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|These pictures were taken by Alan Hedley in Church Stretton on my 24th birthday (29 July 1996).
Lately I haven't had time for them, but I do check the blackboard regularly.
My current bow is a Win&Win Expert, but it's been a while since I shot it, due to family-matters :-). I use a Beiter long-rod, but I replaced the rods with shorter ones (kite-rods) on this new handle.
I bought my previous bow when my old Royal Elegant snapped one afternoon (16 April 1996). As soon as I got the bow by mail, I was sold! A freshly sprayed black Hoyt Gold Medalist... Not long after deciding to buy it I named it Black Beauty. It's now owned by a more recent member of Sagittarius, along with my heavier limbs.
Black Beauty is a model TD4+. Currently I'm using Carbofast (Border) XP-10 limbs of 34 lbs (AMO). I have a draw-length of 30 inches. I draw about 39 lbs out of Black Beauty with my drawlength. For indoors I now use the same arrows as outdoors (ACE).
My sight is now a Spigarelli Carbon 30, which I like very much, except for the rather unsubtle vertical adjustment when using the click system (a minor inconvenience considering the quality of the rest of the sight). My stabilisation is a set of Carbofast Quadro Plus siderods and a beiter really-long rod, which is quite nice and very light. My v-bar is a fixed (zero degrees) carbofast. I'm also using lynkies (wibbly wobbly things) on the side rods.
As you can see on the picture I have a nice quiver, to hold my arrows and stuff. It was made by my father for my 23th birthday.
I've been shooting since I started studying at the University of Twente in September 1990. I've shot with a lot of different bows since then, from fiberglass to compound, but I still like olympic style recurve best.
A link for a more complete listing of my archery history...
On 23 Januari 1997 I shot my first ;-) 280 score at 25m. Because this was at a "Star-shoot", a semi-formal FITA 25m, I earned my 280 star too!
In archery there are a number of aspects that are essential to become a really good archer. I believe that concentration is probably the most important aspect, but the trick is how to achieve it!
To achieve concentration in archery, you need to be able to focus on the shot during the shot and pay no attention to anything else. (As our ex-trainer, Albert Sanders, says: Concentration is a result of strong directed attention)
Style (fit to the individual), physical condition and such are also very important, but each on their own can be achieved without too much concentration. The trick is to be able to shoot every arrow in a single burst of directed attention. And most importantly, shoot all shots using the same motions (technique if you wish).
Naturally these ideas are not originaly my own, but as I improve with time I realize more and more that if I want to improve my scores, I need to work on this attention more than anything else. Only when you cannot hold a bow and arrow with the intention of shooting it and not fall into this train of attention (and the resulting concentration), are you a top archer.
Currently I'm working on improving my release. Some tips I read in the Glade (No. 84) helped a lot, because now I understand what a release is and therefore I can start working on improving it. Another focus is to aim more precisely. Obviously aiming cannot be perfectly still, but I have difficulty aiming at the yellow (especially when I'm working on other aspects of shooting). It's a matter of caring where to shoot (difficult to explain, because it seems so natural to aim for the centre ;-)
Although I say, "Black is Beautiful", it is actually mostly an accident that most of my archery kit is black.
My stabilisation was black, but then again, most are... My arrows were black (A/C/E only come in black) and my bowstand was also black. My quiver is black because my father couldn't get "cow" (black and white spots with hair!). And then my blue Royal broke just after we got back from France in the Spring of 1996 and I had to get a new bow.
Black Beauty was the only bow that came close to my specs, so there I was with a completely black kit (except fot the pressure button, which was not available in black at the time).
Only after all this, when I decided I wanted some arrows with the right spine for the winter, I wanted black (i.e. X7) alluminiums with black feathers to go with the rest of the kit.
All things considered, I do like the fact that everything fits together like this, but I wouldn't pass up a bargain for a Purple Elan if I ran into it....