A number of county juniors competed in the Archery GB Key Event Stage 2 junior tournament held at Stuttleworth College, Biggleswade on 22nd & 23rd June 2019.
Archie Bromley of Archers of Raunds, Iulia Petre of Corby Archers, Jack Sharpe, Ruby Paul and Harry Wright of Wellingborough OAC.
As Junior Rep for his club, Jack Sharpe wrote the following report about his recent progress leading up to the event, and how he got on at the competition itself.
“So whilst I have been shooting 4 years now, I gently started competitions a year later with the last 2 years seeing me take this side of my archery seriously, chasing goals I set for myself and moving from club, to county, to regional, onto ATC and NTDP coaching – with my national coaches being supported by the club and county coaches who have taken the time to meet my national coaches.
The competitions that we all do at club/county/regional levels that I have been privileged to take part in, might test me and help me with practise and new goals they do not prepare us for if we want to try and progress to higher levels.
If you watch elite athletes take part in international competitions they are not the metric/imperials rounds that we take part in.
However at our age it is hard to find competitions at those standards that accept cubs (under 14 years of age).
We practise the different bits in my coaching, 720 rounds, individual head to heads and team shooting all very different ways to our standard competitions.
The last few weeks when I have been at club sessions practising some of you have come to ask me what I am doing especially with my dad with a stop watch as I shoot my arrows.
So I thought I would tell you about the key stage event that I took part this weekend, in what was my biggest competition yet.
As it was an AGB key stage event – it was for many athletes shooting recurve and compound who are wanting to be considered for selection – at one end of the field were the youth GB team trying for places in international competition at our end it is about the academy process and seeing if they think that you are ready for the next step up in the AGB training process – some of us in the county are already on the National Talent Development Programme – at our age I don’t think there could be a tougher competition process than this.
The competitions for Elite archers are very different and something us regular folk don’t usually do.
In between shooting at weekends I am often watching live international competitions being streamed and when you consider how many arrows we might shoot at say a metric all day shoot, these athletes have such a small number of arrows to shoot that if you make a less than perfect start it is hard to get back to win.
I have practised the individual elements with my national coach but this was two days of putting all of that into competition mode.
Saturday I had a rough start after a girl tripped over my bow and completely took it apart with her foot! It did mess with my head and I struggled to settle, it takes many hours of work to get your bow set up and this did affect my shooting in the initial 720 match – but I finished 8th, which I am happy with when I think about it all.
After this there followed a day and a half of head to heads – these are brutal because if you tie it is then a one arrow shoot off with the closest to the centre winning!
Saturday afternoon were round robin to get you ranked for Sunday.
Sunday there were individual head to head competitions – I went out in the quarter final to a boy I know from training and I just thought I would be thrashed by him but I tried hard and made him work and the final score was 6-4 to my opponent which is very respectable against an athlete that wasn’t loosing points for much of the weekend!
In the mixed team event me and my partner Anna came away with Silver and in the open team event me, Harriet and William took another silver.
These team events are tough because there is no coach or adult guidance and we meet our team mates who are mostly strangers and we have a small frame of time to decide ok how are we going to work together and these are very tense matches.
There may not be as many arrows shot as in an all day full competition but what is different is the shooting, stopping for 15 minutes to an hour, then shooting again and so on.
It is here that all that work doing warm ups and cool downs really is very important as your body has to cope with the stopping and starting that this type of competition needs.
By the time we got to the finals on Sunday afternoon quite a few of us cubs were wearing ice packs between shooting and I am very grateful that my AGB coach and physio were there to check on me and the others to make sure we were not injured just aching.
I missed the indoor season 17/18 through a bad injury and had months of physio and care and I know it is important to listen to my body so advise is important.
Monday when my alarm went off to go to school and I told my mum that everything except my eyelashes ached! It is how it felt!!
Today there was a bit of an ache but after a day off I went back up to the field today to shoot, I need to practise on the things I learned over the weekend.
When we left Shuttleworth on Sunday I was so mentally exhausted and drained because so much of this weekend is about the mental side of sport as well as the actual shooting and the stress is huge, in a way we cannot practise.
I am again proud to have been part of the junior athletes that represent our club and our county because we try our hardest and when it doesn’t go how we would wish we look at how we can improve next time.
So well done to Archie Bromley, Ruby Paul, Lulia Petre and Harry Wright, we did well and brought a number of medals back to the county. It was also great to support and be supported by our friends from outside the county that we train with who were also competing and hopefully we will all also soon have a great time in the Junior Outdoor Nationals.
But if you get the chance to take part in this level of competition and you have practised the different bits that make it up, I say go for it, learn from it, it is an amazing experience but be prepared for the stress and strain and the physical and mental fatigue and be kind to your adults, they can only watch as you move around in the different phases of the different bits, often with more than one clipboard for the things you are doing, not because you are double scoring but because you are in individual and team events and you need them with you as you move from one to another. Your parents aren’t around judges and coaches who can explain they have to watch these puzzles and try and keep up whilst cheering you on.
Thank you for reading my report.”
WOAC Junior Rep
If anyone has any questions for Jack, especially juniors, please get in touch with him via Helen Sharpe at:firstname.lastname@example.org
The results from the Archery GB Key Event Stage 2 can be found here: https://www.ianseo.net/Details.php?toId=5776