August 13, 2006
from A.M. of England:
"Dear Coach Lee,
I have a 12 year old daughter (of a good athletic build for her age) who represents her county on a regular basis shooting the recurve bow. As she is now starting to move up to the next level of her archery. For example, better quality limbs and arrows and increased coaching without making her become bored and turning her away from the sport.
I was wondering how you approach the subject of improving the strength and endurance of a young archer without building increased visible muscle mass that would not be acceptable to see on a young archer or child. Are the techniques employed in the book suitable for juniors? I would say not. Any improvement would I believe allow for a more constant and consistent draw and her 'anchor' to be maintained. Her coach has noticed that the draw may not be being carried out correctly at the moment, i.e. too much weight on her top finger and not spreading the load to the index and lower fingers. I believe we can iron this out from sections of your book and the photographs that go with it.
We also have the problem that she does not really like to eat or drink in the mornings. Which is awkward when it comes to an early start for a competition. Although she will readily drink 'Lucozade' type products and cereal bars. Could hydration in the morning be a substitute for solid food until she or other archers are ready to eat properly? For her it is probably nerves which is something we will have to overcome by mental training before she can reach her true potential.
If you are able to give me any advice for my daughter which I may also pass on to other club members both junior and senior I would be most grateful.
Are you doing any seminars or coaching sessions in the UK that we or other club members could attend as it would be most beneficial?
Many thanks for your time."
I think there are three questions here :
- Strength & Conditioning techniques in the book; are they suitable for Juniors?
Answer: At 12 years old she is in at a very developing stage, both physically and mentally. Physically he bones are still growing and excessive forces on her growth plates must be avoided. I would suggest that you consult a qualified Sports Physiotherapist and explain the physical action required for archery and the physical weight and draw weight of the equipment and the draw weight changes that will be required down the track. They should then be able to provide you with SAFE archery specific strengthening exercises for your daughter.
- Could hydration be a substitute for solid food until she is ready to eat properly?
Answer: Would you put petrol in your tank before you go on a trip or put it in when you feel like it? Again she is at a very developing stage and I would suggest to obtain professional advice from a Sports Dietician. Explain the situation and take it from there.
- Are you doing any seminars in the UK?
Answer: No seminars have been planned for the UK at this stage.
Please make sure that it is your daughter who is the one who really wants to do archery and at the level you are talking about.