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Showing posts with label Competitive Sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Competitive Sports. Show all posts

Stringwalking vs Facewalking at Traditional Archery Competitions

Awhile back a friend on Facebook showed me the following document for a competition he is taking part in. On it the organization has clearly laid out that Stringwalking and Facewalking will not be allowed during the competition and will basically be considered cheating.

I will never understand why some people like Stringwalking and making their arrows slower, less accurate and more unstable during flight. Sure it allows them to be lazy about how they aim, but the negatives to their accuracy far outweigh any benefits due to laziness.

Stringwalking follows the principle that if the arrow is angle differently by changing the position of the arrow on the string that is will travel at a different speed and thus land in a different spot. Advocates of Stringwalking use it so they can avoid changing their aim so much and instead just change where the arrow is nocked on the string. However doing so causes the arrow to be off-center on the bowstring, resulting in top and bottom limbs of the bow doing different amounts of work during the shot - which in turn changes the speed and acceleration of the limbs bouncing back to their non-drawn position. That change of speed hurts the speed, stability and accuracy of the arrow and ultimately results in an inferior shot.

Stringwalking Amateur

Facewalking in contrast at least makes some logical sense and doesn't reduce arrow speed or accuracy. The arrow maintains its level of accuracy during flight, the only thing that has changed is the anchor point drawn to on the face of the archer.

eg. A low anchor point for targets further away. A higher anchor point for targets closer to the archer.

The problem with Facewalking is that it involves a lot of guesswork for determining the distance to the target. The archer would have to deliberately train and practice doing Facewalking at many different distances in order to get even a semblance of accuracy.

An Amazing Example of What Not To Do

As opposed to the traditional method of shooting which is to use the same nock point on the string during every shot, the same anchor spot all the time, and the only thing changing is where you aim based on the distance to the target.

Stringwalking and Facewalking are basically old archers tricks for adjusting their aim, but they are problematic because they are not that accurate, and notoriously frowned upon by veteran archers. They are commonly used these days by amateurs who think, mistakenly, that it will somehow improve their accuracy. Amateurs who haven't yet figured out how to gauge distances and adjust their aim accordingly. Which unfortunately is no good for Facewalkers, because they still haven't learned how to gauge distances and are just guessing at the distance or are relying on being told what the range to the target is.

Thus when I saw the above rule for the archery competition above, I laughed.

Why did I laugh?

Because they are basically banning inferior methods of adjusting your aim. Stringwalking is notoriously bad for the accuracy and arrow flight, whereas Facewalking is notoriously problematic because it still requires the archer learn how to gauge distances, a skill they have deliberately avoided learning and have wasted their time trying to learn a way to "cheat" that doesn't actually work.

As an analogy lets ask what would happen if the Summer Olympics banned sprinters from wearing extra weights on them while sprinting.

Extra weight isn't going to help sprinters to go faster. It will make them go slower. It isn't cheating, quite the opposite it is a negative.

It would be like golfers not being allowed to hop on one foot while attempting to whack the golf ball with their favourite driver. Hopping on one foot certainly wouldn't be cheating, it would be a severe disadvantage.

Or it would be like a professional boxer not being allowed to take 10 sleeping pills before going in to the ring. Chances are likely the boxer will either be knocked unconscious, he or she will likely fall asleep mid-fight when the pills kick in.

Now you understand why I find the banning of Stringwalking / Facewalking laughable. The organizers of the event clearly want to discourage such an amateur method of aiming, not because it is cheating but because they know how notoriously bad those two styles are and instead choosing to discourage those styles in an effort to encourage beginner archers to learn how to gauge distances and adjust their aim the traditional way.

What is the difference between Amateur Athletes and Professionals?

What is the difference between Amateur Athletes and Professional Athletes?

Well, for starters lets talk about Food and Nutrition.

One of the things that has annoyed me in the past is when someone contacts me asking for training in a specific competitive sport because they want to become a professional athlete and I start asking them questions about their diet and nutrition - which are extremely important questions when it comes professional sports because of how competitive it is.

And the response, quite often, is that they don't think their nutrition is an important factor in their sports career. Not their exact words, but basically they downplay how important nutrition is. Which I take to be a clue that their level of nutrition isn't very good and they don't want to admit it.

To use a racing car analogy, poor nutrition would be like putting sub-standard fuel into a race car that runs on high performance octane (usually 94 or higher). You don't really expect the car using sub-standard gasoline to win if you know everyone else in the race is using high performance octane, do you?

So to me, the question of the differences between amateur athletes and professional athletes is a case of food. Food equals fuel. And if you want your body to be a high performance machine then it needs to be using high performance fuel.

Amateur athletes often totally ignore the quality of their nutrition.

Professional athletes take their nutrition very seriously.

I have a book on my shelf, one of my favourites, called "High Performance Sports Conditioning", edited by Bill Foran. It was published in 2001, but not much has changed in the world of sports conditioning during the last 15 years. I highly recommend finding a copy of if your goal is to be participating in professional sports. During chapter one it discussed 'Establishing a Solid Fitness Base' and talks about athletes building a Team of Support Staff including:
  • Athletic Trainer or Coach (that is my job)
  • Sport Nutritionist (to advise on nutritional issues)
  • Sport Physical Therapist (for treatment of injuries)
  • Physician (in case of serious injuries)

Acquiring one of each of these is basically a necessity for any professional athlete. The names of the individuals may change over time as an athlete's competitive career changes. They might start with their family doctor as their physician and later gain a Team Physician if they end up on a team of athletes that train together.

Having these people found in advance is an advantage because what if a situation arises and you, for example, break your leg, and you don't even have a family doctor. Instead you are going to walk-in clinics where you get random doctors who are barely out of medical school and have no experience with sports injuries.

Find these people in advance, and then begin training.

Amateur athletes won't think that will need a team of support staff, and thus won't bother to get them. That means no coaching, no nutritional advice, they might have a family doctor but not necessarily a doctor familiar with sports injuries, and they definitely won't have a physical therapist who specializes in sports injuries.

Coaching obviously is going to be a big factor as well. Coaching doesn't necessarily happen every day however. It might be once per week or even once every two weeks. Coaches are usually also available via phone or email to answer questions the athlete might have.

As athletic trainers go coaches fulfill three important roles:

#1. Knowledge Base - to provide the athlete with a plethora of knowledge in their chosen sport with respect to learning how to best achieve results during competition, how to train towards specific goals, what exercises to be doing, any cross-training to be doing, how to create a training schedule, etc.

#2. Motivational Guidance - the coach is there to keep the athlete motivated, to keep trying harder in order to succeed.

#3. Mental Game - some athletes develop problems mentally and lose focus on what they are supposed to be doing. In archery for example professional archers will sometimes develop problems like "Target Panic" which is an anxiety that causes them to become anxious and then shoot too soon when they are not ready yet, or also "Gold Shy" is when an archer starts deliberately missing unconsciously or subconsciously. It is the coaches job to be part psychologist and cure the athlete of any mental problems they might be facing.

Note - My solutions to both of the above two problems is to either take a break from normal shooting and practice doing something different for fun (like shooting at moving targets), or to deliberately make the challenge harder so that the archer is forced to concentrate more.

