Archery Individual Lessons and Personal Coaches

Archery is not really a team sport.  You shoot on a team, but those people are generally competing against you.  And unlike a team sport, shooting with your team isn’t much different than shooting with anyone else.  In a team sport, it will different playing a pick up game and playing with your dedicated team.  Unlike head to head sports like tennis (reacting to the other person’s shot) or soccer (moving without the ball, playing defense in a team), archery has no real lessons to learn from the team.  In archery, when you are with your team, you are practicing your shot sequence.  When you practice alone in archery, you are practicing your shot sequence.  As such, archery is one of those sports where coaching is usually done on a 1:1 basis.  You may join a team, but more than likely you will pay for lessons separately.  In private/personal lessons the coach works directly with you, possibly over a very long time.

A high ranking coach in USA Volleyball once told me, “The game teaches the game.”  This is why the USA Volleyball team plays game after game in practice.  Isolated drills have value, but they can only approximate the game.  In archery, there are only a limited number of drills a shooter can do that aren’t a full shot sequence.  So the archery equivalent is “Shooting teaches shooting.”  You can certainly hear echoes of this sentiment when you listen to Steve “Big Cat” Anderson.  For those people who need more feedback on the process of shooting, you have a personal coach.  You see this in other sports that have teams, but focus on the individual – track and field, wrestling, etc.

With the return of indoor season, we are also back on track with personal lessons.  Her coach participates in the fairly crazy summer outdoor season and is traveling at least 7-10 days every month without an ‘r’.

No Limits Archery Range in Welby Colorado

Indoor Archery Range

As a parent, you have a lot of down time with archery lessons.  A lot of ranges are working on razor thin margins anyways, so amenities are few and WiFi is rare.  Here’s a pretty typical Monday at her home range.  After 6:30 or 7:00 PM, there will probably be a league, but maybe not…it is hunting season and that will tie up a lot of the compound shooters.

In this picture, the 4:00 student is packing up, the 5:00 student is still working on something, and the 6:00 student is getting personal coaching and feedback.  This is not unusual.

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Indoor 2017/2018 Season Begins

The indoor season begins.  Probably the same number of changes on the team this year.  Some kids age out, some kids may burn out,   Those kids aren’t back.  We will miss all of them.  The younger one is still the only one in her age group shooting the 10 meter distance.

Bowmen Year End

So many things for this archery season.  She added a sight.  She added a stabilizer.  She got a new, heavier poundage bow.  She got a new plunger.  She went out of state.  She shot 40cm.  She made an archery-BFF.  She got outdoor arrows.  She got a new practice bow.  She is rebuilding her shot sequence.  She survived some friends leaving her team.  She got a new mentor.  She trained with and survived her sister.  She started shooting with her mom.  She fought with and then made up with her dad.

She has worked on her form since SLC, but early in the tournament, her fast shot returned.  She fought it some and went with it on other ends.  She improved over SLC, but didn’t reach some of the scores from early in the season.

Overall, the season isn’t easy to chart.  With her equipment changes and target size changes, it’s not easy to compare scores from 40cm to 60cm.

It was a year of some podium finishes, some off days, a lot of practice, a lot of work, a lot of stress, and a lot of growth.  She has more of the same in front of her for several years in and out of archery.  Keep at it kiddo.

Her third place finish!

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Yeoman Year End

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The last indoor tournament of the season was at our home range.  Little one is shooting all the way to the right.  She’s been shooting better and better during practice.  If she could convince her growing mind to stay focused, it would probably be a good tournament.

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Her form is getting better.  She’s not arching her back to get to full draw (as much) and she’s doing better with vertical hold on her bow.  Her feet find a slightly different stance nearly every end of shooting, but she’s getting the hang of it.  In the end, she did really well, scoring her best 600 arrow score.  It was good enough for second place, including 16 yellows (nine or ten score).

This is her first season.  She’s enjoyed getting a new bow, then switching to her dominant left eye and getting another new bow (at least to her).  Over three tournaments, she’s been doing a great job of making improvements.

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Her scores for a 30 end round since December

Her points per arrow have been rising too.

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Her main competitor is shooting just about eight points per arrow, but she is at the upper end of the age bracket.

Indoor Nationals and JOAD Nationals

Her coach thought it would be a good idea for her to shoot at the Indoor Nationals.  This isn’t a JOAD or USAT event.  Even this isn’t quite true – it’s two events – a JOAD National Shoot combined with a second event, the Indoor Nationals.   The Indoor Nationals are also known as the National Championships.  Why plural?  Because it is one event held in many locations on different dates.  Only slightly confused so far?

