Archery Skills Help Students in the Classroom

Awesome article posted by Shannon Rikard on December 18, 2013 in Archery Growth

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“Once the kids realize they can only shoot if they follow the rules, they get it. I’ve seen even kids with the worst behavioral problems straighten up because they know if they follow the rules, they can shoot. It’s like magic.”

Mastering archery requires skill, concentration and perseverance. It’s a sport that’s fun, but also allows participants of any age or skill level to compete against others or challenge themselves individually. The sport has long helped archers gain confidence and physical strength, but two Texas teachers have discovered archery also helps students with math.

Mike Duncan and Raeann Melvin, who teach physical education at Nolanville Elementary School in Nolanville, Texas, started an archery class two years ago to help third- through fifth-grade students understand how to determine area and perimeter in geometry.

Read More…

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Ontario Provincial Indoor 10-Ring Championship

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom February 16th to February 24th Ontario will be holding the second of the two annual indoor provincial championships, the indoor 10-ring Target Championships. Similar to the indoor Field Championships, this annual tournament is hosted by many sites across the province with mail-in scoring. It was at  this tournament that I won my very first medal at 12 years old, although I didn’t find out until two-months later at my archery club’s Annual Awards Ceremony because my parents wanted it to be a surprise.

The target championship is an indoor FITA tournament and is the standard format for the Canadain National Indoor Championships and all World Indoor Championships. The tournament follows standard FITA rules using a 10-ring 40cm target ( 60 cm for Cub and Pre-cub Recurve) with two rings each of Gold, Red, Blue, Black and White and everyone shooting from 18M. Consistent archers may choose to use a vertical 3 spot to avoid breaking arrows and nocks. A vertical 3-spot is also mandatory for all Indoor World Championships.

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With mail-in tournaments there are no elimination rounds where archers have head-to-head competitions. With the updated FITA target faces in 2012 there is no X ring anymore therefore ties can happen.

This tournament is typically the start of the premier shooting period in Ontario with the national indoor championships at the beginning of March and then COPARCO Multi-national Indoor Championships of Americas (North and South America) mail-in championship to follow. If you live in Ontario and have never competed in an indoor target championships, check out the Ontario Association of Archer’s website for host site and dates near you.

Shooting with a Clicker

Every competitive Olympic recurve archer uses a draw length checker or “clicker”. A clicker is a device that assists an archer to draw their bow consistently.  The clicker rides along the side of the arrow and produces a “clicking” sound after it passes over the point, hence the name “clicker”. By consistently measuring the draw length of the arrow, you get a consistent power off the bow and therefore a more consistent grouping of arrows resulting in better scores.

There is a lot of debate of when you should start to use a clicker. Anyone who wants to advance and develop smaller groups should start using a clicker as soon as possible. HOWEVER, since clickers take a lot of discipline, patience and practice, maturity is the key factor; age maturity and shooting maturity. If you are disciplined and maintaining consistent form, then you are ready for a clicker.

Recently, one of my readers asked:

I just wanted to ask, with regards to the form, if I should be expanding my chest during the draw (pulling your shoulders back towards the spine) in order to activate the back muscles to take the load rather than the arms.

Shooting a clicker is a relatively simple process however; it requires the use of back muscles to create something called back tension. By compressing the rhomboid major muscles (between the shoulder blades and spine) together, it will draw the arrow past the clicker for the shot when you are at full draw.

First, you need to determine the ideal location for your clicker. Have a friend mark where the tip of the arrow is at full draw. This will be the initial starting location for your clicker. There are tons of clickers on the market however there are two basic types of clickers; riser-mounted or sight-mounted. Depending where the initial starting location is measured it will help you determine the type you need.

Once you have mounted your clicker follow this shot process.

  1. Nock the arrow, with the arrow under the clicker and on the arrow rest.
  2. Raise the bow and draw towards your anchor point.
  3. Continue to draw the arrow until the tip of the point is still just in contact with the clicker.
  4. Aim and while still maintaining, squeeze your rhomboid major muscles together.
  5. Once you hear the “click”, relax your fingers and finish the shot.

It is important that you are able to reach your anchor point at full draw. The clicker needs to be within the distance so your rhomboid major muscles can activate the shot. Remember, over the course of an entire day of shooting, your muscles weaken and you will have to work harder to draw the same amount, it may need to be adjusted to find the ideal location for entire day of shooting.

Important: Once you have determined your clicker location, leave it alone. Making any adjustments will affect all your sight marks, and they will need to be adjusted too.

