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A message for GAC Juniors

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Dear GAC Juniors – I am always delighted to see you all on Saturday mornings and to assist the team with coaching and advice.

I know that like the seniors, you all have different reasons for participating in archery; including working towards DoE awards, meeting friends and socialising, shooting for 252 awards and handicaps as well as learning and practicing for competitions.

Our coaching is structured to enable you all to reach your own goals, whatever they may be, however, if you have ambitions to compete at national, international and even Olympic levels, then you will undoubtedly find yourself on a ‘development pathway’

Many of you will know Holly Linfield, who shoots with you on Saturdays when she is not away competing or training, and I have asked Holly if she would write a short article, describing how she progressed from novice archer to the AGB development pathway, which she had kindly agreed to do.

I hope that whatever your ambitions, you will find Holly’s article interesting and inspiring!

Here’s Holly’s article:

“I was asked to write about how I got onto the pathway to help other people get there too, but to be honest I don’t really know how it happened, but I shall try to explain my experience of it.

In 2017, I started shooting at Alton.  Competitions very quickly became something I was interested in, as they gave me something to aim for and motivation to shoot. Over time I started to shoot in lots of them (all over the place, ask my dad – he’s the one that has to drive me there), and they became a way for me to see my progress. They also got my name out there in a way, and, as archery is a relatively small sport, people (both archers, coaches and others) start to recognise you and vice versa if you do enough events outside of your club.

Shooting at junior national competitions was kind of the next step I took in my competitive archery, but I wasn’t really going anywhere without some kind of guidance on where you go onwards from competing at these sorts of events. We looked for a coach so I could improve in both my general technique and my competitive shooting, and in Alton, a junior archer had shot at Aim4Sport with Gaynor, who works with a lot of junior archers looking to take their shooting to county, national, or even international level, and also works closely with AGB. So I went up to Bedford (where Aim4Sport is) and shot with her, which was really eye opening about how far you can actually go with archery if you want to.

This is about when lockdown happened and it affected everyone in archery in different ways. Some used the time to improve their shooting in their garden or wherever they could, and others (me) didn’t practice much at all and ended up with a lot to catch up on afterwards. When things were opening up again, I moved clubs to Guildford, which has been very helpful being able to shoot distances whenever I need, and I started shooting more often with Gaynor. Once you start shooting with people who work at an international level, lots of routes with archery are opened up, and they really depend on how much time you’re willing and able to invest in the sport. Obviously this is different for everyone, as not everyone wants to spend hours each week shooting hundreds of arrows in the garden-some of you might have a social life.

The personal choice element means there isn’t exactly a specific pathway, as training at a higher level is more about working archery around your life than working your life around archery. There are programmes in place-such as NTDP (National Talent Development Program and NAG (National Age Group)-which help you improve so you can work towards shooting at higher levels, but it’s very much dictated by yourself. However, seeing your improvements through scores and competitions is very rewarding, and if you want to put in the time and effort (not just yours, too – as a junior you can’t do everything and go everywhere by yourself), it’s more than worth trying to aim for something big – even if you don’t think you can get there.”


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