This is the latest Archery Education Resources column from Archery Focus magazine, from an issue that had a special emphasis: “Archery in a Time of Pandemic.”
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Okay, since your indoor and outdoor ranges are closed for the duration, so . . . what are you going to do? Here are some suggestions.
Keep in Contact
Whether by text message or email or any other means, keeping in touch with your student-archers will help them, some of them in any case.
Encourage Rainy Day Activities
So, it is raining and they can’t go outside to do archery, so what can they do. There are long lists of things that can be done to organize and maintain their archery gear. They can start by sorting their arrows into three piles: (1) Competition Ready, (2) Okay for Practice, and (3) In Need of Repair or Replacement. If they have been learning “archery crafts,” specifically arrow repair, maybe now would be a good time to practice those skills on the arrows in Group 3.
Reading About Archery If your students have books about archery, those can help fill the “archery hole” the pandemic is leaving. Archery Focus magazine is proud that they allow you to send individual articles to your students if you think one of those will help. Just download the issue with the article and then use a PDF program to separate out the article from the whole issue and then attach it to an email or a text and voila. (PDF “editing” programs are available for free). They ask that you do not send whole issues this way as they would like to make money from subscriptions.
Internet Archery There are a number of websites devoted to helping beginners, NuSensei comes to mind. We do not recommend random, unvetted Internet archery excursions (at least until they know what is up) so your job is to “approve” of some of those sites and provide links.
Doing Drills Any drills that do not involve actual shooting can be done and, if they are able to shoot at home in a basement or garage, they can even do shooting drills. Your job, of course, is to provide the drills. Just setting them loose on YouTube may be not the best advice.
Try Remote Coaching
With the advent of the communication tools embedded in the Internet, remote coaching has become a “thing” in archery. Clearly there are not enough good coaches available, so some archers are stuck trying to get coached from afar. People use the telephone, email, text messaging, video communication tools like Skype, and even more specialized tools to allow coaches and archers to have back-and-forth exchanges. Our experience is with email (mostly) and attached still photos and video clips. Many younger archers prefer text messaging and whatnot. The advantage of email is you can “nest” the emails exchanged and keep them in a folder for each student, thus you have a running log of your exchanges.
Helping Them Take Photos This can be done as simply as asking a sibling or parent to take photos using a smartphone and then emailing them from the phone. Or a camera and tripod can be sued and if a brother or sister or parent isn’t available, many camera s come with remote shutters (or you can buy them cheaply enough Bluetooth enabled. Where you are needed is to help them take the photos that will help you help them.
We are working on a “handout” that shows what pictures to take from where and listing what they show but we haven’t finished that yet, look for it soon.
I just noticed that Mental Management Systems is offering online trainings now. I haven’t checked out the details, but if one of their seminars has been on your “to-do list,” you might want to check those out.
Which brings to mind the fact that we have been totally concentrating on how you can help your students, and we have left helping you out. One of our favorite sayings is “you can’t give what you don’t have.” So, you may need to do many of the above yourself. Your batteries may be charged up with nothing to do, so think about enhancing your knowledge and skills in support of your own archery, which on the come around, will help all of your students in the future.
And, bottom line, if it stops being fun, most people stop, so keep investing in what makes archery fun for you!
Postscript We make a standard recommendation that you not “authorize” shooting at home. If enterprising archery students or their parents set up a practice station in their home or backyard that allows shooting . . . safely . . . then that is, we think, a good thing. On the other hand if you supply recommendations or instructions as to shooting at home and an accident occurs or an unsafe practice results in an injury, you may have legal liability. Even if you were to inspect the site and find nothing unsafe about it doesn’t mean that the people using it will use safe practices. Think about a young archer who has a friend over while his parents are at work. We suggest a ten foot pole with a ten foot extension on it is still too short to touch this topic.