Sign up for personal training / sports training by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com.

What is the Best Quiver?

Q

"Hello!

I saw on one of your older posts that you don't like quivers. Can you explain more about why you don't like them?

Lets say I really want a quiver anyway. Which ones would you recommend?

- Anna"

A

Hello Anna!

I am not completely against quivers. I still use them for transportation purposes, but I will list why I don't like them.

#1. Having to reach awkwardly behind your back to reach arrows that move around in the quiver. If it is a pain to reach, then it really isn't very good at being a quiver. Hence why some archers prefer back quivers that are easier to access or use hip quivers.

#2. Arrows rattle easily and spook deer / turkeys / small game. So a loose quiver means your arrows rattle a lot. A bow quiver however or a quiver with fixed spots for individual arrows solves the problem of rattling. Another old archers' trick is to roll up some fur and stick it lengthwise into the quiver and then add your arrows to it, this prevents them from rattling against each other.

#3. Arrows fall out of loose back quivers whenever you bend over to pick something up.

#4. Arrows fall out of loose hip quivers whenever you are jogging, walking too fast, or bend over.

#5. Ground quivers are handy to have, but are sometimes bulky depending on the design. On a 3D range you might as well leave that behind or get an "arrow caddy" instead. Or do what I do, carry the arrows in your bow hand and learn how to shoot that way.

Below are some interesting designs for quivers...

Below: A Bow Quiver that attaches to the side of the bow.


Below: A Traditional Floppy Back Quiver - Not my favourite.

Below: A Back Quiver that allows more ease of access.

Below: A Side Quiver with more easy access.

Below: A side quiver with fixed arrow slots so they don't rattle or fall out.
The one below also allows ease of access.

Archery for Actors in Toronto

It seems as though I am building a growing reputation for training actors how to shoot and doing occasional work for TV shows / etc.

To date I have:

Trained two television actors how to shoot longbows for a period piece television series about the French monarchy.

Trained a theatre actress to shoot a recurve bow because part of a script required her to shoot an Olympic recurve bow out a window off of the stage.

Shot all of the trick shots during some slow-motion film work on behalf of Rice Krispies. (That was a lot of fun by the way. I would totally do more slow-motion filming in the future again.)

Did all of the archery shots for a sports documentary made by TSN.

Trained a Quebec musician how to do archery for an episode of a French language television show.

Appeared on an episode of Storage Wars Canada (OLN) because of my knowledge/collection of antique bows. (The bow they had me identify was not actually an antique. It was a circa 2000 Bear Grizzly.)

Doing various TV clips for CBC, CTV and CityTV.

All this work training theatre/TV actors and appearing on television has got me thinking however. Maybe I should offer lessons designed specifically for actors, which is what I have done in the past when teaching actors - tailored the classes to suit their needs. Longbow lessons for the actors who are doing period work, Recurve / Olympic Recurve lessons for the threatre actress who is shooting an Olympic recurve on stage.

Toronto does have a vibrant film, television and theatre industry after all. There is certainly a demand for more actors who can do archery properly, as opposed to the current standard which is actors who barely know how to shoot appearing in films/etc and looking like they don't even know how to shoot. So if you are an actor in Toronto and looking for archery lessons in Toronto then I am certainly available to teach you how to shoot properly.

Note - I think movie directors should also get archery lessons. Joss Whedon (director of The Avengers) could certainly use a lesson because he apparently wanted the actor (Jeremy Renner) to look "heroic" while shooting, no matter how mistakes the actor was making. Hawkeye's archery style was rather ridiculous. His drawing elbow is too high, his bow arm elbow is locked when it should be relaxed, he is squeezing the bow when his fingers should be relaxed, he is wearing TWO armguards on his bow arm because apparently the actor kept hitting his arm (due to his locked elbow) [if you look closely you can even see bruises on his bow arm], he is pulling to his chin when he should be pulling to his mouth, he has both eyes open when he should be closing his right eye since he is left eye dominant, his finger positions on the string are uneven and curved inwards when they should be even and aligned, and it looks like he is leaning backwards a bit - a sign of bad posture. There is a lovely article on GeekDad titled "Hawkeye, World's Worst Archer" which doesn't go in to all the details I just did, but the idea that people are calling him "Hawkeye, World's Worst Archer" is rather amusing.



There is a long history of professional archers teaching actors how to shoot. Below are a few examples.

Howard Hill teaching Errol Flynn for "The Adventures of Robin Hood".
Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight received archery training prior to their roles in "Deliverance".

Fred Bear remarked that Burt Reynolds caught on quickly and was a natural.
Sometimes the professional archers would also appear in cameo roles in the films or be tasked to perform any of the trick shots during the filming, like Howard Hill who did all of the tricks shots for "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and appeared in the competition scene of the film.

What bothers me (and many archers/film critics) is when a new film comes out and the actor/actress clearly doesn't know how to shoot or someone taught them the wrong way to shoot that style of bow. A famous example of this is Jennifer Lawrence of The Hunger Games franchise. I have already explained in a previous post why Jennifer Lawrence's shooting style is wrong and thus I am instead going to point you to that older post and the video below, in case you are curious about learning why that particular style is wrong.

