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Archery at the Canada Winter Games is an Indoor Sport

So here is the official description on the Canada Games website:

"Archery began on the program of the Canada Summer Games during the 1977 Canada Games in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Its last appearance as an outdoor sport was at the 1997 Canada Summer Games in Brandon, Manitoba. The 2003 Canada Winter Games was archery’s introduction as an indoor sport on the Canada Winter Games program."

If the concept of archery being an indoor sport with winter competitions seems weird to you, I agree. It is weird. I mean, if it is a winter sport, then why have it indoors? To me a winter sport should definitely be outdoors (with the exception of figure skating / etc).

Also to me archery is, and always will be, an outdoor sport, and furthermore an all-season sport.

Yes, archery can be done indoors, but then you are missing a large aspect of the sport. Learning how to adapt to the weather conditions, like how to adjust your aim based on the wind.

Moving it indoors during the winter is somewhat logical, as it is warmer certainly, but you could just as easily make the same argument for all summer sports. Move them indoors where it is air conditioned. It is the same logic.

Take the CFL for example, the Canadian Football League. Maybe that should be moved indoors completely so there is zero snow on the football field and during the summer everyone is air conditioned. It is the same logic.

But again people would be missing the point. Snow and heat is part of the game in Canada. The CFL wouldn't be the CFL if it was always the same indoor temperature.

Same with archery.

High school students typically practice archery indoors because of practical safety reasons. That is the sole reason. The sport is considered to be too risky to be doing outdoors in a soccer field that most likely borders on a residential neighbourhood and/or local streets where cars could be driving by.

But for a large organization like the Canada Games to move archery indoors it shows the continued trend towards abandoning many of the traditional aspects of archery.

They only have two styles of archery at the Canada Games: Compound and Olympic Recurve. No barebow competition, no traditional recurves, no longbows, no horsebows.

Instead everything is compounds and Olympic recurves. Gadgets galore doing the job that traditional archers do by learning positive habits that improve their accuracy.

Now that doesn't mean I despise compounds and Olympic recurves, I happen to own 4 of them.

But it does bother me that the sport has become all about gadgets and elitism. There should be, at very least, a barebow category at the Canada Games. People across Canada, the USA and the rest of the world do compete at various types of barebow competitions. So it isn't like there aren't people competing at barebow. It is simply that organizations like the Canada Games, the Olympic Games, the Pan Am Games haven't bothered to include barebow category.

Why?

Elitism and Exclusion-ism. It isn't just a matter of being elitist, it is about excluding people.

It wasn't always this way. Archery was part of the sports rosters of various competitions decades ago, and the sport was dropped due to waning popularity and later brought back when the sport became more popular.

When archery returned to the Olympics after decades of absence the sport was so drastically altered. The bows were suddenly full of gadgets that act as crutches for archers, some of whom probably never learned how to shoot without the crutches. It is so full of gadgets it is actually a turn off for many spectators like myself.

Do you know what traditional archers call the cams on compound bows?

"Training Wheels."

So there is also some bad blood between "traditional archers" and the Olympic / compound archers.

There is also several competition problems... the current method of competitions at the Olympics is to have duels wherein two archers compete against each other and the winner proceeds up the rankings. They do this because the older method of competing was considered to be too boring for spectators. Honestly, it is still boring to watch. But there is a second problem in that this method can sometimes mean that a good archer could have 1 or 2 bad rounds and then is knocked out of the rankings by a lesser archer who had 1 or 2 lucky rounds. So while skill still matters, luck throws a wrench into the rankings.

The old system of shooting and the archer with the highest overall points wins gold may also be boring, but there was less chance that luck would play a larger role in deciding who wins.

Some competitions still use the old system. The archers might shoot a score out of 300. 30 arrows x 10 points for the maximum possible score. In the event of a tie for the top score, the archer with the most bullseyes wins the tie.

