Rancho Park Archers

The Hot Spot for Los Angeles Archery: Lessons, Advice & News

Archive for the tag “Archery”

Geena Davis Still Knows an Archery Trick or Two

Who needs Katniss Everdeen when you’ve got Geena Davis? Geena proves she’s still in a league of her own with this Funny Or Die video.

Update:

Funny or Die has uploaded a Behind the Scenes video. Check it out.

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Nock Out: Archery’s First Reality Show

While it’s cool watching fictional archers in films like The Hunger Games and the TV show Arrow, it’s even better to see professional archers in action. Unfortunately, outside of the Olympics, we archery fans must get our fix by watching competitions on the Archery TV YouTube channel. Occasionally on Top Shot, the History Channel’s marksmen reality show, you may see archery included in the competition.

Nock Out contestant, Rowdy Dowdy

Nock Out contestant, Rowdy Dowdy

Thankfully, this summer the NBC Sports Network has launched a reality show devoted to Archery–Nock Out. The series first episode aired July 26th 2013.

I only discovered the show a few weeks ago due to one of Facebook’s page suggestions. Thank you, Facebook.

Nock Out is a reality show similar to Top Shot with the exception that instead of changing weapons each week, the competitors use their own bows in each competition. All of the archers are using compound bows, sorry recurve lovers. And, so far, the competitions have been field archery challenges.

Like other reality shows, the archers are divided into teams, in this case three teams. The two lowest performing teams of the week’s main competition, have to pick a person to compete in a head-to-head shoot-off to stay in the competition or go home.

As an archery fan, I must admit that the head-to-head shoot-off can be more fun to watch than the team competition. It’s a nail-biter. The stakes are high, the margin of error low and the competition’s tough. You’re wondering who’s going to blink first.

Nock Out Contestant, Laurie Leroy

Nock Out Contestant, Laurie Leroy

There are few sporting events in which you’ll see men and women competing together. It happens in tennis with mixed doubles but it’s pretty rare. That’s one of the cool things about Nock Out. The men and women compete as teammates and occasionally against one another–one-on-one. It shows that in archery, how well you shoot isn’t always about strength but about technique, experience and how well you compete under pressure.

The contestants are a diverse group, as far as age (18-64) and gender goes, of professional archers. One of my favorites has been 64 year old Connie Calloway. She took up archery in 1977 and turned pro in 1992. She got knocked out in a head-to-head shoot-off last week, but she’s a great example of how this sport is one you can practice for a lifetime. Then there’s the inspirational archer Matt Stutzman, the 2012 Paralympics silver medalist, who is very much giving the other archers a run for their money.

Overall, I think it’s a great show and I hope it does well enough this season to have a season two. Tune in and check it out before the season ends. The show airs Fridays at 1pm on the NBC Sports Network. Go to their site to see what channel it airs on in your area.

Check out the season’s first episode here.

Thanksgiving Day Shoot A Success

RPA-turkeydayshoot18

Photo by Rocky Vanoost

While many people were out of town this past weekend for the holiday, many archers descended upon the Rancho Park Archery range.

The range put on a Thanksgiving Shoot. It’s first tournament in a while. It was a small low-key event that provided a great opportunity for many to try their hands at competitive archery.

The event had a good turnout. Most were regulars at the range and many, including myself, were tournament newbies. There were definitely some pre-tournament jitters which quickly faded as the event got going.

Alex Kobe, along with several other range volunteers ran the event. The tournament went from 9am-4pm with a break for lunch. It consisted of 20 ends, 3 arrows each.

After check-in time, Alex explained the tournament format and rules. After which we had some warm up time and were given our targets to place on the wall, at which point some chaos ensued with everyone jockeying for space on the target wall. After that, Alex reviewed the score keeping process. We had to do math in addition to shooting? Well technically, not everyone, only a few selected shooters in each lane were designated as scorekeepers.

Once we got started, after the first few rounds, everybody got into a rhythm and things began to move smoothly.

Once the first 10 ends were completed, it was lunch time. We all took a break to enjoy some good conversation and laughs over a great potluck spread and some delicious BBQ–some of which Alex managed to cook in between rounds–so much for burning off those Thanksgiving calories.

Towards the end of lunch some of the Juniors had some additional fun. They got to take a few good whacks at a candy filled Angry Bird. Why didn’t they string up one of the egg stealing pigs?

