How Does an Olympic Archer Train?

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Training Location and Instructor

  • Training for the Olympics takes a lot of patience, hard work and determination. For Olympic archers, it is important to hone their skills and continue to improve in order to make it to the Olympics and, someday, bring home some medals.

    An Olympic archer can start training at a young age, with some joining the Junior Olympic Archer Development (JOAD). JOAD membership age range goes from the ability to handle the bow safely in a group setting up to 18 years old. There, the budding young archer will learn all the techniques needed to become an archer. They train with different levels of instructors and can start participating in different archery competitions.

    For an archer to be successful and be Olympic-bound, it is important to be able to find a good training location. It can be outdoors or indoors, provided there is enough space or room for the archer to train in targeting at different distances. When training for the Olympics, the goal is to be able to hit the face targets at 70 meters (229 feet, 8 inches) away.

    It is also important to find an archery instructor or coach who can help with getting ready for the competition. There are highly trained and advanced-certified coaches who are especially familiar with teaching the BEST system (Bio-mechanically Efficient Shooting Technique) to archers. In addition, to train to be one of the best, one should find an advanced level 3 to 5 coach. The ideal advanced level instructor should have an excellent record of accomplishment and history in competing both in the local, nationals and international competition, which may include qualifying and competing for the Olympics. The coach should also be familiar with the Olympic standards and the game rules for archery.

Using the Right Equipment

  • Choosing the right equipment to use is also very important when training for Olympic archery competition. For the summer Olympics, the archer will compete using a recurve bow. Archery bows come in different weights, lengths and materials. An archer will perform a test to see if he would be a right hand or a left hand. A right-handed archer would hold the bow in his left hand and draw the string with his right hand.

    For arrows, selecting the right length of arrow that would work with the bow is necessary. As the archer trains overtime, the weight of the bow will change; therefore, the arrow length may change as well. Although there is nothing wrong with choosing arrows that are a bit too long, especially when transitioning in between bow sizes, it is always better to have one that is just the right size.

    Some equipment takes a while to get used to. It is up to the archer to learn how to tune his bow to achieve consistent shots and good arrow flights. Once an archer finds a good fit, it is necessary to use the same equipment during practice and competitions to get used to the equipment. It is also important to bring a spare set each time in case something breaks.

Practice Often and Staying Fit

  • The old adage that states that practice makes perfect holds very true for archery. To train for the Olympics, the archer should train regularly. Some archers train with a coach once a week and on their own at least twice a week. As it gets closer to the competition, training would be more frequent than usual.

    Competing in the nationals would not only be necessary to qualify for Olympic archery but would also give the archer exposure and meet other archers who have similar desires. It would be a good idea to join in archery competitions, even the non-qualifying ones, just to get more practice and to improve on the skills required to prepare for Olympic archery competitions.

    An archer should have a steady hand, a good eye and the ability to keep calm, even when there are distractions and in the presence of an audience. Joining archery competitions can help test the contestant's accuracy while maintaining focus.

    Staying fit is also very important. Eating a healthy, exercising regularly and stretching prior to archery practice help in building strong arms and legs. Doing so will not only to help in carrying bows and being able to stand for a long period, but also to consistently shoot multiple times without wobbling. Maintaining good posture is also important in order to properly aim and handle the equipment.

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  • Photo Credit robinssports.com, JBorlongan
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