2014 Canadian National Championships

NB 2013 1 325To all my followers, I’m sorry I have not blogged in a while, however my family and I just got back from Woodstock, New Brunswick for the Canadian Nationals Archery Championships.  This year’s trip to Woodstock was a 10 hour drive from Kingston, Ontario which was long however not as long as the drive to Saskatchewan a couple of years ago.

This year was the first time that all of my siblings competed in the outdoor Nationals (my sister Sydney’s and younger brother Cole’s very first nationals). We all did really well and we had a lot of fun. For me, it was great seeing all of my friends from across Canada again and spending time together as a family since it was also our family vacation.

This year’s national’s format was a little different, mainly because of the number of competitors, and setup of the venue. To accommodate everyone, the FITA 1440 and Field were split, with the Compound archers shooting the field on Wednesday, while the Recurve archers shot the FITA 1440 and on Thursday they switched.  On Friday, everyone shot the 720 round with Recurve archers in the morning and the Compounders in the afternoon.  The venue also sported two shooting fields (Range A and B ) so they had the senior males on one field, and the youth and women on the other field. It was cool, a little different from other tournaments where we all shoot together.

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The main event this year was the weather, there was sunshine, rain (light and down-pour), lightning and fog. There was sunshine on Wednesday, light rain on Thursday, and torrential down-pour with lightning on Friday and back to sunshine of Saturday. The FITA 1440 on Wednesday was my only day with nice weather. The field course on Thursday was very cool and I thought it was very similar to Saskatchewan’s field course.  I loved shooting in the rain and the course was a lot of fun with all the mud and big puddles. Friday morning’s 720 was very challenging, the fog was so thick that you couldn’t tell whose arrows were who’s even through a scope. Luckily the 30-minute break because of the rain and lightning helped clear that up and we were back to rain, mud and puddles.

NB 2013 1 417The only thing that I would have like to have seen handled a little differently was the Canadian Open held on Saturday.  Since, this year we had a large number of Americans participate at the Nationals it reduced the number of spots for Canadian archers in the Open. Although, I believe the Americans have every right to participate, I would have liked to have seen more Canadians in the Open. See, I believe it is very important for the development of archery in Canada to make sure archers are exposed to the elimination rounds. The elimination round is very different, are not that easy, and the primary format for international tournaments. All archers wanting to compete at the international level should become familiar with the elimination round as much as possible.

Also, in Canada to increase your ranking, you need to compete in eliminations rounds, however there are very few elimination rounds hosted in Canada. One is the Quebec Provincial Championships in September, two others are held about the same time, the Canada Cup (West Coast) and Spring Classic (Toronto) and the third is the Canadian Open during the National Championships. I hope in the future, the National archery committee allows everyone to participate in the Open if they want to.

The next Canadian National Outdoor Championships are being held in Lac La Biche, Alberta in August 2014. The schedule includes 3D from the 1st through 4th, the Field on 5th and 6th, and Target on the 7th through the 10th.

A field guide to archery

Reblogged from Bow International:

Field archery is the ultimate challenge, whatever your bow style, and many of the world’s elite concur that their field exploits represent their finest achievements in archery. The accuracy that a quality target archer brings to this new experience is an obvious asset, but a greater set of skills need to be honed if one is to master this testing, yet satisfying, aspect of shooting.

My return to the sport as a Masters competitor, with time as an ally in retirement, yielded National Championships and then world gold in both FITA and IFAA disciplines. But I must stress that this was not done without considerable focus, practice, and knowledge of my recurve equipment. The transition to ‘the dark side’ has required a reassessment of those field skills, and a re- education of what exactly my compound is capable of under field course conditions. It has been a fun challenge so far.

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So what exactly does a target archer venturing out into the woods need to learn, in order to reach a reasonable level of competence around a field course?

Read More…

Excellent article about field archery!

Getting Information

better-wayOne of the main reasons I started this blog was to help beginner archers find archery information. The biggest challenge I found starting out was getting information about various tournaments, equipment, etc…. thankfully I have an extremely helpful and knowledgeable coach who helped me find the information I wanted.

A lot of my readers are beginner archers and utilize this blog and many others to find archery information. Do you know other locations to find reliable archery information besides blogs?

world_archery_smallWorldwide the main governing body for archery is the World Archery Federation formerly known as Fédération Internationale de Tir à l’Arc (FITA). It is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is composed of 140 national archery associations, and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Wikipedia

IFAA logoFor Field Archery the Worldwide governing body is the International Field Archery Association. The IFAA is an archery association that was founded 1970 when a group of field archers from the USA, Sweden, England, Scotland, Wales and Canada agreed on a set of basic rules by which Field Archery tournaments would be run. The IFAA now represents over 50 000 field archers in over 40 member countries from all continents.

