Open Letter To Archery Parents(Coaches),
“Sending the wrong message”
Parents and Coaches we have to do better. We have to set a better example. We are sending the wrong messages to our youth archery competitors when we don’t follow rules and more importantly when we aren’t explaining them. Your kids need to know how to keep score, keep running totals, and approach calling arrows and line etiquette with integrity and respect for their competitors. If your son or daughter shoots a national tournament, there is no excuse for writing down wrong scores, not keeping running score, not working as a team of individuals on each target no matter which competitor is shoooting with you. Teach your kids how to be confident in their arrow calling and encourage them to resolve the call themselves. Let’s not allow adult America’s inability to agree to disagree trickle down to our kids.
When parents yell and scream at each other in front of their kids and other kids on the 3D course or tournament line, we’re sending the wrong message. We are setting the wrong examples when we teach and promote our kids to worry more about playing mental games rather than the their shooting game. If your son or daughter must rely on shifty arrow calls, flicking hats, bad attitudes, and being anything other than respectful or results driven their career will be shorter than yours was, if you had one.
Parents, stop seeking out archery sponsors. Teach your kids to seek greatness as a human being. Stop telling everyone your kid is sponsored. It only means something to you. Congrats on your discount but all it’s doing is giving your kids an over inflated sense of self worth and puts more pressure by you on them to perform. Which means more self inflicted pressure by them just the same. Hope it’s worth your 10% off.
Your shooter needs to be a kid first and archery competitor second , they are not billboards for your ego. They know nothing about sponsorships, social media, and what it really takes to be a “sponsored athlete”. You aren’t “sponsored” unless you’re getting free equipment and lots of it. Please stop, you’re sending the wrong message. Your local bow shop giving your a discount doesn’t make you a sponsored athlete.
Teach your shooters to pursue greatness through dedication and be driven off of their individual results. When you tell me, “my kid folds under pressure”, ask yourself why? When your kid folds under pressure and you refuse to believe it, re-evaluate your approach as a parent and your shooters coaching, chances are you don’t need to search very deep. Stop making excuses for them. Let them experience failure and learn how to climb out of its black hole ALONE. The tournament line is lonely enough as it is. It’s not easy, have you done it? Don’t expect them to do something you can’t or haven’t. If you knew what it felt like maybe you would back off.
Don’t tell them how bad they did, don’t say a word after the tournament about what they did wrong. Tell them “I love you, I’m proud, go take your mind off things.” They know they weren’t great that day, let them process it first and even forget about it.
A Former Kid Shooter
So many bowhunters have target panic and don’t even realize it. I read a great write up about Stephen Hansen a few weeks ago, one of the top shooters in the world struggling with it. You can tell the by the tone in his response that it’s not new to him and he’s knows there is a long road ahead.
Bottom line is it happens to everyone and you can either choose to live with it until it gets out of control or address it immediately and try to fix it. Some can simply set up at 3 yards , close their eyes, find that slow methodical rhythm and boom all is great on the shooting line again.
Some shooters need the hinge or resistance release like the Stan Element and must do diligent programming with draw holds and walk back execution and never truly get over it when they go back to thumb button or index finger release.
Problem is, if you don’t shoot enough to beat it, it will beat you. The vast majority of novice and recreational hunters have it and have no clue it’s setting up camp and being reinforced with other underlying issues like draw length being too short, improper bow tune, less than efficient form, or instruction from random Facebook groups asking “How’s my form” 🤦🏼♂️
Some signs of target panic are….
– punching trigger
– pin stuck off center or bulls eye ( feels like a force field is around it)
– flinching at full draw
– quick shots
– over aiming
– watching pin during aim
– inability to hold groups at longer distance
When you bought your bow and the bow tech said “you simply put the pin on and squeeze the trigger” and that’s what you’re doing, it’s quite the possibility TP will manifest itself quicker than you want.
By nature of being a coach and owning an archery training center I work with a hundreds of new shooters every year. I see youth beginners and competitors as well as adult bow hunters who can’t seem to become accurate past 20-30 yards. I hear from them a few weeks before a scheduled elk hunt or mule deer trip when they can’t hold 4” groups at 60 yards.
There are a few underlying issues around the topic and archery by nature of the industry contributes to the problem. First issue is pursuit of the bow sale. It’s not just the small shop but more so the big box outdoor store. Archery season is the most glorious time to be in nature and when bow technicians are trained to only “get the sale”, we have a problem. If you are not pursuing coaching and lessons for new shooters, you’re not contributing to recruitment and retention of archers or potential bow hunters. With hunting numbers dropping , can we really turn a blind eye? We need to sell the sport first so bow hunting will follow to a new potential shooter.
