2013 OFSAA

ofsaa_kcvi_2012The Ontario High School Archery Invitational Tournament, a sanctioned Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) event is once again being hosted by Richmond Green Community Sports Centre. To my knowledge, Ontario is the only province in Canada offering a high school archery championship. I am very happy the organizers have decided to move forward with the event, since it is a good stepping-stone tournament for archers in their development into competitive archery.

Last year’s tournament saw over 440 archers compete in four divisions. Both boys and girls in Olympic recurve, Standard (one-piece fibreglass bows) shooting on a 60cm face, and compound fingers and compound release shooting on 40cm faces with everyone at 18m. This year compound bow and standard divisions compete on Wednesday, May 15th and all Olympic recurve divisions compete on Thursday, May 16th.

Participation is expected to be slightly less this year because of the Ontario Teachers strike impact on high-school clubs. However, if you are interested in participating in the event, please contact your high-school archery coach to find out if they are sending a team to the event and get registered.

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Archery – The Mental Game

There are two components in every competitive sport, the physical and the mental game. Often in sports we develop our physical ability long before we develop our mental game. Remember, my ascension to the world competition level was extremely fast, one year I was completely unknown in Canada, a dark horse. Then just 18 months later I had already won a Canada Games medal and was on my way to represent Canada at the World Indoor Championships; Real fast! Charles Lopez asked…

Perhaps you’ve covered this already and I’ve missed it but I wondered if you could expand on what you do on the mental side of things while you compete?

This is the toughest question I have been asked, since I still struggle with it and one of my training goals for this year is to work on my mental game. Archery is a lot like golf, you are not competing with anyone but yourself. So a good mental game is vital since it is slow paced and you have a lot of time to assess your shot, your environment and perhaps over analyse things. This means to perform your best, you need to have your thoughts under control.

Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Boy: Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
– Spoon boy from The Matrix

Basically, whether or not there is a spoon is irrelevant, what matters is the belief. Any negative thoughts you tell yourself, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. How well you play the mental game is going to have a significant effect on how well you score on a given day.

I remember the world indoor championships like it was yesterday. At the start, I was enjoying everything and shooting well. Then came the introductions, they were announcing former world champions, Olympians, and current champions. Then out of the blue, they introduced Jordan Sequillion as one of the representatives from Canada. At just 17, I was one of the youngest athletes there but the pride of my entire country filled me giving me the chills, goose-bumps and made me extremely nervous.

I remember trying to focus on shooting, I wanted to make every shot perfect, and I needed to shoot the best I ever had. My country was counting on me! I was so nervous that I was  shaking; not the best for archery.At the end of the competition, after being eliminated, I just broke down and started crying. I felt as if I let the entire country down. Coaches from other countries came over to comfort me, they had witnessed my shooting in the warm-ups. They simply said, you belong here you just need to work on keeping your emotions in check.  That helped comfort me a lot, it really helped me for the team rounds too.

Afterwards, my parents ask me the question, “Why do you shoot?” Seems like an easy question to answer. I shoot because I love it. So then they asked the question. “So what changes between shooting in warm-ups and in competition?” Hmmmm….makes you wonder. They insisted that only my perspective changed, not the target.

If archer shoots just for fun he has all his skill.
If he shoots for score his hands tremble and his breath is uneasy.
If he shoots for a golden price he becomes mad and blind.
His skill was not lessened, but the vision of the target changed him.
–          Old Chinese Proverb

So to answer… “What you do on the mental side of things while you compete?”

I am working on it, shooting because I want to shoot, not because I need a higher score than before. Not focusing on any past mistakes and not worrying about where I am; just remembering that I love the sport.  I shoot one arrow at a time and if I am the best that day I will win and if I do not win there will be many more opportunities in the years to come, because I love to shoot.

I do not know if this answered your question or not, however I did the best I could.

