December Rotational

The December rotational is in the books.  This rotational was slightly more agitated – it’s hard to schedule anything in December, the shooting times were not released until very late, and this tournament overlapped with Junior Dream Team.

For the little one, it was her last shoot as a yeoman.  She also got the 8:00 AM start, 7:00 AM check-in.  She has become pretty good friends with other yeoman recurve and barebow shooters.  Nearly all of them will be ending their yeoman (or “yo-women” as it is called in our house) status.



Her shooting was a bit erratic, but she was still doing pretty well.  She ended up with a slightly lower score compared to the November shoot and ended up with a second place medal.


The older one got the 4:00 PM start with of course the transitionary check in at 3:00 while the other session is nearly finished.  She shot well, getting past her scores in November, but not quite to her combined 450 goal.


Crowded place for bows.  Recurves take up a lot of space.

It was a day when her normal coaches were not around so she wore her favorite combo – galaxy skater skirt, Wonder Woman quiver belt, and Star Wars “vans”.

Her second half was not as good as her first, but she kept her form nearly throughout.


Shooting face to face with her teammate


Second Indoor Shoot – Younger Edition

She has returned to the sport.  She couldn’t make the first indoor shoot because of another sport conflict.  For this tournament, scheduling was a bit strange.  The older one shot at 08:00 and she shot at 16:00.  All in all, I was at the range from 07:00 to 20:30.  A long day of being any type of archery parent.

Both sisters are on the same team which is focused on slightly older kids – Cadet and Juniors for the most part.  I would say that her team is also aligning around recurve with only a small number of kids shooting compound or barebow.  Other teams in our area have different niches and demographics.  She is the only Yeoman on her team and although it doesn’t bother her much at practice or on team night, it is sort of odd to show up at a tournament and not know anyone.  Thankfully, another club (from the hosting archery range) had plenty of Yeoman.  You can see them in the green shirts while the younger one is waiting for her line to shoot.  Yeoman tend to start in barebow too, so a lot of kids on the yeoman side are shooting barebow.  This archer is of course shooting recurve with her hand-me-down kit including a riser, ILF limbs, stabilizer, and sight; all not normally seen for the Yeoman class which is dominated by wooden risers and knock down limbs.  She is sporting her new archery Puma shoes (not officially archery shoes, but good for archery according to KiSik Lee).  She also likes her family to wear Puma shoes in support.

She made friends quickly with two girls from the green team – one a barebow shooter and the other a recurve shooter.  They became good enough pals that she has a holiday party invite waiting and a new FaceTime friend.  (This tournament is just about an hour travel distance and both girls are probably further away than the range).

Her scores seem to be a natural extension of where she left off last indoor season.   In the first 30, she shot 228.  In the last 30, she shot 200.  I could see that the event was beginning to grind on her – a lot of arrows, new friends, and shooting when she is normally getting ready for bed.  She persisted and came home with a first place finish and two new friends.  I don’t know which she is more excited about.  She’s already asked about next month’s tournament.

Outdoor 30 er 15, Younger Edition


The younger one wanted to sign up for the outdoor shoot.  The USAT style shoot has no category younger than Bowman.  As a Yeoman, there’s not really a division for her.  The Director of the Shoot decided to create a loophole.  Younger shooters could shoot a 15M target, but they would be doing it outside of the normal competition.  We had practiced 20M at our practice range and I thought it would work out.

It didn’t work out.

She didn’t want to be there and her head down photo above is only a snapshot of her attitude.  After the warm up practice rounds, she withdrew.  Archery and other things may be on hold for this one.  It was a frustrating day.

Yeoman Year End


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.


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.


Her scores for a 30 end round since December

Her points per arrow have been rising too.


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

JOAD and USAT Divisions and Classes

For USA Archery that runs JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) and USAT (United States Archery Team), the classes are fewer than NFAA.

JOAD Classes

All archers are allowed to use:

  • Arm guard – plastic, cloth, leather material – to protect their arm from the bowstring and prevent string/arrow deflection during release
  • Finger protector – plastic, metal, leather material – protects the fingers that draw the bowstring back to shoot the bow
  • Finger Sling or Wrist Sling – if the hand holding the bow grips the bow tightly, the arrow will not fly true because tension in the hand affects the bow. If the archer correctly holds the bow with a relaxed hand, the bow actually will leap forward out of the hand. To prevent it from falling to the ground the archer will use a length of string or cloth or leather to encircle the bow grip loosely. This catches the bow after the arrow has left and before the bow hits the ground.
  • Chest protector – cloth or plastic material – this resembles the front panel of one side of a vest, with straps to hold it in place on the side of the chest closest to the bow. It provides a smooth, low-friction surface so that as the bowstring moves forward on arrow release, it does not snag painfully in the archer’s shirt or chest.
  • Weights – different weights can be attached to the bow to assist in release or compensate for a bow with a different center

