Hear you will find the articles that I write for the US and International Archer and other magazines
As with everything in coaching the development of Archeryfix.com is constantly under review as I intend to offer my clients the best possible service I can provide.
In following issues of The US and International Archer you will be able to follow the progress of some of the diverse range of archers I train around the world in personally presented workshops and seminars. I will also be reporting on the competitions, people and places I visit throughout the world.
To give you an idea of the subject matter my last trip was to Las Vegas for the World Archery Festival then to San Francisco, Frankfurt Germany and on to conduct workshops in Singapore. My Singapore workshop comprised three Gurkha solders from Nepal who work as part of the ministerial protection force in Singapore. Three Malaysian Archers, four members of the Singapore National FITA compound team; two vision impaired archers and the remainder from clubs around Singapore. And for all the differences in ethnicity, religion and vocation they all share the passion we all feel for this wonderful sport archery.
Shoot well and enjoy,
Archeryfix Principal Coach
USA Archery & NFAA accredited Instructor
to be published July/August
From Championships to future champions
From the sweltering heat of tropical Australia to the snow covered peaks of Germanys Black forest was 40 hours travel and worth every minute of it for my Wife Heather and I. We arrived at Erika and Bill Kulls home in Doornstatin as old friends after sharing a Camp at the 2006 IFAA World Field Championships in Australia for a couple of weeks. Bills club the B.I.G. Glatt club allowed us to use their indoor range for training over the four days leading to the IFAA World Indoor Archery Championships at Mannheim. And four days is only just enough time to work the jetlag out of your system and start to hit the target.
As we travel to have fun as well as the more serious business of competing and coaching we spent a lot of time visiting castles, eating out, drinking very large beers and seeing the sights of the Black Forest in winter.
The World Championships commenced with a full opening ceremony that included a concert orchestra, choral group and gymnasts with the flags of the competing countries bourn in by children accompanied by the orchestra playing the national anthem of each country in turn. The organizers had truly outdone themselves with a spectacular befitting the world championships. Through the night wine tasting and massive steins of German beer kept us true athletes lubricated and cheering each act as the evening rolled on. During the festivities we were able to catch-up with many old friends from around the world and get news of other international tournaments and friends in the archery fraternity. What a wonderful sport this is when the fiercest of competitors can remain such close friends.
One of the outstanding features of an IFAA event is that it is open to all archers not just the cream of the crop athletes, yes the elite archers of the world were there but so were those who had just started in our sport.
Day two signaled the start of the competition with a totally different atmosphere in the hall with the stage gone and targets in place we made ready for four days of concentration and steady shooting. The shoot was much like other major tournaments with a mixture of elation, tears and building new friendships. The host club managed the event very well and the venue worked fine allowing plenty of time to take in the highlights of Mannheim and generally enjoying much of what Germany has to offer.
Children from Local schools were brought in every day to watch the tournament and to give them a taste of international competition. This was an excellent idea as today’s youth are the archers of tomorrow and what better venue to use as an introduction than a World Championships. The tournament was marked by some memorable events like Erika Aya LaBrie shooting a new one day record of 292(20X) in Adult Female Freestyle Recurve on her way to winning Gold and giving the USA another World Champion. Germany as the host nation not only gave us all a tournament to remember but finished with 27 new World Champions and a plethora of silver and bronze.
My personal battles were fought in the Professional Freestyle Unlimited division with Istv’an Sule from Hungary beating me for gold by 2 points and Steve Kendrick from England taking Bronze. From an Australian point of view it was an excellent shoot with all three members of the Aussie team taking home medals, my wife Heather winning Bronze in Freestyle Limited, Mike Cowie winning Silver in Veteran Freestyle Unlimited and my Silver in PFU.
As all good things must end so it was with the 2007 World Indoor, like all else concerning this championships our German hosts gave us a finale befitting an International tournament. Dozens of dishes where laid out for the banquette, from the obligatory schnitzels to massive joints of roast meats and more steins of local beer. The medal ceremony concluded with an invitation to all archers to meet again in 2009 for the next IFAA World Indoor Championships to be hosted by Argentina.
Keeping to our policy of having as much fun as possible, Heather and I toured Germany and Austria for a week visiting more castles and Spanish dancing horses in Vienna before returning to work. In my case work may not be a correct description of what I do, probably having fun and meeting people would be a better description of my profession. In any case going to work involved flying from Frankfurt to Singapore where I was asked to give advice on coaching matters for the Singapore national FITA compound team. This team has a lot of potential and may just make their mark in international tournaments in the near future. The Singapore archery Association has just moved to new grounds with excellent target ranges and access to a state of the art gymnasium close by. The new grounds are right next door to a MRT Station (Mass Rapid Transport) allowing easy access to the grounds for the team members, this is a bonus in a country where owning a car is a rarity. For an Island 24 Kilometers long with a population around 4.5 million people it is quite an achievement for the Archery association and George Loh its President to have secured these grounds as any vacant land is scarce in Singapore. This is also a reflection of the Singapore government’s policy of encouraging sporting activities for its citizens and gaining a toehold in the International sporting arena.
