2013 Canadian Blog Awards

NB 2013 1 546It is a huge honour to be nominated for Best Sports Blog of the Year for 2013 by the Canadian Blog Awards. If you enjoy my blog please visit the voting site and cast your vote for me. Also I would appreciate you telling your friends. Voting closes on February 22nd.

It is an honour to share my experiences with everyone and I hope to continue to write from many years to come to help grow archery throughout the world.

Chapter One complete…

Classof2013On Thursday, I finished the first chapter of my life by graduating from Kingston Vocational & Collegiate Institute.  My graduating class was about 300 kids, with more 80% graduating with honors (academic 80% average) and Ontario scholars of which I was one. I remember walking across the stage, my brothers and sister cheering, apparently my mother cried, my father could not stop taking photos they was so proud and happy.

Besides being an Ontario scholar, I was also the recipient of couple of awards and scholarships. With the first award, my name with forever by etched on the walls of K.C.V.I. as it in engraved on a plague.

AdrienLangloisThe Adrien Langlois Award (Physical Education)

Awarded to a graduating student who has completed a minimum of three physical education credits including PSE4U (Sport Science). The student is considered the best overall physical education student as determined by the Healthy Active living department

The Sandy Prentice Memorial Scholarship

The scholarship is designed to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of a graduating K.C.V.I. student with an identified communication disability. The student must have demonstrated outstanding and persistent effort in overcoming the challenges of their learning difficulty such as reading, writing, organization or social skills. The student must also demonstrate a high degree of academic competence, the ability to self advocate and self regulate, and some level of contribution to the school community in the area of sports, clubs, or student leadership.

IMG_8776Graduating from high school was an extremely important moment for me, since at five years old, my parents were told I would never learn to read or write so not to bother to try and teach me. I have dyslexia, severe auditory processing communication disorder to be more exact, so much so that when officially tested, I scored in 1st percentile.

There is often a misconception about dyslexia, most people think of people reversing letters or numbers; however dyslexia is about learning differently, and auditory processing disorder is a broad umbrella for people who have difficultly either understanding or expressing ideas or information either verbally or written. For an overview about various types of auditory processing disorder check out the Wikipedia article.

This is the first time I have publicly acknowledged my learning challenge. Mainly because I never ever wanted anyone to treat me differently or for one minute think that I could not do something. Personally, I think it is a learning GIFT, since I just learn differently and the list of famous people with dyslexia is very extensive including Muhammad Ali, Cher, Robin Williams, Albert Einstein and many more.

RedeemerAlthough, I had been accepted at Dalhousie and Acadia, I will be attending Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario this fall studying Kinesiology, with  goals of becoming a physiotherapist and a national level archery coach.  To all who read this, do not let anyone else dictate your path in life. You can achieve anything you want to, it just takes a little hard work.

KCVI Archery Club

IMG_8393Since I believe athletics are important in developing a healthy lifestyle and personal self esteem, the KCVI archery club is special to me. While I am fairly athletic, when I joined KCVI’s Athletic Association, I noticed a lack of sports open to all even for non-typical athletes; something where you can participate at your own level and feel confident and accepted. As a NCCP certified archery coach, range safety officer and national level archer, I knew I could start a program that would inspire anyone to come out, get active, and engage in sport. So in 2011, I proposed the idea of starting an after-school Archery Club to our Principal for the next year.

In the fall of 2011, with the assistance of my younger sister Sydney, we started with four students meeting every second week for 1.5 hours. I coached the group of members, focusing on safety, technique and encouraging them to have fun and enjoy it. They enjoyed it so much they started to recruit others. By the end of the first semester, we had tripled our membership.

This year, with the absence of sport due to the teacher work to rule strike, I was able to convince my mother to act as the supervising adult and our principal as the supervising teacher. There was so much buzz, kids with talking about archery club in the halls, our membership increased to over 50 students. We have decided to meet every Friday after-school for 2 hours to accommodate the influx of participation.

IMG_8404Last Friday, we hosted the year-end celebration for 2013 KCVI Archery Club. We had a potluck, cake, shot balloons and this year we also decided to hand out a couple of awards. Although, I am very proud of all the members, they have become the athletes they were really meant to be since they were all dedicated, enthusiastic and all improved so much, these individuals rose to the top…

Most Dedicated – Joesph D
Awarded to the archer who shows the most dedication to the club, sport, and it’s members. Not only did they always attend on-time, they were also supportive and respectful to the members, the club, the equipment, the sport, and stepped up to help when it was needed most.

Most Improved – Haiyi Z
Awarded to the archer that not only improved in skills in the sport of archery but also in self growth. To improve means to be better than you were before even if it is hard or not what you would normally do, to challenge yourself to be a better person.

Most Enthusiastic – Anajalika R
Awarded to the archer that is the most enthusiastic, who also perseveres and continues to look on the bright side. This athlete should always look for something to be happy about and keep trying and help others when they are going through a hard time.

Most Sportsmanlike – Athena K
Awarded to the athlete who showed the most sportsman like traits. This athlete does not get upset when they lose, or gloat when they win, or are not mean to other athletes. Instead they show true character by being humble in winning and gracious in losing.

