Shoot Report – 3D Championships 2015 part 2

3D Championships - Flete Estate 2015

3D Championships – Flete Estate 2015

So this is part two of the write up of the nfas 3d championships held at Flete estate outside of Plymouth. You can read the first part here.

Saturday I shot B course – Tavistock Archers

Saturday would see me shoot B course and Sharon would be on A with the day starting quite bright and warm. B course layers were from the Tavistock Archers club. I started on peg 19 which was a very short walk out the only downside being it meant we would pass catering only once between target  36 and target 1.
My shooting group would be Andy from Lyme Valley shooting longbow, Kate, Dawn, both shooting flatbow, and Jill Haynes from  Pride Park who has recently swapped to Longbow.

B course - 3d mountain lion between the trees

B course – 3d mountain lion between the trees

B course was on a wooded hillside overlooking the camp site and would be physically more tiring than we expected as you went up and down the slopes, with the aid of a few well placed ropes. Congratulations to anyone who got round without falling since I failed this on a comparatively flat bit of the course slipping on the bluebells and jarring my right wrist.  The Tavistock club had worked hard to cut routes through the undergrowth and done their best to cut steps up and down the steeper slopes.

B course - 3D frog behind the tree

B course – 3D frog behind the tree

The other thing about the wood was the sheer quantity of bluebells covering the forest floor along with the scent of the bluebells and wild garlic which hung heavy in the air. Though the bluebells did make searching for wayward arrows challenging at times.

B course - the paths with wild garlic and blue bells

B course – the paths with wild garlic and blue bells

Saturday would prove to be a very slow day for us and others. We were waiting on the majority of pegs for 5-10 minutes or longer whilst the group in front were finishing shooting, searching for arrows or scoring. This didn’t make for a flowing days shooting. In fairness it wasn’t their fault as apparently there were slow archers in front of them, which caused the delays. Though the organisers were allowing jumping of slow groups it wouldn’t have helped.

B course - 3D Mosquito

B course – 3D Mosquito

Having said this our group gelled well and we had a good day and a lot of laughs. It was great to shoot with Jill, she is a great laugh and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. She is also a great coach and was my assessor when I did my coaching course all those years ago. She told us of the  nightmare journey down from Derbyshire a couple of days earlier, having first had a blow out of the caravan tyre on the motorway and then damaging the side of the caravan when pulling onto the site.

B course - Jill with her longbow

B course – Jill with her longbow

Back to the shoot.
Overall the course was pretty good, though there were long delays on one target where a safety issue had been identified. B course was situated next to X course and unfortunately a shot on X course had the same over shoot as target 35 on B course which hadn’t been spotted until archers were missing (I don’t mean that they had been shot but that their arrows were missing). This resulted in coordinating shooting and collection of arrows on the two course which Tavistock marshalling.
Distances were fair for the size of target and can think of only one that might be considered stretched which was a 3D boar.

B course - long distance 3d boar target - Kate having to go to the blue peg

B course – long distance 3d boar target – Kate having to go to the blue peg

 

Though I wish there weren’t so many course layers who set targets with trees directly behind. Think there might have been a couple of shots where you felt too close to the previous target but I’ve seen far worse on open shoots. Overall I thought it was a good challenging course and fun even if it was a very slow day.

By the time we were sitting down for a meal that evening back at the hotel the results were up on-line and saw Sharon leading in ladies Hunting Tackle by just 4 points.

Sunday A course – Ashcombe

 

A course - briefing

A course – briefing

Sunday was a more overcast day and would see me shooting A course, set by Ashcombe archers. Sharon on B course.
My Shooting group changed completely and would be made up of  Matt shooting AFB, Dominic and Sandra both shooting longbow.
A course - Matt shooting 3D bear

A course – Matt shooting 3D bear

The day flowed better than Saturday with significantly fewer hold ups, I think we were waiting on only a couple of targets the whole day.

A course - view of the 3D wolf in ferns in the woodland

A course – view of the 3D wolf in ferns in the woodland

Ashcombe’s catering was very good with a wide selection of cakes, hot food and even fresh fruit. This course would be very different from yesterday’s being largely flat shots.

A Course - Dominic shooting 3D Mosquito

A Course – Dominic shooting 3D Mosquito

I think it is fair to say I didn’t enjoy elements of A course though. They had a beautiful piece of woodland where they set some very interesting and challenging targets. I thought this worked well and was where we started on target 16.