See The #1 Mistake made by Amateur Archers: Not Anchoring Properly to learn more about why Jennifer Lawrence was trained wrong.



Happy Shooting!

Archery Equipment in the Niagara Region

Q

"Hello!
 
I live in the Niagara area and I am going to start attending an archery range as the weather gets warmer. What stores do you recommend that are closer to my home? Also should I shop on Amazon to get things?

Do I need an archery glove? Is it really necessary?

- Y"

A

Hello Y!

Well let's see... there is:

Doc's Archery Sales and Services on the American side of the border, north of Buffalo. Mostly sells crossbows and compounds.

Erie Tracker, SW of Niagara, mostly a gun shop / fishing store but also sells archery equipment - mostly compounds.

The Archer's Nook in London Ontario, which is comparable to the Bow Shop below. Depending on who you talk to some people prefer Archer's Nook.


The Bow Shop in Waterloo Ontario, which is considered by many to be the best bow shop in all of Ontario. Their selection is good. I was a little disappointed the first time I went there because I was expecting it to be bigger.

And yes, an archery glove is pretty much a necessity. Some archers prefer thumb rings or tabs, but the basic concept is to protect the fingers. Not doing so causes permanent nerve damage to the fingers to people who shoot regularly and yet refuse to wear some kind of protection.

If you decide to buy online the store I would recommend is Three Rivers Archery, at 3riversarchery.com. Very similar to Amazon, but specializes in archery products.

Stringwalking vs Facewalking at Traditional Archery Competitions

Awhile back a friend on Facebook showed me the following document for a competition he is taking part in. On it the organization has clearly laid out that Stringwalking and Facewalking will not be allowed during the competition and will basically be considered cheating.


I will never understand why some people like Stringwalking and making their arrows slower, less accurate and more unstable during flight. Sure it allows them to be lazy about how they aim, but the negatives to their accuracy far outweigh any benefits due to laziness.

Stringwalking follows the principle that if the arrow is angle differently by changing the position of the arrow on the string that is will travel at a different speed and thus land in a different spot. Advocates of Stringwalking use it so they can avoid changing their aim so much and instead just change where the arrow is nocked on the string. However doing so causes the arrow to be off-center on the bowstring, resulting in top and bottom limbs of the bow doing different amounts of work during the shot - which in turn changes the speed and acceleration of the limbs bouncing back to their non-drawn position. That change of speed hurts the speed, stability and accuracy of the arrow and ultimately results in an inferior shot.

Stringwalking Amateur

Facewalking in contrast at least makes some logical sense and doesn't reduce arrow speed or accuracy. The arrow maintains its level of accuracy during flight, the only thing that has changed is the anchor point drawn to on the face of the archer.

eg. A low anchor point for targets further away. A higher anchor point for targets closer to the archer.

The problem with Facewalking is that it involves a lot of guesswork for determining the distance to the target. The archer would have to deliberately train and practice doing Facewalking at many different distances in order to get even a semblance of accuracy.

An Amazing Example of What Not To Do

As opposed to the traditional method of shooting which is to use the same nock point on the string during every shot, the same anchor spot all the time, and the only thing changing is where you aim based on the distance to the target.

Stringwalking and Facewalking are basically old archers tricks for adjusting their aim, but they are problematic because they are not that accurate, and notoriously frowned upon by veteran archers. They are commonly used these days by amateurs who think, mistakenly, that it will somehow improve their accuracy. Amateurs who haven't yet figured out how to gauge distances and adjust their aim accordingly. Which unfortunately is no good for Facewalkers, because they still haven't learned how to gauge distances and are just guessing at the distance or are relying on being told what the range to the target is.

Thus when I saw the above rule for the archery competition above, I laughed.

Why did I laugh?

Because they are basically banning inferior methods of adjusting your aim. Stringwalking is notoriously bad for the accuracy and arrow flight, whereas Facewalking is notoriously problematic because it still requires the archer learn how to gauge distances, a skill they have deliberately avoided learning and have wasted their time trying to learn a way to "cheat" that doesn't actually work.

As an analogy lets ask what would happen if the Summer Olympics banned sprinters from wearing extra weights on them while sprinting.

Extra weight isn't going to help sprinters to go faster. It will make them go slower. It isn't cheating, quite the opposite it is a negative.

It would be like golfers not being allowed to hop on one foot while attempting to whack the golf ball with their favourite driver. Hopping on one foot certainly wouldn't be cheating, it would be a severe disadvantage.

Or it would be like a professional boxer not being allowed to take 10 sleeping pills before going in to the ring. Chances are likely the boxer will either be knocked unconscious, he or she will likely fall asleep mid-fight when the pills kick in.

Now you understand why I find the banning of Stringwalking / Facewalking laughable. The organizers of the event clearly want to discourage such an amateur method of aiming, not because it is cheating but because they know how notoriously bad those two styles are and instead choosing to discourage those styles in an effort to encourage beginner archers to learn how to gauge distances and adjust their aim the traditional way.

