OSG Mississauga 2016

I recently had the pleasure to be the coach once again for the Ontario Summer Games (OSGs), this year was held in Mississauga Ontario. This year was special for the athletes because it was the largest Ontario Summer games in history, awarding over 2000 awards in total. This year’s opening ceremonies were very cool, it reminded me of when I went to the Canada Winter Games. The athletes entered into a whole arena full of fans cheering them on, and they had a bunch of live entertainment. The opening ceremonies were even streamed for the first 45 minutes.

This year was also a big year for the archery event as well, for this was the first year that they change the OSG format. This year they decided to shoot two 720s the first day and the second day shooting at 720 with a round robin of matchplay and match set. Archery lingo inside, basically it means instead of shooting three distances they only shot one distance the three days. I personally think that the exposure to match play and set would be beneficial for future athletes because the tournament type would be like international events (e.g. olympics).IMG_4606

The tournament was an eventful year for the Eastern zone, it was definitely full of experience that these athletes will learn from and remember for the rest of their lives. They learned how to shoot in; high winds, high humidity, heat, and down pouring rain with chances of thundershowers. They learned the importance/how to keep equipment and scorecards dry. We were very fortunate to have found some towels and a laundry card that we can dry the equipment with, thank goodness I brought a hair dryer for all the shoes.

This year the committee decided that to make sure that all the athletes had a chance to experience the matchplay and match set they decided to do a round robin. Traditionally match play and match set are done in a single elimination format (or double elimination rounds if you’re in Canada). The archers seemed to really enjoy a different shooting format, after understanding the rules for the match play and match set. However, by the end of the day all the archers were completely exhausted by the end of the day.
As a coach I was completely ecstatic with the results, after all these athletes had faced challenges that most had never faced before (e.g. equipment failures, whether, or even being independent from their parents). Eastern zone did fantastically well taking home a large portion of not only the 720 medals but also for the round robin medals. The results are posted on the OSG and the OAA websites.



I hope I have the pleasure to be the coach for the Eastern zone in the 2018 OSGs in London Ontario, and if I’m super lucky I get to see these kids again.

For all my eastern zone archers that are reading, it was a pleasure to get to know you and to shoot with you.



JoanMacdonaldCanadian Archery coach Joan McDonald (Richmond Hill, ON) was one of a number of Canada’s top coaches that were honoured at the Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Awards Gala, hosted by the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC), this past weekend in Calgary. McDonald was a recipient of the Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award. This prestigious award recognizes coaches whose athletes have excelled at World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Special Olympics World Games.

McDonald is the personal coach of Crispin Duenas (Toronto, ON), who won the bronze  medal in the Men’s Recurve Bow category at the 2013 World Archery Championship in Belek Antalya, Turkey (September 29th – October 6th). The bronze medal marked the first time in 42 years that Canada had finished on the podium at a World Championship in the Men’s Recurve individual category.

McDonald has been personal coach to Duenas for the past 13 years. She is also the founder and Head Coach of the Bullseye Buccanneers Archery Club in Richmond Hill, Ontario.  McDonald has been instrumental in the development of Duenas as an archer from the ‘Learn to Shoot’ stage of Archery Canada’s Long-Term Archer Development (LTAD) model through to the ‘Shoot to Excel’ stage. “Joan’s confidence in my abilities and her keen attention to the coaching of the technical and psychological aspects of archery, have led to my steady progress and success at the national and international levels”, said Duenas.  “I have no doubt that without Joan’s coaching and guidance, I wouldn’t have been on the podium at Worlds. I’m also sure that under Joan’s continued coaching, I’m on the path to a long and successful career as a high performance archer.”

“I’m thrilled and honoured to have won this prestigious award. Crispin is a tremendous young man and athlete with lots of potential”, said McDonald. “My sincere thanks and appreciation to Petro-Canada and the CAC.”  Archery Canada

Congratulations Joan!

Bowstring Maintenance & Replacement

P1230461In the last blog, we discussed the purpose and application of bowstring wax as a part of proper string maintenance. Another way to prolong the life of your string includes proper storage. Obviously, you should store your string in a safe dry place, and protect it the best way you can to prevent damage. However, you spend time tuning your bow including adding the “perfect” number of twists to the string, therefore you should store your string to maintain this tuning.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to interlace the teardrop loops together as shown here.


Although, proper maintenance and storage of a string can help a string last years, every archer will eventually need to change their string. Before any shooting sessions or tournament, it should be a part of your regular routine to check your equipment for damage. Where your string is concerned, if there are signs of damage such as signs of fraying or one or more strand breaks you should consider changing your string.

Although as string materials have evolved, the strength of individual strands have far exceeded where they need to be in terms of breaking under strain.  The number of strands impact the nock fit and when shooting with the extra strands added, it was found that it could help make the bow a bit more stable. Competitive archers rarely will shot with even a minimally damaged sting since it may impact the performance and therefore, any competitive archer should have two strings for tournaments. The two strings should be exactly the same, ideally created at the same time, on the same day, on the same jig, by the same person; this way you can swap them confidently. Personally if a single strand breaks, I immediately switch to my backup string or alternatively during a tournament to my back up bow.


