Sebastien Flute, Olympic Champion


If any of my statements here are untrue I apologise but they are my understanding of what Mr Flute (<%^)) said. His english is good but not perfect and there was room for misinterpretation.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to spend an evening and an afternoon with Sebastien Flute the 1992 Olympic champion. Enough to say that his home town is twinned with Aberdeen and Grampian Regional Council saw fit to bring him over as part of some ongoing celebrations.

Sebastien was also accompanied by Christine Gabillard, one of the french ladies team at the '92 Olympics.

Sebastien is one of the few full time archers in the world. Since winning in Barcelona sponsorship has not been a problem. He spends a great deal of his time at the French national training centre near Paris. This is a facility offering indoor and outdoor shooting facilities on a permanent basis (Yeah, nothing but archery!). This facility is also available to ordinary french archers.

Seb. spends much of his time at this facility along with most of the french teams. I should explain that France has 4 teams. Juniors (<18), France3 for up and coming archers and archers who are fighting to get back to the top eg ex-juniors, archers who aren't doing quite as well as they were etc. France2 which is the archers who are between France1 and France3 (for whatever reason). France1 is the top team. Each team consists of 4-5 gents and 4-5 ladies.

There are something in the region of 60,000 archers in France, their numbers are rising steeply too!

Sebastien is now 22 years old and has been shooting for 11 years. He first made it into the French Team in 1988 (I believe as a junior). At this stage he changed coach to the French national coach whom he has been with ever since. Since then he has won numerous events. At the top of the list of course is Barcelona, however he has also won the European Target Championships and several European Grand Prix events. He won the World Indoor Championships and his class (ie recurve, olympic) at the Las Vegas tournament (1992 or 1993???). Seb.'s personal best on a FITA round is 1331 (not bad eh!).

Seb is a quiet and retiring kind of bloke and I think he's a little shy about meeting people and standing up to talk to rooms of eager listeners. However, once you get him going, he's very good at it (especially if his english is up to what he wants to say).

EQUIPMENT:

BOW: Yamaha Eolla (White), with Ceramic Carbon Limbs. approx 48lbs at full draw.
ARROWS: A/C/E 520's 28-29", J4 point and insert.
SIGHT: Yamaha alpha-III with ring and drop-pin
STABILISERS: Yamaha URS system. 30" longrod, 12" twins. He uses the type of
solid Yamaha V-Bar which clamps on your longrod. V-Bar set at about 5" from
the bow ie 5" extender, 25" longrod. No TFC's. One doinker/Schwabel on lonrod.
STRING: Fastflight 18str, no serving on top loop, very short centre serving.
NOCKING Pt: Bieter
NOCKS: Bieter
FLETCHES: 1 3/4" SpinWings
BUTTON: Something Big & Cool, a bit like a Bieter, with his name on it %^)
TAB: Cavalier Elite with DIY plastic finger separator.
CLICKER: Bieter without wheel
REST: Yamaha magnetic flipper

SHOOTING STYLE:

Seb firmly believes in keeping his shooting style as simple as possible. While he is shooting he ties to think about as few elements of the shot as possible. He focuses on one thing: the shot is a continuous motion from draw to release & powerful follow through.

STANCE: He reckons standing straight on to the target (not open or closed) keeps your posture better.

SHOT PREPARATION: He consciously settles his hand on the grip and his fingers on the string but switches focus to the target.

PRE-DRAW: He lifts his bow until his sight is approx. level with the top of the boss and then draws the bow smoothly down (drawing hand about mouth height).

THE SHOT: His ideal shot occurs when his clicker drops the moment his sight comes on to the middle of the target.

He tries not to think about the mechanics of making each shot since it is mechanical to him. He can detect when something does not happen as it should. Typically he just shoots each arrow powerfully with continuous motion.

TUNING: note~ this may freak some people!

He sets the bracing height of his bow by feel of the draw and noise.

Seb. selects his arrows from the Easton spine chart. He then takes these arrows and shoots a mixture of fletched and unfletched arrows @ 15-20m.

If he gets a vertical line , fine. If the fletched and unfletched deviate he trims the back end of the shaft 2-3mm to stiffen the arrow and repeats until he gets a vertical line (or very short arrows %^))~ I know this sounds odd but that's what he does!

