Southeast archers preparing for competition

The Southeast Lancer Archery program is taking a step forward this year. For the first time ever they plan to attend competitions.

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Archery started as simply another activity in Mike Bowman’s Great Outdoor class at Southeast Junior High School. They had been borrowing equipment but last year received a $3,500 grant from the National Archery in the Schools Program. The funds paid for bows, arrows, targets and a backdrop so the students can shoot indoors.

Bowman said he is now one of seven teachers in our area who are NASP certified instructors and he hopes to take groups of 12 to 15 students to competitions this November, December and April. While the students currently practice only during the Great Outdoors class, Bowman hopes to eventually have an actual team that will be able to practice before or after school.

While the “Hunger Games” books and movies have stirred interest in the sport, Bowman’s interest in archery began when his son Marcus was in 7th grade.

“He wanted a bow and I had never been around bows before and we got him one,” Bowman said. “He started and then he got me into shooting. I just like going out target practice shooting. It’s just a good sport.”

Bowman likes to have students do archery because it is more about skill than athletic ability.

“Archery is fun, it allows everyone to be good – you don’t have to be the strongest, the fastest, or the star football player,” Bowman said. “My experience is that most of the time the girls are better archers than the boys but you don’t have to be the strongest to compete and have fun shooting archery.”

Bowman said there is an 11 step process to shooting, starting from your stance all the way through your follow through, and he thinks that’s why the junior high girls learn the sport faster.

“I think they pay attention to the process on what it takes,” Bowman said. “I think they’re more detail oriented and focused than boys. Boys are just throwing arrows.”

Bowman said competitions can have hundreds of competitors in one gym so they use whistle commands to alert the archers, so he’s using the same commands to get students used to them.

Each archer shoots 5 arrows from 10 meters, and then they do the scoring. The closer they are to the bullseye the more points they get. They do a total of 3 rounds from 10 meters then do another 3 rounds of 5 arrows from the 15 meter mark. That’s 30 arrows with a high score of 300 possible.

Bowman said during practices communication and being able to quickly do basic math determine how well practice goes. The longer scoring takes and the less the students follow directions, the fewer repetitions they get.

Bowman said some of the other schools in the area have archery as well and he hopes eventually there will also be a small competition closer to home.

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