Archery Tournaments -Tips to help you be ready.
Gather as much information as you can.
In order to prepare for a tournament, try to find out as much as you can about the tournament before you get there.
What is the exact location? Are there any costs like entry fees or parking fees? Find out if there are any facilities such as a bathroom or a snack bar. It’s nice to know if they have services or if the range has no amenities. If it’s a summer time tournament, find out if they have plenty of shade and water. If they don’t have anything like that then bring your own shade, water, snacks and a folding chair or two. You’ll have a much better time waiting for your turn to shoot. Follow these Archery tournaments tips to help you be ready for your next contest.
Get the contact info for the event and send an e-mail with any questions you may have. Be satisfied with whatever answer you get. It’s their tournament and their rules. Be courteous and polite and grateful if you get a reply. Most of the time, anybody you will be dealing with will likely be a volunteered. They shouldn’t be mistreated in any way. You can really be kicked out for abusing an official.
When you are looking for more information don’t bombard the organizers with a lot of questions that have probably been answered on a flyer or a website. If they say they will be using World Archery rules or they say they have stated their own rules then you should read up on all information provided. Look on-line for rules if they say follow the XYZ organization’s rules then read up on the XYZ organization.
But never ever tell a tournament host that their rules don’t match another club or organizations. ALWAYS REMEMBER that it is their tournament and their rules. Be flexible. If they tell you the rules will be announced at the tournament then be ready for anything. Things are about to get even ore entertaining.
Are you ready for anything?
It’s a lot of fun to watch everybody try to adapt to quirky, new little rules. A biggie is if they say no range finders. People who don’t practice judging distances with the naked eye will freak out. Sometimes the organizers might tell you that the last target shot is taken while you have one knee on the ground.
Be prepared for whatever challenge they throw at you. It is a great way to spend a day learning new things about your abilities or about which skills you need to work on. Don’t grumble about doing new things. Have fun and laugh off the changes while you watch your competition struggle with the inconvenience.
If you can find out target distances and types of targets it will help you know how to practice. If it is a 3-d tournament or a standard National target, get something similar and practice. It just might give you a little better chance to improve your scores.
It helps to know if there will be multiple rounds of shooting where you have a chance to accumulate points or do you only get one round at multiple targets and all scores tallied at the end like in a field archery shoot.
Standing at a known distance like in a formal World Archery tournament and shooting more than one round allows you to settle in and focus more, thus allowing you to relax and concentrate on improving with each round.
Field archery, on the other hand, challenges you to plan each shot, calculate distances and make your single shot at each different target really counts for as many points as possible.
Don’t panic if there isn’t much information available. Some tournaments keep secrets to make the tournament more interesting. Especially field tournaments. They are often on uneven ground with targets hidden in brush and at unknown distances. You should always be practicing determining distance without relying solely on a range finder.
In those instances when you can’t find a lot of information prep as normal but try shooting at different unfamiliar distances when you practice. See how your bow shoots at in between distances. If you normally shoot at twenty yards and then thirty then once in a while, shoot at twenty-three yards or twenty-six. Know where your arrows hit at the in between distances and you’ll do better in tournaments with varying distances to the target. You should also practice judging distances without a range finder.
Will there be food, snacks and plenty of water available at the venue? Just to be safe you should always bring plenty of food and snacks to get you through a long day. Popular tournaments have more competitors and more competitors will make the tournament take longer. It is best to be ready for a long competition.
Learn to deal with stress.
Work on your mental game. I like to practice and imagine that my next shot is the difference between winning or losing. That way when I get or if I get into a final shoot off, I will have at least prepared my mind for such a situation.
Learn ways to calm yourself down in a stressful situation. One of the best ways for me to calm down is to review the fundamentals of my shots as I am waiting for my turn to shoot. It keeps me from thinking about winning or losing and just making each shot as it presents itself.
Another way to put your body under stress is to run to the twenty yard target and back, while you are still trying to catch your breath take a shot while you are focusing on the fundamentals. Breathe deep and steady your mind and take the shot.
Don’t freak out if you have a bad shot. Most tournaments have cumulative scores over multiple shots. Everybody is going to feel some pressure and probably blow a few shots. Just stay focused and don’t worry about a few bad shots, just try to recover and concentrate on making each shot better as the tournament goes forward.
Make practice better using perfect practice techniques.
When you decide to enter a tournament and start practicing for it, you should practice as much as you can. Without over shooting and possibly injuring yourself, you should get in as much quality practice as possible. Just like baseball pitchers have to take care of their arm, you should be sure not to overly stress your muscles while you prepare. Shoot all you can WITHOUT injuring yourself.
Warm up, stretch and ice sore spots if you need it, but I don’t recommend that you shoot so much that ice would be necessary. Start practicing early on before the tournament and gradually build up to however many shots you think the tournament will require. Find out this information if you can, if not, just practice as much as possible to be ready for anything.
That article in the link above is for bow hunters and tournament archers as well.
Make sure that you have quality practice sessions. Even if you only have half an hour to practice at a time, be sure to drill on good technique and making the shot. Don’t rush your practice shots just to get more shots in. Make each shot as perfect as you can.