Going to the Toronto Sportsmen's Show

This Saturday myself and several other archers from the Toronto Archery Club will be attending the Toronto Sportsmen's Show at the International Centre at 6900 Airport Road.

The 5 day event started today, March 16th, and continues until Sunday March 20th.

2016 Ticket Prices are:

Adult: $20.00
Seniors (60+): $13.00
Juniors (13-17 yrs): $13.00
Kids (12 & Under): Free!

The Toronto Sportsmen's Show features many exhibitors / speakers on topics such as archery, hunting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, boating, falconry and many other outdoor activities.

The photos below are from the 2015 Toronto Sportsmen's Show.


Lots of compound bows for sale.

Recurve bows too!

I want to get one of these someday.

Or build one.

I have never seen men so fascinated with clothing before.

Owls and falcons are awesome!

Watching the kids try archery.

Last year they didn't just have one archery range, they had two.

I Love Eggs

Back on January 5th I was contacted by CBC's Marketplace regarding being a taste tester for an upcoming episode on the topic of eggs...

Mmm... eggs...

[The episode in question, "The Egg Crackdown", aired on March 11th on CBC and can currently be seen on the cbc.ca website or if you have a TV streaming service.]

Basically what they want to determine is whether eggs have any nutritional differences or taste better if they are:

Organic / Pesticide Free
Free Range
Pasture Fed Hens
Grass Fed Hens
Grain Fed Hens
Antibiotics Free
Steroids Free
Hormone Free
Etc
Etc

And I said, sure, absolutely. Free eggs to eat? Certainly I shall take part in this taste test.

Apparently they found my website because they were looking for people in Toronto who really love eggs. And they found my website because of some past comments I made about the number of eggs I eat in a week.

During and after the filming of the episode I had a number of thoughts concerning the whole issue of the "welfare of chickens", primarily in relation to an egg farmer who was also one of the taste testers in our group...

Let me put it this way...

Egg farmers are not Satan worshipers who torture chickens in order to get them to lay more eggs and kill chickens maliciously - or whatever PETA / animal rights activists are claiming that they do to chickens.

Quite the opposite.

Happy Chickens Lay More Eggs.

That was the egg farmer's chief contention. If chickens are kept warm, well fed, protected from the elements and predators (foxes, raccoons, etc) then they lay more eggs. The happier and more well fed the chickens are, the more eggs they lay.

So from the egg farmer's perspective his goals are to keep the chickens inside where they are both warm and protected from the elements / predators (because sick or dead chickens don't lay eggs) and to keep them well fed.

Cleanliness was also an issue for him. Not just because clean chickens are healthier and lay more eggs, but because the smell of chicken **** is not something very pleasant to be smelling.

During the blind taste test we were asked to rank the eggs by how good they tasted (and in my case I also ranked the eggs by how salty they tasted, how bland they tasted and any other notes I felt was important) and which ones we thought were conventionally laid in egg factory barns where the chickens are kept safe in cages, and which eggs we thought were organic, free range and pasture-fed.

Now lets explain the differences...

Conventional eggs are laid in modern egg barns, wherein thousands of chickens are kept in cages and their eggs are collected daily. They are kept warm, watered and well fed through automated feeders and have their cages cleaned daily. They are also often subject to antibiotics to keep them from getting sick.

Organic eggs are from chickens are still kept in cages just like conventional chickens, but are fed organic-grown chicken feed which is supposedly free from pesticides, but might still have pesticides on the chicken feed in the event that neighbouring farms sprayed their crops with pesticides and the wind carried the pesticide.

Free range or free run eggs come from chickens that are allowed to roam around inside the barn and part of the farmyard that is fenced in. The idea here is that the chickens get more variety into their diet, but are still being fed chicken feed in addition to whatever they manage to eat outside.

Pasture eggs are from pasture-fed chickens who get all or most of their food from living outdoors. This means they are more prone to diseases and predators, but they are getting the most abundant variety of food.

Next, my results during the blind taste test.

A - Tasted bland. This one came last in terms of taste.

B - Saltier and tastier. Tied with D for 3rd place.

C - Way tastier. This one came in 1st in terms of taste.

D - Saltier and tastier. In my opinion B and D tasted almost exactly the same, tied for 3rd. D tasted slightly less saltier than B.

E - A little bland. I ranked this one 5th place.

F - Way tastier. Practically tied with C in my opinion, but I could only pick 1 so I gave this one 2nd place.

And now the results...

A was a conventional white egg grown in a factory barn.

B was a free run brown egg. This explains why it tasted better than A. It was 3rd best nutrition wise.

C was a pasture-fed brown egg. It was actually the 2nd best in terms of which was the healthiest.

D was a conventional white egg grown in a factory barn, but from a different brand than A.

E was an organic brown egg, and the 3rd worst in terms of nutritional content.

F was a pasture-fed brown egg. It was the #1 healthiest of all we tested, although almost tied with C.

So my taste buds felt vindicated at least. I had chosen the top two tastiest and healthiest eggs.

I was expecting A and E to be the conventional eggs, but I was surprised to learn it was A and D who were conventional, and that E tasted so bland that it is basically indistinguishable from conventional eggs - proof that feeding chickens organic chicken feed doesn't make their eggs taste any better.