A Course - Dominic shooting 3D Deer

A Course – Dominic shooting 3D Deer

The section I really didn’t gel with was the section in the field. They set a loop from the main wood through the field to a smaller wood and then back through the field.

A course - the 3D deer in the open

A course – the 3D deer in the open

Targets 19 to 36. There were I think  12 targets in the field which I think was excessive for a 36 target field course. I  think a few maybe  5,  6 max in the open is fine but a third of the total course is too many.
Target 1 - A Course - between the trees

Target 1 – A Course – between the trees

Of the ones they positioned in the field there were some very nicely set targets like the frog you shot off the stump or brown bear over the fallen tree.
A course - the 3D frog from the tree stump

A course – the 3D frog from the tree stump

There were others that didn’t work for me or engage with me, like the cobra, brown ram and dinosaur. In contrast the dinosaur in the wood was placed really well. Maybe they didn’t have time to fit them all in the main wood.
A course - view of the ferns in the woodland

A course – view of the ferns in the woodland

I don’t think it helped much when the rain hit and we were in the field. true it wasn’t as wet as past years but it’s not much fun shooting in the rain in an open field. I know the sport is called field archery but that’s the irony as most of the time we are in a wood.
A- Course Sandra shooting

A- Course Sandra shooting

In all though it wasn’t a bad course being safe and with some well set targets in the woodland, though I would have liked to see some more in woods. Again I was lucky enough to have a good group that was socialable and fun to shoot with.

The results

Special congrats to a certain Jill Haynes who won bronze in ladies longbow, well done Jill. Hope it made up for all the problems you had getting there. My congratulations to Colin from Severn Valley who came second in gents crossbow. After a poor performance I managed to scrape in at 11th place in gents afb.
As some will already know Sharon retained her championship title by winning ladies hunting tackle having stormed the second day coming in with over 600 points.
Sharon celebrating her win in the bar on Sunday night.

Sharon celebrating her win in the bar on Sunday night.

Thanks for reading.

Shoot report – NFAS 3D Championships

Flete Estate - 3D champs 2015

Flete Estate – 3D champs 2015

As I started writing this I realised a few things

  1. Firstly it was going to be a long report so I’m breaking it down into two parts. Overview of the event, day one and day two.
  2. Secondly some of my comments maybe read as gripes or criticism based on just not shooting well. That’s not the intention they are my observations, thoughts and opinions.

So here goes,I hope you like this epic.
The late May bank holiday weekend saw us load up the car on Friday morning and head south to just outside Plymouth for the NFAS 3D championships. Unlike others we had a pretty easy drive down and popped into the venue before heading to the hotel. This year we decided against camping and booked into a Premier Inn about 20 minutes drive from the venue. This would prove to be a popular choice of accommodation for many competitors as the restaurant and bar was well stocked with fellow archers in the evening.
The 2015 champs would be the first time we would shoot a 3D championships not held at Osmaston estate, instead it would be at the Flete Park, Devon. I think the extra distance put a few people off travelling, which was a shame as the venue was stunning in parts and relatively easy to get to on the roads (traffic allowing).
This year would also see Sharon defending her championship title in ladies Hunting Tackle. Here is a link to last years shoot report (Link )

40 v 36

Due to these lower numbers of attendees (some 550 rather than 650 or so in previous years) the organisers reduced the courses from the normal 40 3d targets to only 36.
I can understand why they did this, as it made it easier for the course layers but personally I don’t think this was to prove a good idea. The extra few empty targets might have lessened the delays experienced by some archers on the courses.

Start the clock

The other thing which was new was that they instigated a time limit of 8 hours from the start of shooting. Any archers not completing the 36 target course within this time would have to be scored only on the targets they had shot.
This worked with groups being off in good time, but I wonder if this was partly due to

  1. Reduced numbers at the event meant there were less people.
  2. No particularly long walk outs to the courses and corresponding walk backs at end. On some courses at Osmaston the walk back took 30 minutes.
  3. The mostly good weather, which resulted in people not slipping and sliding as much as at past events at Osmaston.

I’m not sure if I like the idea of a time limit. Would it have worked if there had been any problems? Who knows, guess time will tell in the future if they do this again.

