Saturday 28th May 2016 marked the first outdoor training session for the Wellingborough Colts junior archery team. We had lovely conditions with the sun making an appearance for most of the session and (unusually) little wind. We had a good turnout of juniors with some well-established members as well as some who have only just passed their beginners course (showing excellent enthusiasm).
The session started with a warm-up using 'soft archery' equipment. The children shot a 'Flight' round, vying for the furthest distance.
It was very close between Jack M and Ria but she pipped him to the post, shooting one foot further. The juniors then moved on to shoot a couple of ends of (improvised) clout (using hoops laid out on the field). It was soon decided that it was quite tricky by the boys, although the girls seemed to relish in the challenge with Charlotte being top scorer - there were shouts of 'girl power' but the boys kept their cool for the coaching session.
There should be special thanks to all of the senior archers that attended to support the Colts. Sage advice was handed out by Simon, Stuart, Pat and Pete. Paul and I also chipped in now and then but we had the important task of dashing off to the local supermarket to stock up on food for the BBQ that was to follow (I misjudged how many people would attend and had woefully underestimated the amount of food needed).
As we returned, loaded up with more chicken, burgers and sausages (whoops...we forgot the salad!), the Colts were ready for a challenge and we started a round of archery darts with the juniors shooting against the senior archers and coaches - it was 501 down with the team who got to zero first winning. All of the juniors shot well with Saasha, the three Jacks, Charlotte, Ria and Michael taking huge chunks out of the total with every end. I would like to say that it was close but the Colts were victorious and beat us soundly. On the final end, the seniors were left needing over a hundred but the Colts reached their target of 65 before the final archer had even shot their arrows (the seniors took it well but I did at one point say that I taking my ball home and not playing anymore!).
During the archery darts, Simon had fired up the barbie and I must say he did a sterling job of cooking the food for us! Michael's mum must be thanked for the delicious cakes and also thank you to the other people who supplied food. Isaac won the 'bottomless pit' competition, as he didn't stop eating! During the BBQ we were joined by quite a few club members and a merry time was had by all!
The last indoor Colts session was a quieter one. The session started with 9 Colts ready to shoot. Today was all about the mental aspect of the sport. We started, as always, with warm-ups but with each of the Colts leading a section with their favourite exercise (they've been listening and taking it all on board as it was a very varied warm up that covered all of the bases!).
The next part of the session was focused on the archers focusing on their shot routines. With clip boards, pens and paper at hand they all started to break down their shooting into the minute steps that all archers take as they step on the line and go through their shots. Initially, the Colts were a bit blase about the whole thing and there were a few mutterings of, 'Just point, aim and shoot!'. So we got the archers to talk the coaches through it as they shot!
There was a sudden focus as they began to realise that every part of the shot could be described and that they made very specific choices at crucial moments. There were even a few times when they were sooooo sure that they did 'something' but when it came to the execution, the reality was very different. One of the archers questioned, 'Why bother?' but it was surprising (and heartening) that the other junior archers quickly responded with the importance of how having a consistent routine could only help with improvement (the lessons are being learnt!).
End of the session...chocolate eggs (the gold medal of training sessions)...closest to the X...
It was remarkable how the children shot in the last few ends when the pressure was on! Everyone came away with an egg and it's testament to the work of the coaches in the last few weeks that there were very few arrows outside of the gold!
Outdoors next week...longer distances...BBQ season!
Chris Mason Trophy
The late Chris Mason was a member of WOAC for many years and will be remembered by many of the clubs members, indeed he was instrumental in getting the club to the position it is today at Old Grammarians.
He was also latterly the NCAS Chairman.
Following his untimely death a couple of years ago an annual charity shoot and rather informal competition was arranged, which this year will be held on 16th July (provisionally). These are relaxed occasions and great fun and I would encourage as many WOAC members as possible to take part. Last year over £10.000 was raised for a cancer charity.
Running beside this event there is an ongoing trophy competition which everyone can take part in. Put simply, points are awarded for a place in every county held competition and the archer with the most points at the end of the season is presented with a rather fine trophy. You even get a point for entering the competition, regardless of a place – so those club members who have shot a WOAC competition are already taking part!
There are many worthwhile reasons for entering competition. As well as meeting other, like-minded archers, you will see how your scores are increasing and improve your handicap, you can gain scores towards your ranking – you might even win a medal. At the time of writing several WOAC members were placed in the top ten of the points list for the Chris Mason trophy – why not come and join us.