The three best tasting being the free run and the pasture eggs were also the tastiest and healthiest. However they are also the most expensive.

All of the eggs from the different brands were also tested in a lab and the lab results showed that they were all accurate as to their labels with respect to fat content, sodium content, protein content, etc.

So there are health reasons and culinary reasons why you might choose tastier/healthier eggs to eat.

However for people on a budget, regular conventional eggs are still pretty healthy anyway. They're still good for you regardless.

And as for the chicken lovers who want their chickens to be able to roam free, to be organic, hormone and antibiotics free, I am sorry, but you people need to realize that making chickens sick and having them die of diseases or being eaten by foxes is only going to make the foxes happy. Yes, the eggs are healthier and tastier, but you need to be praising these eggs for the right reasons.

Also if your primary goal is the ethics of "animal cruelty" maybe you should stop eating eggs and meat altogether and just become a vegan. I have past posts on this topic if this is something that interests you. eg. See my 30 Days as a Vegetarian posts from 2015.

Worrying about these things when egg farmers know the truth is clearly not going to help you.

Having both participated in the filming / taste test, and also having seen the show after it aired, it is clear that how much free space chickens need to be happy is a matter of debate.

Happy Chickens Lay More Eggs.

So really it all comes down to personal preference. Do you want to pay more for tastier eggs or are you on a budget and just want more eggs for your dollar?

My logic goes like this: If I can get twice as many conventional eggs for the same price people pay for other eggs, I will probably choose the double-eggs approach. More protein for me.

If clients ask me "Which eggs are the healthiest?" I will of course answer that pasture-fed chickens have the tastiest eggs and are healthier, however I will also ask them how many they like to eat at once and whether they can see themselves eating extra just for the extra protein. In which case, they have a decision to make. Healthier eggs or extra protein? Or both? Or maybe supplement your diet with multivitamins?

I am less worried about the taste because I always add spices anyway.

Which begs a good question... How healthy are spices? Which spices are the best for you to eat? Which ones taste the best? Is there a correlation between the healthiest spices and the tastiest spices? Is too much pepper bad for me?

On a side topic, maybe CBC's Marketplace could do an episode in the future about sheep farms in Canada and the practice of butchering lambs for food. I currently eat lamb maybe once every two months, but given the option of eating mutton instead I would prefer to eat mutton. I may not be worried about the welfare of chickens, but I am curious about these young lambs being killed.

Happy and Healthy Eating!

How to find a place to practice Archery

We are very fortunate in Toronto to have a local archery range that is free for the public to use. But most places across Canada do not have a free public archery range - not even Burnaby, which charges a membership fee for people to use the range, and requires people to pass an accuracy test before allowing them to have a membership. (This means that those beginners that fail the accuracy test are not allowed to become members, thus discouraging beginners from joining the Burnaby Archery Club in the first place. The test is easy for anyone who has had archery lessons to pass, but to those people who have never shot a bow before it would be near impossible.)

But let us pretend for a moment that you live somewhere that doesn't have a local archery range. How do you find a place to practice?

Well, first lets determine where do you live?

#1. Cabin in the woods?

Easy. Make your own archery range in your backyard, facing away from any roads, walking paths, bicycle trails, or rivers/lakes. Because who wants to go swimming to find that arrow you shot poorly?

Note - I recommend making a cardboard archery target like the one shown further below.

#2. Farm?

Easy. Make your own archery range next to the proverbial corn field, again facing away from anything or anyone that could be damaged or hurt, and facing away from anything that could cause you to lose arrows.

#3. Suburbia?

Now we are getting into a tricky area. You will need to check local laws regarding shooting in your backyard, but basically the idea comes down to the issue of "Reckless Endangerment". If you take precautions to do what you are doing safely - in a manner which shows you have shown due diligence to prevent yourself from injuring neighbours or damaging their properties, then you can practice in your backyard. However some cities and towns have by-laws prohibiting the firing of firearms within city limits, often combined with laws against throwing knives, throwing axes, throwing spears, bows, crossbows, etc. Thus it is extremely important you consult local by-laws first, before doing something which you could get you fined or imprisoned.

Note - I am going to rant a bit below. Pay attention and I shall get to my point.

Discus golf courses are dangerous. Getting hit in the head by one of those could cause brain damage and even kill a passerby, and yet they proliferate with little knowledge about the dangers of people sometimes ignoring safety precautions. Discus Golf is a lawsuit waiting to happen and it is mind-boggling that cities have set up these in high traffic parks where people could easily be hurt and killed. A discus, unlike frisbee, are quite heavy and getting hit with one is like being hit with a sling bullet (which killed Goliath according to the whole David and Goliath story). In ancient Greece the discus was used as a weapon of war for killing their enemies, and was known for its unpredictable nature of hitting innocent bystanders.

