Interview with Hoyt Pro Staff Archer Russell Payne
In March of 2009 Archery Lessons Online had the opportunity to interview Hoyt Pro Staff shooter Russell Payne. Russell has had phenomenal success in his past several years competing at a National level. Before he turned Pro he won the NFAA Indoor Nationals AMF division in 2007. Most recently he placed 2nd at the 2009 Iowa Pro-Am indoor tournament in the Pro Male Freestyle division. His success is well deserved as he has put 100% into his dream of becoming a professional archer. We wish him the best of luck in the upcoming season and we thank him for the opportunity to provide our members & guests with the following interview. We hope you enjoy it.
**This article was written for Archery Lessons Online as an informational document. Russell Payne is NOT affialiate with Archery lessons Online in any way & has provided this information your your reading enjoyment.
Archery Lessons Online interview with Russell Payne - March 2009.
Russell, give us a little information about your shooting background. At what age did you start shooting, what got you started & what kept you involved?
My father introduced me to archery at a very young age, but I really didn’t get hooked until I was 14. I remember having a Martin Tiger compound bow and walking several blocks to the local archery shop to shoot almost every day. It just so happened that a guy who played baseball with my Dad in high school was the archery technician at the bow shop. He could see immediately that I had strong interest in shooting and kind of took me under his wing and showed me the in’s and out’s about compound bows. I started competing and did quite well, even against adults twice my age that had a lot more experience than I did. I remember the owner of the bow shop putting up a banner in the archery range that had Hoyt pro staffers with the new model year bows. I told myself right then that I wanted to shoot archery professionally.
At what age did you take interest in serious competitive archery & what motivated you to do so?
I would say I was about 16 when I really started getting serious about archery on the competitive level. A lot of the motivation I had was a result of my young age and my above average ability. I was at the time shooting strictly 3-D and competing against shooters that were almost twice my age and a lot more experienced than I was.
When did you turn Pro & why?
I officially turned Pro in 2008. I decided to turn pro because I had met goals that I had set for myself as an amateur, and I wanted to be prepared for a whole different atmosphere of competitive archery. Winning the Indoor National Championship in 2007 let me know that I had what it took to compete on a professional level.
You have obviously had some great success recently with winning the NFAA Indoor Nationals in the AMF division & recently with placing 2nd at the Iowa Pro Am with scores of 300 60X & 300 28X after turning PRO in 2008. How have these successes affected you personally?
Well they have affected me in a very positive way, mostly being that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Another is, I set goals for myself and having achieved those goals I have greater respect and understanding for what it means to shoot archery at a professional level. I had always dreamed of shooting at a professional level so I pushed myself and pushed myself to do whatever it would take to make it happen. All I can say is “here I am”.
Finishing 2nd place in the 2009 Iowa Pro Am was obviously a great experience for you. Can you elaborate a little on the events that unfolded over the weekend? I hear it was extremely cold there, especially for a Texas boy!
Cold is an understatement! I would say the extreme cold in Iowa, is how we feel about the heat here in Texas “EXTREME”. Anyway, I definitely had the pressure of this being the first competition of the new season for me, so I was a little nervous going into it. I was hardly off the plane before I was at the practice range going through my shot process and preparing myself for the first day of competition. The first day I shot really strong and ended the day with a perfect score of 360 with 49 inside-out’s. I felt confident about my score even though I didn’t hit 60 inside-outs to qualify for the $100,000.00 grand prize. In a way, that was part of a strategy I put together “forget about the $100,000.00 and just shoot to the best of my ability” - it worked. Going into the next day I felt really good, and from the very first arrow I just started smashing the X.
What are your favorite indoor & outdoor rounds? Is there a specific game that is your strongest?
I would have to say that my favorite rounds are the NFAA outdoor and indoor games. I would say I am equally strong in both games now, but I really love shooting outdoor. I get the biggest rush out of seeing my arrow smash the X on the 80 yard walk up.
Any plans to shoot 3-D this year? I know you have pondered the idea.
I do have plans to shoot 3-D this year, mostly with the ASA. I feel that this would make me a more diverse shooter. I have many years of experience in shooting 3-D, but I haven’t competed in a while, but I am confident that it will come back to me.
Tell us about your indoor equipment setup. Bow, draw length, arrow rest, arrows, release, sight, scope, scope power, etc.
I currently shoot a Hoyt Ultra Elite with XT 3000 limbs, and Spiral X cams at 28”. I use a Trophy Taker, micro adjust, spring steel rest with a .010 narrow launcher and Easton 2712’s with 225 grain pin points from Competition Archery Products. My sight is an Axcel, AX3000 by Tomorrow’s Resources Unlimited, better known as True Ball, and topped off with a Classic Scope 1 and 6X lens, by Classic Archery Products. I shoot a Carter, Just-B-Cuz with a trigger pull of about 3lbs. I use the new Fuse Archery Carbon VFR stabilizer with 8”v-bars for a perfect balance.
Tell us about your outdoor equipment setup. Bow, draw length, arrow rest, arrows, release, sight, scope, scope power, etc.
