My name is Jameson Rydeen, I’ve been participating in the MN NASP program for 8 years and this season (2023) was, by the most stressful and rewarding year in Archery. Up until this season, I’ve never had to participate in a Shoot-Out. My limited experience prior to the Western Nationals competition was the Last Man Standing Shootout at our MN State Archery Tournament.
The Last Man Standing competition pitted archery alumni against alumni, coaches against coaches and a single representative from each team competing against each other until there were 3, one person remaining from each division. Then we shot against each other. It was more about bragging rights than competition. It was fun, but turned out to be a great primer for what was to come.
At the Western National tournament in Salt Lake City, I tied for high score in both the Bullseye and 3D tournaments. My counter parts in each were Jack Frey (IA, 6th grade) in Bullseye, and David Boyer (MO, 8th grade) in 3D. They didn’t make it easy for me!
Shoot-offs can be stressful. At the time, I knew there would be a shoot-off for one of the competitions, but I didn’t know about the second until immediately after completing the first one. I used a combination of what I did during the Last Man Standing competition and my normal shooting routine.
I took deep breaths, four seconds in and four seconds out; I took as many as I needed. Then I looked down the line at the target and first, focused on my aim point, then on the center of the target, then back to my aim point. After the whistle was blown, I know it doesn’t take me the two full minutes to shoot, so I took a couple seconds to clear my head. Usually, I find something to stare at down range. Something usually catches my eye, I keep it in focus for a couple seconds, then I begin to shoot.
For my final 2 arrows, I always take time walking through all 11 steps. I say them in my head and follow through each step. During and even after shooting, I never look back at the crowd. Looking back at the crowd would make me nervous.
My best advice for anyone in a shoot-out is to stay as calm as possible and pretend like you and your bale partner are the only people there and follow the 11 steps.
Jameson Rydeen is a guest contributor for the 2023 Student Contributors Program.