.