After the Versus tournament in Mexico, I headed to NEW Mexico to train with Cassidy before AZ Cup. This saved me flying back and forth to home, which would have cost me 2 days of practice that I knew I needed.
I realized when I stepped off the plane in New Mexico that I was getting to check off a new state I had never been to before. I was pretty excited when I realized this (yes this is the kind of thing people in their mid 30s celebrate).
I spent my training there shooting 70M on a field course, with an 80cm target face. I knew this was more difficult then the 122cm target we shoot for FITA and the upcoming AZ Cup, so I figured it would be a good test of how well I was grouping. I did some gold game type scoring where I gave myself a point for the center black ring, zero for the white and -1 for the outer black rings.
After a few days here, it was time to head to AZ Cup for the first National ranking tournament of the year. This has ALWAYS been my worst tournament of the year, but I was determined for this year to be better with all my preparation.
As usual it was hot and dusty in AZ, but we had no weather delays or crazy dust storms this year, so I will take that as a win. Practice day was pretty average, and women’s recurve had to shoot the afternoon line again this year, so I knew I needed to stay hydrated and protect myself from the sun, in order to perform at my best.
My first half of qualification was kind of blah. I felt like I just “kept” missing the 10 ring, and had a few too many in the red. I was “ok” with my 310, but I wasn’t very happy. Then in the second half things just sort of got worse and worse. My groups just sort of opened up, and I couldn’t really explain why. I was talking to a friend just before the last end, and I got pretty upset. She felt bad that I had to go jump up to the line like this, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. I shot a 57, with a group much smaller than the X ring, one of my best ever ends in a tournament!
Elimination day my shots felt much better, but I kept getting weird left and rights that I couldn’t explain. This was super frustrating and left me guessing where to aim each arrow. In addition, I got more tentative, as I started second guessing things, just making things worse.
I ended up winning a few matches before losing to Ariel. We are pretty split historically in matches against one another, so it was disappointing to take the loss. However, it was more frustrating that I felt like my shots were soooooo much better than I was scoring. I knew my form had improved drastically from the fall, after all the setbacks this winter, but it seemed it wasn’t being reflected in my scores. Not much I could do besides head home, analyze my plots, and come up with a plan to continue improving.