Lastly, professional athletes Practice and Train 3 to 5 days per week, depending on their sport, and use their off days to rest and recuperate. This process of Training, Resting, Training, Resting, Training, Resting, Training, etc is continuous and allows for peak muscle growth and helps prevent sports injuries like repetitive strain.

People often think that professional athletes Train, Train, Train or Practice, Practice, Practice - however that is a bit of a misunderstanding. It is more of a Train, Rest, Practice, Rest process.

An amateur who doesn't know what they are doing might simply practice every day until they exhausted or hurt themselves. That might make logical sense to them at the time, but once they learn the horrors of the first serious sports injury they will either quit the sport or rethink how they are training.

This means the professional athlete makes a Training Schedule.

Lets say for example you are a competitive compound archer. Using the above order of training, what should your 4 week training schedule be?

Week 1
Sunday Training at Gym, Monday Rest, Tuesday Practice at Archery Range, Wednesday Rest, Thursday Training at Gym, Friday Rest, Saturday Practice at Archery Range.

Week 2
Sunday Rest, Monday Training at Gym, Tuesday Rest, Wednesday Practice at Archery Range, Thursday Rest, Friday Training at Gym, Saturday Rest.

Week 3
Sunday Practice at Archery Range, Monday Rest, Tuesday Training at Gym, Wednesday Rest, Thursday Practice at Archery Range, Friday Rest, Saturday Training at Gym.

Week 4
Sunday Rest, Monday Practice at Archery Range, Tuesday Rest, Wednesday Training at Gym, Thursday Rest, Friday Practice at Archery Range, Saturday Rest.

Week 5 = Start over at 1.

Now the above training schedule is just an example of one way a person could create a training schedule. There are literally thousands of different training schedules for hundreds of different sports online available for free.

Often a training schedule will also have dates set aside for specific events, such as competitions. In the example marathon training schedule below there are dates set aside for specific marathons and events like the "National 1/2 Marathon", or the "Cherry Blossom 10 Mile", or the "Flying Pig Marathon".

Professional Equipment

Depending on the sport it is a good idea to be training with the best equipment you can find. This often means equipment that is more expensive, more durable, less likely to have problems, more adaptable, easier to use, etc.

Having the most expensive / "best" equipment isn't always a necessity however. In the world of competitive weightlifting for example it doesn't matter whether your weights are homemade or made of solid gold, 50 lbs is still 50 lbs regardless of what it is made of.

Thus for people on a budget they should be thinking in terms of the necessities. eg. A marathon runner will want a good pair of shoes and a source of water at intervals during practice runs. (Tip, if you plan your jogging route along Starbucks they give out free water. All you have to do is ask for it.) Nobody cares what the marathon runner is wearing, so any old pair of pants or shorts and a t-shirt will do. Wearing skin tight breathable fashion is not a necessity and if anything you will look silly wearing that when you are not in an actual marathon.


This is just a brief overview of the differences between professional athletes and amateur athletes. The following are just a few of the fundamental differences between those athletes who take seriously what they are doing and those who simply don't care, and thus are really just amateurs. That perhaps is the most fundamental difference of all. Professional athletes take everything seriously. Amateurs do not.
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Team of Support Staff, including Coaching
  • Train, Rest and Practice + Training Schedule
  • Professional Equipment

There is one last thing unfortunately... Money. You may have noticed that buying nutritional food is more expensive than buying sugary and fatty foods. Coaching is likewise expensive, as is having support staff even if you only talk to them once per month. Having all that training time might mean you don't have time for a normal 9 to 5 job either, so having money saved up so you can have time off to train is a necessity too. And of course money for equipment. Some sports are very expensive. Others less so. You might need to buy gym memberships, club memberships, etc to get access to equipment that is too expensive to buy normally, or you might decide you absolutely need that equipment so you can use it all the time - in which case it might be very expensive.

Also please note that most professional athletes (with the exclusion of team sports like baseball, hockey, football, soccer, tennis, golf, cycling, etc) don't actually make a lot of money in their chosen field. Some do because they are well paid members of a team, but most sports don't have a lot of big sponsors and thus the prize money is a lot smaller.

Thus if you manage to win some prize money that money will probably go right back into your budget for food, coaching, equipment, etc. Don't expect to be making a living off the sport.

Note - This is probably why gambling is such a problem in many professional sports. An athlete who deliberately loses can sometimes make more money losing than they can by winning. eg. Boxers taking a dive. Even big name events like the Olympics are rife with gambling, although it isn't often talked about.

Thus if you are getting into a competitive sport you really should be doing it for the right reasons. To try and attain that goal. Trying to do it for lesser reasons like greed isn't going to help you. Greed is only going to hold you back from what should be your real goal: Attaining Perfection.

Sportsmanship and Giving Back to the Community

It is my personal opinion that a true athlete should also at least attempt to be a good sportsman, to be generous and kind to their fellow athletes, and to give back to the sports community by donating their time and effort towards causes that helps the sport.

They should also admonish activities that give the sport a bad reputation, like fighting on the ice in hockey, or dentist bowhunters who poach lions for kicks, or cyclists who resort to using steroids in order to win the Tour de France. Such behaviour needs to be admonished and discouraged so that younger generations of athletes know and understand that the sport should not be defined by a few bad eggs who are violent, immoral and cheat.

Sometimes one of the best things a famed athlete can do is to simply show up, sign autographs and shake the hands of a younger generation.

If you want to read more articles like this please subscribe to or bookmark this page and come back for more. The above post is Part One of a new series of posts about Training for Professional Athletes.

Five Ways to get into Competitive Archery

Looking to get into archery and compete? There are many ways to do so.

#1. Field Archery Competitions

Field Archery was likely invented by people fond of Roving - the traditional act of getting drunk with friends and wandering the countryside with a wineskin and a bow, shooting at things for fun. There are even songs on the topic "A Roving Will We Go" and so forth.

Field Archery is very similar, but without the drunkenness. Field archery combines shooting a bow with a hike in the woods, enjoying a wide variety of outdoor terrain, weather conditions, and shooting in varying lighting conditions. Field Archers usually shoot in groups of four, and then hike a course to shoot targets at varying distances. It is a bit like playing golf as you have to wait until the next target is clear of the previous archer(s) before you can go out there and start shooting.

In World Archery field tournaments, the course is "unmarked" on the first day of competition. Archers are expected to judge the distance and take their shots in three-arrow ends; that is, each archer shoots three times before walking to the target to score their shots. During FITA Field events archers often develop a system for estimating distances and practice it while honing their form on different types of terrain to prepare for tournaments. In comparison the National Field Archery Association tournaments the distances are marked.

Some Field Archers feel that field archery is special because archers connect with each other while they are waiting for a target to open up, and that's when they talk, share snacks and discuss how they felt about that last target, thus building new friendships amongst competitors.

Shooting through the woods like that also has a definite Robin Hood feel to it, compared to shooting in a 70 meter field at a 122 cm FITA target. Doing that all the time eventually gets boring.

In contrast Field Archery is never the same twice. Always a different course to run, different spots to stand, etc. The big trick is learning how to gauge distances, control your form on rough uneven terrain and learning how to adjust shots on upwards or downward angles. Thus if you have never done any of those things before it helps to have an archery instructor.

The other good news is that Field Archery is a sport that is friendly to all kinds of bows - longbows, compounds, recurves, shortbows. Everyone is welcome. Some competitions may be limited to only one kind of bow, but it is a sport that can be done with any kind of bow.

