This archery parent is happy to be home. This year marked our third Outdoor JOAD Nationals. There are a few things that remain consistent at this tournament. The weather has always proven to affect the archers. There are podium upsets and new archers shining through the pressure. USA Archery does an amazing, simply amazing job of running the tournament. And, it is always a learning experience.
This year the weather did cause issues for most archers. The wind and temperatures certainly played a roll on day two of qualifications. Archers that never miss the target, missed. Smiles shined coming off the line with the arrow scoring a 5 instead of a zero. Archers were thrilled when all the arrows stayed on the target each end. With up to 35 miles per hour gusts, the bows and the archers swayed and battled holding for hours. It was an exhausting day for all.
The past three years, the podium at times reflects different winners than seen at other tournaments. These are not incapable archers by any stretch. In fact, it is a very exciting time in youth archery. The talent pool has grown and continues to grow. What may be reflected is the difference in preparation coming into the tournament. This youth group is hungry to reach the top. Maybe the hunger coming in makes a difference?
USA archery had a tremendous job of facilitating and creating a fair field for just under 1200 archers. This is no easy feat. The man power required is awesome. This tournament ran smoothly and efficiently. Thank you, USA Archery. The venue was so large and costly that the JOAD and Target Nationals will be split into two separate tournaments next year. For this archery parent, there are conflicting opinions. It is great to have a tournament dedicated to just the youth. However, with many families having parents competing as well, this would double expenses for some. Additionally, for the youth, it takes away the element of having the top pro archers on the field and the excitement of watching the top competitors.
Personal learning experiences come at all tournaments. For this year, the archer had an item misplaced by TSA upon arrival. Thankfully, the archer bought some backup items and Lancaster Archery Supply was on site for the purchase of the rest of the items. There were learning experience on face pressure and the effects it has on arrows in the target. Thankfully, he is determined enough to go to the practice field after working through frustration and disappointment and figure it out. Mentally, this prepared him for a great final day at team rounds.
Upon returning home, the archer reflected, more work could have been done to prepare better. Staying on his training schedule, he was back at practice 12 hours after returning, not missing a beat. Some additional tuning is being done and thoughts on having the equipment rock solid were being tested. SoCal Showdown is less than three weeks away. Archery is a sport that requires consistency to maintain not only current levels but the ability to improve.
This archery parent will add, that the archer did well. This blog is not really about the archer. However, it really is all about the archer. As a parent to a young archer that has worked his way through the levels of youth archery, and wants to make the jump in the next year or two to the adult level, there is more wisdom still to gain.