I would argue therefore that any park that allows Discus Golf has clearly made allowances for the dangers posed by people throwing them around, and thus could easily apply the same principle to archery - which is infinitely more accurate to shoot. Thus it is entirely feasible that it is just a matter of convincing the local town council / city council to install an archery range in a safe location in a local park. After all, if they are allowing people to throw discus around (which are random discs of death), certainly they could allow archery which is way more accurate and less likely to kill bystanders. Everyone knows archery is potentially dangerous. I would argue that the lack of knowledge bystanders have about the dangers of discus makes them much more dangerous.

Last year I got in a heated argument with the organizer of a discus golf tournament who was ignoring various safety rules that had been set in place to make the discus golf course safer. He stated that the event had insurance. I argued that insurance doesn't cover "Reckless Endangerment", which includes prison time. You can have all the insurance you want, but that doesn't cover prison time for not following the safety rules and doing things you know to be reckless.

There you go. Rant over.

Now in light of that, I am going to discourage you from shooting a bow in your backyard. Yes, technically you can do it - if the local laws allow. But what if a local kid sees you shooting in the backyard and thinks it is okay for them to do it too? And then they shoot and accidentally kill their little brother/sister. So yeah, rather than have that guilt on your conscience, just shoot some place safer instead.

I do however have a solution. Shoot inside a garage or an empty basement instead. Clear the space of any breakables, make a target out of stacks of cardboard, don't let random kids or pets walk into the firing range. Good. Feel safe? Yes. Good. Keep it that way.


#4. Condo or Apartment Building?

There is basically no safe place in a condo or apartment building where you can practice archery. It isn't just a matter of other people, it is a matter of damaging the walls / breaking your arrows on hard walls. Even if the building superintendent found you an empty storage room in the basement next to the parking lot, after breaking all your arrows on the concrete walls you would be looking for a place to shoot that doesn't break your arrows so easily.

Which brings us to the topic of college and university archery clubs. Many colleges have archery clubs, and they sometimes allow non students to become members and use their facilities. Even if you are not a student, you might still be able to get access to their facilities by becoming a community member or signing up for a proverbial bird course just so you are technically a student.

eg. Ryerson University in Toronto allows people to get a Ryerson Community Member card which allows you to get a membership at the Ryerson Gyms. Ryerson also operates an archery club. For more details check out their Facebook page.

#5. Anything I Missed?

The following suggestions are basically for all of the above.
  • Find other archers and open your own club, which might mean renting a facility so you have a place to practice in.
  • Find a store that sells archery equipment that is willing to open an archery range and charge people $10 per hour to use their private range. ($10 per hour is the standard rate for most private archery ranges.) The store could even sell cold drinks to thirsty archers to make even more money and will make oodles off archers who keep buying more archery equipment.
  • Find an archery tag facility near you and ask if they have off hours when their facility isn't used for archery tag and whether you can rent it during non-peak times.
  • Make once per week trips to an archery range that is further away, but well worth the drive.
  • Find a location in the countryside where you can practice (eg. on the family farm of a relative) and visit there once per week. Alternatively you could rent a small space on someone's farm one day per week and make a small archery range there.
  • Live near a desert? Good. Deserts a great open spaces where you can have lots of fun doing archery and the land is usually owned by the government.


Actor William Shatner doing Archery in the Desert

What is the difference between Amateur Athletes and Professionals?

What is the difference between Amateur Athletes and Professional Athletes?

Well, for starters lets talk about Food and Nutrition.

One of the things that has annoyed me in the past is when someone contacts me asking for training in a specific competitive sport because they want to become a professional athlete and I start asking them questions about their diet and nutrition - which are extremely important questions when it comes professional sports because of how competitive it is.

And the response, quite often, is that they don't think their nutrition is an important factor in their sports career. Not their exact words, but basically they downplay how important nutrition is. Which I take to be a clue that their level of nutrition isn't very good and they don't want to admit it.

To use a racing car analogy, poor nutrition would be like putting sub-standard fuel into a race car that runs on high performance octane (usually 94 or higher). You don't really expect the car using sub-standard gasoline to win if you know everyone else in the race is using high performance octane, do you?

So to me, the question of the differences between amateur athletes and professional athletes is a case of food. Food equals fuel. And if you want your body to be a high performance machine then it needs to be using high performance fuel.

Amateur athletes often totally ignore the quality of their nutrition.

Professional athletes take their nutrition very seriously.

I have a book on my shelf, one of my favourites, called "High Performance Sports Conditioning", edited by Bill Foran. It was published in 2001, but not much has changed in the world of sports conditioning during the last 15 years. I highly recommend finding a copy of if your goal is to be participating in professional sports. During chapter one it discussed 'Establishing a Solid Fitness Base' and talks about athletes building a Team of Support Staff including:
  • Athletic Trainer or Coach (that is my job)
  • Sport Nutritionist (to advise on nutritional issues)
  • Sport Physical Therapist (for treatment of injuries)
  • Physician (in case of serious injuries)

Acquiring one of each of these is basically a necessity for any professional athlete. The names of the individuals may change over time as an athlete's competitive career changes. They might start with their family doctor as their physician and later gain a Team Physician if they end up on a team of athletes that train together.

Having these people found in advance is an advantage because what if a situation arises and you, for example, break your leg, and you don't even have a family doctor. Instead you are going to walk-in clinics where you get random doctors who are barely out of medical school and have no experience with sports injuries.