Additionally, the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) that was created in 1984 by a dedicated group of bowhunters who shared the desire to ensure that bowhunting and the ideals of wildlife conservation will survive, expand and flourish to be shared, enjoyed and passed on to future generations. 

Archery Canada LogoFor North Americans there are a couple of major archery associations including the Archery Canada (formerly known as the Federation of Canada Archers or FCA). Archery Canada is members of both the World Archery Association and International Field Archery Association and is composed of nine provincial archery associations including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Yukon.  Archers who are members of the provincial clubs are automatically members of Archery Canada and are eligible to participate in national tournaments.

US ArcheryIn the United States, there are separate associations that are affiliated with the two major organizations. USA Archery is the member of World Archery Federation and the National Field Archery Association is the member of International Field Archery Association. Each USA association are comprised of state archery associations. Additional USA Archery has a special Junior Development Program known as JOAD. NFAA logoThe Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) is a program of USA Archery that teaches archery to young people, provides great opportunities for awarding achievement, and helps archers to enjoy the sport recreationally or progress to the excitement of competition!

At the local level, most archery clubs are affiliated with an Archery association and can provide information about national membership, opportunities for development, upcoming tournaments, and provide insight and order various archery equipment. To find an archery association in your area, start with the Wikipedia national members for World Archery Federation and for local clubs in your area try searching the web.

Please continue to visit my website for all kinds of information about archery, training, tips and tricks, upcoming tournaments and all things archery and continue to ask any questions you may have.

2013 Ontario IFAA Indoor Field Championships

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From January 19th-27th Ontario held it is first of two annual indoor provincial championships, the indoor Field Championships. This annual tournament is hosted by many sites across the province with mail-in scoring. Since indoor tournaments do not have varying weather conditions, you can facilitate a larger target population and multiple host clubs as long as you employ provincial level judges.

This tournament consists of two rounds of 6 ends, with five arrows per end. The target is a 5 ring IFAA target with a white center and four blue rings. The center white is worth 5 points and contains an inner X ring used for tiebreakers. Scoring is 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.  You can choose to shoot a single spot, or a 5 spot with only the 4, 5 rings. This a good option for consistent archers who want to avoid breaking arrows, similar to selecting a 3-spot in a FITA tournament.

nfaa-blue-face-numberedThese indoor championships follow IFAA rules which are slightly different from FITA rules. The most significant in my opinion is the scoring.  I will not explain all of them however two of the differences are the shorter distances for younger archers and age divisions. To start peewee and pre-cub archers, like my little brother Cole, are able to compete at 10 yards (8M) instead of 20 yards (18M) which is better suited for their poundage. Next the age division you compete under is determined by your age on the tournament date rather than how old you will be at the end of the year.

Personally I enjoy the field championships and I find it a great way to start a season and benchmark your shooting status at the beginning of the season.  Next year, if you have an opportunity, I would strongly recommend you sign-up for an indoor field championship; you will not be disappointed, it’s a lot of fun.

Archery: One of the Safest Recreational Sport… No Really!

safety-firstThere is often a misconception that archery is very dangerous. Although a bow and arrow can be a lethal weapon, archery is actually one of the safest sports because there is a culture of safety. Statistically, archery is one of the safest recreational sports there is with only 0.65 injuries per 1000 participants as outlined in the USA National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and represents the hospitals which actually record the information. Check out the Archery Safety report from Arizona State and Fish Department from 2004.

This is largely because of the culture of safety that encompasses the sport. All coaches start by instructing their students with the fundamentals of archery safety. I remember my first lesson was about safety first. Nowadays, I regularly shoot through my house for practice and we never worry about danger because of the culture of safety within my house. Everyone follows the basic archery safety rules. For archers there are two basic areas of safety that you should maintain, personal safety including equipment and field or range safety.

Personal Safety

  • Always shoot with well maintained equipment and arrows
    • Always inspect your equipment and arrows before shooting
    • Before shooting each arrow inspect the arrow and nock for damage
    • Cracked or bent arrow must never be shot.
  • One should always use a bow-stringer for longbows and recurve bows. This will reduce the possibility of damage to the bow and injury to the person.
  • Shoot with good archery form ensuring you wear proper attire and a properly positioned arm-guard.
  • Never, ever shoot while intoxicated or with anyone who is.

