Yes, it’s coming up again, our popular Handicap Portsmouth shoot at Pool Academy. It is open to all ArcheryGB members. A Portsmouth round is 6 dozen arrows at 20 yards distance. What we do is a Half-Portsmouth in the morning (i.e. 2 1/2 dozen arrows). The scores from this are used to set a handicap allowance, then you shoot a whole Portsmouth after a leisurely lunch. The handicap allowance calculated earlier is added to your total for this round. The idea is that this creates a level playing field where anyone, regardless of how good you are, has an even chance of winning.
It seems to be tempting for a lot of people to do a scoring round each time they come and shoot, particularly indoors. There is nothing wrong with scoring. I mean, archery is a competitive sport, it’s what we do, and it is how you measure your progress. However, if you are serious about improving your shooting then you need to have practice sessions when you don’t score your arrows. When you are scoring you are naturally focussed on where the arrows hit the target, and to achieve the best score you have to make each shot the same as the last. So, you can’t be changing anything in your technique.
If you want to work on improving some aspect of your technique, say hand position on the bow, or shoulder alignment or whatever, you are acknowledging that what you are doing now is not perfect and needs changing in order to make it better. If you are changing your technique your arrows will fly differently and (in the short term, at least) your score is likely to go down. If the change is worthwhile then your scores will improve when you get used to it, but scoring is likely to discourage you from making that change. Even having a target face on the boss can be distracting, so take it off and shoot on a blank boss, using just a target pin or a small piece of tape to give you something to aim at.
If you are practising, don’t score. If you are scoring, don’t practise, just shoot!
The evenings are getting shorter and we are rapidly approaching the end of the outdoor season. Indoor shooting starts on 1st October at Leedstown Village Hall and on Saturday 3rd at Ludgvan Community Hall, and will continue on Thursdays and Saturdays from then onwards. See here for details of times and locations.