Find these people in advance, and then begin training.

Amateur athletes won't think that will need a team of support staff, and thus won't bother to get them. That means no coaching, no nutritional advice, they might have a family doctor but not necessarily a doctor familiar with sports injuries, and they definitely won't have a physical therapist who specializes in sports injuries.

Coaching obviously is going to be a big factor as well. Coaching doesn't necessarily happen every day however. It might be once per week or even once every two weeks. Coaches are usually also available via phone or email to answer questions the athlete might have.

As athletic trainers go coaches fulfill three important roles:

#1. Knowledge Base - to provide the athlete with a plethora of knowledge in their chosen sport with respect to learning how to best achieve results during competition, how to train towards specific goals, what exercises to be doing, any cross-training to be doing, how to create a training schedule, etc.

#2. Motivational Guidance - the coach is there to keep the athlete motivated, to keep trying harder in order to succeed.

#3. Mental Game - some athletes develop problems mentally and lose focus on what they are supposed to be doing. In archery for example professional archers will sometimes develop problems like "Target Panic" which is an anxiety that causes them to become anxious and then shoot too soon when they are not ready yet, or also "Gold Shy" is when an archer starts deliberately missing unconsciously or subconsciously. It is the coaches job to be part psychologist and cure the athlete of any mental problems they might be facing.

Note - My solutions to both of the above two problems is to either take a break from normal shooting and practice doing something different for fun (like shooting at moving targets), or to deliberately make the challenge harder so that the archer is forced to concentrate more.

Lastly, professional athletes Practice and Train 3 to 5 days per week, depending on their sport, and use their off days to rest and recuperate. This process of Training, Resting, Training, Resting, Training, Resting, Training, etc is continuous and allows for peak muscle growth and helps prevent sports injuries like repetitive strain.

People often think that professional athletes Train, Train, Train or Practice, Practice, Practice - however that is a bit of a misunderstanding. It is more of a Train, Rest, Practice, Rest process.

An amateur who doesn't know what they are doing might simply practice every day until they exhausted or hurt themselves. That might make logical sense to them at the time, but once they learn the horrors of the first serious sports injury they will either quit the sport or rethink how they are training.

This means the professional athlete makes a Training Schedule.

Lets say for example you are a competitive compound archer. Using the above order of training, what should your 4 week training schedule be?

Week 1
Sunday Training at Gym, Monday Rest, Tuesday Practice at Archery Range, Wednesday Rest, Thursday Training at Gym, Friday Rest, Saturday Practice at Archery Range.

Week 2
Sunday Rest, Monday Training at Gym, Tuesday Rest, Wednesday Practice at Archery Range, Thursday Rest, Friday Training at Gym, Saturday Rest.

Week 3
Sunday Practice at Archery Range, Monday Rest, Tuesday Training at Gym, Wednesday Rest, Thursday Practice at Archery Range, Friday Rest, Saturday Training at Gym.

Week 4
Sunday Rest, Monday Practice at Archery Range, Tuesday Rest, Wednesday Training at Gym, Thursday Rest, Friday Practice at Archery Range, Saturday Rest.

Week 5 = Start over at 1.

Now the above training schedule is just an example of one way a person could create a training schedule. There are literally thousands of different training schedules for hundreds of different sports online available for free.

Often a training schedule will also have dates set aside for specific events, such as competitions. In the example marathon training schedule below there are dates set aside for specific marathons and events like the "National 1/2 Marathon", or the "Cherry Blossom 10 Mile", or the "Flying Pig Marathon".


Professional Equipment

Depending on the sport it is a good idea to be training with the best equipment you can find. This often means equipment that is more expensive, more durable, less likely to have problems, more adaptable, easier to use, etc.

Having the most expensive / "best" equipment isn't always a necessity however. In the world of competitive weightlifting for example it doesn't matter whether your weights are homemade or made of solid gold, 50 lbs is still 50 lbs regardless of what it is made of.

Thus for people on a budget they should be thinking in terms of the necessities. eg. A marathon runner will want a good pair of shoes and a source of water at intervals during practice runs. (Tip, if you plan your jogging route along Starbucks they give out free water. All you have to do is ask for it.) Nobody cares what the marathon runner is wearing, so any old pair of pants or shorts and a t-shirt will do. Wearing skin tight breathable fashion is not a necessity and if anything you will look silly wearing that when you are not in an actual marathon.

Conclusions

This is just a brief overview of the differences between professional athletes and amateur athletes. The following are just a few of the fundamental differences between those athletes who take seriously what they are doing and those who simply don't care, and thus are really just amateurs. That perhaps is the most fundamental difference of all. Professional athletes take everything seriously. Amateurs do not.
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Team of Support Staff, including Coaching
  • Train, Rest and Practice + Training Schedule
  • Professional Equipment

There is one last thing unfortunately... Money. You may have noticed that buying nutritional food is more expensive than buying sugary and fatty foods. Coaching is likewise expensive, as is having support staff even if you only talk to them once per month. Having all that training time might mean you don't have time for a normal 9 to 5 job either, so having money saved up so you can have time off to train is a necessity too. And of course money for equipment. Some sports are very expensive. Others less so. You might need to buy gym memberships, club memberships, etc to get access to equipment that is too expensive to buy normally, or you might decide you absolutely need that equipment so you can use it all the time - in which case it might be very expensive.

