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.
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.
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.