Here at Predator's Spot League HQ, we reached out to the some of our league participants that are posting some stellar scores. We asked them, "what does it take to shoot at the "elite" level?" Here is some of their tips, tricks, & insights on keeping those arrows in the "X" ring.
We talked with 2 of our league participants, Paul Sibley and Caden Jones. Paul is one of our "remote" participants, shooting in Colorado. Caden is a local to San Jose, and has been shooting his way up the ranks. We asked each of them a few questions that we hope you'll find interesting and useful:
Question: What is your practice routine?
Paul: "I always have a goal with my practice session and based on that goal I tailor my session accordingly. If my goal is form or equipment based I’ll spend some time with the blank bale to work on it. If it’s form based and something I’m working on incorporating then depending on how difficult the change is then I’ll go blank bale to short yardage and work back to 20yds. At this point most changes or flaws are fairly minor and so the time it takes to incorporate the change is usually fairly short. For right now, league is just another way to have practice on what form changes I’m looking to improve. In January things will get serious.
If I’m working up to a tournament about 3 weeks out I’m done with changes and I’m shooting for score. Vegas is a good example here so my routine 3 weeks out: warm up like I do in Vegas, about 1.5 hours (45-1 hour start with blank bale then start to shoot at the target, if the blank bale is good I’ll shoot an arrow at the target noticing only if the shot feels the same and the timing is good, not where it hits) when I’ve got the right feeling I start shooting for score then I take a half hour off before stepping up and shooting 2 practice ends then I start scoring. The initial game is the one I make special note of then I keep shooting games as time allows."
Caden: "If everything is flowing and I don't think I need to work on anything, I'll try and shoot about 60 arrows a day, or two 300 rounds to keep my form sharp and preserve my strength. If I feel like I need to work on something or believe I'm not performing as well, I'll up it to four 300 rounds a day, sometimes they'll be at 6 or 7 yards so I can work on my form, and sometimes they'll be at 20 where I'm just letting it flow."
Question: What’s “the secret” for shooting a 300?
Paul: "The best advice I can give is let go of the score. Just focus on your shot. If it’s a good feeling shot then the score will take care of itself. Each shot is its own opportunity to take the best shot you can, the target just happens to be in the way of your arrow. Focus only on the steps necessary for your shot to be as good as you can. The hard part is learning what a good shot feels like and learning what steps you need to focus on and what to let go of. That just takes time, a good coach will cut that time down significantly."
Caden: "The secret is that you just have to practice and build a solid mental game to shoot 300s. There's no "secret tuning" to shooting a 300, you can't shoot 300s by fletching your arrows a new way, buying a new release, or trying to bare shaft tune. A 4-degree helical is gonna shoot the same amount of 300s as a 3-degree offset. You just have to develop a shot that you can repeat and build a good mental game."
Question: What’s it feel like to shoot a 300 “for score”, not just practice?
Paul: "I’ve never thought about this. I don’t want to diminish it but it feels kinda ho hum. When it first happened it was a big deal. Now it’s just the end result of making 1 good shot 30 times. If it’s a 299 or 298 or whatever it actually feels the same. Sometimes even a good shot doesn’t break when the dot is in the middle that’s just how it goes sometimes. At the end I just ask myself what did I do well, and what will I do better."
Caden: "Shooting for score feels entirely different than practice. You get excited, shakey, and start to think about what you're doing. The first time I shot a 300 for score I couldn't believe it. However, I believe everyone experienced what it's like to shoot a 300, it's the same feeling as when you are about to shoot a new personal best. The first time I shot a 290 felt almost identical to the first time I shot a 300."
Question: If you had to pick 1 piece of equipment that helps you shoot a 300, what is it?
Paul: "If absolutely had to pick 1 thing and it had to be equipment then it’s going to be my arrow recipe. It might not work for everyone but it definitely works for me."
Caden: "Getting quality arrows are probably the most helpful thing to shooting a 300, finding an arrow that is forgiving and lets you hit a 10 when you don;t break a perfect shot is extremely helpful. Almost every 300 I've shot in league so far has had 1 or 2 arrows where I executed terribly or my pin was super far from the center and still hit 10s. Getting good arrows won't make you shoot a 300, but it will make it just a little bit easier. It might turn some of those arrows that are just out into ones that are just in."
A big "THANKS" to both Paul & Caden for sharing their insights & experience with us. We hope you can take some of this inspiration into your shooting routing and take your archery to the next level!
-- Team Predators!