Also please note that most professional athletes (with the exclusion of team sports like baseball, hockey, football, soccer, tennis, golf, cycling, etc) don't actually make a lot of money in their chosen field. Some do because they are well paid members of a team, but most sports don't have a lot of big sponsors and thus the prize money is a lot smaller.

Thus if you manage to win some prize money that money will probably go right back into your budget for food, coaching, equipment, etc. Don't expect to be making a living off the sport.

Note - This is probably why gambling is such a problem in many professional sports. An athlete who deliberately loses can sometimes make more money losing than they can by winning. eg. Boxers taking a dive. Even big name events like the Olympics are rife with gambling, although it isn't often talked about.

Thus if you are getting into a competitive sport you really should be doing it for the right reasons. To try and attain that goal. Trying to do it for lesser reasons like greed isn't going to help you. Greed is only going to hold you back from what should be your real goal: Attaining Perfection.

Sportsmanship and Giving Back to the Community

It is my personal opinion that a true athlete should also at least attempt to be a good sportsman, to be generous and kind to their fellow athletes, and to give back to the sports community by donating their time and effort towards causes that helps the sport.

They should also admonish activities that give the sport a bad reputation, like fighting on the ice in hockey, or dentist bowhunters who poach lions for kicks, or cyclists who resort to using steroids in order to win the Tour de France. Such behaviour needs to be admonished and discouraged so that younger generations of athletes know and understand that the sport should not be defined by a few bad eggs who are violent, immoral and cheat.

Sometimes one of the best things a famed athlete can do is to simply show up, sign autographs and shake the hands of a younger generation.



If you want to read more articles like this please subscribe to CardioTrek.ca or bookmark this page and come back for more. The above post is Part One of a new series of posts about Training for Professional Athletes.

1.5 Million Visitors to CardioTrek.ca

A few days ago the total number of visits to CardioTrek.ca surpassed 1.5 million. Not bad for a personal training website that gives away free advice / answers fitness questions, in addition to my personal training / sports training practice.

Most of that 1.5 million is from visitors in Canada / USA, and tiny fractions from other English speaking countries, and non-English speaking countries.

It would be interesting to know how many are actually from Toronto, my home turf. Three years ago in January I found stats on Alexa.com stating that CardioTrek was in the top 5000 websites in Toronto - which was when CardioTrek had merely 25,516 visitors. In contrast in January 2016, exactly three years later we recorded 58,495 visitors.

Numbers are nice, but more importantly is the fact that I am often fully booked 8 months of the year (November to February is the slow time of the year). Booked up so much that I have been raising my rates and cutting back a bit so I can have more free time. So I am obviously doing something right.

I am also frequently asked to appear in television shows. In the past year I appeared on:

CBC's "Marketplace", a piece about eggs / nutrition.

CityTV's "Athlete of the Week", a piece about my archery skills.

OLN's "Storage Wars Canada", during which I was asked to identify and estimate the value of a Bear Grizzly recurve bow (modified by the US-CDN exchange rate at the time).

So yeah, good times. Let the good times roll!

Should be interesting to see where my website / business is 4 years from now. Or 14 years from now.


Five Ways to get into Competitive Archery

Looking to get into archery and compete? There are many ways to do so.

#1. Field Archery Competitions

Field Archery was likely invented by people fond of Roving - the traditional act of getting drunk with friends and wandering the countryside with a wineskin and a bow, shooting at things for fun. There are even songs on the topic "A Roving Will We Go" and so forth.

Field Archery is very similar, but without the drunkenness. Field archery combines shooting a bow with a hike in the woods, enjoying a wide variety of outdoor terrain, weather conditions, and shooting in varying lighting conditions. Field Archers usually shoot in groups of four, and then hike a course to shoot targets at varying distances. It is a bit like playing golf as you have to wait until the next target is clear of the previous archer(s) before you can go out there and start shooting.

In World Archery field tournaments, the course is "unmarked" on the first day of competition. Archers are expected to judge the distance and take their shots in three-arrow ends; that is, each archer shoots three times before walking to the target to score their shots. During FITA Field events archers often develop a system for estimating distances and practice it while honing their form on different types of terrain to prepare for tournaments. In comparison the National Field Archery Association tournaments the distances are marked.

Some Field Archers feel that field archery is special because archers connect with each other while they are waiting for a target to open up, and that's when they talk, share snacks and discuss how they felt about that last target, thus building new friendships amongst competitors.

Shooting through the woods like that also has a definite Robin Hood feel to it, compared to shooting in a 70 meter field at a 122 cm FITA target. Doing that all the time eventually gets boring.

In contrast Field Archery is never the same twice. Always a different course to run, different spots to stand, etc. The big trick is learning how to gauge distances, control your form on rough uneven terrain and learning how to adjust shots on upwards or downward angles. Thus if you have never done any of those things before it helps to have an archery instructor.