Develop a routine for every shot. Get that routine down perfectly in your head and focus on that when you practice. Don’t skip any steps and ingrain your shot routine into your head. On tournament day, your mind will easily flow into your routine and any stress about your form can be alleviated.
Even if you are a beginning archer, one of the best ways to test your progress is to shoot in a tournament. You will learn so much in your first few tournaments and you’ll know what to expect for the next tournament. Don’t worry about the competitors all around you or if they are better shooters than you. They could have a slow start or a bad finish because they get nervous just like everybody else.
If you are your steady reliable self because you practiced hard and taught yourself to handle any stress, then you’ll probably surprise yourself and a few others as well. Remember to focus on your shooting routine and breathe.
Win or not, a tournament is a great place to meet people, make friends and get in some serious shooting. All the while, you’ll be learning to handle a little pre-contest jitters and getting your emotions under control. Be nervous, stressed or freaked out, but just for a minute. Then step to the line and start your shooting routine for every round, every shot. If you overcome the initial worries and put forth your best attempt on every shot, you cannot be a loser.
Put forth the very best you have to offer. Take the experience and use it to build your skills and control your emotions. practice with your next tournament in mind and use any previous tournament experience to help you make minor tweaks to your practice routine to improve.
Make a list of all the gear you have ever needed when you went to the archery range. Get a big bag or case and make sure everything you need to shoot is in that bag. Make another list of that includes all the snacks and drinks and things like extra arrow, folding chairs and everything you usually take to the range. Put all of that stuff in a bag and every time you get ready for a tournament be sure to check your list.
Do you have a jacket, hat, sun glasses. Did you remember your bow case and arrows? What about your release, quiver, chest protector and arm guard. It won’t end your tournament if you forget some things. You can always borrow a release or a hat . But some tournaments won’t let you shoot without arm guards and chest protectors. Know ahead of time before you show up. It really is a bad feeling if aren’t allowed to play because you don’t have the right gear.
Be on your best behavior.
Show up early. If you have to be sorted into age groups or they have you set to shoot at certain times, you don’t want to be late and miss your chance. Most tournaments don’t wait around to start for stragglers to show up because there are usually just too many people to get through the courses. Don’t be the one that shows up too late and then complains about not being allowed to participate. It’s a public event and even though you paid an entry fee it doesn’t mean you are allowed to ruin it for everybody else. Play nice.
Always, always, always follow the rules. Most of them are for your protection. The rest are to make the tournament as fair and interesting as possible. Don’t whine if you get busted and get disqualified. Everybody else managed to do it right. You don’t deserve special treatment because you didn’t bother to pay attention.
If there are junior shooters and ladies around, be especially nice. They don’t need to be hassled or teased. They get that enough from jerks all the time. Don’t be a jerk. Save the alcohol until the tournament is over. Nobody wants to be hassled by an annoying drunk either. It’s not fun to be around and nobody should have to worry about getting home safely. Everybody should be able to have a great time and enjoy themselves. Same with illicit substances. It just isn’t good to expose kids to that junk.
Above all else, always remember it is a sport, a game. Nobody is going to be hurt if they win or lose but everyone can have fun if everybody does their part to play fair. Cheaters never win anything but a hollow victory devoid of honor, pride and sportsmanship.
It’s great to win when it’s through your hard effort. It’s actually why you are competing in the first place. To do YOUR best.
Who’s keeping score?
When it comes time to score, be sure you know all the rules. How do you score an x as opposed to a bulls eye or ten ring hit? How is an arrow touching a line scored? Who does the scoring is a must know item. Most tournaments have pairs of shooters score each other’s arrows. If you are scoring someone else’s arrows, you owe it to them to know the rules. If you don’t know how, tell the officials and they can make sure you learn how and can ask for help.
Before the tournament test your gear and keep up the maintenance. Always bring a few tools to tighten loose screws or make last minute repairs. It isn’t ideal to work on a bow just before a tournament, but is worse to sit out the shooting because something got loose and you don’t have the special tool you need to fix it. Most of the time someone will have a few tools, but if you have a newly designed bow, the tools may be very specialized. Bring what you need to work on your bow.
Bring extra arrows in case yours get damaged in a match. Often times, arrows get hit by other arrows and get damaged. Bring a few spares, just in case. If you have a spare release, put it in your bag, same with any spare parts you might need to replace if they break during the competition. It’s better to have a chance to fix your rig than not.
Don’t forget bug spray, sun screen, chap stick and any other little necessities you might want. A big shade umbrella or pop up shade might be appreciated by a lot of people. Bring some folding chairs for between rounds cooler of ice-cold drinks helps on a hot day.
Remember, the whole point is to have fun?
When you go, just have fun, meet people, make friends and enjoy the excitement. It will be entertaining and you might even learn a thing or two. If you make it all about winning at all cost, you will have a lousy time and miss out on a lot of the best parts of a tournament.
If you like doing these kinds of things, you might consider becoming a volunteer to help with setting up, or helping the organizers score or whatever they need. It’s always appreciated if everyone stays to help clean up and put equipment away, so try to help out with that, too. It might just make the difference between the event being a one-time deal or turning into a yearly or even monthly event.
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