We need to be setting every new shooter up for as much success as possible from the statement “I’m looking for a bow”. If you as a bow technician aren’t comfortable with the idea lessons, pursue at a minimum USA Archery level 2 certification. If you have a range, or have separate staff already coaching that’s great, just make sure your bow techs are pushing lessons for all new and old customers. Ask them how their shooting is going, quiz them on their results, ask them why they think they missed the last deer or made a bad shot. What you’re really doing and creating future business for yourself if you do things right and that’s a great thing!
Forget what the old timers say about coaching and “all the you need is pie plate accuracy and woodsman-ship” , those days are no longer acceptable. You need to be as accurate and dedicated as possible so you get a quick and ethical kill.
USA Archery Update:
On May 18 & 19th archers from all over PA will be visiting GHA to take their USA Archery Level 1 & 2 certification to teach archery. The certification is the foundation of working with future adult and youth archery athletes. We highly reccomend if you wish to open an archery shop, start coaching, or just want the necessary general knowledge to help your club and work with shooters this is a course you should absolutley take.
The certification will introduce the new and expereinced shooter to the sport while reinforcing safety, instruction, implemtation of training tools and much more. Read more about the Level 1 certification here.
Shooting Clinic Update:
We will also be hosting a shooting clinic with Coach Larry Wise on June 15 & 16. More inforamtion available on our certifications and clinics page.
Scholastic 3D Archery Update:
On a date yet to be determined we are looking at hosting another S3DA Basic Coaching certification as well.
Make sure you check out our FB page and follow our events listed there.
At a very young age founder and head coach Frank McDonough was part of a program called Junior Olympic Archery Development. Around 8 years old Coach Frank’s Dad drove him to the Reading Archery Club to practice with their team. At the time JOAD teams were few and far between and traveling 35 minutes to Reading, PA to be a part of a youth archery team was very much a worth while endevour. Coach Frank traveled as a young competitor to James Madison University, Miami University of Ohio, and Atlantic City to name a few to compete. Today JOAD competitors travel all over the country competiting with the eventual goal of possibly winning a spot of the USA Archery Junior Dream Team.
Since the first conversation between Coach Sarah and Coach Frank the idea of becoming a JOAD program was discussed. However like everything else good things take time and in August 2017 GHA finally established themselves as a Junior Olympic Archery Development program.
Whats cool about JOAD is it recognizes the archers hard work through a scoring and pin system. The pin system is set up to reward scoring achievments of the shooters as they continue to pursue personal archery goals.
1. Archers participating in the JOAD and Adult Achievement Award Programs will not be asked to re-earn any pins they have already been awarded.
2. Archers should earn pins one at a time, in consecutive order.
3. Archers progressing through the scoring matrices should use the new scoring guidelines starting with the next pin they are working toward.
4. If an award level has more than one distance/target size, the club leader will choose what target face to have the archer positioned at based on the skill level and experience of the archer.
5. To earn an a JOAD Olympian Award the archer will be required to shoot the distance and target face that corresponds to their JOAD Class at National Events (i.e. Bowman, Cub, Cadet, Junior).
6. The Achievement Program is not based on gender.
Year after year bowhunters are frustrated because they make the switch sometime late summer and they have to move their sights. And technically moving your sight is fine but it still doesn’t fix the reason you’re moving it to begin with. If your bow is tuned and form is on-point, the vast majority shouldn’t have any need to move anything.
The age old arguement fixed blade vs mechanical is always a topic of disscussion amongst the droves of bowhunters across the land but mechanical seems to be the primary go to, especially for those who can’t get those pesky (not really) fixed / cut on contact broadheads to fly.
Regardless of broadhead, nothing replaces shot execution and accuracy but when we are under stress and anxiety at full draw we want our bows shooting as efficient as possible. Our form irregularities are amplified by an un-tuned bow.
Here are a handful of things to consider and look for prior to shooting those broadheads mid to late summer.
1. Are your marks on at 20 yards and 2-3″ (+/-) left or right at 30,40, or whatever you max effective range is?
2. You got some tail whip going on? Back end of he arrow seem to be traveling as it leaves the bow?
3. Markings changing on you? Seem like your chasing the arrow with you sight?
4. Bow seems “ok” but you hear noises coming to full draw?
5. Site picture change when looking through your peep and arrows started crawling higher or lower?
If you answered yes to any of these by all means message GHA on FB or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help. We will teach you the right way to fix these issues or address them as necessary. Shooting form evaluation included in that session. If we can simply help you figure it out on your own we will do that as well.
Your local bow shop should be able to fix this as well and in some cases maybe you didn’t buy a bow locally and need help that way. Come to GHA we have worked on them all.
GHA brings the target archers narrative of accuracy to the hunter’s agenda. We do not settle for pie plate accuracy, we only settle for pin point accuracy. You just have to be willing to put in the work.
From Fred Bear to the elite shooters of today, the proper grip is increasingly overlooked as gadgets claim to create consistency.
Listen it’s not rocket science, it’s practice, knowledge, and determination.
Note the pointer finger on all four shooters 😉
That angle and position is a tall tale sign to your hand position for keeping a consistent and torque less bow grip.