Behind the scenes

There is a an awful lot of work that goes on behind the scenes at events like this, not just the setting of the courses but also the sourcing of a venue, organising delivery of 3ds and administration of shooting groups. I’ve been lucky enough to offer some help a couple of times to break down a course. So I’d like to say thanks to all involved.
Top marks to the administration team who, not only coped with last minute drop outs but also managed to get the first day and final results out and on the website within hours of the last people coming off the courses. Well done.

I would also like to say how great it was to meet new people and those readers and followers of this blog who introduced themselves throughout the weekend. Thanks guys.

What are the championships?

For those not familiar with the process of the NFAS championship here is a quick run down.
The championships consist of 2 days of shooting 2 different courses.
X & Y courses were for archers shooting compound bows, crossbows and barebow ie the metal/carbon arrow courses.
A & B were for longbows American flatbow, primitive and hunting tackle ie the wooden arrow courses.
You are randomly allocated to a shooting group. With all archers in the same class shooting the same course on the same day.
So I would shoot B course Saturday with all other flatbow archers and A on Sunday. Sharon was shooting hunting tackle so shot A course first and then B.
Okay so that is all for now. I’ll try and get the other parts written up as soon as I can. In the meantime thanks for reading.

Shoot report – NFAS National Championships – part 2

B course - Archers mustering

B course – Archers mustering

Day two of the championships dawned and we wondered whether staying in the premier inn had been a good plan. We had had a very disturbed night having been woken by a fan humming noise which we’d thought was the aircon or heating but neither of these were on and it seemed to come from the corridor. The annoying thing was it would stop only to restart a few minutes later.

B course - Archers mustering

B course – Archers mustering

So bleary eyed we checked out and headed to Catton park. I’d taken some Lemsip tablets so I was hoping my head would be a little better.

B course - views across the fields

B course – views across the fields

The mid point placings were out showing Sharon in first place and me way down at 19th.
Sunday was brighter day with clear skies and a slight autumnal nip in the air. Shooting group would be different on each day so I wondered what to expect.

Sunday Shooting group

Sunday Shooting group

To say my possible concerns were ill founded would be an understatement as we never stopped laughing all day. Thanks to Julie and others in the group we had a great laugh often at our own expense.

Catton Park

Catton Park

I think we were fortunate on Sunday as unlike other groups we weren’t held up by the previous groups. I was speaking to one fellow SVYF member who was waiting over 10 minutes to shoot each target with a 45 minutes delay after food stop. When faced with these delays it is very hard to remain focused. I’m not sure of the cause but a possible solution for the future might be to allow groups to jump slow groups at food stops. This would mean that targets could not be taken down until much later though. (Normally the target you finish on, on the last day is brought in by your shooting group to help the organisers to break down the course. If you allow jumping them you might not be the last group to shoot the target.)

View on B course

View on B course

Think B course had the best grounds in my opinion with two separate pieces of woodland and a few open ground shots and a couple over water making for a good mix for all.

B course - 3D Crocodile

B course – 3D Crocodile

They also set up some interesting shots down the side of the woods or out of the woods into the fields, making distance judgement challenging.

B Course shot after food stop

B Course shot after food stop

Julie Shooting paper face on B Course

Julie Shooting paper face on B Course

Thank you

At this point I would like to say a huge thanks to all the people who gave up there time to not only lay the courses but find the ground initially and thanks to the administration staff for all the work behind the scenes.

Outcome

The full results are available here.
Despite feeling rough I managed to climb 9 places on Sunday from 19 to just get in the top 10. Not too bad I suppose. Sharon did wonderfully well winning ladies hunting tackle making her not only 3D champion from earlier this year but now also the national champion for 2014.

2014 NFAS Nationals - Sharon

2014 NFAS Nationals – Sharon (thanks Alex Tyler for photos)

Svyf came away with the team hunting tackle trophy.

2014 NFAS Nationals - ht team

2014 NFAS Nationals – Hunting Tackle  team (from left to right, Nigel, Johnny, Sharon and me) thanks Alex Tyler for photos

With Colin capturing a bronze in crossbow. Sharon and I also came away with the Nearest and Dearest trophy.

2014 NFAS Nationals - Nearest and Dearest

2014 NFAS Nationals – Nearest and Dearest (thanks Alex Tyler for photos)

So not a bad weekend considering I was feeling rough.
As always thanks for reading.