Actually, what was more amusing than watching the kids, was watching some of the adults rush in for the candy after the Angry Bird’s demise.

With lunch over, we took up our bows again to complete the remaining 10 ends. It goes without saying that some shooters’ performance declined a bit, due to post lunch sluggishness and the occasional excursion to the food table between ends. The victors would be those who not only shot well but who could stay focused and shoot through the post lunch stupor.

Once the last end was completed and the scores were tabulated, we all gathered around for the awards ceremony to bring the event to a close.

Whether you walked away with some shiny hardware or not, I think it’s fair to say everybody had a good experience. It was a great opportunity to try something different and test your archery skills. A fun time was had by all and it was for a good cause. All tournament fees went to the Pink Ribbon charity.

Rumor has it that more tournaments will follow this one at the range. The healthy turn out this past weekend bodes well for similar events. And if the range gets expanded, perhaps the tournaments might get even bigger.

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Arrow Star Stephen Amell Talks Archery Form

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen

In a recent article, Stephen Amell, the lead actor in the Arrow series which premiered last night, talked about the importance of his character’s archery form. He seems to be very aware that not only will comic book fans be picking apart the show’s interpretation of Green Arrow, but archers will also be judging his technique.

Recently Laura Fisk analyzed the form of the most recent super hero archers shown on screen. Most of them didn’t fair very well. And she’s not the only one that noticed that archers on screen can have very sloppy form.

Stephen Amell’s archery coach Patricia Gonsalves

Amell trained for Arrow with archery coach Patricia Gonsalves. Before they began practicing, she had him watch a video of TV shows and movies in which archery had been done very badly. Getting proper form down was a priority for her.

It’s to be expected that some compromises in form will be made while filming and some CGI will be used. So we can’t get too nitpicky about what we’re watching. But, I do think it’s a good sign that Stephen is very conscious of his form and that he knows we archers are watching. He also seems to enjoy archery which may bode well for how it’s portrayed on the show.

What did you think about the pilot? Were you critiquing Oliver Queen’s archery form or just happy to see another show/movie with an archer saving the day – and making archery look really cool?

Superheroes vs. The Olympians

I don’t know about you, but I cringe whenever I see an archer with bad form. This is mostly because I’m an archery instructor.  As an instructor, I’m trained to stress form a lot when I teach beginner archers.  It is an integral part of learning the craft.  Lately, archery has become very popular in movies and TV.  So, I thought it would be interesting to see how the Superheroes match up to the 2012 Olympian Archers in a head-to-head competition of form.

Yes, I know the Olympian’s are FITA shooters and not traditional shooters but there are some fundamentals that apply across all archery styles.  With that said, let’s get to the fun stuff and see how the Super archers compare with the Olympians.

Hawkeye (left), Brady Ellison (right)

First, let’s compare Hawkeye of The Avengers with Brady Ellison, who won silver on the men’s archery Olympic team this year.  Hawkeye’s form is all off.  His right elbow is rotated inward and his shoulder is pushed up.  Not to mention that he is wearing two arm guards.  Did this guy even get a lesson in archery?  Brady’s left arm, his bow arm, is straight.  The left elbow is not rotated and his shoulder is down, relaxed.  His right arm and elbow are straight back and in line with his bow arm, unlike Hawkeye’s chicken wing which is pointing upward.  Ellison’s grip is precise, while Hawkeye’s grip is too tight.  Not sure if you can compare the grip of a FITA archer with a bare bow archer. FITA archers don’t, to my knowledge, grip the bow as much as they let it rest there.  The finger sling catches the bow when they release.  Bare bow shooters have a firmer grip.

Oh Jin Hyek (left), The Green Arrow (right)

For our next round, we have Oh Jin Hyek, Korean’s gold medalist at the 2012 Olympics going against Green Arrow from the CW’s upcoming Arrow TV series.  Hyek’s anchor, the point at which the fingers of the draw hand touches the face, is solid, right under his chin.  Green Arrow’s anchor is non-existent.  Now, I’m a traditional shooter and my anchor point is the corner of my mouth. I don’t see him anchoring anywhere.  No anchor point equals no consistency and a really bad aim.

