I am writing a book, tentatively titled “Accelerated Archery,” which has the tag “how to get good, really good, fast” and one of the critical aspects of achieving archery excellence in a short amount of time is having a training facility available, one in which one can shoot safety and is available at least six days a week.
So, the question arises … naturally … how “nice” does this facility need to be. I have practiced in some nice facilities and in some real dumps. Is one better? If you asked supporters of archery competitions, such as fans of Olympic archery, they are likely to say that you need a really nice training facility, thinking that the appearance of the facility would show the people working in it how much their hard work is appreciated. On the other hand, Daniel Coyle, author of “The Talent Code,” who actually traveled around the world looking at so-called “talent hotbeds,” places known for training elite athletes, and found most of them to be dumps and that their appearance had an effect he suggested was an encouragement to get the heck out of there and out performing. On the third hand, you have the lavish training centers associated with professional sports teams. So, which is better, primitive or lavish?
A recent study of people undertaking an exercise program prescribed to facility recovery from an injury has something to say about this. They had a control group and two experimental groups, one in a nice airy, well-lit facility with windows on the outside world and another, well, not. The found that: “Both groups improved, but one group reported feeling better, overall, with more pain relief and greater improvement in function. There was, however, no difference in aerobic capacity, muscle strength and walking speed between the groups.”
“When the groups were revealed, it became clear that the group exercising in the old room in the basement reported greater improvement when asked: Compared to when entering the study, how are your knee/hip pain problems now? This was contrary to what we expected.”
“We interviewed some of the participants and showed them photos of the two rooms to spark a discussion about their impressions. The people exercising in the old room didn’t perceive the aged appearance negatively. They felt at home in the environment and expressed nostalgia because it reminded them of their old school gym. They also felt a stronger sense of fellowship – they were in it together and worked as a team to achieve their goals.
“In the new room, the large windows were distractions and participants said that they did not feel part of a team. The large wall mirrors in the new room weren’t appreciated, either. The participants said that they didn’t like the look of their untrained legs and their often overweight bodies.
“So, if you’re thinking about starting to exercise, take your time and find an exercise environment that feels right for you, or join a group where you have similar goals. If you can join a group and exercise in an environment you really like, you will improve your chances of getting fit and of feeling better. ‘And, as our study shows, when it comes to exercising, it really doesn’t have to be fancy.’”
Looks like the training facility needs to have fairly good environmentals (light, heat, air conditioning) but other than that the key thing is availability. Don’t expect your charges to perform better in a nice facility, especially if you think it is nice because you have been to some of the dumps, but they have only been to the nice one. They may think all practice ranges look like theirs.