Why PSE’s Christopher Perkins Decided to Shoot the Western Classic Trail Shoot in Redding This Year

PSE's Christopher Perkins

PSE’s Christopher Perkins

Editor’s Note: Christopher Perkins from Athens, Ontario, Canada, has been shooting for PSE for the last 2 years. In 4 weeks, this 20 year old earned $18,000 in two professional archery tournaments – not bad for a summer job. How did he do it, and what has he learned that can help you become a target archer and bowhunter? (Perkins enjoys both sports.)

Question: Christopher, why did you decide to go to the Redding Trail Shoot?

Perkins: I was in Kentucky, and I heard a lot of people talking about this shoot. Everyone at the tournament in Kentucky said that Redding was a lot of fun to shoot and that it was a must for tournament archers. So I booked a plane ticket, and my girlfriend, Katie Roth, went with me.

Question: What was it like going to a tournament and shooting targets that you’d never shot before?

Perkins: I thought it was a very neat experience. The main reason I went was to see what all the shoot involved. I like to go to new tournaments, because I meet new people, and I can try different aspects of archery. I knew a little bit about shooting 3D targets, because that’s the way I started shooting tournament archery. But I’d never shot 3D archery with so many uphill and downhill angles.

Question: How do you handle competing against so many other archers?

Perkins: The number of people in an archery tournament doesn’t really bother me. I never look at the standings at a tournament. Usually the only time I ever look at the standings is after the tournament is over. At home, I only shoot against two or three people, so I had to stay on my feet quite a bit to compete with that many people.

PSE's Christopher Perkins

PSE’s Christopher Perkins

Question: Why don’t you keep up with the standings in a big tournament like this?

Perkins: I’ve seen archers get very anxious before, either because they’re behind or ahead, and then they think they’ve got a chance to win, or they’re afraid they’ll lose. I’ve seen archers get all nervous and excited when they’re in the lead, and that pressure may cause them to not perform as well. So, I’ve never really paid that much attention to the standings. All I really concentrate on at a tournament is the next arrow I have to shoot. When I come to the line to take my shot, I don’t really want to know where I am in the standings. I just want to concentrate on my shot routine and making this next shot the very best I can make it. When I’m at a tournament, I try to focus only on what I’m doing and not think about what anyone else is doing. What the other competitors are doing doesn’t really matter. The whole tournament is about how well I shoot, and that’s the only thing I can control. I try to make sure every aspect of my shot is the same as every aspect of my shot when I’m practicing at home.

Question: How do you go through your shot routine?

Perkins: First, I make sure that I’m standing on the line correctly. Then, I make sure I put the arrow on the string correctly, and I want to concentrate my shot on the middle of the dot. I want to make sure my draw is smooth and that it feels the same way it does when I shoot at home. I want to anchor the shot at the same spot I always do, and I want to rely heavily on the muscle memory that I’ve built up. I make sure I feel my hand on my face, I’m conscious of looking through the peep sight and I want to look at the dot on the target and put my pin sight in the center. Once I execute the shot, I keep my eyes on the target and make sure I have a clean follow through. I never shoot at the dot. I always shoot at the center of the dot. Many people just try and shoot the dot, but I try to make a dead center shot in the dot every time I release the arrow. I’m trying to make the best shot I’ve ever made, each time I step to the line to shoot. If I’ve followed my shot routine exactly and relied on my muscle memory, then every shot should be in the center of the dot.

Tomorrow: PSE’s Christopher Perkins Discusses the Other 50 Percent of Target Archery…Mental

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