My main reason for this visit to Singapore was to work with a group of archers who have to overcome many more obstacles than most of us to achieve their goals in archery; they are archers with a disability. I am fortunate to be able to call some of these archers my friends as well as being students I train, the main groups they fall into are severely Vision impaired archers, blind archers and wheelchair archers. For those of us living in countries with a good social security programs like Europe, Australia, England and North America taking up a sport like archery is relatively easy. If you are blind and live in many Asian countries just surviving is hard work, let alone taking up a sport. In the case of the blind archers I work with employment is limited to giving massage and similar forms of work if they can get any at all. We are endeavoring to setup a league in Southern Asia for archers with a disability so they can compete on a level playing field through their region and internationally. The aim is to base it on the divisions used by the British Blind Archery Association and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
For the vision impaired archers their sight ranges from being able to see a FITA 40cm indoor face at 18mt as a blurred image to the more severely affected who can barely see 10cm white spot on a contrasting background. The shots are aimed using a variety of aids from lenses to single pin sights with large balls on the pin. The totally blind archers use tactile sighting arrangements set up on tripods so their bow hand touches a pointer at full
Draw and their feet are positioned with wooden chocks. The accuracy achieved by these archers is astounding given the hurdles they overcome to shoot; just retrieving their arrows is fraught with danger as they must approach the target with care so as not to run into a shaft. The simple action of making it to the Tuesday training session is a major obstacle for some who have recently lost their sight, to assist them Jim Bec who is close to totally blind himself assists them from their door with the use of his white cane. The trip is undertaken with Jim leading and his fellow archers following behind with a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them.
Sighted archers can learn a lot from the blind archers about consistency in our shot cycle as they shoot as well as they do because of consistency of feel for the shot. As archery is a sport that is practiced by feel more than any other of our senses I have always stressed the importance of feel for the shot and learning to feel your shot through blind bail shooting among other training drills. This lesson was driven home to me while watching these vision impaired archers who achieve marvelous results through consistency of shot achieved through feel. Each of these archers has developed their own form style and built it through the sense of feeling and through this sensitivity to the feel of the shot they have learnt to shoot extremely well when you consider that aiming plays such a small part in their entire shot cycle.
The sighted archers with a disability and wheelchair archers have no less of a battle to compete in this wonderful sport however they do have a goal for some in that the International Paralympic Committee allow them to compete in the Paralympic Games if they qualify. This is a closed door to visually impaired and blind archers to this end we need to do something in the future to widen the criteria for selection to the games as it is far two narrow at the moment.
I was first introduced to these dedicated archers by Mr Tang Chang Poh who is the Manager of the Potong Pasir Community Club and former President of the Singapore Archery Association. Mr. Tang works with many disadvantaged groups as well as managing the community center and training young archers across Singapore he also organizes small competitions to give his students some direction for their training.
Through Mr. Tang it was bought home to me that those I work with make up a very small percentage of people with a disability who would like to take up this sport but are unable to do so due to monetary constraints for the most part.
I would like to make a call for sponsorship from individuals, small and large businesses to assist these athletes with a disability to achieve their goals. For these archers to compete outside of their local club it is a major exercise in logistics involving costs that are beyond their capabilities. I assist these archers with free coaching while in their countries and work with them over the internet to some extent but I am afraid this is all I can do without help. What we need in assistance is archery equipment and assistance with transport for coaching and competition, so if an airline boss is out there reading this dig deep and see if you can help these people to achieve their goals in life. If you are in a position to help please contact me through my website www.archeryfix.com
Last and far from least I would like to thank my sponsors who help me to assist others in this wonderful sport, Vortex Optics, Ontarget2 Software for archers, Shibuya sights, Tailor Maid Strings, Tru Ball releases, Trophy Taker rests, ASTAR Learning Systems and the US archer magazine for publishing my ramblings.
Principal Coach for www.archeryfix.com
July Aug 2008
Not quite yet for the Youth Olympics
Yes I know that I promised to deliver the goods on the 2010 Youth Olympics with pictures and a full progress report. Well it is just not going to happen this time around, I worked my way through the many layers of bureaucracy and found the lady who was allowed to pass on the information to the world only to find that nothing has happened since Singapore won the Games. They are still waiting for the IOC and the many sporting organisations like FITA to decide on venues and timetables for each of the competitions. However, I am assured that some time after the 2008 Games, all will be settled and I will be given a full tour of the facilities probably around September.
The progress of field in South East Asia.