The more grueling competitions go for even bigger number. 400, 500, 600 or more. The higher the number is the more accurate the result is said to be, because it eliminates the factor of luck more and more.

Having competed outdoors I know that wind is a big factor in that luck and that it plays two key roles:

1. It effects the arrow. Which means the archer's skill at adjusting their aim for the wind is being tested.

2. The wind pushes the archer physically, making it more difficult to relax and stand still while performing the shot.

But lets pretend you have a competition and the weather that day is very windy. The archers that adjust for the wind correctly, and resist the effects of the wind pushing them, are going to score higher.

That isn't luck any more, that is skill and experience. The archer who likely wins the competition will be the one who is the most skilled at adjusting their aim for the changing wind conditions, often the archer who has practiced the most, had the most experience dealing with the wind, and is otherwise very skilled at archery.

That to me is the evidence of the archer who has truly practiced and excelled, because they shoot well even under the harshest conditions. It is one thing to shoot well indoors, in air conditioning, but to shoot well when it is too hot, too cold, raining, windy - that means the archer has practiced in those conditions and knows how to react.

So how would I fix these competitions?

#1. Make the competitions outdoors, the way archery is meant to be. Find a safe place where it can be done properly.

#2. Use a mixture of the duels system and the overall top score system. Shoot the duels, so the audience is excited to watch, but the archer with the top overall score should still win gold. The duels should just be for show. Every archer does 5 duels, with each duel consisting of 5 rounds of 3 arrows. Thus each duel produces a score out of 150. Do five of these duels and they get a score out of 750. The archer with the highest score wins gold. Who the archers face in their duels is based on their overall score, but again it is just for show, and they never duel the same archer twice.

#3. Add more categories. Get rid of the Elitism and Exclusion-ism.

  • Longbow
  • Traditional Recurve
  • Archery Biathlon *Winter Only*
  • Equestrian Archery

And I would bet money that when people go to the Olympic Games and see things like Archery Biathlon and Equestrian Archery and there would be no shortage of spectators for those sports. They would be a joy to watch.

Update - I have a newer post about how scoring in an Archery Biathlon works.



The Do-It-Yourself Approach to Archery Lessons

The following article was originally published in a different source, which no longer exists, and I have decided to republish it here on CardioTrek.ca. I have updated the article for 2019 so this is effectively Version 2.0.

April 2019

Hello!

My name is Charles and I am a personal trainer/archery instructor in Toronto. I also teach boxing, swimming and ice skating. Depends on the season really. But my favourite thing to teach is definitely archery. I even teach archery in the winter whenever students are willing to brave the cold.

Thanks to all the movies and media fuss in 2012 it was my archery lessons that garnered the most attention between 2012 and 2016. There has been a slow down since then however, so to anyone thinking of getting into the industry I have to warn you that the fad is over. Mostly. The sport is still, from my perspective, at least 10 times more popular than it was back in 2011 or earlier.

Getting archery lessons is a bit of a challenge as there are not a lot of places or people in Toronto that offer private archery lessons. There are archery clubs like Hart House at the University of Toronto, the York University Archery Club, the Ryerson Archery Club and even various high schools with archery clubs, but you typically have to be a student or alumni to join such clubs. So for adults and kids who want private lessons and don’t want to spend a bundle there isn’t a lot of options. Especially for kids, since many places don’t teach kids.

Now you could hire me – that is a given. But I am pretty pricey as I charge personal trainer/sports trainer rates. Not everyone can afford to get archery lessons from me. So instead what I am going to do here is talk about the Do-It-Yourself Approach to Learning Archery.

There are also definite pros and cons to the DIY approach which I will explain.

 #1. Equipment Shopping List

Knowing what equipment to buy is the biggest stumbling block for a beginner. A beginner who doesn't know any better might buy a bow and then forget to buy an arrowrest.

For traditional archery expect to be spending about $350 CDN to get everything you need.