Shoot report – NFAS National Championships – part 1

Day 1 -  Archers mustering

Day 1 – Archers mustering

This two day event would see some 400 archers plus organisers descend from across the UK to Catton Park in Derbyshire for the 2014 NFAS National Championships.
Over the course of the weekend archery skills would be tested on two separate courses across the park grounds. Each course would consist of 40 targets with 30 paper faces and 10 3Ds.
Since Sharon and I would be shooting in the hunting tackle category we would shoot A course Saturday which had been laid by Wolverine Archers. Then B Course Sunday set by a group from Duvelle Bowmen, Cheshire Oak and Lyme Valley Archers.
Due to issues with finding volunteers to lay the courses this year there would only be two courses and places were capped at 400 archers. This resulted in places filling within a few weeks of the booking opening, helped by a very efficient online booking system. I think the difficulty with finding volunteers had arisen because of the 3D championships. The 3Ds event normally has four courses, having been hosted in the East Midlands for the past four years has used up the good will of many clubs. Maybe it’s time to move the event round the country but this means finding a suitable venue and willing volunteers / clubs to set the courses. Anyway back to the shoot report.
It would be fair to say i was feeling really rough on Saturday with my head spinning every time I lowered it. This was not due to a night on the town but I think a head cold that was and still is affecting my ears and sinuses. Not a great way to start the day.
Day 1 A course paper face

Day 1 A course paper face

Saturday was a bit grey and overcast with flat light and light  showers as we set off up the track to the course . A course was situated on a wooded hill a short walk from the mustering point.  This poor light made some of the longer shots very hard to see in the wood. The result was archers taking 3 arrows on many targets as they couldn’t see if they were in or not.
A course - 3D cobra

A course – 3D cobra

I must say a huge thanks to Shirley and the rest of the shooting group who kept my spirits up all day. By half way round I was feeling shattered and grateful to the group for pulling arrows, in return I opted to mark the score cards, which is something I normally try to avoid.
Day 1 - A course paper face wolf

Day 1 – A course paper face wolf

With the poor light and the distances of the targets there were the inevitable delays at some shots, the worse being the downhill rhino at about 50 yards. When we  arrived we were the third group waiting to shoot the target, nearly everyone taking 3 arrows. Later in the day they stationed a marshal down by the target to let people know when their shots were in.
Day 1 Course A 3d deer

Day 1 Course A 3d deer

One of the best shots was a downhill 3D deer where I had a very lucky leg shot.
A course - Lucky leg

A course – Lucky leg

In all I think it was a good course though some people did comment that the junior pegs were a bit long and I think that might be a fare comment for some of the shots.
In all though a good course I just wished I could have done it justice.
Thanks for reading, part 2 will follow shortly.

For the win?

Challenge or for the win?

Challenge Spirit or for the win?

The NFAS 3D championship is just round the corner and yes I hope to shoot well but in reality I know I am a long way off placing. 
For those not familiar with the event it is a 2 day shoot which sees approximately 600 archers of different styles shooting two courses one each day. It’s called a 3D championship as all targets are 3Ds.  You can see previous year reviews here for 2013 and 2012

This doesn’t mean I don’t want to aim to do well though. This thought got me thinking about how different people measure success.

So here are a couple of questions to all readers. 

How do you measure your own success in archery?

Is the win important or not so important to you as you just want to enjoy the day?

Is it about getting a placing or medal or having a good shoot?

Is it the possibility of recording a personal best or just getting round the course?  I know last year I just wanted to get round following the problems with my shoulder.

For me I think it is nice to place at shoots but in truth I’m competing against myself each time I go out. 
If I start thinking of how others are doing or what my score is it plays with my head and negatively affects my shooting. 
I know I’m very self critical and if I don’t feel I’m shooting well tend to beat myself up. Not good and something I try and get my students to avoid. Easier said than done though. 
I tend to have in mind what I think I should score in total and after each shot. 
These goals have changed over time though. 
When I started I was happy not to blank half the targets on a course. I now get cross with myself if I blank any!
My next goal was to reduce the number of third arrows I was taking.  Still working on that one.

I started looking at average scores for shoots but realised this didn’t factor in the course difficulty, weather etc. We all know some shoots are more challenging than others so averages have to be taken with a pinch of salt. 
Best measure I found was identifying someone in your shooting class who you know shoots consistently that you can match your score against. They become your base line. This gives you a guide to the difficulty level of the course. 
But scoring isn’t the only thing you have to enjoy the day or why do the hobby?

As always thanks for reading and if you have any comments or thoughts let me know.