Monday, November 02, 2009

The Heretic and the Compound

Not many knows that I have been playing with compound since late 70’s… First time I had it in my hands, it was a Bear 6 wheels, at the same time I got my Bear target TD, around 1975. Well, it was a mysterious thing, with no instructions and people was shooting it with fingers here, in competitions against recurves.
In Early 80’s I got my PSE Laser Flight, that is still in my garage. It was one of the top compound bows existing at that time, a real jewel, and I used it with a small finger release, with very bas results. But in early 90’s, I finally had in my club some people that were dedicating a lot of time to Compound shooting, all of them using Browning bows, and preparing to the advent of Compound shooting in FITA official competitions. In 1990 Compound become an official division in the XII FITA World Field Championships in Loen, Norway. Maurizio Cirla from my club was in the Italian team with his Browning and .. a clicker, and got the 19th place there.
No one today is using the clicker with the compound, but in that age it was not so uncommon. I teached Maurizio the use of the cliker, and he got several medals with it at Italian and European level. It was the first time a cliker was used with compound in FITA World Championship, while last time in my knowledge was in 1998 in Gurgl, Austria, at the XVI FITA World Field Championship by the great Becky Pearson.
In 1996 in San Diego World Junior championships has been Manuela MustafĂ  from my club bringing back a Bronze Medal by Women team, then many years were compound shooting was not so popular in my area, until 2002, when my son decided Compund had to be a part of his winter training, and my daughter followed him from 2003. Since then, Comppund bow have become again a constant presence in my club, at least in winter time. Michele and Carla are shooting since then 2 or 3 indoor competitions yearly in winter time. From 2004, Sandrine Vandionant, former compound Indoor European Champion has joined the family, and while I was coaching her in recurve shooting, she was transferring us a lot of experience in Compound shooting.
Carla got a Junior Silver Medal at the Italian Indoor Championships 2006, but Michele at the same championships reached a result that will remain in the history of Italian Archery. He scored 592 with recurve, tied to Alessandro Rivolta also at 592 in first position, and he scored 577 only with compound after a bad start (285+292) ending at the 16th place tied to Daniele Bauro. He won the Compound shoot off, and therefore he was surprisingly in the eight of finals for both Recurve and Compound.
Organizers were really surprised, but rules did not forbid this, so they changed the schedule having the matches shot no more all at the same time, but alternating every stage between recurve and compound. Compound field was on the left side and recurve field on the right side of the DOS stand. Recurve started first, and Michel shot the first recurve match, winning it. Then he moved to the left side, picked up the compound and shot the match against number one ranked, Stefano Mazzi, and won it 175/174. The incredible was happening, and he was in the quarter of finals for both Recurve and Compound, at the same time. He went on winning the quarter of finals, too, and he was in semi-finals, but here he had a bad arrow in the compound match and lost it agains Mike Palumbo, while in the recurve match he won. So, he arrived at the Bronze match with compound, and easily won it by 119/116 over Antonio Pompeo, while he went winning the recurve Gold match against Alessandro Rivolta. For the first and last time in FITARCO history of the Italian Championships, the same archer was on the podium getting medals for both recurve and compound divisions. Succeeding in a very heretic challenge, for the first and last time. It was the last time, because since then, under pressure of several unhappy parties, FITARCO introduced the rule that matches were going in any case on at the same time, and so an archer qualified to both finals had to choose witch one to shoot.
But how is Michele shooting compound?
Until last year, his technique was very similar to his recurve one, with a good alignment of the back and a lot of pushing while aiming. On the wall up to 30 # in some conditions, it was a very stressful way of shooting. Back tension release was then giving him a very explosive release, but perfectly on the line to the target. Now days he is training a little bit more “compound style”, with shorter draw length and more static release, while a big dot on the lens has replaced his usual very small one. He is studying compound shooting a little bit more, my daughter is following him, his wife Sandrine is definitely back to compound shooting. As far as muyself is concerned, I'm now also coaching the Compound Irish team. Is the Heretic family now going compound only? Not at all, is just adding compound to our daily study of the present and future shooting techniques. And may be adding a new chapter to the Heretic Archer II future book.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the way ...

Several months form my last post, again. A very busy year, trying to develop a new archery team for Ireland in 2012 perspective. In the mean time, archery is changing.
Ogden Youth World Archery Target Championships and Youth Olympic games qualifier, then Ulsan World Target Archery Championships have established new standards for those that would like to reach the Olympic Dream in 2012. I admit I was a little bit unprepared to the stellar technical levels reached by these championships. I was expecting a sort of linear worldwide increase of performances, and I have found that the increase is logarithmic. Top Recurve Juniors are already all shooting at senior level, and senior level is already on the moon and over. Tie breaks in between 3 teams to enter the 16 top teams have been an absolute first. And, everything says it will be a game for more teams in 2011 when all the world will play to get Olympic places for London.
After World Championship in Liepzig 2007 I forecasted that Olympics for archery were going to be more and more an Asian game, only. Now, I'm pretty sure about this. And, to try to compete against Asian countries playing the game they are playing will get to nothing.
European and other Western countries have to play it the Western way, if they want to see London in 2012 from the inside of the archery venue.
Imitating Koreans has never led to anything concrete in this side of the world. Repeating again and again the same cloned formulas has never given any positive result here.
But, with fantasy and imagination, there are other ways to reach the ambitious Olympic dream.
I like to think the Heretic way being one of them, and time will tell, again.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The heretic is back

Two years from the last post.... Apologize with readers, but so many things have happened in the middle, that it will be even difficult to summarize them here. So, I simply skip this two years and I go straight to the present.
Since beginning of April 2009 I have been appointed National Coach of Irish Amateur Archery Association, with the very ambitious goal to bring at least one Irish Archer to London 2012.
It's a diffult "heretic" challenge to be handled part time., but IAAA is really made by enthusiastic people and is a pleasure to work with them... Time will tell...
Michele will go to Sofia European Grand Prix on next week. He won the first edition tree years ago, let see this time...
The Heretic Archer II project has been stopped for these two years, but now I'm back in writing. Many new infos have been available in the mean time, and it will be a much more better book now than it was planned to be. But, don't expect it before end of this year or early 2010 ...