#2. Flight Archery Competitions

Flight Archery is all about seeing who is shooting the further, often using the most powerful / fastest bow you can shoot (within your chosen weight category) and using the lightest weight arrows you can find. The goal essentially is to shoot a super light weight arrow using a very fast bow and aim it at the correct height in order to maximize the distance the arrow will travel - possibly paying attention to wind conditions so you can have the wind in your favour.

A big factor in Flight Archery is the weight categories. It is arguably easier to win a competition (or even set a new record) using a lighter bow than it is to win a competition or set a new world record using a really heavy bow. According to legend the world record for the world's longest shot with a longbow was about 1500 yards, however it was likely done with a 200+ lb longbow, which makes it far out of the reach of normal archers.

In contrast the current male recurve flight archery champion for the under 18 kg (39.7 lbs) category boasts only approx. 650 yards. Thus someone wishing to set a new record doesn't necessarily need to be super strong to do it.

Below I have included an Arrow Trajectory Chart so you get an idea of the importance of aiming at the correct height when doing Flight Archery. Aiming too high or too low will hurt the overall distance traveled. As you can see below the correct height to aim is approximately 40 to 45 degrees.

#3. Longbow Competitions

I decided to list Longbow separately because there are many different kinds of Longbow Competitions, which include:

Clout Archery - shooting at a flag at either 180 or 140 yards away. Points are awarded by how close you get to the flag.

Beuersault - shooting at two 50 yard targets in two different directions with different wind conditions.

Cherokee Cornstalk Shooting - See Wand Shoot below, the two are very similar.

Popinjay - shooting at a wooden bird on top of a pole that is 30 yards almost straight up. Archers stand within 12 feet of the pole and try to shoot the wooden bird with a blunt tipped arrow.

Wand Shoot - trying to hit a tiny strip of wood or a ribbon at a random distance. Points are awarded for arrows landing near or hitting the strip of wood or ribbon. This is very similar to Cherokee Cornstalk shooting, except that in that sport you only score points by hitting the cornstalk.

#4. Target Archery Competitions

A. Indoor

There are many types of target archery competitions, for all types of bows. Ignoring the types of bows used one major difference is whether they are shot indoor or outdoor. A common competitive distance for teenagers to shoot during high-school for example is to shoot at 18 meters, indoors, usually in a gymnasium.

Note - I personally enjoy shooting in my garage when the weather is really cold. It isn't a long distance, but it is a lot of fun with friends, music and drinks.

B. Outdoor

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are probably the best-known example of outdoor target archery, but archers compete outdoors at everything from local to national events using every kind of equipment you can think of: Compounds, crossbows, longbows, shortbows, horsebows, traditional recurves, Olympic recurves, footbows, and a large variety of ethnic styles of archery.

Olympic archery, the kind you are most likely familiar with, involves shooting at a 122 cm FITA target at a distance of 70 meters and using every gadget you can think of - stabilizers, sights, clickers, etc.

Compound competition distances vary, but are commonly between 50 meters and 150 meters. Some competitors are so good at this they could probably shoot bulls-eyes further than that, but there are a shortage of competitions that bother to go for really long distances. Targets for compounds are usually 80 cm, and again they use lots of gadgets to help their accuracy.

Ontario hosts over 200 outdoor target competitions every year, for a wide variety of different bows, and many of these competitions are within a short drive of Toronto. So there is no excuse not to try it if that is what you are interested in.

#5. 3D Competitions

Like field archery, 3D archery involves wooded ranges and challenging terrain, but this sport also features three-dimensional animal targets on marked and unmarked courses. You don't know the distance to the target and the target might be as small as a rabbit or as big as a moose, it really depends on who designed the course and what they had handy for targets.

3D archers hike to shooting stations, where they then estimate distances to the animal target. However, most 3D tournaments only allow one shot per target. Even if you are not into hunting, 3D archery provides a fun, challenging test. 3D competition distances are much shorter than those for target or field archery, so it's accessible to beginners, with ranges typically being less than 30 yards.

To practice for 3D archery, you must practice judging distances, develop stamina to carry your equipment, and learn the scoring rings for different animal targets. Carrying binoculars is handy if you need to verify where you want to aim.

Like Field Archery above, 3D archery feels special because you're shooting in a natural setting at an animal target, even if it is a fake animal. The varied terrain adds an extra challenge and you will often make new friends while doing it. Tip - Hang out with the veterans and old archers who know what they are doing, you will learn lots from them.

BONUS - Archery Tag League Play

Archery Tag is such a new sport, but it already has evolved into a team sport with leagues where teams can compete against one another. Toronto has over half a dozen archery tag locations now and several of them offer the option of League events (eg. Battle Sports). So if you are in favour of shooting at moving human targets, that is certainly an option.

Javelin as a Sport

Javelin throwing as a sport isn't something you normally hear about these days except for those few people who practice it for the Olympics, Decathlon events, and similar sporting events. Very few people have even tried throwing a javelin and even less get into javelins as a sport.

As such, it is an extremely rare sport.

The Javelin is like a spear, but longer and shaped so most of the weight is on the front end of the javelin, which gives it better accuracy and impact when used for hunting. Historically there is over a hundred different names and variations of the classic javelin, but the design principles of them are roughly the same. 1.8 to 2.8 meters long, and tapered so most of the weight is towards the tip.

Modern competitive javelins are 2.6 to 2.7 meters long for men and 2.2 to 2.3 meters long for women.

Unlike Archery, javelin is thrown for distance - not accuracy. Historically javelins were thrown for accuracy, but modern javelin as a sport is all about throwing for distance.

It does have its benefits however.

#1. Cheap.

It is a relatively inexpensive sport to get into, and thus it isn't a particularly elitist sport compared to other more expensive sports like polo, horse-racing, golf, yacht racing, etc. All you really need is a few javelins and a wide open space to throw.

#2. Easy to Learn.

I learned how to throw a javelin when I was in highschool. Our gym teacher taught a series of classes all about various Olympic sports and of those javelin was one of the things we did. I ended up having an aptitude for it and enjoyed it. I sometimes wonder what could have happened if I had pursued it as an activity and tried competing in it.

Technique wise it is rather like throwing a baseball, except with javelin you get a 30 meter running start before you throw. The throw must be over the shoulder or upper arm, and you are not allowed to spin like you are throwing a discus or shot put. You aren't allowed to go over the line at the end of the 30 meters otherwise the throw doesn't count. If you step over the line before the javelin lands, the throw is disqualified. New rules in recent decades state that the tip of the javelin has to be the first part to hit the ground, otherwise it is disqualified. Measurements are rounded down to the nearest cm.

During a competition each athlete gets 1 throw per round, with 3 to 6 rounds during the competition. The athlete with the longest throw overall wins. Depending on the number of athletes present all of the athletes compete in the first 3 rounds, but only the top 8 athletes (determined by their best scores in the first 3 rounds) compete in the final three rounds.

#3. Space to Throw

All you really need is about 100 meters of space to practice. Some place safe, away from people, like a high school or university football field. (Hence why most javelin competitors are university or high school students.)