IMG_8476Last Friday also concluded the last year I will lead the club as I am graduating and off to Redeemer University in September. It has been a very gratifying experience starting and running the archery club over the last couple of years. I have learned a lot about coaching, organizing and leading an archery club. My hope is my younger sister Sydney will continue to lead the club during for her grade 12 year and others will step-up so the club will continue for years to come.

Thanks to everyone who helped organize, run, step-up, tear-down, watch-over and participate over the last two years. Happy Shooting!!

Archery is not all about Winning

victoryaSport should be about participation and physical fitness, not solely about winning. Archery is a sport you can participate in for your entire life. One of the things my coach always told me was there is a real danger of achieving success too earlier in young archers. Young kids sometimes get use to winning, and they start to expect it. They never expect to have to work at it again to win and archery (and sport in general) loses more participants that way than any other.
.
As a national level athlete, everyone expects me to win all the time. I sometimes want to yell out “It just doesn’t work that way”. There is very little difference between top level athletes and it is more than a game of inches. As you develop into one of those athletes that are lucky enough to gain sponsorship, there is even more pressure to win. This is why I believe some athletes turn to performance enhancing drugs or cheating.
.
The movie “Cool Runnings” has an excellent scene where Derice Bannock ask Irv why he cheated…
CoolRunningsIrv: It’s a fair question. It’s quite simple, really. I had to win. You see, Derice, I had made winning my whole life, and when you make winning your whole life, you have to keep on winning, no matter what. Understand?
Derice Bannock: No, I don’t understand. You won two gold medals. You had it all.
Irv: Derice, a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.
.
.
Personally, it really troubles me to hear about athletes that use performance enhancing drugs or cheat, especially successful ones. They have made winning their whole life and they are not enough without it.
.
As part of your New Year’s Resolution, why not make sure you are participating in Archery or any other sport for the right reasons. Whether your are participating for the competition, hunting, social aspect, physical fitness or just for pure fun, make sure you set your goals to participate whether you win or not.

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.

Training to your Level and Desire

As many of you are aware I also have a Tumblr blog, this is to help publicize my WordPress blog and help reach more beginner archers.  When I asked for questions here on my WordPress blog one of my Tumblr followers, tuchesuavae, asked the following…

I was wondering, what exercises do you do? What is your regiment with band work? Weight, tension, supply details, repetition, how long do you hold, how often, etc.

I initially responded …

I have a 6 day-a-week training schedule including weight training, shooting, walking, aerobic and Pilates. My training schedule varies depending on the time of year. 

Sometimes I use a rowing machine or weights however I no longer add weight. Do not want to add mass; just lean strong muscles. I use bands for warm-up EVERY time I shoot. I shoot about 150-200 arrows a day. 

However I thought I would answer the question in more detail and discuss the importance of training at your level. A training plan for any athlete is developed in conjunction with the athlete, their short and long-term goals and their current physical abilities and limitations. Before developing a training plan, you need to ask yourself, “What do I want out of archery?”, since the answer will dictate how you proceed.

Personally, until 2010 I practiced with a training plan fit for an intermediate level archer. In 2010, prior to the 2011 Canada Games, I met with my coach and expressed my desire to go to the games and compete. She developed a plan that increased the number of arrows progressively, weight training without mass gain and developed a higher level of core muscles. Although at the time, it seemed like a lot, my coach explained that if that was my goal that is what it would take to get there, and she was right.

Every level of competitive sports has a new level of commitment. Sometimes you need to make sacrifices to achieve your goals. If you are planning on practicing only in classes and expecting to be a world champion, you are sorely mistaken.  For two straight years, I had a limited social life outside of the sport and the friends I had there.

My basic schedule included, taking into account time for studying, tournament schedules and travel.

  • Core muscle development one-day a week including weight training and Pilates.
  • 1-2 days of rowing machine
  • 1-2 days of cardiovascular including walking, jogging or biking. 20-30 minutes with a continuous high-heart rate.
  • Shooting 150-200 arrows 3-5 days a week.
  • One day a week I rested.

My six-day a week plan was tailored specifically for me and became more involved and more difficult as the shooting season progressed. It was made this way because I wanted it to be and therefore I stuck to the plan and attained my goals.  Remember my plan will probably not work for you, mainly because my strengths, limitations, and goals differ.

If you are ready to take it to the next level in archery or any sport, seek out a trained and qualified coach. Work together with your coach to understand where you want to go and together develop a plan on how to get you there.

Finalist

Thanks to everyone voting for me, I am a finalist for Best Sports Blog of the Year for 2012 by the Canadian Blog Awards. I finished 2nd in the first round and managed to get approximately 19% of the votes. The final round is between the top four most popular blogs. My hope is that everyone will continue to support me in the final round. 

If you enjoy my blog please visit the voting site and cast your vote. Also I would appreciate you telling your friends. Polls closes on December 1st.

Recently, several of my readers posted questions about various aspects of the sport of archery. I really enjoyed answering each of these questions and I hope that if anyone has any more questions about archery, they will post them for me to answer.