My outdoor setup is basically the same as my indoor set up with the exception of my arrow rest, and aiming reticle in my scope. I prefer a Trophy Taker drop away, and fiber post for shooting outdoor. I will be shooting Easton X10 Pro Tours cut to 27.5", with 100 grain ballistic Tungston points, 1.75 Bohning X-vanes with wraps, Easton G-Pin nocks for a total arrow weight of 335 grains. The approximate speed will be 280 fps.
I noticed you are shooting a spring steel rest right now. Tell us about your choice to use that arrow rest.
I shoot the spring steel rest from Trophy Taker for indoor, because I feel like it gives my arrows a more stable shooting platform. In other words, it’s more forgiving when I make a weak shot.
Let’s talk more about your arrow setups. How did you choose those setups & what was your tuning process? Do you paper tune, group tune?
I shoot Easton X7 Eclipse 2712’s with 225grn pin points at full length for spine. I paper tune my set up first and make sure I get as perfect a tear as possible. I do this shooting arrows at 5, 10, and 15yds. I then shoot all my arrows through the paper one at a time to insure I am getting proper flight from each arrow. This sometimes requires turning a nock from time to time. It’s a different concept, but I get positive results from it.
You shoot a handheld style release aid. Tell us about your shot execution method with that release & how you have it configured.
I shoot a Carter, Just-B-Cuz using the back tension method. My release is set up with a friction enhancer thumb bar and a 3lb. trigger pull.
Is there anything specific that you have done to tweak your equipment lately that has helped give you an edge indoors?
Well lately I have been uncomfortable with my stabilizer and v-bar setup on my bow. It just seemed like my bow wasn’t aiming well and I kept thinking it was just me not setting up strong physically. Anyway, I started moving some of the weights around and found my bows optimum aim, and balance point. Now, I just smash the X with it.
Tell us about the details of your form. Stance, posture, etc.
I normally set my feet a little less than shoulder width apart, and stand up as straight as I possibly can. I feel like this is the best way to prevent my body from swaying forward and backward.
Do you spend a lot of time tweaking & tuning your equipment?
No I don’t. I like to have my equipment set up and tuned as best as I possibly can. I don’t want to spend valuable time tweaking when I could actually be practicing for the next competition. If it isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it. I focus on putting my bow together one component at a time. By doing this, I eliminate having to go back and adjust something. I always make paper tuning my last part of of the process. I try to walk-back when I paper tune for each bow set-up, whether indoor, outdoor, or hunting. The goal is a clean tear for the bow and each arrow.
What is your typical practice routine & how often do you practice?
I usually practice about three times a week. When I start my practice I will start with a few blank bales to get loosened, and get a feel of my release. I then continue the practice along the same format as an indoor match, or outdoor depending on what I am practicing for.
Tell us a little about your mental shot process.
My whole shot process has a beginning and an end when the arrow makes impact. I put a conscious effort into every shot, with a strong focus on the X. I have a lengthy multi-step shot process, beginning with stepping up to the line, addressing the target, adjusting my feet, nocking arrow, setting grip, all the way through to arrow impacting target. During each and every shot, I make every attempt to ensure I make a conscience effort to guarantee each and every step is complete before another step begins. If at any point, one of these steps does not feel right or breaks down, I let down and start the process over again.
What do you feel is the most important factor in being accurate & consistent?
I would say having a strong mental game is a key to being accurate and consistent shot for shot. It is very important to be mentally conscious about your shot from the time you set up on the line until the arrow makes impact.
Who is your coach if you have one? Who has coached you in the past?
I am proud to say that my coach is Michael Braden. (www.michaelbradenarchery.com) I had my first lesson with Michael in December of 2005. After many years of shooting I felt like I had hit a plateau in my shooting and just couldn’t seem to improve on my game. I let Michael know from the beginning what my goal was as a shooter, and things took off from there. I can honestly say that Michael’s approach has had a significant impact on where I am in my archery career now.
Tell us who your current sponsors are.
My current sponsors are; Hoyt, Easton, Brunton, Classic Archery, Carter, Trophy Taker, B2- Bowstrings, Bohning, BCY Fibers, and Tomorrows Resources Unlimited
What is your full time job behind the scenes?
My current occupation is an Industrial Specialist V-Factory Manager with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Texas Correctional Industries. I instruct offenders, and supervise employees in the construction of custom furniture building such as cabinets, chairs, beds, tables, and just about anything else that can be made out of wood.
What are your archery goals for this upcoming year? What’s your upcoming schedule?
Get on the podium as much as possible. I have a pretty lengthy schedule I don’t really have everything set yet but I will definitely be in Vegas, Louisville, Kentucky, and the First Dakota Outdoor Classic.
Is there anyone else you would like to give a shout out to?
I would first and foremost like to thank my wife Natalie for her overwhelming support. Without her I wouldn’t have much an archery career. Michael and Georgianna Braden, all my people at Double B Archery, and last but not least my sponsors.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Russell. Good luck to you this upcoming year!
Congratulations on winning the NFAA National Indoor Championships for 2009!!!!
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