Good Rule of Thumb: If in doubt, stop and get it checked it out.

Field and Range Safety

  • When shooting…
    • Do not shoot with ANYONE in front of the shooting line
    • Do not nock an arrow while anyone is in front of the shooting line
    • Only nock an arrow whwn you are on the shooting line and after the signal to start shooting
    • A loaded bow is only pointed at the assigned target
    • NEVER EVER point an arrow at anyone, whether on a bow or not.
    • Arrow must never be shot straight up into the air
  • When not shooting
    • Pay attention and be respectful of other archers
    • Once finished shooting you must be behind the shooting line and paying attention
  • When retrieving arrows from the target
    • Leave your bow behind the shooting line (hang-up your bow), you will need two free hands to collect your arrows from the target
    • Always walk forward to collect the arrows, never run.
    • Always pick-up arrows on the way first. Whether they yours or not.
    • Always walk up to the side of the target butt, so as to not to accidentally walk into the rear of the arrows lodged in the target.
    • One person at a time should withdraw their arrows from the target.
    • When withdrawing arrows from the target, ensure no-one is standing behind you. Pulling arrows may require a lot of force and they can come out of the target suddenly and could hurt someone standing behind them.
    • When carrying arrows, always hold them to your side with the points down.
    • Make sure that EVERYONE has returned behind the shooting line before starting the next shooting end.

Individual ranges may have additional rules specific to their courses, all ranges will adhere to the basic archery range safety rules. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced professional archer, if we all continue to practice the culture of archery safety we can enjoy the sport for many years to come.

I’m Back…

Just got back from this year’s Canadian National Field and Target Championships held on beautiful Vancouver Island in British Columbia. This year I travelled with my coach Kathy Millar from South Nation Archery Supply and without either of my parents.

The Field Championships were hosted by Cowichan Bowmen Archery Club which is considered the best field course in all of Canada. The course is both beautiful and challenging with large rocky hills, angled trees, and other mind illusions. According to my coach it is pretty close to world level field tournaments. I also had the honour to shoot with my World Indoor Championships teammates Virginie Chenier and Caitlin Northey and I was fortunate enough to placed third.

The Target Championships were hosted at the West Shore facility consisting of both a FITA 1440 on day one and a FITA 720 on day two. Day one was not the best shooting day for me; the wind was tricky, I was not feeling the best, and I had an equipment failure where my arrow rest came off. On day two, the FITA 720, I was still a little shaken up from the FITA 1440, but I had a much better shooting day. Although I did not medal, I did come back with a lot more mental experience and a lot of fun memories.

The National Championship trip also provided me with a HUGE surprise.

In 2011, the Gunter family established an annual bursary for Canadian junior archers to be awarded at the National Championships. The WW Gunter Memorial Bursary is awarded annually to a Canadian Archer between the ages of 15 and 20, who has competed or will be competing for Canada at a World Championship or international archery competition such as the Youth Olympic Games, and who is planning to continue their education at the post-secondary level. The archer must conduct themselves in a manner that is a credit to their sport, their country and always maintain a sense of dignity and sportsmanship in victory and defeat.

To say I was surprised when they announced that I would be this years recipient would be a massive understatement. I was in such disbelief, my coach, Kathy actually had to nudge me to go and receive the award. I am humbled that the Gunter family would endow me with such an honour and I thank them enormously.

Ontario Field Championships

This weekend, York County Bowman in New Market Ontario hosted the Ontario Provincial Field Championships, a two-day IFAA tournament with field round the first day and a hunter round the second day. IFAA field tournaments differ slightly from FITA field tournaments, besides being in yards not meters, there are stations with walk-ups or fan shooting and hunter includes odd distances like 53 yards and 20 feet.

I really enjoy shooting in field tournaments, they are just pure fun. Walking through the bush shooting at various size targets from various distances. You shoot up and down hills and over streams with the opportunity to shoot in various stances, on rough ground and at various angles to the target. This year, it was a great opportunity to shoot and practice angles in preparation of the upcoming National Field Championship in Victoria British Columbia next week.

It also marked the first outdoor tournament for my youngest brother Cole who is nine.  Being the youngest of four, it has been a challenge for him living in the shadow of his older brothers and sisters. He has always wanted to do things that we are doing.  Earlier in the year, he shot his first indoor tournament however came up just short of medaling. This time he would not be denied, it was a lot of walking for him however it was all worth it when he received his Gold medal in the Pre-cub recurve division.

Congratulations Cole!