HIT THE RIGHT NOTE

How Ger­man pro Michelle Krop­pen keeps track of things

Bow International - - CONTENTS -

So you want to be good at this archery lark, right? You are mak­ing notes, yes? On ev­ery as­pect of your train­ing? If you aren't, you may be miss­ing a cor­ner­stone of elite train­ing.

Record­ing score data dig­i­tally on a smart­phone app has some ad­van­tages, par­tic­u­larly in terms of be­ing able to track scores across time, but re­quires you to main­tain a charged bat­tery on the range, plus open­ing up the pos­si­bil­ity of dis­trac­tion from train­ing (see Bow 138). It's worth not­ing that most elite archers still use good old-fash­ioned pen and pa­per; some sci­en­tists have ar­gued that the very act of phys­i­cally writ­ing locks in­for­ma­tion bet­ter into the brain.

Michelle Krop­pen, now a solid fix­ture on the Ger­man na­tional re­curve team, fin­ished 2019 ranked tenth in the world. In 2018, to­gether with Elena Richter and Lisa Un­ruh, the 22-year-old Ber­liner from Berlin se­cured the team world ti­tle in Yank­ton / USA. In 2019, she took a sil­ver medal in the in­di­vid­ual com­pe­ti­tion at the World Cup in Salt Lake City, and a team sil­ver at the An­talya World Cup. She was part of the same team that se­cured the first Ger­man women's team qual­i­fi­ca­tion to an Olympics for twenty years – and also man­aged a fourth place in­di­vid­ual fin­ish at the same tour­na­ment.

Krop­pen has been shoot­ing for 14 years, and in ad­di­tion to her coaches, her shoot­ing notebooks with all the data, anal­y­sis and so­lu­tions used has al­ways been an im­por­tant guide on the way to the very top of the sport. She tells us what goes into hers.

START FRESH

Ev­ery year at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son Michelle starts with a new shoot­ing book. This is where the ath­lete be­gins to record all the im­por­tant de­tails about her cur­rent equip­ment. Pre­vi­ously, she tended to use the same gear as her team­mates, but that changed in 2018. "Last year I de­cided I have to find my own thing, my own bow setup, tech­nique, what­ever works best for me.”

THE BOW: DE­TAILS

Michelle Krop­pen has two com­pe­ti­tion bows, and notes all the de­tails of the two sports bows in her shoot­ing book. Ev­ery­thing. This in­for­ma­tion in­cludes, for ex­am­ple: brac­ing height, the nock point el­e­va­tion, tiller, the mea­sured poundage, but­ton set­tings and also the sta­bilis­ers used with length and weight in­for­ma­tion. An ad­di­tional page re­mains free af­ter the en­try for notes on the ma­te­rial changes that oc­cur within the sea­son. You may think you know how your bow is setup, but

could you tell some­one ex­actly?

THE AR­ROWS

Next, Michelle re­serves a page of the shoot­ing book for her ar­row data. Here she notes the shaft type, the spine, the length of the ar­row and all im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion about the in­di­vid­ual com­po­nents such as the point type used, the ex­act point weights, the vanes Ul­ti­mately, these notes en­sure that all set­tings re­main re­pro­ducible at all times. If changes are made and things don't go so well, Michelle can check the old set­tings again.

Another page of the book is used for the sight mark set­tings for both bows.

TECH­NIQUE

Michelle de­scribes the shoot­ing process in the shoot­ing book with all the de­tails of her tech­ni­cal el­e­ments. She uses this de­scrip­tion to help with the "ideo­mo­tor train­ing", in which the shoot­ing tech­nique is trained and con­sol­i­dated through the pure pre­sen­ta­tion of the tech­nique. (This is a re­fine­ment of the tech­nique usu­ally known as vi­su­al­i­sa­tion). She de­vel­oped the de­scrip­tion of the shoot­ing tech­nique with her sports psy­chol­o­gist and na­tional coach. The tran­script is ex­tremely im­por­tant for ideo­mo­tor train­ing. "There is no bet­ter place to de­scribe my shoot­ing tech­nique than the shoot­ing book that I al­ways carry in my quiver," says Michelle.

TRAIN­ING SES­SIONS

Michelle doc­u­ments ev­ery train­ing ses­sion in the shoot­ing book with these de­tails: date, time, dis­tance, type of tar­get face (e.g. 122cm face, blank bale), ar­rows per end, and to­tal num­ber of ar­rows. She is also care­ful to record the spe­cific con­tent of the train­ing

ses­sion, e.g. in­ter­val train­ing, tech­nique train­ing, per­for­mance con­trol, and the re­sults of any per­for­mance re­views. “If I no­tice any­thing while shoot­ing, I also put it on the doc­u­men­ta­tion page of the train­ing. In this way I can trace back what was im­por­tant dur­ing the past week when the tech­nol­ogy was be­ing im­ple­mented,” ex­plains Michelle. Weeks or even months later, Michelle can track ex­actly how many ar­rows she has ded­i­cated un­der which con­di­tions to a spe­cific train­ing con­tent of the train­ing day.

While some other ath­letes also use draw­ings for doc­u­men­ta­tion, Michelle lim­its her­self to words and uses tips from coaches that are some­times writ­ten down in analo­gies, such as mak­ing sure of a “sta­ble po­si­tion that is firmly an­chored to the ground like a tree”.

“YOU MAY THINK YOU KNOW HOW YOUR BOW IS SETUP, BUT COULD YOU TELL SOME­ONE EX­ACTLY?"

COM­PE­TI­TION

Michelle al­ways starts to reg­is­ter com­pe­ti­tions on a new page in the shoot­ing book. It notes the re­sults of each ar­row, the qual­i­fy­ing round and the matches. Michelle later analy­ses her notes and checks whether there are any no­table ar­row series. “Some­times spe­cial pres­sure sit­u­a­tions be­come vis­i­ble here, and af­ter the anal­y­sis I can start to de­velop strate­gies for fu­ture com­pe­ti­tions to deal with cer­tain sit­u­a­tions more rou­tinely,” ex­plains Michelle.

KEEP­ING ON TRACK

A fur­ther sec­tion of the book con­tains mo­ti­va­tion: “Some­times it is quotes, say­ings or lyrics that build me up, mo­ti­vate me or give me a real boost. I write all the things that are good for me in my shoot­ing book", re­veals Michelle. "This also in­cludes the score sheets of my great­est suc­cesses, which I look at from time to time and which can re­ally push me!"

So shoot­ing books, train­ing di­aries, or what­ever you want to call them serve many pur­poses. Ul­ti­mately, the con­tent of the shoot­ing books is as in­di­vid­ual as the ath­letes who run them. But these ath­letes later ben­e­fit from their self-de­vel­oped so­lu­tions, which are noted down and can be called up at the cru­cial mo­ments. With archery, there is no place to hide, but main­tain­ing care­ful notes on ex­actly how you are do­ing is crit­i­cal to see­ing things ex­actly as they are.

Michelle Krop­pen

Any kind of notebook will work, most archers use the Mole­sk­ine type that closes with a band.

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