After all the surprised looks I got when I walked in on practice day with a compound, I realized no one reads my posts, lol! I’m guessing people think they are too long, so here is my attempt at shortening them up.
I had a whopping 11 days between Lancaster and leaving for Vegas to pick a bow to shoot and practice with a compound again. I surprisingly shot some new compound pbs, both in practice (shot Vegas 900) and at a local warmup 45 arrow fita style tournament ( by 4 points!).
If you’ve listened to my talk with Shawn on the ArcheryUncensored podcast, you’ll know I made a deal with R that I would give up my Olympic dreams if I won Vegas after 2.5 years not shooting compound. Until shooting those scores the weekend prior, I figured my chances of doing this were about 0%, but shooting that well gave me a glimpse that maybe the universe was trying to tell me something.
Practice day was a little rough for me. I was tired from the jet lag, running around catching up with all my students, and trying to check in with a few sponsors before it was competition time. I’ve never been one to perform well during official practice, so I wasn’t worried.
Day 1: One thing I enjoy about tournaments like Vegas is picking where on the target I want to shoot. For whatever reason, I’ve always found I shoot best when facing a lefty, so when I heard Cassidy Cox was on the bale next to me, I made sure to plan to hang our targets, so we could face one another.
I stepped up to the line for the first official end, and I felt nerves I hadn’t felt since indoor world team trials last year. I had told R prior to leaving that I knew more than one female would shoot a 900 this year, so I knew I couldn’t blow it shooting a 9 my first arrow. I was definitely a little shaky, but I got off the first arrow and it was a 10. Second arrow, I still felt the nerves, and it broke a little scary, but I pulled binos and was catching 10 ring (and first arrow was actually an X). At this point I just relaxed and shot my 3rd arrow. It felt good, so I breathed, feeling confident now that I had made it through end #1 clean.
However, as we started walking down to target I noticed my 3rd arrow was not good…it was a high 9! This is not normally where I miss, and I was a little confused. At this point, I knew I wasn’t winning Vegas, so I could just enjoy this one compound tournament with my old friends. In the fourth end, I had an arrow JUST out, and I finished the day down two. As I said on social media, no one ever is “happy” about shooting two down, but I was content with it. Also, one really cool part of my day was seeing Cassidy shoot a 300!
Day 2: I felt great, calm and relaxed. My first two ends were X, X, X, and I thought yeah, I remember how to shoot a compound this is fun! Unfortunately it all kind of went downhill from there. I couldn’t pinpoint anything I was doing wrong, but arrows just seemed to not be going where I expected them to, and I dropped 4 points. This was my WORST Vegas score ever, but I honestly wasn’t upset. I really enjoyed shooting with the girls on my bale and the ones around me, and I knew I hadn’t put in the time, so I wasn’t upset at all about my score. R even made a great Tiger Woods analogy from when he was making his comeback, and he didn’t have the “feels” figured out yet.
Unfortunately my weird mojo rubbed off on Cassidy and she had a rough day, but unlike me she had a chance to redeem herself that night at the World Cup Finals event. I explained to her that it was back to “her” game (inner 10 scoring), and told her how even years I had struggled in Vegas, I had done well in that event. I guess my pep talk must have worked a little, as she had a strong showing that evening, losing in the quarter finals to Paige.
Day 3: Thanks to my poor showing the day before, I got to shoot during the “losers” line as some of us like to call it. Basically everyone that wasn’t still in the running had to shoot a time besides 9:30, so that’s where I was. Somehow just by pure luck, I got to shoot facing another lefty. So fun!
Overall, this round felt good. I was a little more engaged then the previous day, as I really wanted to shoot a 300 on one of the days. Things were going great, and I had a high X count. And then on my 15th arrow, I had a whoops. The arrow sailed down range into the blue, just managing to nick the 7 line. And that’s how I shot a 297, with a 7 on the final day of Vegas.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I was glad I shot compound, even though I had my worst finish ever. Others thought I was “hurting” my recurve shooting. But I can honestly say I don’t regret it, and I am happy I shot compound this year in Vegas. Not only because I truly had a lot of fun shooting with the other compound women, but more importantly I think it actually gave me some clarity on a few things that will improve my recurve game.
One thing in particular, is I NEED to keep my edge. I need to fight for every arrow and every point. When I get too relaxed or feel like I’m just at home shooting, I do not shoot as well as when I DO NOT want to lose. It sounds terrible, but I think I’ve gotten comfortable losing, not being on the podium, you name it. I don’t enjoy this, but just like day 2 this year in Vegas when I was just enjoying shooting, I don’t perform well like this.
I need to find ways to make myself a little nervous. I need to believe that I can beat anyone. I have to go for a 10 every single arrow. I have to show no mercy, and will my arrows into the middle, no matter what the circumstances are. Watch out kids because I am fired up, and I will be on the women’s team headed to Tokyo next year.