The other good news is that Field Archery is a sport that is friendly to all kinds of bows - longbows, compounds, recurves, shortbows. Everyone is welcome. Some competitions may be limited to only one kind of bow, but it is a sport that can be done with any kind of bow.

#2. Flight Archery Competitions

Flight Archery is all about seeing who is shooting the further, often using the most powerful / fastest bow you can shoot (within your chosen weight category) and using the lightest weight arrows you can find. The goal essentially is to shoot a super light weight arrow using a very fast bow and aim it at the correct height in order to maximize the distance the arrow will travel - possibly paying attention to wind conditions so you can have the wind in your favour.

A big factor in Flight Archery is the weight categories. It is arguably easier to win a competition (or even set a new record) using a lighter bow than it is to win a competition or set a new world record using a really heavy bow. According to legend the world record for the world's longest shot with a longbow was about 1500 yards, however it was likely done with a 200+ lb longbow, which makes it far out of the reach of normal archers.

In contrast the current male recurve flight archery champion for the under 18 kg (39.7 lbs) category boasts only approx. 650 yards. Thus someone wishing to set a new record doesn't necessarily need to be super strong to do it.

Below I have included an Arrow Trajectory Chart so you get an idea of the importance of aiming at the correct height when doing Flight Archery. Aiming too high or too low will hurt the overall distance traveled. As you can see below the correct height to aim is approximately 40 to 45 degrees.



#3. Longbow Competitions

I decided to list Longbow separately because there are many different kinds of Longbow Competitions, which include:

Clout Archery - shooting at a flag at either 180 or 140 yards away. Points are awarded by how close you get to the flag.

Beuersault - shooting at two 50 yard targets in two different directions with different wind conditions.

Cherokee Cornstalk Shooting - See Wand Shoot below, the two are very similar.

Popinjay - shooting at a wooden bird on top of a pole that is 30 yards almost straight up. Archers stand within 12 feet of the pole and try to shoot the wooden bird with a blunt tipped arrow.

Wand Shoot - trying to hit a tiny strip of wood or a ribbon at a random distance. Points are awarded for arrows landing near or hitting the strip of wood or ribbon. This is very similar to Cherokee Cornstalk shooting, except that in that sport you only score points by hitting the cornstalk.

#4. Target Archery Competitions

A. Indoor

There are many types of target archery competitions, for all types of bows. Ignoring the types of bows used one major difference is whether they are shot indoor or outdoor. A common competitive distance for teenagers to shoot during high-school for example is to shoot at 18 meters, indoors, usually in a gymnasium.

Note - I personally enjoy shooting in my garage when the weather is really cold. It isn't a long distance, but it is a lot of fun with friends, music and drinks.

B. Outdoor

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are probably the best-known example of outdoor target archery, but archers compete outdoors at everything from local to national events using every kind of equipment you can think of: Compounds, crossbows, longbows, shortbows, horsebows, traditional recurves, Olympic recurves, footbows, and a large variety of ethnic styles of archery.

Olympic archery, the kind you are most likely familiar with, involves shooting at a 122 cm FITA target at a distance of 70 meters and using every gadget you can think of - stabilizers, sights, clickers, etc.

Compound competition distances vary, but are commonly between 50 meters and 150 meters. Some competitors are so good at this they could probably shoot bulls-eyes further than that, but there are a shortage of competitions that bother to go for really long distances. Targets for compounds are usually 80 cm, and again they use lots of gadgets to help their accuracy.

Ontario hosts over 200 outdoor target competitions every year, for a wide variety of different bows, and many of these competitions are within a short drive of Toronto. So there is no excuse not to try it if that is what you are interested in.

#5. 3D Competitions

Like field archery, 3D archery involves wooded ranges and challenging terrain, but this sport also features three-dimensional animal targets on marked and unmarked courses. You don't know the distance to the target and the target might be as small as a rabbit or as big as a moose, it really depends on who designed the course and what they had handy for targets.

3D archers hike to shooting stations, where they then estimate distances to the animal target. However, most 3D tournaments only allow one shot per target. Even if you are not into hunting, 3D archery provides a fun, challenging test. 3D competition distances are much shorter than those for target or field archery, so it's accessible to beginners, with ranges typically being less than 30 yards.

To practice for 3D archery, you must practice judging distances, develop stamina to carry your equipment, and learn the scoring rings for different animal targets. Carrying binoculars is handy if you need to verify where you want to aim.

Like Field Archery above, 3D archery feels special because you're shooting in a natural setting at an animal target, even if it is a fake animal. The varied terrain adds an extra challenge and you will often make new friends while doing it. Tip - Hang out with the veterans and old archers who know what they are doing, you will learn lots from them.

BONUS - Archery Tag League Play

Archery Tag is such a new sport, but it already has evolved into a team sport with leagues where teams can compete against one another. Toronto has over half a dozen archery tag locations now and several of them offer the option of League events (eg. Battle Sports). So if you are in favour of shooting at moving human targets, that is certainly an option.
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

Subscribe by Email

Followers

Popular Posts