The world record from 1984 is 104.8 meters and that is before they changed the specifications for men in 1986 and for women in 1999. At the time was the issue that they needed javelins to be throwing within the confines of a stadium and thus they redesigned javelins to have the center of gravity closer to the front of the javelin, which made it dip down sooner and had the added benefit of being more likely to be sticking point down in the grass where it landed, as opposed to landing flat on the ground by accident.

In 1991 holes or serrations in the tails of javelins were also banned, causing a number of world records to be reverted and disregarded. The current world record for men's javelin is 98.48 meters. The current world record for women's javelin is 72.2 meters.

On the topic of Javelins...

While spears existed in many countries and cultures, the modern sport of Javelin is predominately an European activity. So much so that most of the world record holders are from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Great Britain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and Russia.

In North America competitive javelin is pretty rare because anyone with a good throwing arm and fast legs usually ends up playing baseball or football. It does make me wonder however if you asked a lot of football players and baseball players to try javelin, just how well would they do at it? Quite well I imagine.

As a more traditional sport javelin fits in there with sprinting, hurdles, relays, steeplechases, shot put, hammer-throw, discus, archery, diving, swimming, high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault, decathlon, heptathlon, pentathlon, biathlon, and marathons. In contrast "neo-sports" like surfing, water polo, BMX, mountain biking, trampoline, Taekwondo, golf, water skiing and others have either been added as Olympic sports, or are currently being discussed as becoming Olympic sports. 50 years from now there might be many Olympic sports that we no longer recognize and have to scratch our heads and wonder "How did THAT become an Olympic sport?!"

With Javelin you don't have that problem. As an Olympic sport it has been around for over a century, but as a traditional sport and hunting implement it has been around for at least 500,000 years.

Men's Javelin was first introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1906 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece (now known as the 1906 Intercalated Games). Women's Javelin was first introduced in 1932 at the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Inventing your own Exercises - For Home Fitness or Sports

Earlier today I sparked upon the idea of using a cat toy as something humans can exercise with. The toy in question, was a simple mouse dangling on a long string from my chin-up bar - a cat toy we received during Christmas for our cat Victoria (see The Pet Project for more details). However what sparked my imagination was using it for other activities, such as:


Which are two intense cardiovascular sports, both requiring a level of dexterity and accuracy.

I thus conducted a fun experiment during which I practiced punching at the string, with an eye towards accuracy - after all, what good is a punch if it completely misses the target?

What I discovered is that a moving string - being both small and moving quickly, presents an interesting challenge for accuracy while boxing - it forces the person to concentrate on the accuracy and the quality of the punches over brute force. (I should note this is not the first time I have used a string as a target, being a huge fan of "splitting the string" during my personal archery practice.)

For the 2nd part of my experiment I decided to get my tennis racquet out of the closet and try batting the mouse on the end of the string back and forth, letting gravity and pendulum motion to bring it back towards me each time. This turned out to be an excellent exercise for practicing my back swing and also switching back and forth.

With a few changes it would be pretty easy for someone to practice with a tennis ball on a string indoors with a similar set up.

Add a pole in the middle and you have a sport similar to tetherball.

Inventing your own sports / exercises can be a lot of fun, whether you do them for a specific purpose such as training for a sport, or whether you are simply looking for a frugal exercise you can do at home.

A few tips when it comes to inventing your own exercises:

#1. Avoid anything where you think there is a chance you might injure yourself.

#2. Use objects that are sturdy and can withstand impacts if dropped. Avoid anything you know to be breakable.

#3. Don't do the same motion all the time with your new exercise. Find ways to change it, spice it up. Repetitive motion can lead to a sports injury. Not all pain equals gain, sometimes pain means you broke something or are repeating the same motion too much.

#4. Try to invent exercises which are fun to do, or can be combined with music or other exercises to make it more fun.

#5. Hydrate. Don't forget to drink something regularly. Many people forget to do this.


Strange Sports you can do in Toronto

There are many sports a person can do in Toronto, and many which are quite unusual for those people who are seeking something different and exciting to do.

For example: The husband of one of my clients does competitive fencing. He recently won a bronze medal for his age category. He also has an impressive collection of antique swords, sabres, epees, etc. Fencing, Japanese Kendo, Korean Gumdo, Chinese Swordfighting, European Medieval Swordfighting, and even Jedi combat acting (I call it that because it is not real swordfighting) are all available in Toronto.

Also I should note that there is no age barrier to swordfighting. Judging by the photo on the right it doesn't matter how old you are. (They do however seem to have a 66% chance of growing a beard... Hmm. And a 100% chance of looking Awesome!)

So if you are looking to get into fencing or other forms of swordfighting you might consider contacting the following organizations, listed alphabetically:

AEMMA - Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts
The Beaches Sabre Club of Toronto
The Canadian Haidong Gumdo Association
The Dragon Fencing Academy
Fighting Arts Collective Toronto
The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Kendo Dept.
Kendo Ontario
Metro Blades Fencing Club
My Fencing Club
Ontario Fencing Association
The Ryerson Kendo Club
The Toronto Fencing Academy
The Toronto Fencing Centre
The Toronto Fencing Club
The Toronto Kendo Club 
Toronto Kenjutsu
The University of Toronto Kendo Club

However there are also many other unusual sports in Toronto you might try:

Axe Throwing

The Backyard Axe Throwing League offers axe hurling, performed competitively and for recreation at one of their multiple locations. The sport is growing so fast they have new locations appearing every few months. Axes are thrown at four by four foot wooden targets from 15 feet away, and points are tallied to determine the winner. There is also league play for more competitive people.

Bike Polo or Bicycle Polo

Bike Polo is basically a mix of polo, hockey, and cycling, and it's played in teams on an iceless hockey rink. The BPTO meets as often as four times per week, usually at either Dufferin Grove or Scadding Court shinny rinks. BPTO has a beginner night once a week, with extra mallets on hand to lend out to new players.

Unicycle Hockey

The Toronto Unicycle Club meets regularly in Toronto (usually in the west end) to practice their peddling and often a game of unicycle hockey. The game is usually played with five players on each team and a lack of full body contact for obvious reasons. Always open to new players.

Pillow Fighting (All Girls)

What was once called the Pillow Fight League is now Bedlam Pillow Fighting. The all girl league uses pillows in WWE style combat, with the intention of winning my pinfall or surrender. Professional pillow fighting has an attitude akin to roller derby or amateur wrestling-acting. No men allowed.

