Hoyt 2020 Recurve Overview with Olympian MacKenzie Brown

U.S. Olympic archer MacKenzie Brown and Lancaster Archery Supply recurve archery specialist John Wert run through the new recurve offerings from Hoyt for 2020.

The latest lineup from Hoyt includes the Xceed Grand Prix riser, which is a great choice for Olympic archers, but includes special features aimed directly at competitive barebow archers.

The Xceed features a new limb alignment system and string tension technology, which Brown and Wert discuss in detail. And it also is designed in concert with a unique weight system that barebow archers will love.

The Formula Xi riser also features the new limb alignment system and string tension technology, but is built for Formula limbs.

The Formula Carbon Integra and Grand Prix Carbon Integra limbs are designed as a high-performing limb that’s sold at a more affordable price than other limbs of this caliber.

Podcast: Olympic archer Mackenzie Brown

Mackenzie Brown is one of the top female Olympic recurve archers in the world. Rising as high as No. 3 in World Archery’s rankings of female recurve archers, Brown represented the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil She’s also the two-time defending champion in the Women’s Recurve Division of the annual Lancaster Archery Classic.

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We caught up with Brown recently at the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) National Tournament in Louisville, Ky. Brown was introduced to archery through the NASP program at her school in Texas when she was growing up, so she attended this year’s national tournament to sign autographs and pose for photos with thousands of fans.

Brown sat down and talked with us about a wide array of topics, offering unique and riveting insight into what it’s like – and what it takes – to be one of the best athletes in a sport in order to represent your nation at the Olympics.

In this podcast, you will learn:

  • Brown’s initial NASP coach didn’t think she’d go too far in archery.
  • How NASP helped her develop a love for archery.
  • Archery actually wasn’t the sport Brown originally hoped would take her to the Olympics.
  • How seriously Brown takes the notion that she is a role model to young people.
  • Her view of her performance in the Olympics, where she finished in 19th place.
  • Which member of the Cleveland Cavaliers Brown hung out with in Rio – but didn’t recognize.
  • An idea of the sacrifices it takes to be an Olympic athlete.

“It’s not for someone who won’t give up almost everything,” Brown said. “I’ve been to two school dances in my entire life. They were in junior high….I’ve made sacrifices all throughout my archery career. But I want it that bad.”

Watch Mackenzie Brown compete in the finals at the 2017 Lancaster Archery Classic here.

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Proper nutrition fuels the successful archer

Everyone can benefit from good nutrition. Healthy living is better living.

When it comes to sports, nutrition often is discussed with high-intensity games like football, basketball, soccer, etc. Proper nutrition fuels the body for those sports.

Proper nutrition also is important for archery, even though it doesn’t require the same energy level as other sports.

There is physical exertion in archery. For example, a recurve archer shooting a 50-pound bow in a 120-arrow competition would pull a total weight of 6,000 pounds by the end of the tournament.

To maintain peak performance throughout a competition, you’ve got to eat and drink the right things to fuel your body.

Gellenthien

HYDRATION

The human body is nearly two-thirds water. To maintain proper hydration levels, it’s recommended people drink as much as 10 glasses of water per day. That’s especially important if you’re going to be active and outdoors in the sun.

Studies have found that athletes who don’t drink enough can see as much as a 30-percent reduction in performance.

Heather Pfeil, head instructor at the Lancaster Archery Academy, regularly tells her students to drink a lot of water starting two days before a tournament to make sure their bodies are hydrated properly. That includes proper hydration for the eyes, she said, which have to be in perfect working order for an archer to be successful.

During a competition, Pfeil recommends archers continue drinking water or Gatorade to keep their fluid levels up.

Stay away from caffeine! Caffeinated drinks will make you jittery – if you’re not already feeling that way due to nerves. Jitters and precision aiming don’t go well together. Also, caffeine is a diuretic, which means it can lead to dehydration.

PRE-TOURNAMENT

For at least a couple of days before a tournament, a lot of professional archers like to cut out fast foods, heavy foods and fried foods from their diets, and opt instead for lean, clean-burning foods. Chicken, turkey, pitas and fajitas are favorites for Mathews pro Braden Gellenthien, according to an article published by Archery 360.

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Foods that are high in carbohydrates also are good for pre-tournament meals. Baked potatoes, oat bagels, brown rice, spaghetti with tomato sauce, pancakes and pretzels fall in this category according to MayoClinic.com

COMPETITION DAY

Two-time reigning Lancaster Archery Classic Women’s Recurve Champion Mackenzie Brown, who was the lone female to represent the U.S. in the Rio Olympics last summer, has lived at the U.S. Olympic training center in Chula Vista, Calif., the past several years.

