One thing I love about archery is that it’s so clear to tell if you’re improving or not. Although you can have some good or bad days, generally the target will measure your improvement for you. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the target I used these past two weeks because I decided not to use a brand new one each time, but I do have my score cards which will compensate for that. Two weeks ago my mentor and I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to keep track of my score although it serves no specific purpose. Here is a picture of my past two weeks at archery.

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Now to explain the ┬áscore card, first of all if you refer to my In-depth mentorship and progress so far post you will see a picture of a target with the point system on it. This card directly reflects that and this scoring system and card is used internationally for both recreational and competitive shooting. Now the “M’s” on the card represent a miss, meaning that it did not fall into the rings at all and an X means that it hit the very inner yellow ring. Although hitting an X doesn’t give you more points, it is used to decide tie breakers in competitive archery. One cool fact about scoring, if your arrow ends up breaking the line in between two section, you automatically take the higher number as your score. That’s why some people tend to use fatter arrows, though there are disadvantages that come with that tactic as well.

Also, this past week I switched my regular bow from a 14 pound to a 19 pound bow. This doesn’t mean that it actually weighs 19 pounds. It means that when you pull it back to its full length, then it will weigh that amount. So it is quite a physical task. I was also able to try a long bow (the type of bow that Katniss uses in the Hunger Games if you were curious) and along with this long bow I had to use feathered arrows which are very bright and colourful. Shooting with a long bow is most like shooting on instinct, whereas you don’t try to stay still and aim. Instead you just let it fire.

Anyway, as you can see I have been steadily improving my accuracy along with some of the technical problems I stated in my previous post like keeping a loose grip on my bow. Hopefully I can continue to see a trend with my shots to determine an effective method to improve even further.

Now to address some of the questions stated in Ms. Mulder ten Kate’s blog post. One thing I have been suffering with is my lack of communication with my mentor. Due to the fact that my mentor and I have quite a large generation gap it is hard to communicate through technology. Unfortunately, my mentor doesn’t have a smart phone that allows with IM (instant messaging) so we had to resort to phone calls. We had quite a number of problems getting in contact with each other due to the fact that both of us had quite busy schedules and times when we couldn’t be reached through a call. To solve this problem, this last week I offered two different methods of communication, one being email and the second being my home phone (which has voicemail). Hopefully this will reduce the communication challenge that we have been facing for the last few weeks.

Besides the lack of communication, many things have been going very well in our sessions so far. One thing that I do believe is coming along well is our communication and interaction at the sessions. I feel that both of us are listening to each other and I also feel that the conversation isn’t always just one way, from the mentor to the student. Therefore this way of interaction is improving the relationships and also improving how much I learn. If I turned a blind eye to the advice that was being given, I surely couldn’t have learned as much as I did now in this short period of time. By having the conversation open to going both ways I feel that I have the freedom to ask questions to further my learning and I feel that this way of communication is going well so far.

Lastly, three strategies that I feel could improve our sessions as a whole is:

1. To ask more detailed questions on certain areas.

2. To be willing to take more risks

3. To understand more history and culture behind archery.

By asking more detailed questions this would allow for more detailed and informative answers from my mentor. I would also like to take more risks, such as, not shying away from attempting to shoot at a smaller target or try a different bow, etc. Lastly, if I understand more about archery as a whole, I’m sure that it will improve our sessions for I would be able to ask more informed and relevant questions, therefore leading a better discussion. I hope to be able to improve on these three strategies over the next two weeks.

Overall, I am enjoying archery a lot and I can’t wait to share more through my blog posts and my presentation on In-depth night, yes I’m already thinking about an event 3 months away.

Alison