The Pan Am Games in Toronto

The Pan Am Games are coming to Toronto this month and will take place from July 10th to July 26th. The Parapan Am Games will also be in Toronto, August 7th to 15th. The sports involved in the Pan Am Games are as follows:

Archery (70 meter Olympic style archery only, no field archery, no flight archery, no equestrian archery)
Athletics (includes all the track and fields events such as running, hurdles, discus, javelin, shot put, high jump, long jump, etc)
Beach Volleyball (seriously, beach volleyball is a separate sport from regular volleyball)
BMX (as a separate category from cycling)
Bowling (why is billiards, darts and lawn darts not considered sports if bowling is included?)
Canoe / Kayak Slalom
Canoe / Kayak Sprint
Cycling - Road
Cycling - Track
Equestrian (just horse jumping, no horse racing for some strange reason)
Field Hockey (as if we couldn't find an ice rink to have a normal hockey game in Toronto...)
Football (World Football, or as Americans call it "Soccer")
Gymnastics - Artistic
Gymnastics - Rhythmic
Handball (it is like a cross between hockey and basketball)
Modern Pentathlon
Mountain Bike (why isn't that considered to be a cycling event?)
Open Water Swimming
Roller - Figure Skating (wait, wait, wait... figure skating? But no ice hockey???)
Roller - Speed Skating
Rugby Sevens
Sailing (small sailboats that are built for speed, in other words a sport only rich people can do, although you could say that about many of the other sports listed here - like horse jumping)
Shooting (rifles, but why not crossbows too? Crossbows at least require more exercise to load.)
Softball (baseball with bigger balls)
Swimming (for speed that is, including many different styles of swimming)
Synchronized Swimming
Table Tennis
Tennis (another sport for rich people who have their own tennis courts)
Water Polo (but not normal polo, the kind you play with horses - although admittedly polo is another sport for rich people)
Waterski & Wakeboard
Wrestling (Olympic style wrestling, not the American version with play-acting and steroids)

I am ever amazed as to how certain "sports" get into these large scale events like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, etc. I do therefore have some criticisms, on this and other topics.

#1. Some sports just aren't that popular, so why are they included?

Are there really that many people who play handball or water polo? I think not.

#2. Some sports aren't really sports in the normal sense.

eg. Shooting or Bowling, yes, I get it they do require some physical strength to do them - but they're not exactly something you break a sweat doing. Worst case scenario you might get a sore trigger finger or sore bowling fingers. And if shooting and bowling are sports, why not darts, lawn darts, billiards, or the biathlon (shooting and skiing)?

#3. Sometimes it feels like they are just inventing new sports.

Waterski, Wakeboard, Trampoline, Kayak Shalom or Sprint... if these are sports why not also:

Dolphin Riding (no seriously, if we have horse jumping, why not dolphin riding?)
Rock Climbing
Team Paintball
Team Archery Tag

#4. Some sports are really just aimed at rich people.

Golf, tennis and sailing are three good examples of sports that are mostly only done by rich people. Equestrian horse jumping and any other sport involving horses also falls into this (as would Dolphin Riding...)

#5. What if a Parapan Athlete wants to compete in the normal Pan Am games?

This is an idea that has always made me wonder. For example lets say a man is missing a leg, but wants to be in horse jumping? His single leg might be a minor disadvantage when it comes to riding the horse, but you could also argue that he weighs less and the horse might be able to perform better with a lighter rider.

Same goes with golf. Do you really need two working legs to play golf? I think not.

Shooting rifles? Sure, they just need one good eye and a trigger finger.

Archery? Same deal. No reason why a person in a wheelchair cannot achieve greatness as an archer.

Fencing? A person with one arm only needs one arm to do fencing. In the video below you see a French citizen who is missing part of their arm.

So in conclusion always remember that the sports during the Pan Am Games (and the Olympics and other similar events) are the result of a committee voting on feedback from not the athletes themselves, but from sponsors. Sponsorship money is really what it comes down to.

The same thing goes for the athletes. The necessary time needed to practice a sport, train, eat properly, the cost of coaches and traveling to competitions is often the result of money from sponsors. If sponsors were sponsoring equestrian archery for example, then that would likely be a sport at the Pan Am Games.

In the world of competitive sports, it really all comes back to the issue of sponsors and money.

If you can think of a sport that should be included, leave a comment below.

If you have comments on the issue of money in sports, absolutely leave a comment about that too.

The 12 Days of Xmas Fitness Gifts

Do you know someone who loves exercising often or wants to be exercising more often? Support their interest (and their health) this Xmas Holiday Season with the following list of gift ideas for the fitness freak in your life.

#1. Water Bottles - The better quality the better. Some water bottles break too easily, so finding a really good water bottle is amazing. One of my favourite water bottles is an old fashioned army canteen. It is nothing special to look at (although you can find them now in pink and other colours), but they are amazingly durable and don't break easily.

#2. Bicycle or Bicycle Accessories

If they don't have a bicycle, get them one. Or if they do have a bicycle, get them lots of handy bicycle accessories. eg. Kryptonite bicycle locks are one of the best bicycle locks on the market, so that is certainly a possibility. There are also lights, helmets, seats, bicycle tools, racks, water bottle holders, camel backpacks and more. HOWEVER some people are picky about what bicycle gear they will use so you may need to research what things they want/need first. When in doubt get them a gift card to a bicycle shop.

#3. Yoga Membership Card

Get them a membership card to a local yoga studio that is close to either work or home. Some yoga studios sell cards which are good for 5, 10 or 20 yoga sessions - and have no expiry date. Shop around and find a yoga studio where your loved one can go - and can use whenever they see fit. Do NOT buy them a "one month membership" as most of it will probably go to waste and not be used. Buying a specific number of sessions is more economical.

#4. A really awesome skipping rope...

The trick here is that you should only buy this for a person who is really into cardio exercises, or even better a person who is already into skipping. There are a lot of unusual skipping ropes out there on the market now, which means you can choose from all sorts of materials, colours and functions.

#5. Sports Equipment

If your loved one is into football, get them football equipment. If they are into archery, get them archery equipment. If they are into baseball, get them a baseball bat and balls (baseball players typically only use their favourite glove).

#6. Hockey Equipment

Hockey isn't just a sport in Canada. It is a lifestyle and a national symbol. Even people who aren't hugely into hockey, still enjoy playing road hockey when given the opportunity. This is Canada. We ALL played hockey at some point when we were younger.

#7. Kettlebells

For the weight lifting aficionados. Or get them dumbbells. I love dumbbells. Barbells are also a possibility, but they take up a lot more space and require a bigger investment.

#8. Exercise Clothing

I don't mean Lululemon (in my experience most people who wear Lululemon don't actually exercise, they wear it because they like to pretend that they exercise). No, I mean clothing from a store like SportChek - where they sell exercise clothes that is meant to actually be exercised in and isn't designed to be a fashion statement. If you don't believe me visit the Lululemon at the Eaton's Centre and then visit SportChek and you will see the difference. SportChek sells clothes, running shoes, exercise/sports equipment, etc - for both men and women.

Heck, Golf Town and also Bass Pro has more actual "exercise clothes" than Lululemon does because it is meant to be functional first and isn't about being a fashion statement.

#9. Heart Monitor Watch / Pedometer

Useful for joggers, High Intensity exercises, seeking the Afterburn Effect, Interval Training and more.

#10. Camping / Hiking Gear

You can never have too much camping and hiking equipment. Always useful.

#11. Polarized Sunglasses

If they are going to be exercising outside then a good set of polarized sunglasses are very useful. You can also get them with prescription lenses.

#12. Heated Hoodie

For exercising outdoors during the winter you can't beat having a heated hoodie. Useful for exercising, shoveling snow (that counts as exercise) and many other activities outdoors. Uses a rechargeable battery pack to provide the heat energy.

BONUS GIFT IDEA: Wii Console + Wii Fit and/or Wii Sports

Why? Because if you are exercising and playing a video game, it is still exercising. So Wii Tennis, Wii Golf, Wii Bowling, Wii Boxing, all good fun and good exercise.

Wii Sports for example has been on the market since 2006 and has become very popular with homes for the elderly. I am even thinking of getting a Wii Console / Wii Sports for my mother, because it is something she would actually use.

