9-11 April 2021
In light of the disappointing news that the Youth Nationals had been postponed for a second year in a row, Armidale Archers put on a 'friendly' three day competition open to all youth archers who wanted to take part.
Originally the idea of Steve Jennison from Warringah Archers, where he wanted an event that the Warringah youths could travel to, to give them a sense of 'going away', the idea was pitched to Armidale Archers.
Dennis, Margaret and Ella Rose Carson were quick to respond. They opened up their course to all youth archers and created a three day event consisting of a day of field archery, a short course (Canberra Round) and a round robin matchplay on the Sunday morning. The Field and Canberra rounds were also QREs.
From Coast Archers, we had David, Holly and Jamie attend the competition. They were very excited about going away for the weekend and competing over three days. David had never competed at Armidale before, but Holly and Jamie had.
A true success…
Without a doubt the event ran smoothly. Armidale opened up the target range for us on Thursday afternoon with every distance and relevant field targets already put up.
As the afternoon progressed more and more people turned up, there was lots of catching up to do – as some of the archers hadn't seen each other in well over 12 months. I think that this was a true sign of how important Youth Archery events are.
The event ran smoothly on all three days, and the athletes (and parents) all had a great time. The event was opened up to parents who also wanted to shoot and I was lucky enough to shoot with Dennis Carson and Dan Alter on Friday and Saturday – both with vast experience under their belt.
I think the competition name 'Youth Spirit' really summed up this event. Without a doubt there was a lot of spirit amongst the athletes. They had fun catching up, there was banter between them, but they also got down to business. There were some PBs, some disappointments and some friendly rivalry. Everyone had a great time and went home happy!
Thank you Armidale, without a doubt this was a great success!
Day 1 – Field
Armidale has one of the best 24 target field courses in NSW. I haven't shot all the courses in NSW but If I would rank this in my top three it would be as follows:
Illawarra (Mount Kiera)
Westlakes (Lake Macquarie)
The course is challenging and offers a variety of hard downhill targets and some hard uphill ones too. You might find yourself shooting across gullies and into them as well.
The archers mostly went in threes to divide the numbers equally and some were joined by a film crew from Channel 7 on the way!
Everyone had a great time even though most had not shot field for a long time and were fairly out of practice.
Day 2 – Target
One of the best rounds that caters for different age divisions are the Canberra Rounds, 90 arrows with 30 arrows at different distances moving closer by 10 metres each distance – The 20 and Under and Cadet divisions start off at 60 metres, Intermediates start at 50 metres and Cubs at 40 metres.
This is perfect because the differing distances even up the playing field across all age divisions.
Day 3 – Matchplay
I think most archers had great fun with this event – a round robin matchplay where each archer shoot the distance they would normally shoot for a 720. That meant that if you were 20 and under division you shoot 50 metres on an 80cm face and if you were a cub, you shoot 30 metres on a 122cm face. That evens things up, and allows a cub to be in a match with a 20 and Under.
The organisation for this was excellent and the matches ran quickly and smoothly. Each match consisted of three ends (sets), the winner of a set received 2 points, a draw earned 1 point each and if you lost you got zero.
The winner would be the person who won the most matches on the day.
It was with no surprise that Alyssa won, But David came second and Jamie came third! The two boys were stoked with that result!
Jamie – Cub Compound
"Because the Youth Nationals were postponed, Armidale Archers put on the Youth Spirit event for us. It was Field on day one, Target on Day two and Matchplay on day 3.
I didn’t do the field course. It is a hard course. I thought I would just do the target rounds.
I had a couple of highlights. I was able to hang around with David when we weren’t shooting, and we played lots of table tennis!!!
I also drew with Alyssa in one set in the matchplay which was pretty cool (but she won the match).
I did okay in the target round. Quite well at 40 metres, not so well at 30 metres but really well at 20 metres!
On Sunday they did a matchplay and that was cool. I kept on winning my matches and I came third!
It was good to see lots of juniors come up for the competition and it was pretty cool to go and do some sight seeing too. The waterfalls are amazing!"
David – Intermediate Compound
"As disappointed as I was that the youth nationals were cancelled, this event was perfect for my development. Mum, baby Flynn and I made the trek to Armidale on Thursday to attend a practice before the field comp on Friday. The evening brought an amazing meal of tacos cooked by Barry! They were so good!
