Glenn Campbell believes that a good coach is crucial to success in archery. If Campbell's performance on Day One of the Senior Games men's 60-64 Compound Release archery competition is any indication, he may be correct.
Campbell shot a near perfect round, finishing with a score of 874, putting him just one point behind leader Ronald West.
In the Senior Games, archers participate in an American 900, shooting 30 times each from 40, 50, and 60 yards. With 90 total shots and a maximum of 10 points per shot, a perfect round is 900 points. Campbell came within 26 points of perfection.
That level of precision comes with an incredible dedication to the sport. Campbell said he shoots four hours each day and works with his coach, Bernie Pellerite, who has been featured in several archery magazines. "Don't waste your time trying to learn it yourself. You've got to get a good coach," said Campbell.
Beyond the quality of his coaching, Campbell said his time commitment has been crucial to his success. After shooting virtually every day for 19 years, Campbell said he has a subconscious sense of how he needs to position himself for a shot.
"Nothing is any good until it's subconscious. When you just walk up to that (shooting) line, and you just stand there, and all of a sudden your feet are right, you don't have to look down no more, you're getting to where you know the angle of the field without thinking about it," said Campbell.
Though Campbell competes in the games as a resident of Michigan, he was born in Kentucky, where, he said, his love of archery began. "We cut slingshots out of trees when we were six, seven years old, and made bows and arrows out of trees," said Campbell. Campbell continued to shoot recreationally, until he began competing in 1990.
In 2007 he entered his first Senior Games competition and placed sixth. To qualify for this year's Games, Campbell set the Michigan record for points.
Needing only to repeat Monday's round in Day Two of the archery competition to have a great chance at winning a gold medal, Campbell said his plan for Tuesday is to simply, "do the same thing I did today."
He competes in the Compound Release category of the archery competition, which dictates that he uses a compound bow, which uses pulleys and cables to bend the limbs of the bow. By using these pulleys, the bow can store more force with less energy exertion than a traditional barebow. A compound release bow also uses a mechanical release device to shoot his arrow.
Some of the other categories in competition on Monday were compound recurve bows, which curve away from the archer at the ends of the bow, allowing the bow to hold more energy, and barebow recurve bows, which do use a pulley system to bend the limbs and reflect a more tradition bow. Also in competition was the compound fingers category, which uses a compound bow like that of Campbell, but does not use a release device.
In the men's 60-64 compound recurve bow competition, Jeff Wisemen took the lead by the end of Monday, shooting a 793. Wilfred Powell led the men's 60-64 barebow recurve with 631 points, and Rusty Mills led the men's 60-64 compound finger competition with 851 points. In the women's 60-64 compound release competition, Mary Nemec-Wood led at the end of Day One with 859 points.
As Monday's archery results exemplify, compound bows provide the greatest accuracy, leading to higher scores than in the more challenging barebow competitions. However, because compound bows can be deadly accurate, the margin for error is slim and even one errant shot can cost an archer the competition.