And who doesn't enjoy Wii Boxing? Watch the video below of ex Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien beating Rick Mercer while playing Wii Boxing.

Olympic Archery and becoming an Olympian



I am thinking of getting into Olympic Archery and competing. What steps should I go through in order to compete?

Mark G.


Hello Mark!

A good question and my apologies if my answer is very long and actively dissuades you from competing. Olympic Archery is not for everyone and you will understand why as I go through the steps.

Step One - Learn how to shoot the old fashioned way using a recurve bow without using sights or gadgets. I think this is a problem for many new archers who want to jump straight into the Olympic style of shooting that they don't first learn how to shoot the old fashioned way. Traditional shooting requires the new archer to rely entirely on form and consistency. No gadgets and no sights. Perfect form. Gadgets are crutches for propping up archers who suffer from weak form.

Step Two - Determine whether you have any natural talent. This will become self evident during Step One. It is my opinion that archers should never go the Olympic route if they are doing it purely out of ego and have no natural talent. Don't judge yourself either, let other more experienced archers be the judge. If they are complimenting you on your skill and asking questions like "Do you compete?", "Have you ever competed?", "You have Robin Hood hidden in the trunk of your car right?" then you know what your next step is.

Step Three - Compete. There are plenty of traditional archery competitions out there. Pick a handful and go to maybe 5 of the competitions to start with.

Step Four - Take your winnings and buy Olympic equipment. Note that if you didn't win that much maybe you should repeat Step Three over again until you have enough winnings to pay for your expenditures plus the cost of buying Olympic equipment. Please note that when buying your equipment you don't need to buy the best. You just need all the basic Olympic gadgets and some cheap Olympic style arrows. The reason is simple - you will only end up losing or breaking a bunch of them anyway.

Step Five - Learn humility, perseverance and understanding. I am putting humility first because this is a big problem with Olympic archers who get into the sport out of ego and often lack skill, break under pressure and are easily distracted / overthink their shots. If you take the top 50 archers in the world and compare them the thing you will notice about the winners is that they are often very humble, came from humble beginnings, and they didn't break under the pressure of competition, media attention, nationalistic pride, etc. In Canada we are very guilty of putting too much pressure on our Olympic athletes and it is often the unknowns who win gold unexpectedly - and never repeat the feat because of all the media attention the 2nd time around. You are also going to need perseverance for all the practices and sacrifices you are going to be making. Practice, exercise, diet, strained or lost relationships, work complications, health complications, repetitive strain/sports injuries (eg. Archer's Elbow), etc. Lastly understanding - this is really about knowing yourself. Knowing when you are too excited to shoot properly, learning to control your emotions/adrenaline, etc. Becoming agitated can take a professional shooter and turn them into someone who starts shooting like a semi-pro.

Step Six - Diet. There is no easy way to say this. If you don't have the willpower to cut out the junk food from your diet then you are going to be at a physical and mental disadvantage when shooting. Think of this as one part mental conditioning and one part perfecting your physical body. You need to eat healthy to have a well oiled machine. This means lots of veggies, lots of protein, some carbs for extra energy since you are training, and vitamins / supplements. If you smoke or drink you also need to quit those cold turkey. You can drink after you win.

Step Seven - Exercise. This will many different exercises including possibly jogging, yoga, yogic breathing, weightlifting, body weight exercises, stretching for flexibility, swimming, cross-training with similar form oriented sports (golf, tennis, javelin, etc).

Step Eight - Expanded Competition. During steps 4, 5, 6 + 7 you should have continued competing in traditional archery competitions. The goal of continuing to compete in those competitions is to prepare yourself mentally for the challenges that await you when you start entering your first Olympic style competitions. Chances are likely you won't win anything during the first 5 competitions you attend. Not to be redundant, but they are very competitive and you are likely facing a mix of people better than you, mediocre, and even egotists who broke under pressure.

Step Nine - Dealing with Failure. How a person deals with their failures is often a sign of their character. Do they give up and sell their equipment, possibly never doing archery ever again? Or do they practice, exercise, diet and keep trying. The road to success if marked by failures, so how you deal with failure is equally as important as how you deal with success (don't let winning go to your head either - winning one competition doesn't make you Robin Hood).

Step Ten - Coaching. At some point you will be approached by a coach asking if you are looking for an archery coach. This is when you know you are ready for the next stage in your training. However a word of caution. Don't sign up with the first coach you meet. Browse around first. Find a coach who fits your needs, is conveniently located and has lots of time to be training / mentoring you. And to follow the theme I have going here, don't choose a coach who is all about winning and ego. Instead consider the person who had an illustrious Olympic career and is now retired and doesn't even coach. If you can coax them out of retirement to take up coaching you won't just be finding an excellent coach, you will be making a lifelong friend you will guide you all the way. Plus having a coach who has zero other students means you will have their undivided attention and a coach who has more time for training you. (Some of the archery coaches out there - including myself I admit - follow the mantra of teaching many students in the hopes of fostering new generations of archers and they don't really have time to be dedicating to coaching one student 3 - 4 times per week. I am not against limiting myself to one student or only a few students, but at present I quite enjoy introducing new people to the sport of archery.)

Note - Some people may follow a different order of events than what I have listed above. The exact order is not too big of an issue (eg. Step Nine might easily come after Step Three), but I do actively discourage people from getting into Olympic archery too quickly. Learn to shoot first, learn the basics of competition, don't rush into a huge time/money investment just because of your ego.

I know it may seem like I am beating a dead horse here, but Olympic archery is rife with egotists who break under pressure - or worse, barely know what they are doing because they never learned the basics or skipped over several steps I outlined above (eg. You can always spot the archers who don't exercise or diet because they get tired easily and botch their shots).

For example South Korean archers going through rigorous mental conditioning to prepare them for the Olympic games - activities like mountain climbing, sitting under a freezing cold waterfalls, etc. The kind of stuff you might imagine heroic warriors doing while training during a quest. The goal of the mental conditioning is to teach the archers humility, concentration skills and to prepare them for the rigors of competition - a place where having an over-inflated ego will be an Achilles Heel.

And their training appears to be working. South Korea currently holds 75% of the world's Olympic archery records for highest scores for men's, women's, men's team and women's team archer.

So my advice is to stay humble. Keep training with both traditional and Olympic. Don't let the gadgets in Olympic archery become the crutch which holds you back. Quality archer form and mental conditioning trumps gadgets.

Tennis - and why I suck at it

I suck at tennis.

However I should note that I only tried tennis once back in university because a friend asked me to help him train - and he had years of experience whereas I had never even held a tennis racquet before.

And he thoroughly defeated me, as to be expected when someone experienced and skilled faces someone who is totally inexperienced and has no tennis skills yet to speak of. Plus he had one heck of a back-swing.

Thus my "suckiness at tennis" is really because I knew nothing about it, had zero experience and after that incident in university I never pursued tennis.

Had I actually pursued it however I could have gotten much better. No one near professional I would wager. But at least I would no longer suck at it.

And that really is the essence of dedication. In order to excel at a sport you really need to dedicate yourself to it.

Take archery for example. Ignoring a hiatus during university I have been doing archery for approx. 25 years. That is some serious dedication on my part. And to put my archery skill in perspective earlier today I shot a nice cluster of arrows at 50 yards (150 feet) using a 45 lb traditional recurve bow. That feat  requires some serious strength, dedication and patience. Lots and lots of practice, weight lifting and even yoga went into training to be able to do archery feats of skill and strength.