Strings are so important that some archers schedule string changes so they can maintain the same performance, since strings can stretch over time, and also not worry too much about potential damage.  Depending on your budget this may or may not be an option. Another option includes custom strings and making your own using a string jig however that is the topic of another blog.

String Alignment

Consistency is the key to a successful archer. In an earlier blog, we developed a consistent anchor point to develop a starting point for your hand and grip to help develop consistent vertical groupings. Now we need to address consistent horizontal groupings through the use of string alignment.

IMG_8525So, while at full draw at your anchor point, you should be able see a blurred image of your string; align this “blurry” image of the string with the riser. If it’s slightly off, rotating your head either left or right slightly will correct this. (Remember to maintain your anchor as you quickly check for this alignment). If the string picture is in the wrong place, then your aiming accuracy will be off and the result will be groups which are spread horizontally.


Quick Tip : Note that sometimes a dark string is difficult to see against a dark riser, therefore try adding a small strip of white tape along the inside of a dark riser to help see the string.

Ideally, you should try to use the same spot for all distances, however this can be different for all people. It can help some archers by aligning the string on the inside of riser for close distances, middle of the riser for middle distances, and outside of the riser for long distances. The best alignment it is different for everyone because everyone has different head and nose structures. Therefore, you will need to experiment with the string alignment until you have the perfect string alignment for you.

Quick Tip: If you are having difficulty seeing your string, try closing you non-dominant eye.

Remember once you have your string alignment, changing things such bow length, draw length, arrows or anything else can effect your “perfect spot”. Consistent form is vital for consistent groupings, if you get a consistent string alignment, the bow will be at a consistent horizontal angle, and your horizontal grouping should improve.

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 takes you places

ArcheryOnce you decide to become a competitive archer you will need to start planning to travel. Traveling is a big part of competitive archery, and the higher the level of competition, the further you need to travel.

Indoor archery can take you all over the planet at the upper levels however most competitions can be “mailed-in” because the conditions are controllable. For indoor archery, I have had the pleasure of visiting Louisville, Kentucky a couple of times for the NFAA Indoor Championships and Las Vegas, Nevada for the World Indoor Championships.

bb45s5817Since, hosting any outdoor archery tournament requires a fair amount of space, in Canada, you will need to travel a lot. Canada is the world’s second largest country by total area and stretches about 5000 KM (3000 Miles) from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.  Since 2009 to participate in the Canadian National Outdoor Championships I have visited Laval, Quebec; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Delisle, Saskatchewan; Victoria, British Columbia and this year our family will travel to Woodstock, New Brunswick.

Even competing at the provincial level requires a lot of travel since the province of Ontario is larger than Egypt, Spain or France and therefore even for Provincial competitions you will have to travel a lot. I have visited London, Sudbury, Ottawa, New Market, Petawawa, Caledon, Athens, Peterborough, Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie. All this and I do not participate in every tournament.

Budget is a large factor in participation; our family uses our family vacation budget to participate in tournaments. Unfortunately, only the highest level of Canadian archer receive funding to help pay for travel, lodgings, tournament fees and equipment. For the rest of us, it often falls on us or our parents to help fund those Olympic dreams.

So if you are planning to venture in the realms of competitive archery, I offer the same advice that was afforded to me when I started. “Start saving now” however be assured that it is a worthwhile investment.

Moving Clicker Question?

Back-musclesConsistently using a clicker is one of the most difficult things for an archer to master, however once mastered you will love your clicker. Check out my earlier blogs about clickers and learning to shoot with a clicker.

Recently, one of my readers asked:

This is a bit late of a response, but I’ve started my clicker training and one of the things I’m having trouble with is nocking the arrow behind the clicker. I move the clicker with my fingers while nocking my arrow, but every time I do so, I move its position. 

First, there are three types of clickers…

riser-mount-clickerRiser-mounted clickers
The clicker is mounted directly on the risers and is still relatively vertical about 1-2 inches beyond the pluger/ pressure button.


extended-riser-mountExtended Riser-mounted clickers
The clicker is still mounted to the riser however the click arm is adjusted horizontally beyond the face of the risers (1-3 inches beyond the front edge of the riser).



Sight-mounted Clickers
The clicker is mounted to the arm of the sight and is used for archers whose arrows are well beyond the face of the riser (2-10 inches beyond the front edge of the riser at full draw).


Ideally, the clicker should be positioned as vertical as possible and should extended a couple of mm beyond the bottom of the arrow. If the clicker sits on the top half of the arrow it may apply downward pressure and cause inconsistent arrow flight. So select a clicker that can be mounted as vertical as possible.

Next, I suggest you mark your riser/sight arm so you can ensure the clicker position before every use. Part of your pre-game bow assembly is to verify the clicker is in the correct position and the screws are tight secured. If you are still noticing that your clicker is still constantly moving the screws may not be providing a tight fit. Try replacing the attaching screw or add a locking or plastic washer.

I hope I have been able to answer your question and I would love to hear more from you.

Do you have any questions?
Are there any topics you would like me to cover?

Although, I will continue to write articles about my experiences, I want to hear from you. Everyone has questions, I would love to hear yours and I love answering them. I also encourage you to leave comments or share additional information on any article on my site.