I had heard that the Armidale field course was challenging, so I was keen to start especially when I was grouped up with Alyssa and Alex to complete the course. I put into practice all the advice I had been given by both my coaches to shoot a PB. Alyssa was also really helpful towards me.
On Saturday I competed in the target comp. I shot a Short Canberra and achieved another PB and my highest rating to date. I was proud of the way I shot and I have out this down to the quality help I have received and the practice I have been putting in.
Back at the camp ground was another amazing meal and a good nights sleep after a spectacular trip to Dangers Falls.
Match play was a fun light hearted comp and I really enjoyed it. I came second to Alyssa and that’s a result I am proud of.
Overall I met lots of awesome people and made new friends over this special weekend.
Thanks to my coaches Kelvin and Steve for all the help you have given me!
Holly – Cub Compound
"This was the first time I had drawn a bow since falling over at school and spraining my wrist three and a half weeks ago. I was a bit anxious but looking forward to the event.
We arrived on Thursday and put in a reasonable practice. I felt I was shooting okay, but lacked strength. It was great to see other familiar faces turn up, especially Maja from Warringah who I have known for a few years now.
Our team mate David also arrived soon after us. Thursday was spent getting sight settings and having a general practice.
Later that evening we caught up with David, his mum Megan and his baby brother Flynn for dinner. Dad made tacos for us all – it was a pretty cool evening!
Next day was the field event. I have shot the course before and it is one of my favourite field courses, but also the hardest I have ever shot. I went around with Jack and Gabby from Warringah. They are both red peggers, so I had to shoot by myself on the yellow peg.
I didn’t shoot so well and was way off my previous score for this course, but that was to be expected after my injury. I still finished the course though and had a lot of fun. Even though I have seen Jack and Gabby at other events that I have attended, I have never shot with them before. Being able to shoot with other people, from other clubs, says to me that it is worth being a Coast Archer.
That afternoon, James, David, and I all hung out in the games room at the holiday park we were staying at. We played pool and table tennis and had a great time! We had an awesome steak for dinner that Megan brought up for us.
Saturday was the short course event. Once again I didn’t shoot so well as I had some target panic, but it was great to see the other youth archers there.
On Saturday Afternoon, we all went to Dangars Falls outside Armidale which was totally cool. The sunset was amazing.
I think it was great that they put on this event for us as the Nationals were cancelled!"
They pulled a rabbit out of a hat…
I think Armidale did what others failed to do. They pulled a rabbit out of a hat and gave our youth archers a weekend away and a wonderful event and some memories to take home.
From my perspective it was great to see all the kids together again (although many of them are not kids anymore as they are driving, going to Uni, etc).
Also, Holly had a disappointing time in the comp after her hiatus. She was not going to score a PB, but we never expected her to get extreme target panic either – thats a first. But that was met with compassion and I can't thank Steve and Dennis enough for helping her through that and keeping her spirit alive. And while Alyssa Mollema has been mentioned a few times throughout this blog, she also gave Holly some encouragement – Holly and Alyssa have known each other for a few years now, and that meant a lot to Holly.
Jamie, went from saying, 'Dad I don't want to compete' to coming third in the matchplay. Today at our own range he decided that he was going to shoot 50 metres for the first time and shot really well – the event reignited the fire in his belly.
Holly worked on herself today as well and shot brilliantly. She listened to Dennis, Steve, Alyssa (and her physio) and put into practice what they had all told her. Hopefully the target panic is a short blip caused by the wrist sprain…
David identified what he needs to do to improve, which is general fitness and has been going on tough walks each day to improve his fitness in field.
All in all this event gave our youth archers some things to take home.
One thing stood out, it definitely lifted their spirit… Thank you Armidale!
Youth Competitions this year
Well we still don't know if there will be a National Youth Championships this year. I think there should be, perhaps at one location on the mainland. Armidale have hosted it before and I think they would be more than capable of hosting it again…
Liverpool City Archers are hosting a youth event on May 30 - event details are yet to be published.
The 4th Coast Archers Youth Challenge is on 4th July and will be an awesome competition – there is a Team Event and an Individual Event. All clubs are challenged to put forward all your youth archers! For more details and registration click here.
Warringah Kidbow is on November 13th. Kidbow has become an iconic event on the calendar. It is shot at 20m. Might sound easy, but the best archers attempt to clean 900. Beginner archers get to try competition for the first time in friendly conditions. There is always a matchplay with a cash prize and it is a fun event that all juniors should attend. For registration and further details click here.
And lets hope that there will be a proper Youth National Championships…