So my message for people out there exercising / seeking to try a new sport: Don't give up on the first day like I did with tennis. I acknowledge I suck at tennis and I know why I suck at tennis. But maybe someday I will get into it. There is a tennis court 3 minutes from my home so I could easily get back into it.

Or I could get back into baseball or hockey. There is also a baseball diamond and a hockey rink nearby too. Lots of options.

Boxing - Good Sportsmanship Vs Cheating - Who wins?

When it comes to competitive sports there is a lot of cheating - and I am not just talking doping and steroids here, although that certainly happens too.

No, I am talking about just plain old fashioned cheating. Which in the world of professional boxing is things like low blows, head butting, hitting the back of your opponent's head, kidney punches, rabbit punches, etc.

The fight in the YouTube video further below - Riddick Bowe Vs Andrew Golota - is a rematch between two boxers who hate each other. The first of the two fights can also be seen on YouTube, but it is their 2nd fight which is the more interesting of the two fights.

The two boxers are evenly matched, but their primary difference is that Golota likes using headbutts and low blows - which gives him an unfair advantage over a fighter who doesn't cheat.

So who will get the upper hand during the fight? Who will win? Watch and see. When you see the match you will understand why this is such an important match and why it is a great demonstration of both boxing skill and the difference between good sportsmanship / cheating.

(Personal Note - This is my all time favourite boxing match to watch. I love watching this match. Even people who are not normally into boxing will appreciate watching this match.)

July Motivational Quotes, + World Cup Quotes

In honour of the ongoing World Cup we have included a few noteworthy quotes by soccer players.

"I give my soul every time I step on the pitch. I have done this with Uruguay, Ajax and Liverpool. I do not hold anything when I finish a game."
- Luis Suarez

"It's the only sport that's played in every country in the world. It's played and watched all over the world, it's the most popular sport in probably 90% of the countries, and then with the World Cup, you have the most viewed tournament of any sport in the world."
- Claudio Reyna

"Football became my life at five or six. The earliest memory I have is of playing in my first boots, a pair of black and white Alan Balls. It was 1970, four years after the World Cup, and I scored three goals at school."
- Vinnie Jones

"The boy can do anything, but to be the star of the World Cup you have got to get to the final and win it!"
- Alan Hansen

"I want to be more than just some guy who played in a World Cup final."
- Jonny Wilkinson

Find Inner Strength

"Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength."
- Arnold Schwarzenegger

"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health."
- Hippocrates

"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature."
- John D. Rockefeller

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
- Mahatma Gandhi

There Are No Limits

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus; and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."
- Bruce Lee

"Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them."
- Orison Swett Marden

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain

Never Give Up

"Energy & persistence conquer all things."
- Benjamin Franklin

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
- Michael Jordan

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started."
- Agatha Christie

10 Tips for People who want to get into Competitive Archery

So, you want to go to archery competitions eh?

There are plenty of recurve, compound and traditional archery competitions to choose from. Whatever your chosen field of archery you can succeed at it if you are properly motivated and work hard to achieve your success.

Here is some handy advice on how you can achieve archery success faster by giving yourself a physical and mental edge.

#1. Start exercising more often - every day or every 2 days ideally. Focus on a full body routine will build strength, balance, endurance and hone your body from head to toe. Even professional golfers these days now exercise because they have realized it gives them a physical edge in the sport. Gone are the days when overweight golfers like Arnold Palmer could get by in golf without exercising. Today's golfers like Tiger Woods have carefully designed exercise routines to help them get a physical edge.

#2. Hire an archery coach / personal trainer. (Hint hint!) An archery instructor will be able to tell you what you are doing wrong and help you to correct your mistakes faster than anything you could do on your own.

#3. Healthy diet. If you are going to take archery seriously as a sport then you need to be training and eating like an athlete in any other sport. Eating healthy means a good balanced diet with lots of vitamins, nutrients, minerals and a fair dose of protein. An archer who ignores this aspect of their physical conditioning and does the exercises without adding the extra quality fuel to build stronger muscles will be shooting themselves in the foot metaphorically because they simply weren't getting enough of the building blocks they need to turn their body into a well-oiled machine.

#4. Daily or thrice weekly practice. At a bare minimum you should be honing your archery skills three times per week. Every day or every second day. Break days are good to have so your muscles have time to build and recover.

#5. Sleep. Your body needs rest in order to build new muscle tissue. Sleep + quality food + strength building exercises = More muscle!

#6. Yoga. I cannot stress this enough. Regardless of what you might think of yoga, I swear by it. Yoga gives archers better balance, better physical coordination, better core upper body strength. These are all things archers need.

#7. Yogic breathing. Two reasons. First, because yogic breathing helps you to control your breathing while you are shooting. Less shoulder movement = more accuracy. Second, yogic breathing has a calming effect on you and disciplines your mind. This is exceptionally useful during a competition when you may be nervous, stressed or distracted.

#8. Seriousness. If you want to get into competitive archery then you need to take the sport seriously and be religious about it. Skipping out on practice, skipping your daily exercises, ignoring your dietary needs... these are all signs you are not taking the sport seriously and you are just doing it out of pride / ambition.

#9. Humility. This is something you will learn anyway when you go to archery competitions expecting to win and instead you get metaphorically stomped on by other archers who are way more experienced and better than you are. You are better off going into the competition feeling humble and remind yourself to just try your best. If you do your best then you will never be ashamed of what you do, and if you are humble enough to realize that there is always someone better than you, then you stand a good chance of surviving your first several competitions without having your ego crushed.

#10. Perseverance. Don't give up on archery competitions just because you don't win the first competition, the second competition or even the 10th competition you go to. When you lose it just means you need to go back and keep practicing. Never give up.

What does it take to become an Olympic archer?


"I am from venezuela, I have nine years practicing archery and I love this sport, it's part of my life...

All coaches left my country to other countries by the abuse and the low value given to them, I have a few years of training without a coach, in 2010 I traveled to Canada to my grandmother's house and told him all the things I passed in archery in my country and she took me to an archery in calgary and helped me to buy a bow ( hoyt Alpha Burner) and talk to a Canadian coach to train me.

thanks to that I improve a lot and achieve shoot 1348 points, I know it's not much but fight hard to achieve...

I want to be an excellent archer, that's my goal, you could guide me, because I want to go to canada and become a excellent Canadia archer, what i have to do? there is a chance?

Please. Any help you can give me is appreciated."

Luis R.


Hello Luis!

Honestly you have three choices. And two of them will be quite expensive.

You either train yourself, which will cost less and require you to be doing archery 3-6 times per week.

Or you hire an archery coach to train you several times per week, which will cost you about $180 to $240 per week. (Roughly $9,000 to $12,000 per year.)

Or you could even hire a former Olympian archer to train you, which will be about $20,000 per year ($400 per week).

So yeah, it really depends on whether you want to pay for training or focus on self-improvement / Do It Yourself.