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There, nutrition is discussed in depth with the archers as they train and compete. For competition days, Brown said, the coaches and nutritionists stress eating enough of the right foods to maintain a high energy level throughout the event.

“The idea is to have sustained energy, so a lot of granola bars like Clif Bars are good, and fruits and vegetables too,” she said.

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The Easton Foundation mentions baby carrots, broccoli florets and cherry tomatoes, along with bananas, grapes and apples, as good foods to have on hand during a competition.

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Watch out for foods with lots of processed sugar – like candy bars. They will give you a nice boost of energy, but that boost is always followed by a crash.

Olympic Archery Explained: Draw Weight

There’s no question the archers who will compete in the Olympic games in Rio this summer are the best Olympic recurve archers their home countries have to offer.

They train hard, shooting their bows for many hours every day. And they’ve been doing that for years.

So it’s no stretch to think of these athletes as the strongest Olympic recurve archers in the world. That is, they are the archers who have the most finely-tuned archery muscles.

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Archery is known for using a unique combination of muscles in the back, arms, shoulders and core.

These Olympic competitors have to be shooting the bows with the heaviest draw weights of any archers, right?

Sixty, 70 pounds?

That is, after all, what we typically hear about in discussions of the upper end of draw weights in archery.

Guess again.

How about roughly 40-48 pounds for the women, and 45-55 pounds for the men.

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Brady Ellison, the top American male archer heading to Rio, typically draws 53 pounds. Mackenzie Brown, America’s only female archer competing in the games, draws 46.5 pounds.

Usually, when you hear discussions about draw weights pushing 70 pounds, the archers are talking about shooting compound bows.

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Regardless of the type of bow being shot, heavier draw weights allow for greater arrow speeds and flatter arrow trajectories. This can help an arrow cut through the wind with less drift and more accuracy.

In drawing an Olympic recurve bow, the draw weight actually gets heavier the farther the bow is drawn back. A 70-inch-long, takedown recurve bow – common among Olympic recurve competitors – reaches its marked draw weight when the archer draws the bow to 28 inches. So a bow that’s marked as having a 44-pound draw weight, hits that mark when the bowstring is pulled back 28 inches.

Some archers have long wingspans and draw lengths, drawing their bowstrings beyond 28 inches. Their bows continue to increase in draw weight by approximately 2-3 pounds per inch beyond 28 inches.

At full draw, Brady Ellison holds 53 pounds of tension on the first three fingers of his right hand.

Compound bows, on the other hand, have what’s called let-off. The bows, which employ grooved pulleys – called cams – and cables, reach their peak draw weights roughly halfway through the draw cycle. When the cam rolls over, the draw weight lets off, so the archer is holding significantly less poundage at full draw.

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Most modern compound bows have anywhere from 65-85 percent let-off. Using that range, an archer drawing a bow with a 70-pound draw weight would hold 24.5 – 10.5 pounds of string tension at full draw, thanks to the let-off.

And nearly all compound archers today are holding that weight with a mechanical release that’s either strapped to their wrist or held in their hand. Their fingers don’t touch the bowstring.

So while Olympic recurve archers typically do not draw as much weight as compound archers, they’re probably holding anywhere from two to five times more weight at full draw than most compound archers. And that’s when holding steady is most critical to accuracy.

A competitive Olympic recurve archer regularly trains by shooting an average of 300 arrows per day. The cumulative weight that’s drawn, held and release with their fingers is between 7 and 8 tons.

During an Olympic competition day, archers can shoot nearly 100 arrows between scoring and practice ends, totaling about 4,000 pounds of cumulative draw weight under the extreme stress of competition.

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Mackenzie Brown’s Olympic Archery Dreams Are Taking Her to Rio 2016

When Mackenzie Brown steps to the line in Rio de Janeiro this August, and nocks her first arrow at the 2016 Olympic Games, she will fulfill a dream she has worked for since she picked up a bow and arrow at 10 years of age.

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Photo courtesy of World Archery

“I started in NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program), and then found myself in a JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) program with a recurve,” said Brown, 21, of Texas. “Ever since I decided to go with a recurve, I’ve had Olympic aspirations.”

Brown emerged from the U.S. Olympic Trials in May as the top-ranked American woman in a super-competitive field that included five-time Olympian, Khatuna Lorig.