He then does a bare shaft test from 15m to set a nock-Pt. He then continues this test at 20, 25 and 30m until he is happy with his nock-pt.

After this he does a walkback tune with fletched arrows, shooting 30m-90m adjusting his button until there is no need to move his sight left and right between distances.

In previous years he has changed to alloy arrows to shoot indoor however this year he plans to stick with his ACE's indoors too because he likes to keep his shooting setup the same all year round.

TOURNAMENT PREPARATION & TRAINING:

SHOCK HORROR! Sebastien does not do any true mental preparation for his shooting all his preparation takes place on the shooting field. He does not do any visualization, flash cards, Yoga etc

His only mental preparation is to score his arrows when he practises to keep his practise as much like full competition as possible. He finds this works well for him as he becomes comfortable with the routine. He also finds that he shoots better on the bigger occasions because he finds it easier to concentrate. He seemed disappointed when he talked about "local tournaments" and not being able to concentrate as hard all day due to the lack of pressure. (No pleasing some people! ;-) )

Seb shoots 4-5 times a week (sometimes more) and up to 500 arrows a day. Away from big tournaments he just shoots lots of arrows. As the "biggies" come up he shoots less arrows but concentrates harder on each shot.

BTW He feels that if you feel tired after shooting 200 arrows then your bow is probably to heavy for you. He reckons that with Carbon arrows 40lbs is enough to get decent 90m scores. (This little gem caused a stir I'll tell you! But I personally agree)

During the summer he jogs for about one hour each day. During the winter he also does weight training 3-4 times a week to keep fit (as well as shooting all those arrows). He does think that the best way to train for archery is to shoot arrows.

MISC.

He thinks the Olympics are more important than the world champs due to the frequency and publicity.

He enjoys shooting inside but much prefers to shoot outside.

He was doing his best not to think about shooting in the Olympics when he was (it seemed to work!)

He found the pressure greater when answering our questions than at Barcelona in the Gold/Silver shoot out. (I think he was jokng??)

He shoots 48 lbs but will not go up draw weight anymore because he feels that that is more than sufficient.

He shoots off the tips of his fingers, he thinks it's more difficult to shoot that way but his fingers are so strong he doesn't have problems with inconsistency.

He shoots URS stabilisers with no additional weights on the twins (see Yamaha catalogue) but prefers 2 extra weights on the longrod.

He's a very nice chap and prefers Ales (Dark Beer) to Lager <%^)

He likes boiled Egg on Pizza???

Well that's about it! There were plenty more questions asked and answered but I can't remember them off hand. If anyone has any questions that I haven't answered eg why haven't I mentioned Christine Gabillard! then please get in touch they may have been answered and I've just forgotten to include them here due to the early onset of senility (25yrs is pushing it some these days).

I hope you've enjoyed reading this post, if not, god I've wasted a lot of time and apologies. (Blame Stephan!)

Further apologies for spelling typos etc but I can't be bothered to read all of this again!!!!!

Later,

John

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Q & A

|> STANCE: He reckons standing straight on to the target (not open or closed)
|> keeps your posture better.

Does this mean a stance like this:


                    FOOT
               _____________ shooting line 
                    
                    FOOT
this means directly perpendicular to the shooting line (or parallel to the direction of the shot)

|> He shoots off the tips of his fingers, he thinks it's more difficult to shoot
|> that way but his fingers are so strong he doesn't have problems with inconsistency.

Do I understand that right: off the tips and not from the first hinge (vocabulary ?) ? This must be hurting a lot...

|> Well that's about it! There were plenty more questions asked and answered
|> but I can't remember them off hand. If anyone has any questions that I haven't
|> answered eg why haven't I mentioned Christine Gabillard! then please get
|> in touch they may have been answered and I've just forgotten to include
|> them here due to the early onset of senility (25yrs is pushing it some these days).

Yes, why didn't you mention Christine Gabillard?

You can feel free to ignore this - I'm not going to push such an old man like you ;-)

|> I hope you've enjoyed reading this post, if not, god I've wasted a lot of
|> time and apologies. (Blame Stephan!)