Bow Selection

I am often asked what kind of bow should I shoot. Selecting a bow should be based on your goals and usage. Are you just wanting to shoot arrows as a purest, perhaps a traditional bow would be best. If you are hunting, perhaps a compound bow or crossbow is for you. If you want to compete in the Olympics than you need a recurve bow. Most coaches recommend learning on a traditional type bow first before using a compound to help develop proper form however this is not a “written in stone” fact.

There are two primary classes of bow and then two sub-classes within each primary class. Mechanical (Crossbow & Compound) OR Traditional (Longbow or Recurve)

First ask yourself the following questions…

  • What kind of bow do I want to shoot? (Traditional or mechanical)
  • What am I going to do with my bow? (Hunt, compete, learn)

One of my readers asked….

… I have been in awe of archery my whole life, but I couldn’t do anything about it because there’s no archery club in my country. I’m seriously thinking about purchasing a bow but since I have no one to guide me, I was wondering if you could post something about how to choose the right bow. I also understand that some attachments aren’t necessary (like the clicker), I would want to know what a bow NEEDS to have. What should I be looking out for?

You bow is a personal preference; finding the perfect bow takes time, experimentation, trial and error. Check out this excellent blog by “Off the Arrow Shelf” who provides excellent insight into what you should look out for in your first bow.

2012 Paralympics Games

Wednesday will mark with start of the 2012 Paralympic Summer Games in London England. The Paralympics are the second largest sporting event in the world, second only to the Olympics. The Paralympic Games are linked directly to the Olympics. They follow the same schedule running every two years and alternating between summer and winter, and since Seoul 1988 (Summer Games) and Albertville 1992 (Winter Games) the games have taken place on the same venues following the Olympic Games. 

The paralympic games were the dream of Dr. Guttmann, a German born British neurologist interested in helping world War II veterans with spinal injuries. Dr. Guttmann was an archer and setup an archery demonstration between two teams of paraplegics that coincided with the 1948 London Olympics.

His dream was of a worldwide sports competition for people with disabilities to be held every four years as “the equivalent of the Olympic Games.” Twelve years later, his dream became a reality.

The first official Paralympic Games were held in Rome, Italy, in 1960 and involved 400 athletes from 23 countries. Originally, only wheelchair athletes were invited to compete. Since that time, the Paralympic Games have grown dramatically. The present-day Paralympic Games include five major classifications of athletes: persons with visual impairments, persons with physical disabilities, amputee athletes, people with cerebral palsy, people with spinal cord injuries and Les Autres – athletes with a physical disability that are not included in the categories mentioned above (e.g., people with Muscular Dystrophy). History of the Paralympics Games

Canada is internationally renowned as a leader of the Paralympic movement and has participated in every Summer and Winter Paralympic Games since Tel Aviv, Israel in 1968. Canada has sent an archery team to every Paralympic games since 1968 with only one exception being the 2004 games in Athens.

My coach Kathy Millar of South Nation Archery was interviewed last Friday by CTV Morning Live to discuss Paralympic Archery ahead of the Paralympic Summer Games. She explains Paralympic archery and how Paralympic archers use different muscle sets when competing depending on the disability or limitation of the archer. You can check out the entire interview here.

For these games Canada is sending a team of 5 archers including Kevin EVANS (Jaffray, BC), Bob HUDSON (Leoville, SK), Karen VAN NEST (Wiarton, ON), Lyne TREMBLAY (Magog, QC), Norbert MURPHY (Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC), and Rob COX (Winnipeg, MB). Good luck to all the athletes and GO CANADA GO!

2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies

On Friday, London, England will host the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games. Over the years, there have been some awesome opening ceremonies including the last Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. For me, last year’s ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia was amazing and has a special place in the heart of every Canadian. However, recently I watched the 1992 Barcelona Olympic opening on YouTube, and I think I have found a new favourite, as should every archer.

Check it out the entire 1992 opening ceremonies in HD.

