In May 2010 I received a gift card to Excitations, a company that sells a variety of life experiences. I reviewed all the activities they offer and for the value of my gift card one of my options was a private one-hour archery lesson. I remembered taking archery at summer camp when I was a kid and having fun, so I signed up for a lesson.
I arrived at the rustic facility that includes a 20-yard indoor target range with 18 shooting lanes. I was paired with Coach Frank, a certified Community Coach, VA State Master champion (in the over 50 group) and high ranking competitor in the USA Archery Indoor National. Amateur that I was I said OK, let’s get started! Coach Frank quickly pointed out to me that the bow I would be using was not the same as the one from my childhood and that there was a specific learning process:
- first, he taught me stretching techniques
- next, he assessed my eye dominance, gave me a resistance band, had me stand in front of a mirror and walked me through the steps of proper bow set up/shooting form – making me repeat the steps over and over and over again, correcting me and quizzing me along the way
- with about 10 minutes left to my lesson, he set me up in a lane with a bow and practice arrows and critiqued me as I shot about four rounds of arrows
I was hooked! When my hour was up I immediately signed up for weekly private lessons. I looked forward to going and enjoyed the challenge of improving my technique and getting stronger each week. Unfortunately, when winter came I got sick, some life events got in the way and before I knew it, a few years had passed.
Three weeks ago, I finally contacted Coach Frank and expressed my desire to start lessons again. He enthusiastically agreed to teach me and added me to the schedule. During my first lesson he had me start at the very beginning, relearning everything because I was rusty. Today, for my second lesson, the weather was beautiful so we used the outdoor range. I had a lot of fun shooting outside and learning how to deal with new factors like sunshine and wind. When my lesson was over Coach Frank said he was proud at how quickly I picked the sport back up and that I should be ready to buy a bow and arrow set and be proficient enough to shoot on my own by the end of summer. I can’t wait to reach that goal!
Fun Side Note: The head coach of The Archery Program is Ruth Rowe, an Olympian and life-long archer who has represented the U.S. in eight World Championships, two Pan American Games, the 1984 Olympic Games, and many other international competitions. The U.S. Olympic Committee named her Sportswoman of the Year for archery in 1983. In addition, Ruth has set multiple archery world records and has coached future Olympic hopefuls. She’s a great lady and if she comes around while you’re shooting she’ll offer you pointers for improving your technique, which is very cool.