The Field Archery Association of Singapore (FAS) has progressed to the point of paying their membership to the IFAA. This means that all their members can compete in International IFAA accredited competitions and in 2010 the IFAA delegates will hopefully vote to include Singapore in the IFAA as full members. FAS members are already planing towards their first International competition to be held in Singapore. I am sure you will see some of them representing Singapore in Argentina for the 2009 World Indoor Archery Championships and speaking as the FAS coach I believe they have an excellent chance of bringing home some medals.
May June 2008
The worlds youth get their games
My last trip into Asia was just before the announcement of the host city for the 2010 Youth Olympics, well as most of the world knows by now Singapore was the winner. I can relate to the excitement that is coursing through the island as it seems like just yesterday that we in Australia received the news that we would hold the 2000 Olympic Games. It is a feeling that galvanises the entire country into action as you know the entire world will be focused on your progress, from all reports the people of Singapore are just as excited as we were for the 2000 games.
Many people see the Youth Olympics as the little brother to the Summer Olympics, this is definitely not the case as these are the athletes and leaders of the future, these are the people who will be running our world in the near future. It is not only the current crop of youth athletes who benefit from these games, the Youth Olympics will give generations of youth a goal they can aspire to. In the next issue I hope to have more information and photographs concerning the games venues and village construction.
Asia steps into field
After two weeks of full on coaching in Singapore and bringing some disgusting influenza bug back into Australia (I was probably a biohazard), I was ready for a rest but this was not to be. The Australian ABA Safari and Field archery championships started in a few days, so it was out with my new Barnsdale bow and on to the range to get ready. This is a marathon of an event lasting ten days with 8 days of competition.
The Australian IFAA Field Archery Championships made up the first four days, then one day of 3D, two days of ABA unmarked distance paper animal and finishing with a final day of 3D. So as you would imagine we are quite used to preparing for a tournament with all our camping gear ready to go, then came the email. It was from George Loh President of Singapore’s new association The Field Archery Association of Singapore. The news was excellent George and his two daughters Vanessa and Contessa were coming to camp out with us for the tournament. After a few phone calls the true spirit of Australia kicked in with offers of camping equipment, cooler boxes and a small Refrigerator, this combined with our existing equipment and we were ready to set up camp for five.
Our Club the Saxon Archery Club was placed at their disposal for training in the three days before the Safari. During this time our President Jum Gilbert spent a day teaching George and the girls how to shoot an ABA paper round, this too will be seen in Singapore in the future I am sure.
We arrived at the Wide Bay Archery grounds a day before the Tournament with no end of excitement as the girls had never been camping before and it was all a new experience for them. George and the girls were given honorary membership of the Australian Bowhunters Association (ABA) as international guests for the tournament. With this being the National championships all the ABA officials were present so George was able to get answers to the many questions he had regarding setting up a new field archery association.
Our ABA President Bob Wilson and George Loh have agreed to work together to advance field archery in the Asia Pacific region in a cooperative manner. The two presidents spent much time together going over the fine points of the many facets of field. As George was leaving after the IFAA Field he was given a guided tour of the 3D course and instructed in the setup of an event. This course was very well done with no mown strips to the targets it resembled a real hunting scene, with tall grass and massive logs cutting your view of the target. The course designer is to be congratulated on creating a course that made us all think before we shot as the distances were very hard to pick.
From all those I spoke to the entire Championships were a great success with a new crop of Australian Champions created over the ten days. From my side of things the tournament went very well with three of my students taking gold. Vanessa and Contessa Loh both won an Australian Championships Field Gold medal in their respective classes. My dear wife Heather won three Australian championships for Field, 3D and ABA Paper my own silver pales when compared to the ladies efforts. With the registration of the association complete Singapore’s Field archery association is rapidly moving toward the next goal, building the first field course and Joining the International Field Archery Association (IFAA). In my next article I hope to have more information and photographs on both of these firsts for South East Asia. This is truly an exciting moment in the history of archery and one I am honoured to be a part of.
The passing of a great man
During the field shoot Syd Green one of the founding members of Field Archery in Australia passed away on the 20th of March. Syd will be sadly missed throughout the archery world. He was Vice President of the Field Division, National President for many years, National President of the International Field Archery Association, Team Manager to IFAA World Field Archery Championship’s, ABA’s delegate to IFAA’s World Council, Executive Director of ABA and Editor In Chief of Archery Action Magazine. Sydney Thomas Green has left us the archers of the world with a great legacy that will live on through our associations and members.
I would like to thank our sponsors who help me to assist others in this wonderful sport, Vortex Optics, Ontarget2 Software for archers, Shibuya sights, Tailor Maid Strings, Tru Ball releases, Trophy Taker rests, and the US and International Archer magazine for publishing my ramblings.
A special thanks to David Barnsdale of Barnsdale Archery who made the new bows that both Heather and I shoot, they are outstanding.
By Peter Bourke
Principal Coach for Archeryfix.com