Dear Archery Organization

It doesn’t matter which organization this is addressed to as it is addressed to each and every. Organizations such as these were created to serve their members by creating consistent and fair sets of rules for competitions and even to sponsor some events, helping members with range certifications and coach certifications, and a lot more.

Below I address some of the things that I wish all of the organizations would take seriously as they would really help archers and coaches persist in our sport and pursue excellence in our sport.

Rehab Help
Archers get injured. I often mention that I have gone through the “grand circle” twice already, namely problems with both shoulders, both elbows and both wrists. Some of the injuries were minor, but one elbow problem result in wearing sling for weeks, getting cortisone shots, and not shooting for a year and a half.

So, if I log onto any of the archery organizations websites and search for help with injury rehabilitations, what do you think I find?

What I find is <cricket, cricket, cricket>.

Surely there are doctors who are archers who could provide some generic guidelines. USA Archery has archery teams as parts of major universities and surely those institutions have physiology departments or even medical schools that would help, no?

As it is now, if you get an archery-related injury you are on your own.

Archery Science
There is a large amount of “collective wisdom” floating around in archer and coach circles. Unfortunately much of that is dead wrong. There are many, many questions that archers and coaches have that science could answer definitively. Questions like: in a strong side wind, how much of the affect is on the arrow and how much is on the archer? What is the best way to deal with such winds? Which is better in a stiff wind: a heavier wider arrow or a thinner lighter arrow? (Arguments can be made for both.)

Another question is: what is target panic”? What causes it? How can it be ameliorated or “cured”? Imagine university graduate students in psychology looking for real world questions for which they could find real-world answers.

Again, USA Archery has archery teams as parts of major universities and surely they have physics or engineering or psychology departments that would help, no? Many of these universities have students actively looking for research projects. Having a list of such questions and maybe a small research grant to go along with each would get serious attention.

Providing a Coach Support Structure
At one point we attempted to build what we called The Archery Coaches Guild. The purpose of this organization was to help archery coaches by providing information, advice, continuing education, and connections to other coaches. We failed. I think it was a good idea, but the time or the people, aka us weren’t right. But this is something one would think archery organizations would be interested in, no?

And . . .
When the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) was founded in the early twentieth century, they focused on training two cadres of people: coaches and course superintendents. (There were no professional golfers at the time.) Coaches were needed to train new golfers who would then participate, or stay in the sport if problems were suggesting they leave, thus creating more demand. And they needed people to design and maintain courses, so that golfers had somewhere to play.

Currently the organizations make a minimal effort at training archery coaches, nonexistent coach support structures, and little to no help with range design and building and maintenance.

I have written a couple of articles about what I call “golf envy” from hearing golfers wishing that archery money purses were similar to those of professional golf tournaments. Maybe taking the path that the golf associations did is a way to achieve that.

5 Comments

Filed under For All Coaches

5 responses to “Dear Archery Organization

  1. Maybe someone should research/write a book on this subject with respect to treatment, but also with respect to prevention. (I have written a bit about prevention myself and I preach prevention to my archery students, but I am no expert on the subject.) What you really need is someone who studies kinesiology (and archery) to weigh in on the subject with respect to prevention, and a doctor familiar with sports injuries to talk about treatment.

    Other sports and activities have similar books about preventing sports injuries. Eg. “Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers” (by Donna Krasnow) for example is one such book aimed at ballet dancers, because if you get injured then your ballet career is basically over. Certainly there are more archers out there than there are ballet dancers, so there must be a market for such a book aimed at archers. Although I am guessing ballet dancers get paid more than archers do, so that might be a factor as to why there are books on preventing dance injuries and none on preventing archery injuries.

    Another factor is that the majority of archers are men, and there is the toxic belief amongst men that “I won’t get injured, and even if I do I can just tough my way through it.” Which sounds great on paper, but doesn’t work so well in practice when you injure yourself so badly that you cannot shoot, cannot work, and you are in constant pain. Yes, go “tough your way through that”. See how well it works. But yes, someone needs to write a book on the subject.

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    • I don’t think toxic masculinity has a great deal to do with these things. I think it does comes into play because there is no help offered, then we tend to gut it out as there is nothing else to do. Consider US football professionals. They have entire medical staffs, expert doctors on call, and they get advice, treatment, and help right away for anything that bothers them. And they are about as testosterone poisoned as can be.

      FITA/Word Archery has put out two volumes on archery injuries. (The second one is available as a free download, the first was quite expensive–I think I paid US$50 for a copy). These books are dominated by surveys and very few treatment options are recommended if memory serves.

      Ballet dancers perform injured more than any other athletes, so that example is apt. What we are lacking is not information, etc. but will. Their “sport” has it, ours does not.

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  2. Linda Woody

    If injured seek medical help quickly. The regular family doctor will probably know if you need specialist care. If so, your Orthopedic specialist doctor and physical therapist will develop a specific plan to get your issues healed and get you back to archery if that is possible. Your treatment and rehab training may take some time so expect that – each archer and each injury is different. Just my own non-professional advice. I am not a medical professional but I am an archer who is completing my own shoulder injury rehab program soon. I shot for the first time today. Ten arrows but it is a start. My physical therapist is limiting my practices and insisting on a very low arrow count until he knows I am strong and totally pain free and ready to start training. There is hope!

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  3. I agree with Linda totally. Stop shooting as soon as you notice the injury don’t be tempted to shoot to the end is about all I can add to this.
    Do your physio make it your religion! I have heard of people thinking they are alright and go right back to normal shooting before their physio has said they can, a sure way to get a permanent injury.
    I agree with Steve that we need to support coaches to learn their trade and not stop once they have finished their first level of coaching. To keep your licence to coach you should
    have to carry out a module towards the next level?
    Faculties is another issue. NGB need to get more active in this area. Development Officers need to work towards a regional facility for a half dozen clubs to share.
    I don’t think archery is ever going to be as spectator friendly as golf is, although it is a very similar kind of sport to watch.

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    • Archery golf?

      As to “modules between coaching levels” we proposed the very thing and designed the modules for Level 3 (had a grant to do it and everything) then USAA pulled the plug on the project.

      Having a set of modules between the coaching levels (all could be online learning modules) would give coaches a “ladder to success” such as we try to create for archers.

      On Sat, Oct 16, 2021 at 7:08 AM A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:

      >

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