At the Indoor Nationals, these are the Divisions and Classes

  • Recurve – Men, Women, Master, Master 60+, Master 70+, Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman
  • Compound – Men, Women, Master, Master 60+, Master 70+, Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman
  • Barebow – Men, Women, Master 50-70, Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman
  • Para W1 – Men/Women combined *
  • Para Recurve Open – Men, Women *
  • Para Compound Open– Men, Women *
  • VI – Men/Women combined *
  • Longbow – Men, Women
  • Traditional Recurve – Men, Women
  • Crossbow – Men, Women
  • Compound Fingers – Master 50-70

*Para archers must have a National Classification to participate in a Para division.

With this many divisions, it makes me think the Indoor Nationals must share a past with the NFAA.  Indeed, if you search the internet, you can find that the Indoor Nationals are part of the NFAA; however, the NFAA site is stingy with information and I don’t know too much more.

This year, Indoor Nationals could be found at these locations.

  • Newberry, FL – February 17-19, 2017
  • Albuquerque, NM – February 17-19, 2017
  • Fiskdale, MA – February 24-26, 2017
  • Sacramento, CA – February 24 – 26, 2017
  • Snelville, GA – February 24 – 26, 2017
  • Mason, MI – February 24 – 26, 2017
  • Lancaster, PA – February 24 – 26, 2017
  • Mankato, MN – March 3 – 5, 2017
  • College Station, TX – March 3 – 5, 2017
  • Chula Vista, CA – March 3 – 5, 2017
  • Salt Lake City, UT – March 10 – 12, 2017
  • Harrisonburg, VA – March 10 – 12, 2017
  • Hamilton, OH – March 10 – 12, 2017

We chose Salt Lake City.  You can only shoot at Indoor Nationals in one event.  You can’t show up a few weeks later and hope to improve your score.  We also chose to fly.

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Here’s the format for Indoor Nationals:

  • Recurve/Barebow Bow – Two rounds of 60 arrows each (120 total) at a 40 cm target face from 18 meters with outer ten-ring scoring.
  • Compound Bow – Two rounds of 60 arrows each (120 total) at a 40 cm target face from 18 meters with inner ten-ring scoring

The JOAD Nationals looks more familiar to USA Archery.

These are the divisions and classes for JOAD Nationals.

  • Recurve Men and Women – Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman
  • Compound Men and Women – Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman
  • Barebow Men and Women – Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman

The locations for JOAD Nationals are the same as Indoor Nationals since it is a combined event.

Here’s the format for JOAD Nationals:

  • Recurve/Barebow – One round of 60 arrows; 18 meters
    • Juniors and Cadets – 40 cm target face (choice of single-spot or triangle 3-spot face) from 18 meters – must use choice for entire tournament); outer 10 ring scoring
    • Cubs and Bowman – 60 cm target face; outer 10 ring scoring
  • Compound Bow – One round of 60 arrows; 18 meters
    • All Classes – 40 cm target face (choice of single-spot or triangle 3-spot face) from 18 meters – must use choice for entire tournament); inner 10 ring scoring

A skillful reader may have caught something.  This novice archery parent did not notice. Without spoiling too much, I’ll call it out here. The NFAA Indoor Nationals shoot on 40 cm targets for every shooter. JOAD Nationals uses the 60 cm target for her age group.

The Salt Lake City version of Indoor Nationals is held at the Easton Archery Center.  This place is probably the nicest archery facility we will see.

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The indoor range can shoot an Olympic 70m distance when used in the vertical direction.  As a horizontal range, it can accommodate many archers shooting at 18m.

Many of her regional competitors were here.  For JOAD Nationals, she shot fairly well.  Since switching to her new bow, she has developed some bad habits with her shot sequence.  This is usually a continuous and brief motion through her anchor and a quick release.  I suspect she’s still working on mastering the poundage of the new draw weight; but, this style doesn’t leave a lot of room for fine tuning her shot.  On the JOAD National day, she was at the first bale, so I could catch some good photos of her.

She met some girls from Washington and Hawaii too.

On to the Indoor Nationals and the 40cm target for the next two days.  The target through her off and she did not shoot well at all on day one.  I think she was hovering around four points an arrow.  We tried to shake it off at the mid way point; but, it was definitely her all day albatross.

We took in some sights in Salt Lake City and got a really nice dinosaur bones skirt courtesy of Hot Topic.

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The third day in Salt Lake and the second day of Indoor Nationals was better, but the combined scoring made it hard for her to make a big change.

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She completed her first national tournament and that is a good accomplishment by itself.  We said goodbye to SLC and the Easton Archery Center

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