A STICK AND A STRING: Learning Curve

If practice makes perfect, I am in pursuit of perfection.

Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone ever attains true perfection in archery. But, nonetheless, this winter has been all about practicing and a few competitions to keep me sharp. Or, should I say, straight.

I shoot on a regular basis at Trophy Book Archery, in Spruce Grove, Alta., and the owner there, Richard, sets up a fun night every Friday during the winter, so archers have a place to go, escape the winter blues and have some fun with their bows. We have played all sorts of shooting games, from a rendition of golf, to darts, to shooting floating balls and much more.

Hunting requires archers to be able to hit an area the size of a pie plate with consistency. But in target shooting, archers want to repeatedly hit into a space the size of a toonie. A lot of the games we played required the archers to be deadly accurate in a small amount of space, which is easier said than done, but a great way to add a bit of variety to your practice routine.

Before Christmas, I took a morning course at Trophy Book to learn about shooting in a FITA competition, and the next Saturday was my first time shooting in such a competition.

In a FITA competition, archers stand on the line and have to shoot three arrows, all while keeping track of the clock that’s counting down. You’ve got two minutes to shoot your three arrows and then each arrow is scored. The highest points go to the centre of the target, and you earn fewer points as you move away from the centre.

Having 20 or so archers all on the line at the same time is nerve wracking enough, but the clock can also add to the pressure. FITA competitions are really no different than what I do every day at practice – try and hit a bullseye as many times as possible. But the added pressures can make or break you, and that makes FITA a mind-over-matter kind of competition. You shoot three arrows 10 times over, so you can’t let one bad shot mess with your head, and you can’t get carried away with the good shots. There isn’t much of a break period in between your rounds of three shots, so archers need to learn how to re-group or shake off their bad shots quickly. I’m looking forward to shooting more FITA competitions and getting better at target shooting. Even if your interest is hunting, improving your accuracy and learning how to shake off bad shots or calm yourself down is never a bad thing. After all, buck fever gets the best of everyone at some point.

If you’re interested in FITA shoots, visit www.worldarchery.org for more information.

Photo: My best grouping yet.

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