  • 12 arrows with the correct spine ($100 to $140)
  • 12 field point arrowheads ($6)
  • A decent recurve bow, horsebow or longbow with the correct poundage ($150 to $250)
  • A decent arrowrest for a recurve bow [horsebows and longbows don't need an arrowrest] ($35)
  • Shooting glove or tab ($15 to $25)
  • Arm guard ($15 to $25)
  • Bowstringer ($10 to $15)
  • Optional - Quiver, a backpack for carrying your equipment in, special arrowheads, portable targets, etc.
 Plus HST. You could spend more than that. The sky is the limit when it comes to more expensive archery equipment, but getting fancy equipment won't make you shoot any better.

Remember! Get the correct poundage for you to be able to practice proper form, and get arrows with the correct spine for your bow's poundage. Failure to do could mean you are using a bow that is too strong for you to pull properly, and arrows that are to weak for your bow. See 3 Frequently Asked Archery Questions

For Olympic equipment expect to be spending double or quadruple on everything. So expect to spend $700 to $1400 instead. I don't recommend a beginner go straight into Olympic style archery. They should really learn traditional recurve first before transitioning to Olympic recurve.

For compound archery expect to be spending $600 to $2000 instead. While it is possible for a beginner to go straight into compound archery, you will have a trickier time learning how to tune your compound bow, set the sights, and how to use it properly to full effect. If you do something wrong (such as dryfiring) you could end up damaging your compound bow and needing repairs, which can get very expensive. There is definitely advantages to getting compound archery lessons.

Note - Deciding what kind of archer you want to be is an important decision. It is a personal choice that each archer must make and their decision should be respected. You can even try learning more than one style of archery - I personally practice all 5 styles of archery. I currently (as of April 2019) own 34 different bows. Learning multiple styles is an extra investment as you will need different sets of equipment which are often not compatible. Beginners are recommended to try traditional recurve first, which makes an excellent springboard to trying other styles later.

#2. Buying Archery Equipment

In Toronto / GTA we have limited options for where to go shopping for archery equipment. Thus now that you have your shopping list, you need to determine what stores sell what you are looking for.

  • Basically Bows Archery (aka "Gary's") sells a broad selection of longbows, traditional recurves, horsebows, and even Japanese yumi.
  • Bass Pro in Vaughan sells most compounds and crossbows. They have a limited selection of recurves.
  • Al Flaherty's sells mostly compounds and crossbows.
  • Dufferin Outdoor Supply is mostly known for fishing equipment, but also sells compounds and recurves, and bowhunting/bowfishing supplies.
  • The Bow Shop in Waterloo has an excellent selection of different styles, but it is further away.
  • The Archer's Nook in London. (I have never actually visited this location.)
  • Amazon.ca
  • 3riversarchery.com
  • lancasterarchery.com
I am listing three reputable online sources because frankly it is often easier / simpler / cheaper to buy your archery equipment online. Some local stores might not have the particular brand/model you are looking for.

#3. Learning Proper Form

Several different ways to do this. Ideally archery lessons is best because it eliminates a lot of the trial and error. But there are other methods:

  1. Watch YouTube videos of experienced archers and do your best to copy what they are doing.
  2. Visit the local archery range (The Toronto Archery Range) and copy what other archers are doing. (Only copy those archers who are shooting the same style you are learning. So if you are learning to shoot longbow, don't copy the Olympic archers.)
  3. Find friends who also do archery and ask for a lesson. They won't be a professional teacher, but they're free.
  4. Read every archery post you can find on CardioTrek.ca. I have over 240 posts about archery, so that is a lot to read. Enjoy!
  5. Buy a book. The #1 book I recommend is “Precision Archery” and is edited / written by Steve Ruis and Claudia Stevenson (the editors of Archery Focus Magazine).
  6. Subscribe to Archery Focus Magazine.
  7. Get archery lessons. Sometimes the thing you are avoiding is the thing you need most. An archery coach can steer you away from bad habits and teach you good habits that improve your accuracy and consistency. Watching other people and reading about it doesn't really come close to having a coach who can spot instantly what you are doing wrong and tell you how to fix it.

