When it comes to Pistol Shooting, I take the sport very seriously. I enjoy both USPSA and IDPA and when it comes to visiting a new club, for the first time, I like to know what I’m getting into. For instance, does a potential USPSA club do any sort of distance shooting or are they primarily a hoser club? Does a potential IDPA club run a lot of gimmicky stages or do they stick to realistic scenarios?
Knowing what the potential club likes to do at their matches makes it easier for me to determine if it is worth checking out. Because video has become rather popular at competitive pistol matches, learning about various clubs has become somewhat easy. Most times all you have to do is turn to YouTube and search for the club name.
When it comes to archery, video isn’t nearly as prevalent. I suppose there are several reasons for this. The first of which is that there is a lot less action at your average 3D Archery Shoot. If you ignore the lack of action and decide to film anyway, you almost always need a shooting buddy to act as cameraman. Either that or you need to drag a tripod around from target to target. I imagine that can be rather cumbersome while toting around a bow and arrows.
I almost gave up searching for local Archery Club video until I found my way onto the Hamburg Fish & Game Facebook Page. While there I was introduced to Season 1 of The Zena Show. The star of the show is Zena, an accomplished Youth Archer whose family is involved in running the archery program at Hamburg Fish & Game.
Each episode features Zena walking the 3D Archery Course at Hamburg Fish & Game. I found this invaluable as it gave me a good understanding of what I’d be getting myself into while attending the club’s 3D Shoots. I also learned a bit along the way as there is some discussion of technique, target placement, and some light banter built into each episode.
I shared with you the first four episodes last month when I first discovered them. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I found the 5th Episode. I watched it and enjoyed it, just like I did the others. In this episode Zena walks the 3D Course and answers questions that were submitted to her (the video can be found at the top of this page).
All of the available episodes were shared last year, however, I hear that more episodes are planned. Despite The Zena Show being geared towards promoting Youth Archery, I enjoy watching them and look forward to seeing what else she has in store for us.
Far be it from me, a guy that has been out of the archery game for years, to make suggestions on future episodes, but since this is my blog I’m going to do it anyway.
A More Critical Look at Shot Placement
In my limited experience, I have learned that there are basically three types of archers that attend 3D Archery Shoots. The fist type is a points shooter. The name of the game is to shoot as close as possible to a perfect score. This means that all shots are targeting the highest available scoring zone on the target, regardless of its position on the course.
The second type of archer is using each 3D Shoot as a practice session for hunting season. In this case archers are willing to give up points in favor of making the the most ethical shot on the foam animal. The arrow placement is determined by the orientation of the animal to the shooter. So, if the foam deer is quartering away, the hunter may opt to shoot further back on the deer rather than aiming at the scoring zones on the surface of the target.
The third type of archer is just out to shoot their bow and socialize. They aren’t too concerned with getting the most points or making the most ethical shot. There isn’t anything wrong with falling into any of these categories. As they say, different strokes for different folks.
I would like to see a more critical look at how the Points Shooter and the Hunter would approach making a shot on each target. Some targets will offer shots that are the same, regardless of what you are shooting for, but others will be very different. I would love to see a explanation on how Zena would approach the shot from the perspective of a Points Shooter and a Hunter.
Altering the Challenge
Some clubs setup their 3D Archery Course with multiple stakes, or shooting positions. Often times there will be Pro Stakes that increase the challenge on a given target, Hunter Stakes which offer shooting positions that are more realistic to hunting scenarios, and You Stakes which give children a place to shoot from without being overly challenging.
Hamburg Fish & Game sets up their courses utilizing a single stake for each target. The rules at Hamburg are very relaxed and allow shooters to move closer or farther away from the target. I wouldn’t mind seeing some discussion on how the shooting position could be changed to alter the challenge of the shot and why.
Take Away the Intimidation
In the world of competitive pistol shooting, intimidation is a huge obstacle to overcome for new shooters. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “You guys shoot so fast and some of the targets are far away. I could never do that!” My biggest concern with trying 3D Archery was the very real possibility of missing targets and losing arrows (even losing cheap arrows can become expensive).
In several videos Zena went into the woods with a shooting partner. In these cases the shooting partner, no offense intended, was less skilled than her. I think incorporating that into the each episode was fantastic and goes a long way in reducing the intimidation factor for new shooters watching the video.
I would like to see more of this. In addition, I’d like to hear a little more from the second shooter as they evaluate their shot. Did they learn anything based on where the arrow came to rest? Does Zena have any tips for the second shooter based on their form and shot placement? This doesn’t have to be a coaching session, just some light observation that might give viewers something to look for in their own shooting.
Looking Forward to More Videos
As I’ve already said, despite The Zena Show being geared towards increasing participation in Youth Archery, I enjoy watching the videos. Perhaps my views on what I would like to see added to the show take the videos away from their intended target. The purpose of this post was to think out loud, so to speak, and bring up what I would like to see in a 3D Archery Web Series.
These videos are a valuable tool for archers of all ages and I suggest you spend a little time and watch them. There is a lot to learn, especially if you are planning on shooting the 3D Archery Course at Hamburg Fish & Game.