What are the ingredients for a great day in archery for you?
A great day in archery for me consists of being able to shoot arrows. After having reconstructive shoulder surgery in which I was told I would never shoot a bow again by three different orthopedic surgeons, I'm just happy to be able to compete and shoot my bow. There are many other things that go along with that, but I never realized how fortunate most archers are just to be able to draw their bows and shoot them.
What techniques do you use for judging distance? How do you get ready for an IBO style tournament?
I use a lot of different techniques to judge yardage. My go-to method consists of an average of three guesses. I walk to the target and get a first impression. After that, I look at the ground in front of me and imagine how many steps it would take me to get to the target. When I have those two numbers stored in my brain, I find something that is 10 yards in front of me. Once I find that, I picture 10-yard increments from that point. If there's not enough yardage to make it to 10 on the last stage, I figure out how many are there. So in the end, I have three guesses: 44 yards, 40 yards and 42 yards. I set my sight for 42 because it's the average of the three guesses. This will usually get you close, providing you're good at estimating distance.
What piece of equipment is on your must have list?
I can't go on the range without my bow, arrows or release, but I also would not go on the range without my binoculars. Binoculars make it easier to see where I want to hit, and they confirm where my arrows are landing. (AAoA Members note—we have great deals with Vortex Optics and the Total Optics Shop.)
You marry your passion for archery with your love of writing. What do you like to write about? What do you think archery and writing share? How can people find your writing?
A long time ago, I attended the Outdoor Writers of America Conference and an editor from Outdoor Life discussed his successes and failures. Since I had always done personal narratives, I wanted to know what he would suggest if someone wanted to tackle a novel. His answer was simple: write about the things that you know; the things that bring you happiness. Thinking about it, it made perfect sense. I love writing about things that give me a sense of familiarity. I spend a lot of time in the outdoors doing the things I love, and I find it easy to write about those things. In the past, I've been successful with poetry, and I have dabbled with editorial type entries on a blog that has received feedback from readers across the globe. That alone has been mind-boggling, especially when I'm sharing my journey, and someone else tells me that whatever I wrote about comforted them to know there was another person who was in the same place. Archery and writing might not share the same thing for everyone, so I can only answer from my biased point of view.
Although I'm not an introvert, I have always been a loner with my thoughts. I've always been a good listener but not much of a talker. When I shoot my bow, I do it to let my mind go numb. I focus 100% on the task at hand, and I let my mind to what it wants to do. I encounter many types of situations while shooting. My mind is completely quiet on some days, while on others it's in overdrive. I let the thoughts come and go while focusing on what I'm doing, much like people who meditate. Writing is the same in many ways. When I sit down to write about something, I usually have an idea where I want to end up. However, I don't force things, just as I don't force shots in archery, and I let my mind take me wherever it wants me to go. I'm not sure if I really answered the question, but archery and writing both allow my mind to be free. When I'm doing those things, I'm doing them on my own time. It's important to pay attention to detail in both hobbies if you want to achieve goals. Both hobbies allow me to set goals and achieve them.
They have also shown me that the mind is incredibly powerful. When we are able to allow the subconscious mind to do things, they become much easier and more fluent. When we fight back and get involved in a wrestling match with the conscious mind, things become more difficult. Archery and writing have allowed me to find a happy place in that world. Being a member of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association, I have writing that has appeared in many places, so it can be found in many magazines, in papers and on websites. The easiest place to find things would be to visit my website or my archery blog: www.toddmead.com or https://angryarcher.blogspot.com