Line Control for and Coaching the Hearing Impaired

I got a question in the form of a comment on a previous post and because I don’t think you spend a lot of time going back to previous posts and reading the comments, I decided to make a post on just that question. The question was “What about deaf/hearing impaired archery? I’ve received inquiries from a deaf potential archer, and I have no idea how to deal with things like line safety (can’t hear whistles or “clear” calls) and communication during coaching. Are there any resources that I can use to help here?”

* * *

The only thing I have heard is the use of flags instead of whistles. The timekeeper stands at the end of the line and raises a green flag to begin shooting. With 30 seconds left to go, a yellow flag is waived. At the end of the end a red flag is waived. I bought a string of decorative plastic pennants on eBay (see photo), cut the triangular flags off and collected the green, yellow and red ones. These can be taped to an old arrow to make quite a good set of flags for this purpose.

They may be cheesy, but they are also cheap. (Hey, that’s important to me.)

If there are left-handed archers, you will need a “flag person” at each end of the line to be perfectly fair.

I have not heard of any other accommodation although there are timing systems that use colored lights (from computer screens to reused traffic lights) that are used in competitions. That, of course, does not help in practice situations if you do not have such a system.

With regard to coaching, the only thing I could think of is that they would have to bring someone along who could sign the conversations needed. Lip reading is a possibility, but the hearing impaired also can have a problem with speaking.

There are resources on the Internet. Here is one:



Filed under For All Coaches, Q & A

6 responses to “Line Control for and Coaching the Hearing Impaired

  1. john kenny

    I have worked with disabled archers for many years with many types of disability. For some reason never hard of hearing, so this has given me something to think about. I’m not sure flags would be very useful if ‘fast’ was called… for thought.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


  2. In 10 years of coaching I have only once knowingly had a pupil who was profoundly hearing impaired. Things worked out well by standing within arms reach for tactile commands but this was a far from satisfactory solution. A simple traffic light system was in my mind to be placed over or under the target which never got done as the pupil did not take up the sport, but is something that should be completed as the next group may have the need.
    In the Coaching Club (we are fortunate as we have a club registered just for Coaches) a sheet has been circulated with BSL signing relevant to archery. This may be worth including in AF if permission is given.


    • Mr. Halligey, I think you mentioned this “club for coaches” once before but it didn’t ring a bell for some reason. (It has now.) Write to me at my personal email as to whether this is something you feel worth writing about.

      On Sat, Jun 3, 2017 at 11:49 AM, A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:



  3. Robin Autry

    I would recommend contacting the USA Deaf Sports Federation. They works with pistol and rifles.


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