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.

https://www.oaa-archery.on.ca/tournaments/records-and-results

https://www.osgmississauga.ca/sport

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.

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High-ho, High-ho…

ArcheryAlmost everyone knows that students need to work during the summer to help pay for school; I am not special. Once school finished I started looking for a summer job to help me pay for my education too, however getting that job has not been very easy so far. Since I am studying Kinesiology, I was hoping to get some work experience in a physiotherapy office or something similar. I have applied at several places but have had no luck yet.

leahurstSince,  I am a certified NCCP Intermediate level archery coach, I thought in the meantime I could continue to coach during the summers or whenever I had free time. So far, I have been doing a lot of advertising like making business cards and posters, to help promote archery lessons. Hopefully I’ll soon have some students sign-up for lessons. I love teaching everybody about the sport of archery, helping students improve and learn to love the sport as much as I do.

I also have been tossing the idea around about doing private lessons online (via Skype, or video chat). I remember getting comments from a couple of followers that they do not have a lot of coaching options. Although, I can only offer lessons in English, if anyone is interested in trying coaching over the web, please let me know. We can setup a lessons and handle payment through Paypal.

Cartel’s New Clothing Guard

Full pic (Small)Recently I got a new clothing guard cartel, the Midas 201 chest guard. For those who have used the original Cartel 101, you know it is an excellent, comfortable, essential piece of archery equipment, and the good news is that Cartel has has build on this and made some significant improvements with the new Midas 201 chest guard.

ImprovementsAdjust 2 (Small)

  • Increased meshed material to help reduce extra heat when outdoors.
  • New Rubberized Strap helps reduce the amount movement of the closing guard on your body
  • Additional adjustment points: Provides 3-5 more points to adjust allow a better custom fitting
  • Adjust 1 (Small)New Colours: 6 colours adjust to your personal style including 2 new colours green and orange.

Rubber band (Small)I have already shot several training sessions with the new Midas 201 chest guard and have a total positive experience and I am very excited to use it this summer in several upcoming tournaments.

Bowstring Wax

Applying bowstring wax is part of regular maintenance and the main purpose is to help prolong the life of your string. It also helps keep the string together longer, maintain the number of twists in the string and protect the string from fraying and moisture.

uvbowwaxUsually manufactured strings are purchase pre-waxed and only need to be maintained. How often depends on the amount you shoot and the condition of the string. Often you can tell if your bowstring needs waxing as small “hairs” or “fuzz” appear on your string. This happens because bowstrings are made-up of multiple strands and the fibers get dried-out and separate from regular shooting and the elements.

To re-apply bowstring wax to an existing string, apply wax to all sides of the string (avoiding the center serving) and use your fingers and rub it up and down 360 degrees of the string, this will heat the wax up so that it is able to soak into the string.

Quick Tip: You can use a piece of dental floss to spread the wax by wrapping the floss around the string once, holding both ends and dragging it up and down. Note: It has been my understanding that using leather is another option however this must be done very carefully as it can also damage the string.

For those of you who choose to make your own strings, you will need to apply bowstring wax several times before shooting the bow the first time.

Bowstring Wax is usually a silcone-based wax sold in tube form for easy application and is usually available at almost archery retailer or repair shops. Alternatively some archers use bees wax mixed with other materials to produce their own recipes. Here are a couple of recipes I found on the web include

  1. 2 parts beeswax to 1 part anhydrous lanolin (available from pharmacies)
  2. 4 parts beeswax to 1 part pine sap
  3. One pound of bees wax and one wax toilet ring seal, melted together
  4. 3 parts beeswax and 1 part coco butter
  5. 50% bear grease (rendered bear fat) and 50% beeswax
  6. 3 parts bees wax and 1 part toilet bowl wax ring.
  7. OR Pure bees wax needs no softening, it is perfect like it is

Proper maintenance will help keep your string in tip-top shape and tournament ready and help make a string last several years. However there are times when you should replace your string and in the next blog we will discuss string replacement.

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.

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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.

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.

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.