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Archery Lesson Plan for Olympic Archery Students

Q


"I’ve read that you like to teach traditional recurves bows before the Olympic recurve bow, does this mean that we won’t get a chance to learn the Olympic bows in this session, and that this will be taught in another session?"

- Cassandra T.

A

Hello Cassandra!

Yes, over the years I have determined it is easier for the beginner archery student to learn to shoot traditional recurves first and then switch to Olympic later on, which is stylistically different despite being very similar. Preferably after the 2nd lesson, so if that is something you want to learn it would be best to do it during the 3rd lesson and following that.

The stylistic challenges of shooting Olympic style is such a student shooting that style for the first time is more likely to be missing completely and losing arrows, because they have to learn everything a Traditional Recurve archer has to learn, plus they need to learn the following topics:

  1. How to use and tune a sight - a practice which is hampered if the student has not already learned good form. It is better to learn the form aspects first, then learn how to use a sight later.
  2. How to use a stabilizer, and how to determine if a stabilizer is too light or too heavy.
  3. How to do a Live Release with South Anchor (as opposed to a Dead Release with North Anchor), which is harder to learn to do properly.
  4. How to keep your bow hand relaxed during the Follow Through.
  5. How to control your breathing (into the belly, not the chest) in order to get more accuracy.
  6. How to handle mental stress, fatigue, and issues like "Gold Shy" + "Target Anxiety".
  7. How to use a Clicker to tell you when to release.
  8. And more.
And frankly it is a lot to learn in a single lesson. It makes more sense to learn good form during lessons 1 and 2, and then learn the additional things an Olympic archer is expected to learn in the lessons that follow.

Lesson Plan for Olympic Recurve

For my regular lesson plan, see Archery Lesson Plan.

Lesson One - Safety Lecture, Eye Test, Aiming Lecture, Form Lecture, Field Archery with Traditional Recurve.

Note - Field Archery involves shooting at a target at random (often unknown) distances and is especially handy for teaching students how to aim at different distances and how to adjust their aim, which is an import skill for beginner archers to learn.

Lesson Two - Target Archery with Traditional Recurve, with a break in the middle for a Lecture on Arrrowheads

Note - Target Archery is your standard stationary target at the same distance, which is better for learning how to fine tune your aim at that one specific distance.

Lesson Three - Olympic Style Form Lecture + Target Archery, with a break in the middle for a Lecture on Arrow Spine. The lesson would focus on gradually teaching the student how to use a Olympic sight and stabilizer, and how to perform a "live release".

Note - Not all Olympic archers prefer live releases. Some prefer to use a dead release, although most do prefer a live release. I leave it up to the student to decide which they prefer.

South Korean archer Chang Hye-Jin

Lesson Four - Fine Tuning with the Olympic Recurve + possibly going to a further distance if the student is ready. Demo on how to wax a bowstring. The lesson may focus on aspects like keeping the bow hand relaxed during the Follow Through, how to control breathing, etc.

Olympic Archery Clicker
Lesson Five and Beyond

I find this really depends on the student's needs, as each student will have different problems they need to address. Topics would include:

  • How to shoot at longer distances.
  • How to compensate for wind conditions.
  • How to handle Mental Stress/Fatigue.
  • How to cure Gold Shy and Target Anxiety.
  • How to use a Clicker.
  • How to shoot in the rain (as competitions are sometimes rain or shine).
  • Other factors that are usually unique to Olympic archers. eg. Competition Anxiety.
Things Not Being Taught

There are certain topics that I don't teach Olympic students, because they are essentially useless to someone who only wants to shoot Olympic style competitively at 70 meters. For example:
  • How to shoot at a moving target.
  • How to shoot downhill or uphill.
  • How to shoot while in motion.
  • Stylistic differences between traditional recurve and longbows / flatbows / horsebows.
  • How to adjust your aim based on changing distances.
  • Advanced Field Archery.
  • Clout Archery.
  • Archery Games/Activities such as Popinjay or Roving.
  • Skywalking (style of aiming for extreme long distance shooting).
  • How to Overdraw on purpose.
  • How to Stringwalk on purpose.
  • How to Facewalk on purpose.
  • How to shoot around obstacles.
  • How to shoot while kneeling or sitting.
  • How to shoot faster.
  • How to shoot instinctively (which sadly many people misunderstand what counts as instinctive).
  • How to adjust and micro-adjust sights on a compound bow*.
  • Tricks for getting extra accuracy on a compound bow*.
  • How to synchronize the cams on a compound bow*.
  • How to change the poundage on a compound bow*.
  • Etc.
* I decided to include a few examples that are specifically just for compound shooters. Maybe someday I will post a lesson plan for compound archers.


Equipping the Olympic Archer

Around lesson five the student should be ready to buy their own archery equipment, if they have not done so already. I figured since I am writing about the lesson plan, I should also warn students about the financial costs of getting into Olympic Archery.

Expect to be spending about $700 + the cost of the arrows, which might cost an additional $180 or more depending on the quality of the arrows (the professionals use arrows that cost $600 for a dozen). Plus taxes. I didn't bother to even include 13% HST.

It is possible to get a cheaper Olympic bow (used maybe???) or a cheap counterfeit (no warranty!!!), or a poor / mediocre Olympic bow that does not even live up to the word "decent". To get a decent bow, expect to be spending $500 or more on the bow alone. Anything less than that and I question the quality and authenticity of the manufacturer.

And that is just for a decent Olympic bow. For a high end one you could be spending $750 USD (approx. $975 CDN) on just the riser, and another $750 USD on the limbs. No bowstring included, everything sold separately. (Plus the cost of shipping from the USA or South Korea, where the best Olympic bows are made.)

They will want to find the following.
  • A decent Olympic-style recurve bow, with bow limbs in a suitable poundage for their experience and strength.
  • Olympic stabilizer, preferably one that is not too heavy or light.
  • Shooting Tab
  • Clicker
  • Nock Bead
  • Sight
  • Arrow Rest
  • Bowstring Wax
  • Spare Bowstring (in case the first one breaks)
  • A dozen Olympic-style arrows, which are typically more expensive than regular arrows. The arrows need to be cut to the archer's precise draw length for their clicker.
Optional Items
  • Bracer / Arm Guard
  • Quiver
  • Archery Gear Backpack for transporting gear.
  • Chest Guard


Archery Chest Guards

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