So yesterday I went on a Field Archery Experience day... it rocked!!!! So much so I'm joining the club... I wasn't half bad at it either!
I arrived at the club ready for the start at 9.30, on arrival you get a bacon or sausage sandwich and a cuppa, then I was fitted for my bow and got into a group with four other newbies. We had a practice go from the junior marker post, or as our instructor kept calling it, the kiddies marker! Generally in terms of shooting things I have a pretty good aim, I've shot rifles before and tend to get each bullet on the target at least.. my first practice shot with a bow and arrow, wasn't too bad, but the bow string, hit my elbow on release and it HURTS... so the next go, I subconsciously changed my stance just as I released.. meaning I missed the target but still hit my elbow!!
A bruise was already forming and it was only my first few shots... I had a whole day of this ahead of me.. fears for the state of my elbow were developing and I was already thinking eek I don't think I like this!
Anyway the instructor explained that it is a common problem in ladies, called ladies elbow, apparently when we straighten our elbows out, the inner part of the elbow sticks our differently to a guys... so this was comforting! The way round it is you don't lock your elbow, however combining remembering not to lock my elbow, aiming in general direction of the 3D deer target, remembering to stand straight, not lift my elbow but keep it inline with the arrow and remembering to pull the bow string back to my cheek each time, proved way too much multi-tasking for this female... I proceeded to knock off lots of very crap practice shots... my inner competitor was in tears.. I hate being crap at things I want to be good at! (Hell in my mind's eye I'd already pictured me as the next female Robin Hood. and that was before I pulled into the car park!)
Anyway thankfully the siren sounded and it was time for another cuppa and a cake, before we head off into the forest trail to hit the hidden targets... I put on my jacket despite the warm day, thinking it might give my now black elbow some protection... and it worked, not sure how, it would still have hurt like hell, however the process of putting the jacket on seemed to make me not straighten my elbow out automatically without thinking about it, and so the problem was gone.
Once in the woods on the trail, I started hitting some good shots, my first target, I missed first arrow, but wounded with my second for 10 points. On the next target, I scored an Inner Kill with my first arrow for 24 points (best possible score). The first ten targets, were taken from the yellow peg, which is the junior distance really, our of the first ten targets, I failed to score only once (this was the Bison, it was a huge distance even from the junior peg!!) I took three arrows to score once, 2 arrows to score twice and the majority were wounds on first arrow... so not too bad considering!
After a fantastic buffet lunch and apple pie (gorgeous!), you go out and do the course again, from at least the blue peg (2nd furthest peg) and occasionally we did some from the red peg (the adult competition distance), I wasn't so good from further away, altogether I missed the target four times with all three arrows, scoring twice with first arrow for a kill and mainly scoring a wound with my second arrow.
Altogether I scored a not too bad 212, putting my third in our group of 5, two guys beat me, second place scored 214 and 1st place was 238. Overall out of the 20 people that attended, I came third place female, I was happy with that.
Because it would have been a shame not to, I did manage to catch my elbow again in the afternoon, just the once thankfully, but as the bruise had developed through the day, it hurt even more! At the end of the day my elbow looked like this:
Not bad eh! I looked more like I'd been used as the target rather than the archer!
Despite my impressive bruise, I have signed up with the club, it was fantastic day, loads of fun, a great laugh and the club feels like a big social club, can't wait to go again. I have to go for a beginners day on membership, learn a bit more about different bows etc and then after that I can practice to my hearts content (in true female style, I've already been picking out my potential bows!!!)