We Just Keep Getting Better … Or Do We?

I was just reminded that Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby horse race in 1973, setting a track record that still stands. I remember seeing that horse’s races on TV, they were outstanding performances.

I was struck by the fact that race horses are vigorously bred and trained to run faster and faster and … 1973 was 45 years ago and Secretariat’s track record still hasn’t been beaten! And there are a lot of races on that track, not just the KD … every year. So there are limits to what can happen. At the very least the rate of improvement in the speed of race horses has slowed substantially.

We seem to think that archery scores will keep going up and up but the reason for that belief is what, exactly? Basically we have gotten higher levels of participation over the past few decades which means more competitors. Competition is simply a sorting of performances, it is not magic. If you have more participation, you will have more “better archers” and the level of competition will go up and the performance required to win will also go up. This is the “secret” to the “miracle” of Korean Olympic Archery, which is now being reproduced in China, India, Mexico, and other countries.

But sifting through larger and larger piles of archers to find the best is not an indicator of the level of skill increasing. We are just populating the “tails” of the Bell curve of archers.

Even so, the increased competition levels have increased the effort applied to training archers. What I wish is that more actual training information were available. In the U.S. we have a National Training System for Olympic Archery and, more recently, for Compound Unlimited Archery. But all they ever talk about is shooting technique, there is very little said about training or learning to score well or really anything else. If they know anything about these other topics, they aren’t pushing that information out into the rest of the U.S. archery community. Archery has been insular for a very long time, with archers and coaches hoarding their “secrets.” Even though this is less so now, in other sports there is more sharing of information. I recently learned, from one of our authors, that in running, elite runners sell their training plans. Maybe elite archers should do the same.


Filed under For All Coaches

5 responses to “We Just Keep Getting Better … Or Do We?

  1. I think the Training for Archery book by Jake and Heather Kaminski is a good start for many who are trying to get into competitive archery. I saw a small amount of training tip information in the USA Archery book “Archery” as well. I also avidly read your Archery Focus magazine and cobble together information on training from your series with Simon Needham. Bits and pieces from everywhere. I do not have a coach so that is a reason why I do so much research. I encourage you do add this important information in your magazine or write a book. By the way, loved the article regarding opportunities for older archers in the most recent edition of Archery Focus!


    • Cool! We get little feedbck as it is. Let me know of other requests. I will try to find someone to write on them.

      On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 11:00 AM, A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:



  2. Sell ? …. Surely you mean donate ?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mr David Beeton

    Totally agree!


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