Other equipment

  • Kisser button – is a plastic button that mounts on the bowstring above the nocking point, and is adjusted to touch the upper lip when the bow is drawn. This helps in forming a stable anchor point. It is a reference point used to provide an additional touch point for the anchor, like the hand on the jaw bone, or the string on the end of the nose.
  • Sight or scope – an adjustable plastic, metal, or carbon device that provides better accuracy without the use of magnifying optics or electronic enhancements (most commonly “sight” as “scope” implies some sort of optics)
  • Aperture – the opening on the sight through which the archer aims at the target. (no magnification or electronics allowed)
  • Clicker – a metal tab that makes a clicking noise when the arrow is drawn to a precise point. Advanced archers have trained themselves into a reflexive release of the arrow when the click is heard.
  • Stabilizer – plastic, metal, rubber, or carbon rods that attach to various points on the bow to help the bow remain still (stable) on arrow release. Vibrations are absorbed by stabilizer components as well. Can have several stabilizers
  • Doinkers/silencers – rubber, metal devices that attach to the bow and absorb vibrations and reduce shock on arrow release
  • Plunger/button – a metal and plastic device that mounts through the riser of the bow to touch the arrow while it is on the bow that helps tune the bow.
  • Release Aid – Attaches to the bow string and mechanically releases the string when the archer is ready to shoot generally through the use of a button but sometimes through specific body movement like back tension
  • Levels – Bubble levels are found on some bows to assist in shooting straighter
permitted weights, plunger
not permitted sights, scopes, stabilizers, clickers, doinkers, electronics, levels, release aid
permitted weights, plunger, sights, stabilizers, clickers, doinkers
not permitted scopes, release aids, levels, electronics
permitted weights, plunger, sights, stabilizers, clickers, doinkers, scopes, release aids, levels, electronics
not permitted

*  In general, barebows do not provide a level of accuracy sufficient to be competitive at the 70 meter distance (which is the Olympic distance for recurve archery).  As such, barebow is not an official class of USAT (said differently, it may be erratically recognized).  That may change in 2018 according to these guidelines.

JOAD Divisions

There are five age groups for JOAD.  More information can be found here.

Division Age
Junior 18, 19, 20
Cadet 15, 16, 17
Cub* 13, 14
Bowman* 10, 11, 12
Yeoman* 8, 9

* In outdoor USAT events, there are no divisions for Cub, Bowman, or Yeoman while at JOAD outdoor events, all divisions may be present.

USAT Divisions

There are four age groups for USAT. Additionally, another division exists which does not follow an age for Paralympics called Para

Division Age
Senior Any age
Master 50+ 50 or older
Junior 18, 19, 20
Cadet 15, 16, 17

JOAD and USAT Gender

  • Male
  • Female

Working On Release

Using Hudl, we were able to see her anchor wasn’t acting as much of an anchor in her shot sequence.  By drawing a straight line down on the video, her release hand was creeping forward.  We talked about it and watched it a couple of times on the iPad.  This is a fascinating age for sports feedback.  When we went out to shoot in the morning, she was able to make a small correction to her anchor by thinking of hooking her mouth.  It got better for her very quickly.


There is more work to do on her shot sequence especially around transfer, but little steps are good progress.

The younger one came with us too and wanted some video coaching.  I took some video, but mostly we’re working on confidence, posture, and safety right now.  She’s a yeoman in waiting.


What JOAD Age Division Do I Shoot In?

USA Archery and probably others have devised these groupings: Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman, Yeoman.  What group is your child shooting in?  Use this guide to find out.

Division Age
Junior 18, 19, 20
Cadet 15, 16, 17
Cub 13, 14
Bowman 10, 11, 12
Yeoman 8, 9

Why does this matter? The groups correspond to distances and target sizes. As far as I know, the only group that shoots at 9m/10yd for indoor is the Yeoman category. All other groups shoot at 18m/20yd for indoor. The targets get smaller too as you get older. You will need to know what category when you sign up for a shoot.

More information:

Below, the term “last day” is 31 December. The term “first day” is 1 January


If you turn 18, 19, or 20 during the current calendar year, you are a junior until the last day of the current calendar year.

Example: Your 18th birthday is 1-January of this year, you would be considered a Junior.

Example: Your 20th birthday is the 30-December of this year, you would be considered a Junior.


If you turn 15, 16, or 17 during the current calendar year, you are a cadet until the last day of the current calendar year.

If you are 17, then you become a junior on the first day of the next calendar year.

Example: Your 15th birthday is 1-January of this year, you would be considered a Cadet.

Example: Your 17th birthday is the 30-December of this year, you would be considered a Cadet.


If you turn 13 or 14 during the current calendar year, you are a cub until the last day of the current calendar year.

If you are 14, then you become a cadet on the first day of the next calendar year.

Example: Your 13th birthday is 1-January of this year, you would be considered a Cub.

Example: Your 14th birthday is the 30-December of this year, you would be considered a Cub.


If you turn 10, 11, or 12 during the current calendar year, you are a bowman until the last day of the current calendar year.

If you are 12, then you become a cub on the first day of the next calendar year.

Example: Your 10th birthday is 1-January of this year, you would be considered a Bowmen.

Example: Your 12th birthday is the 30-December of this year, you would be considered a Bowmen.


If you turn 8 or 9 during the current calendar year, you are a yeoman until the last day of the current calendar year.

If you are 9, then you become a bowman on the first day of the next calendar year.

Example: Your 9th birthday is the 30-December of this year, you would be considered a Yeoman.

Note, you can always shoot in a category above you, but you cannot shoot in competition for a category below your age. This information is believed to be accurate as of 2015.