Her top ranking was critical, because the U.S. only qualified to send one woman to the Olympics this year. A full team of women would have meant three archers would go to Rio.

“I felt really sad that we’re not able to take a full team, because I know if we were able to win a team medal, it’s a lot more special if you can share it with a group of people,” Brown said.

“But I also feel confident in my skills and the way that I’ve been shooting. So I believe it will be a good tournament.”

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(RELATED: Check out Mackenzie Brown’s equipment list, here.)

The men qualified a full team, and so Brady Ellison, Jake Kaminksi and Zach Garrett will be shooting in the same arena as Brown come August.

It’s true Brown is young, and she will be a first-timer at the Olympics. But don’t doubt her abilities or her achievements.

As stated, Brown emerged from the three events that comprise the Olympic Trials as Team USA’s top female archer. She’s currently ranked fourth in the world by World Archery, and is the organization’s top-ranked American woman. Her rankings match Brady Ellison’s of Glendale, Ariz., who is World Archery’s fourth-ranked male and the top-ranked American recurve archer.

Last year, Brown was one of a select number of archers who traveled to Rio to test out the facilities at the site of this year’s Olympic archery competition. She claimed the bronze medal there.

(In case you’ve forgotten or didn’t know it, Brown is the reigning, 2016, women’s recurve, Lancaster Archery Classic champion.)

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Photo by Jeff Sanchez

“I worked really hard to get here, and I’m working really hard to have a good showing at the Olympics,” Brown said.

Living at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., for the past four years, Brown shoots six days a week. On four of those days, she shoots at least 300 arrows. The other two days, she shoots at least 150.

Brown has complete faith in her archery game.

“When we go into tournaments, you’re trusting that you’ve created a background for competing,” she said. “When you’re training, you’re building trust that you know you can rely on. Being able to trust that you’ve done what you needed to to get to this point is gratifying. You kind of say, ‘Ok, I have done enough, and I’m going to go win this tournament.’”

What she’s been working overtime on is mentally preparing for the Olympic experience. She recognizes the Olympics is a bigger stage than other competitions.

“I’ve talked to Brady; I’ve talked to Jacob Wukie, when he was here,” she said. “I’ve talked to Jake. I’ve been just preparing myself for what to expect, but I know there’s not really a way to explain everything that you’re going to go through. So it’s preparing myself for anything.”

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And while she’s been answering an array of media requests – she was in Seventeen magazine in May and is preparing to do some work with National Geographic and ESPN – she also has been lending her support to efforts to get her parents to Rio, so they can watch their daughter.

Chuck and Stacey Brown desperately want to see Mackenzie compete in the world’s biggest sporting event. But getting to Rio, and then spending 10 days there – the archery competition spans seven days – is an expensive endeavor. Especially as inflation soars across a troubled Brazil these days.

So there have been a couple of local fund-raising events near the Browns’ home, and there’s an online campaign to generate some funds as well.

“Road to Rio! The Parents’ Journey” is a GoFundMe page set up to benefit Brown’s parents.

“As you can imagine, our dream is to see our daughter fulfill her dream of competing on the largest stage in the world!” the Browns wrote on their page.

The goal is $10,000. As of June 29, about $3,700 had been raised. Anyone can go to the page and contribute to the cause here.

And come August, look for Brown and the other archers to take the field for competition in Rio from Aug. 6-12.

U.S. Archers head to Turkey in search of two more Olympic spots

This is it.

A full team of U.S. archers is heading to Turkey this week for Stage 3 of the 2016 World Cup, June 14-19, but all eyes will be on the women’s recurve competitors – Mackenzie Brown, Hye Youn Park and Khatuna Lorig.

The three must win a team medal in order for the U.S. to qualify to send a full team of three women to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August. Currently, only Brown is guaranteed a shot at Olympic glory.

Mackenzie Brown

Mackenzie Brown

If the women finish first, second or third in Turkey, then Park Lorig – a six-time Olympian – will be allowed to join Brown in Rio.

Khatuna Lorig

Khatuna Lorig

Those three women finished first, second and third after the final stage of U.S. Olympic trials May 30 in Florida.

In competition last year, the men earned the right to send three archers to the Olympics. Qualifying for those spots in Florida were Brady Ellison, who will represent the U.S. for a third time at the Olympics, Jake Kaminski, who shot in the 2012 London Olympics, and first-timer Zach Garrett.