If you have never used your rhomboid major muscles before this is going to take some time to master. Practice using your rhomboid major muscles with the following exercise.

With palms down and your forearms parallel to the floor, bring your fingertips together at chin level. Try squeezing your rhomboid major muscles together. You should witness your fingers spread apart about an inch. This is all the space you need to activate the clicker at full draw.

You can also check out this website for exercises to help develop strength in your rhomboid muscles.

The mastery of a clicker is essential for any competition archer. You will need to work on it regularly however once you master the process a clicker will become your best friend.

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!

Adjusting your sights

As a recurve archer, your sight is a vital piece of your equipment. Recently, I had a request to do a blog about the anatomy of a sight and how to adjust it. Although every sight is different, they all have similar components. We will use the Cartel Mighty sight in this example.

A recurve sight is typically made of four components; the riser mount with knob, horizontal extension bar, vertical sight bar, and scope. The riser mount is used to attach the sight to the riser and the knob is used to hold one end of the horizontal extension bar. The vertical sight bar is mounted to the other end of horizontal extension bar with the scope attached to it.  The vertical sight bar and scope have thumb screws that are used to adjust and micro-adjust the scope in relationship to the target.

Most sights have three knobs, one to adjust the length of the horizontal extension bar, one to adjust the height of the scope and one to adjust the left/right location of scope. The latter two usually have both large and micro-adjustments available. When you are ready to start adjusting your sight, remember the simple rule, “Follow the arrow”. Check out my earlier blog called Follow the Arrow: Adjust your sights.

To adjust the length of the horizontal extension bar simply loosen the knob and extend it to the desired length and tighten the knob to secure it. The marks on the bar to help you remember the length so you can set it up again.

To make an adjustment of the vertical location of the scope, loosen the thumb screw fastener and either depress the thumb lever for a large move or turn the micro-knob for small adjustment. Once complete then tighten the thumb screw fastener to secure it.

To make a left or right adjustment of the scope, loosen the thumb screw fastener and either twist the scope in or out for a large change, or twist the tension knob for micro-adjustments and then tighten the thumb screw fastener to secure it.

Once you have adjusted your sight make sure to shoot several arrows to confirm your adjustments. Once you are satisfied with the results, record the location of the sight marks on the vertical sight bar. Remember as you grow, develop muscle and change equipment your sight marks will move. One trick is to add a thin piece of white tape over the sight marks. This allows you to adjust the markings without permanently damaging the sight itself.

Follow the Arrow: Adjust your sights

Unless you are a traditionalist, one of the first things you will need to do as an archer is adjust your sight. Unless you are a compound shooter with the same setup for ever, you will need to make adjusts again and again. For recurve archers there are many reasons why you will need to make adjustments including…

Environmental Differences : Every location is different, wind, rain; check out my earlier blog about Weather Conditions here.

New Distances : As you develop and change categories, distances change. Junior women need to shoot 70M and junior men 90M, if you are not there yet, do not worry, you will be.

Growth : As you get older, your body changes, you get taller and stronger and your draw length changes, using a clicker can help with consistency, so check out my Clicker blog.

Equipment Changes : As you get stronger and you are required to reach longer distances you need to change equipment, such as higher poundage limbs. Eventually equipment wears outs and we all want the latest and greatest technology.

Archery Form Changes : As you develop as an archer, you will perform better as an archer and your archery form will get better.

For young recurve archers adjusting a sight is a frequent event and is actually quite easy, the hard part is resisting the temptation to adjust it after every shot. Remember that consistency is your ultimate goal, so track your arrows before making any adjustments. You can do this on paper or there is an awesome free application for your IPod Touch called Archery Score Free by Yakoob Ali.  Once you are warmed up begin to track your arrows and determine the centre of your arrows grouping and then move the sight accordingly. Remember, if your groups were good yesterday and are not today, evaluate your form first. Also, if you have one arrow consistently out of group, check the arrow for defects.

When you are ready to adjust your sight, apply this simple rule, “Follow the arrow” or in this case the centre of the group of arrows. If the centre of your arrow grouping is to the left, then move your sight towards the left or opposite if your group is to the right.  The same principle applies for the group’s height; move your sign up or down if the group is not centered.  By moving the sight towards the arrow, the trajectory of the bow is altered to better centre the arrows on the target.

Remember, consistent form is essential to archery, and before you start micro-adjusting be sure you are grouping consistently first. Otherwise, if you are always making changes to your sight you will never truly know if you will consistently hit the bulls-eye.