Charles Moffat

Tips for Marathon Runners

Running a long distance race like the Toronto Waterfront Marathon or the Ironman Competition takes months of hard training, proper diet and preparation. All competitive sports require that extra level of commitment. Here are 5 handy tips to get ready for a race with only a month to go:

#1. Buy New Shoes

Don't run your race in brand new shoes, or the old trainers you have been practicing in for months! One month is an ideal amount of time to find a new pair, and practice, to break them in. It will allow the time for the new shoes to feel comfortable, but remain relatively new for the race. (Wearing brand new shoes will feel uncomfortable.)

#2. Check Your Distance

You should be able to run at least 3/4 of your race distance with ease. It's not necessary to practice the full distance, but doing a practice run is a confidence boost. You will feel less nervous if you know you can complete the full distance having done 75% of it with barely trying.

#3. Merge Your Training Runs

Running intervals, for time, endurance, and speed are all necessary, separate, training techniques. However, now it's time to combine them. Start training with one run per week during which you "run your best." Have a session running fast and long, with little recovery time, if you require walking breaks, will be great practice for building your endurance.

#4. Plan for Race Day

Start planning for the morning of the race. Think about what you will eat for breakfast, and what snacks or gels to bring for the run. Decide what to wear and run a few times in the outfit to make sure it's comfortable, and nothing bothers you about it. Plan for rides or parking, and be sure to consider all of the practical matters like urinating before the race, what you will eat the night before, optional things you might wear depending on weather conditions, etc.

#5. Ask Friends and Family to Come Out

You'll need a cheer squad. Ask friends and family well in advance to come out and cheer you on. Plan for a celebratory big breakfast / dinner, for when you triumphantly cross the finish line and everyone can celebrate.

Being prepared for race day will ease nerves, and save time on the big day. This will leave more free time for training, and will have you relaxed at the starting line, and pumped for the race.

You are never too old to start a new sport

I was going through old emails earlier today and found one I had failed to answer (it was in the wrong folder).

In the email a mother was talking about signing her son up for archery lessons and said "he is kind of too old to start new sports".

I read this with quiet bemusement.

I didn't laugh out loud or anything. I was just mildly amused and a tad indignant. How is SIXTEEN too old to start a new sport?

I mean com'on, many athletes don't start their preferred sport until they are 17, 18, 19 or well into their 20s.

And there is nothing stopping adults and even seniors from taking up a sport - including a competitive sport - well into their golden years.

An elderly (and even overweight person) can easily learn to do the splits (see photo below) or any number of other activities during their older years.

They might get really into bicycles - and even fixing bicycles in their old age.

They might take up archery as a recreational sport - or even compete in archery competitions.

They might even take up boxing, martial arts or yoga.

What it really comes down to is that there is nothing stopping you from starting a new sport - and even competing in a new sport.

Age, disability, sex/gender, being overweight - these are just excuses.

Willpower and taking the first steps towards a new goal, those are the deciding factors.

How to do Archery in the Wind and Rain

When it comes to outdoor archery competitions there is a good chance you will sometimes end up competing in wind and rain conditions. If you don't like it you have two options:

1. Don't compete in outdoor archery.

2. Learn to shoot despite wind and rain.

Now I am not suggesting you just give up and do number 1. If you give up that easily due to a little wind and rain you seem to be missing the point of outdoor archery - and likewise outdoor archery competitions. The wind and rain (and heat) is supposed to be an added obstacle.

I once did archery on a very foggy day and I have to admit it made it a lot more interesting having a blurry target in the distance. And it really didn't effect the quality of my shots once I got over the unfamiliar environment.


Taking positive and preventative action will help you get better results. Fussing over the weather conditions won't help you, but being proactive about them will. Take your time like you would during a normal shot. Don't rush it just because you want to get it over with.

Some people have more difficulties than others shooting in the rain. They think things like "I suck at shooting in the rain. I always shoot badly in the rain." Etc. However that negativity is a mental block. You can adjust for rain conditions very easily.

For example if you practice shooting in the rain regularly you may realize you shoot several inches lower in heavy rain. You can correct this by simply adjusting your shot upwards by the same measurement.

Depending on how heavy the downpour it is you may have to adjust your shots a different amount. If it is barely spitting outside then you don't really need to adjust your shots at all. "It is the arrow hitting the rain, not the rain hitting the arrow."

When it comes to your equipment it is best to think preventative. Keep all your equipment in waterproof containers until it is ready to use. A big baggie can be slid over your quiver to keep your arrows dry. Small baggies for everything else you want to keep dry - including the lens on your telescope when not in use.

Dress appropriately. Always bring your rain gear to competitions because you never know when you might need it. Waterproof boots or shoes, a towel to dry off your equipment, a large umbrella, wide brimmed waterproof hat (Stetson cowboy hats work great), a tight-fitting jacket with a waterproof hood, etc.

If you can have a friend, coach or fellow competitor hold an umbrella for you while you shoot and do the same for them when they shoot.


Studies show that the wind effects the archer more than the arrow by making you less steady on your feet. The wind is literally blowing you in one direction and you need to anchor your feet and stand firmly to your spot - unbending like an oak tree. Master this ability to be unmoving despite the wind blowing you and the simple matter of adjusting your arrow shots to match the wind will seem easy. (Building up your strength and balance in your legs will be an advantage in such conditions to help keep you steady.)

In wind conditions it depends on whether it is a steady wind or gusting.

A steady wind is easy to adjust for. It will knock your arrows sideways so you need to adjust your shots accordingly. I also find that heavier arrowheads make for less fishtailing arrows, so that will improve your accuracy.

A gusting wind means you need to be patient and time your shot between the gusts. A technique I use is to study the grass while waiting to make my shot. If the grass stops moving in the wind momentarily then it is the right time to shoot. You will still need to adjust your shot like during a steady wind, but the random gusts will feel less random.

If you don't like looking at the grass (or there is no grass) you can also tie a ribbon, windsock or flag to a nearby post and you can get an idea of the wind's direction and speed.

If you don't learn how to adjust for both steady and gusting wind then good luck. Your shots will be a lot more random because you lack the experience learning how to adjust your shots. Experience and training yourself in these conditions are the biggest factors for improving your ability to shoot.

Let your arrows tell you where to aim. This is an old school traditional archery thing, but it remains true for all time. If your shots are going to the left then shoot to the right the appropriate distance. Do NOT changes your sights on your bow. The reason is because if the wind changes several times during the competition then you won't be able to remember all the changes you made.

Shifting Wind Conditions - These are the worst. The wind keeps changing direction at random, sometimes changing and then changing again within mere seconds. Remember your training however and learn to shoot in-between the gaps when the grass it still.

During competitions remember that your fellow competitors are having the same problems as you are. If you have trained to shoot in wind and rain then you will be fine. If they haven't then that gives you a competitive edge.


Many archers have less problems combating extreme heat and humidity because they are used to training outdoors on hot days. A lot of this you should already know. However for the purpose of  diversity here is some tips.

Drink lots of fluids - Powerade, Gatorade, juice, etc. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Avoid sugary drinks too.

Learn the warning signs of heat fatigue, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Not just for you, but for your fellow competitors.

Keep ice packs and cold drinks in a cooler. A personal cooling device (like those backpacks that cyclists wear) would be handy too. Apply cold packs to your neck and other areas where blood flows.

A fun thing to bring is a camping shower device. Fill it with cold water and stand under it for a cool shower.

Wear clothing that doesn't trap heat or sweat.

Stay in the shade whenever not shooting. A large beach umbrella would be handy if there is no shade available.
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