Good luck to all athletes and a special cheer to both Crispin Duenas of Ontario and Marie-Pier Beaudet of Quebec as they compete in archery and attempt to bring home the first Olympic archery medal in Canadian history. All of Canada is pulling for you.

GO CANADA GO.

2012 OFSAA Archery Invitational Tournament

On May 16th to May 17th 2012 Richmond Green Community Sports Centre again hosted the Ontario High School Archery Invitational Tournament, a sanctioned Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) event.

Once again, I was able to compete on behalf of my high school Kingston Colligate and Vocational Institute alongside my sister Sydney.  We had a great time meeting up with several of our archery friends from all over the province.

This year, well over a hundred girls competed in Olympic Individual division which produced a close competition, a difference of only 34 points separated the top 10 finishers. I was fortunate to capture the Silver Medal between friends Odelia Wong of Parkdale CI and my MICA teammate Lindsay Fulmerton of St. Michael’s School. My sister shot extremely well and improved on last year’s performance to finish 17th. The new KCVI Archery Club, for which we are founders and I am the coach, has been making progress towards participating in the annual OFSAA tournament. Next year we should be ready to enter a team in the Girls Olympic & Standard Divisions. I hope that we will have enough interest to have a Boys’ Teams as well.

This tournament was a lot of fun and hopefully, the results for the entire tournament will be posted on the Ontario Association of Archers shortly. Any high-school that has or is thinking of starting an Archery Club should really consider participating in this OFSAA sanctioned event. It is an awesome event to gauge your archery club’s development and it is a lot of fun.

Preparing to take on the World

The 2012 World Archery Indoor Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada are less than a month away, and I am equally excited and nervous. This will be my first experience at the World level and I am trilled about enjoying it with my junior recurve team mates, Virginie Chenier of Quebec and Caitlin Northey of Saskatchewan. I am sure that we will gel as a team however since we all live in various provinces we will develop our team round strategy at the hotel on practice days. Speaking of the Hotel, the South Point Hotel and Casino, where the event will be held, is located in the heart of the premiere southwest Las Vegas valley, just minutes away from the famous Las Vegas Strip. According to their website, some of their many amenities include a 16-screen Century Theatre movie complex, 64-lane bowling center and a handful of restaurants that cater to all appetites and tastes.  Their distinctive hotel features spacious rooms and suites with 42-inch plasma televisions, Point Plush mattresses and Wireless Fidelity throughout. A unique feature to this property is its Equestrian Center, which is the finest horse facility in the country. South Point also has a fabulous 400-seat showroom that features headliner entertainment and dancing to live bands on weekends. Although the hotel offers plenty to do, even for those under age of majority (21 in Nevada), I am not sure I will have a lot of time based on the posted schedule for the Championships. The practice venue will be open for both official arrival days, Friday and Saturday, and I plan to get there early on Saturday. The rest of the week looks like the following…

  • Day 1 Official Practice & Team Captain Meeting
  • Day 2 Qualification Rounds
  • Day 3 Individual Eliminations
  • Day 4 Team Eliminations
  • Day 5 Individual and Team Finals

Immediately following the championships from February 10th to 13th is the World Archery Festival, stage 2 of the Indoor Archery World Cup. However, due to the amount of school I would have to miss, I have decided not to participate, instead I will fly home on February 10th. I look forward to meeting so many new friends from all over the world, and participating in one of the archery world’s premier events. Until then, my focus will be on eliminating all distractions. First and foremost, finish this semester and exams the week before leaving. So rather than setting expectations to high; my goals are simple. First, focus on shooting and ignoring bells, whistles and the bright lights of Las Vegas. Then, give it my best effort each day, focusing on each shot and ignoring any mistakes. Lastly, learn and enjoy the complete experience. If all I bring back is the knowledge of what it takes to compete that the World level, I will succeed. I have been asked a couple of times now, however it is unknown at this time, if they will be streaming a live feed of the competition however results will be posted on the World Indoor website.