The Green Arrow’s bow arm is bent in comparison to Hyek’s fully extended arm.  When the bow arm is bent like that, you can’t get the push-pull effect that is needed to steady the bow arm. When the arm is fully extended, your skeleton supports the weight of the bow resulting in less strain and a stable form. When the arm is collapsed the form becomes less stable because you’re using more muscle to keep a steady aim and push against the weight of the bow.  Hyek’s right elbow goes straight back and is horizontally in line with his bow arm.  This is perfect form.  The Green Arrow has collapsed his form making it very difficult to shoot consistently.

Khatuna Lorig (left), Katniss Everdeen (right)

In this round, it’s teacher vs. pupil. It has been reported that Khatuna Lorig, USA’s 1992 Bronze medalist and fourth place finisher in the 2012 Olympics coached Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games.  I’ve seen the movie and Katniss is pretty good compared to the other Superheroes, however in the picture in this analysis not so much.  Katniss has her right elbow sticking way out.  It should be behind her, as shown in her mentor’s picture.  Unlike Khatuna, Katiness does not even anchor her draw hand, leaving her unsteady and ultimately unable to shoot that bullseye she shot in the movie.  Between you and me, I think Khatuna made that shot for her.  What do you think?

All in all, I think our Superheroes have their work cut out for them.  I mean if you are going to portray an archer at least do it accurately.

Duel in the Desert Trials and Desert Open Coming Soon

If you’re a competitive archer looking for a challenge, there’s a tournament coming up in the Southern California area you might want to check out.

In October, the Duel in the Desert Trials and Desert Open will be held at the El Dorado Park Archery Field in Long Beach.

The event is hosted by the United JOAD and Southern California Archers and is a Star FITA and IPC recognized tournament. It will take place on October 6 – 7, 2012.

The trials are a competition for a spot on the team that will represent California in the Duel in the Desert, an annual team competition between California and Arizona which will take place on November 10 -11 in Arizona.

If you’re not aiming to be on the team, you can still shoot. And, since this is a Star FITA tournament, you can get a special achievement pin from FITA if you shoot a certain score. There are pins starting from 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300, and 1400.

For further details (e.g. divisions, rounds, etc.) or to sign up for the competition, visit the State Archers of California site.

Archery: The Ultimate Sport

When I hear the phrase ‘Ultimate Sport’, the first thing that comes to mind is Mixed Martial Arts or the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Archery is not the first thing that comes to mind, and I love the sport.

All athletes have their opinion of what the ultimate sport is, usually it’s theirs. How one defines the ultimate sport varies from person to person. A martial artist will probably have a different idea of the ultimate sport than a marathoner. One’s ideal sport involves skill and head to head competition. The other’s ideal competition is between him and himself, a test of his mental and physical endurance.

So what about archers? Why might archers think of theirs as being the ultimate sport? In the following video, the International Archery Federation (FITA) makes their argument for why this age-old sport is the ultimate sport.

2012 Olympics Archery Primer & Resources

It’s Olympics Eve and the games are finally going to kick off tomorrow. For us archers, the main thing we want to know is how and when to watch the competition. Most of you may already know that NBC is thankfully streaming the archery events online.

But it’s also helpful, if you’re not a seasoned archer, to know as much as you can about the sport. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to enjoy the competition.

Archery 101

The following is an excellent video of British archer Alison Williamson giving an overview on the basics of archery.

Useful Sites

Below are some useful links for streaming the archery matches and checking schedules; learning about the competitors, the competition format, equipment, interviews, etc.

NBCs Olympic Archery Site

The London Telegraph news site’s Archery Guide

Word Archery’s media guide for the 2012 London Olympics

ESPN and Brady Ellison Break Down the Mechanics of Archery

John Brenkus and the ESPN Sport Science team examine the science behind Olympic gold medal contendor Brady Ellison’s archery skills.

Pixar’s Brave: And the Verdict is?

Pixar’s latest release Brave has been out for three weeks now. And, in this year filled with archery themed movies and TV shows, I think it may have dropped the ball in regards to continuing the archery craze.

Brave did well at the box office but, unlike The Hunger Games, it hasn’t really caught fire with movie goers. Where Hunger Games inspired many to try out the sport-overwhelming local archery ranges and instructors in the process-and even the creation of a Meetup group in its name, Brave hasn’t had such an impact. Granted, Brave didn’t have the benefit of being based on a highly successful book series with a built-in fan base.

So, I ask my fellow archers, what’s the verdict?

Leave your comments on the blog and let us know what you liked or didn’t like about the movie.

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