Mea maxima culpa! (That's about 10% of the latin I can muster) So flames should be directed to me - but be warned, since John revealed some of the "secrets of the champions", I might learn from that and answer flames with arrows ;-)

Best regards and "no more excuses for not hitting the gold"

Stephan

-- 
Stephan Melin                     | 38# 70" Hoyt GoldMedalist, 32.5" ACE 430
melin@hlrserv.hlrz.kfa-juelich.de | and 32.5" XX75 2216, ACE UHR rod, ACE short
Phone: (49)2461/61-2318  (office) | rods, ACE V-bar extd., AGF V-bar, AGF ZGV,
Fax: (49)2461/61-2430    (office) | 20 string fastflight || '92 Trek 8000
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Stephan Melin (melin@cm2sun2.gmd.de) wrote:
: |> He shoots off the tips of his fingers, he thinks it's more difficult to shoot
: |> that way but his fingers are so strong he doesn't have problems with inconsistency.
: Do I understand that right: off the tips and not from the first hinge
: (vocabulary ?) ? This must be hurting a lot...
I used to shoot off the tips of my fingers, and it doesn't hurt as much as shooting with the string on the first joint. I developed some pretty thick calluses on my fingertips. My reasons for stopping were because it requires more tension in the fingers, my bad shots were really bad at times because of this.

: Yes, why didn't you mention Christine Gabillard?
good question.

: So flames should be directed to me - but be warned, since John revealed
: some of the "secrets of the champions", I might learn from that and answer
: flames with arrows ;-)

I think that even I am out of range. However, it would be interesting to see you try.

: Best regards and "no more excuses for not hitting the gold"
Except the one that goes "It doesn't work for me" :-)

Nick
--
    *    Danish Institute for Fisheries Technology and Aquaculture.    *
    *  The North Sea Centre, P.O. Box 59, DK-9850 Hirtshals, Denmark.  *
    *            Tel +45 98 94 43 00. Fax +45 98 94 22 26.             *
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> |> SHOOTING STYLE:
> [SNIP]
> |> STANCE: He reckons standing straight on to the target (not open or closed)
> |> keeps your posture better.

>
> Excuse my question - but alas I am not a native speaker of english:
> Does this mean a stance like this:

>
>
>                     FOOT
>                _____________ shooting line (vocabulary ?)
>
>                     FOOT
>
> this means directly perpendicular to the shooting line (or parallel to the
> direction of the shot)

Yes, but my ASCI art isn't up to this kind of stuff.

> [SNIP]
> |> He shoots off the tips of his fingers, he thinks it's more difficult to shoot
> |> that way but his fingers are so strong he doesn't have problems with inconsistency.

> Do I understand that right: off the tips and not from the first hinge > (vocabulary ?) ? This must be hurting a lot...

Yes actually off the lower pads. It's very difficult to get a consistent string to finger contact doing this but if you can do it then obviously there is less finger in front of the string. All in all debateably a cleaner loose. He said that it was difficult when he first started but now his fingers are strong enough.

BTW Shooting from the first hinge or joint isn't such a good idea either. Although you get a very consistent finger placing you are grinding the string straight into the joint. In the long run this can damage the joint and lead to arthritis.

I shoot with the string half way between my first joint and my second joint.....
it's a lot of finger wrapped around the string but if your fingers are relaxed you get a clean loose.

> [SNIP][SNIP][SNIPETY][SNIP]

> Yes, why didn't you mention Christine Gabillard?

Well basically she didn't say very much!(about archery that is!)

Quick Resume:

27 years old, female, french national team, PB approx 1290???, very nice smooth shooting style, shoots Hoyt Radian + Foam limbs, 4-5"extender, v-bar with TFC's, 24"ARC longrod, 10"arc twins, 1 doinker/schwabel ;^), ACE's+spinwings+Bieter nocks, FF string, Bieter clicker, shibuya button(?)...........................................also likes boiled eggs on pizza but drinks good old lager shandies ;^)

> Mea maxima culpa! (That's about 10% of the latin I can muster)

That's three languages you speak then? ;^)

> Best regards and "no more excuses for not hitting the gold"

Oh god no, there's still hundreds eg if I was sponsored......, if I could shoot arrows all day every day....,if I was 5'9" and french,.....etc

Later,

John

-- 
John Dickson,(aka Stretch)      Stylist Supreme, Carbon Foam 45#
Multimedia Guru?                Stylist Stabilisers, Arten Olympic
University of Edinburgh         FF S4 9 Strand, ACE 400 L4 32.5"

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