#4. Weightlifting and Exercise

Now you don't need to do weightlifting or exercise regularly to do archery, but it certainly helps.

Thanks to all the archery movies and TV shows in the past decade archery is still super popular in 2019, but many of these films/shows present a false understanding of archery and convince people think that it is easy to pull a bow. It is not. Most beginners are stunned by how much more effort it requires just to pull a 24 lb recurve and hold it steady, let alone a 40 or 50 lb bow. The more powerful bows require quite a bit of strength and endurance to pull back and hold steady – strength that is beyond the average person.

This is why finding a bow that is easier for the beginner to pull is so important. The poundage needs to match the beginner so that they can practice efficiently, learn proper form, and then be able to build up their endurance and strength over time.

The analogy I use with students is to compare poundages to buying a set of dumbbells. You start off doing bicep curls with a 15 lb dumbbell and over months you work your way up to 20, 25, 30 lbs. You don't immediately pick up the 30 lb dumbbell and start doing curls because the average person will only be able to do 5 or less before getting tired.

Yes, it is possibly for a beginner archer to start with a 60 lb bow... but it is going to wreck havoc on their form because they cannot hold it steady at all. They need to learn how to shoot it properly before they start working on building muscle, and to do that you need to build endurance first and then muscle.

There are specific exercises I recommend to my students (eg. push ups are handy, as are rowing machines). Being stronger and having more endurance gives the archer a physical edge that boosts their accuracy. It isn't just a matter of building up the rhomboids and trapezoids (the most important muscles for archers), you also need to build the deltoids, triceps and the corresponding mirror muscles are handy too (biceps, pectorals). Do not forget the mirror muscles, they still help!

#5. Location, Location, Location

We are fortunate in Toronto to have a free public archery range that is open 24/7 365 days per year. Anyone can go there, day or night, and practice.

See 10 Tips for Night Archery

The Toronto Archery Range is located at E. T. Seton Park, near the corner of Don Mills Road and Gateway Boulevard.

Via TTC take the 25 bus from Pape Station and get off at the corner of Don Mills Road and Gateway Boulevard (near the Tim Hortons / Shoppers Drug Mart).

If driving I recommend parking near the Tim Hortons / Shoppers Drug Mart, or you can park in the Overlea Parking Lot inside E. T. Seton Park (the Overlea Parking Lot is shaped like a donut).

Outside of Toronto you will want to find a local archery range or a similar safe place where you practice. A farmer's field would be ideal, so get permission from the local farmer to practice there. If you have family who own a farm or cottage up north that might also be a great place to practice. If you have a garage or basement that is also good if you like shooting short distances. I do not recommend practicing in a backyard as you have to be careful about being charged with reckless endangerment with a firearm.

#6. You Are Going To Lose / Break Arrows

Guaranteed you will lose and break arrows. This will happen more often if you don't have a coach.

  • Buy at least 10 - 12 arrows. 6 is too few as you will easily break/lose several.
  • Don't be foolish with your arrows.
  • Don't do archery in a place where you will likely lose/break arrows.
  • Use a nice soft archery target that will not damage your arrows.
  • When in doubt aim lower. The arrow is arcing up. You need to aim below the target. Really low. Remember: Aim low, hit high. Aim too high, lose your arrow.
  • Learn how to repair damaged arrows.
  • Learn how to find your arrows.
#7. Don't Expect To Be Immediately Amazing

It takes year to master archery. Archery is a journey and it requires patience and lots of practice.

Teaching yourself using trial and error will be a slow and painful process, requiring lots of practice and mistakes. You can speed up the process dramatically by having an archery instructor, but not everyone can afford to be paying $60 for a 90 minute private lesson.

If you do decide you want archery lessons check out my archery lesson rates by visiting http://www.cardiotrek.ca/p/archery-lessons.html

Within 4 lessons I will have you shooting short distances, long distances, at moving targets, and I will have you set on the right track. Just check out my Archery Lesson Plan and see what all you can learn by hiring an archery instructor instead of trying to teach yourself.

Hey Toronto, Spring is here! Time to do Archery!

The Toronto Archery Range, March 22nd 2019.

My wife said she wanted to do some archery on Thursday so we went to the range and I took some photos and kept our son Richard company while she did some shooting.

I posted some of the photos and videos of my wife Debie shooting on my Instagram account at instagram.com/charles.moffat. I frequently post lots of archery and outdoor related photos and videos on my Instagram account so if those are things you enjoy, please subscribe.

If you watch the videos you will often hear our son cheering each time his mommy shoots.

Later this year, when Richard turns 2, I will be teaching him archery.

Normally I don't teach people under 16 years old, but I am known to make exceptions. Especially if a person is really determined to learn archery and is serious about the sport.

For archery lessons in Toronto just email cardiotrek@gmail.com.






Richard likes visiting the archery range. With both parents doing archery, how can he not?

Spring is almost here! Time to do archery!

March 16th 2019.

Spring is almost here. The first day of Spring is just a few days away, on March 21st.

Today I went to the Toronto Archery Range and took some photos to see the condition of the range. Just give it a few warm days and it will muddy, but the snow and ice will be gone.

Anyone looking for archery lessons in Toronto this Spring or Summer should email me via cardiotrek@gmail.com.

My time is limited. Always best to prebook ahead of time to get your preferred time slots!












Note - I met a friend there and I was distracting him. This is totally my fault for distracting him so much. ;)

Where to find javelin lessons in Toronto?

Q

Hello, I live in the beaches area of Toronto and was looking for a contact or someone who can do one-on-one or small group sessions on throwing the javelin.  I am an athlete in many sports but haven't had the opportunity to try the javelin.  I would like to learn or at least try to see how good I could be in this sport and was hoping to have a few lessons to see if I like it before joining a throwing club and making a big financial commitment.  When I was quite young I threw the shot put but that was many years ago.  Also throwing the discus might interest me as well.

I will be 17 next month and am presently in grade 11 and will be participating in the TDSB track and field team in spring for my school.  I usually sprint and compete in the long jump but this year I would like to see if I could participate in the javelin only if I could gain some experience and see if I am good enough through some private or a few group lessons with an experienced thrower.  I was hoping you might be able to help me.

Thank you.
David T.

A


Hello David!

I tried javelin myself in high school and rather enjoyed it. I even made my own spears and a trident, for fun, while I was a teenager. (A few years ago I was visiting my parents and my brother-in-law broke my old trident.)

However I haven't touched a javelin in over 20 years and I am certainly not qualified to teach it. If you wanted archery lessons I could help you, but you don't seem to be interested in that. Although if you are, let me know and we can arrange some archery lessons.

My recommendation would be to find someone who competed in javelin, however briefly, and ask if they would be willing to teach a few lessons.

Another possibility you might look into, just because it is similar, is spearfishing. I personally think that would be fun to try. Legally, spearfishing in Ontario is governed by the same laws as bowfishing.
You might also ask around at various Toronto high schools and see if any of them have a javelin program. There should be a few Phys Ed teachers who teach it.

You could also try contacting professional Canadian athletes or their coaches, and ask if they can recommend someone in Toronto.

I am going to do a post on my website however and maybe (hopefully) someone will contact me who knows more about teaching javelin, and then I can refer you to them.

Best of luck to you!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca



Follow Up

I really appreciate all your input and information.  It's great to hear about your experiences.  Thank you very much for your advice and I'll continue to research all avenues and hopefully find someone nearby.  I'm also going to think about the archery.

David T.



Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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