So...How do I get Started?
Beginning Archery Brochure
Click on image
the Starting out information below provides
how a JOAD Youth Archer can succeed.
Link to Youth Clubs in
Archery has many disciplines,
Target and Olympic style, 3D where you shoot at animal shaped targets,
field archery in the great outdoors and hunting to name a few types.
Arizona Junior Olympic Archery Development (AZJOAD) is of value to all
types of archery. We call the youth archer a "JOAD".
Participate in classes using
“club bows and arrows”.
First the youth, age 8 to 18,
has some sort of interest in archery. They saw it on TV, they had a
chance to shoot in school as part of the “National Archery in the Schools”
program, or they have friends that do it, or recently they saw it in the
movies. Here are the steps for a typical JOAD to get going
First, go to a JOAD club and
take the class for at least eight weeks. A listing of Arizona “Clubs
is above. Note that the clubs are open to all on a day-by-day,
session-by-session basis. Some may offer a place for both youths and
parents to learn.
During the eight weeks, the
JOAD finds out if they have potential or If they like it. It is essential
that the JOAD ask for help. Sometimes the best way to ask for help
is to ask the instructor to watch them shoot. JOAD clubs are
typically made up of adult volunteers that have been trained and certified
by the NAA as Instructors/Coaches. Again, they are volunteers, so be
If the instructor indicates that there is promise after a couple months of
shooting then maybe it’s time to take the next step. The JOADs
attitude and “coach ability” are critical to future success.
USA Archery (also called the NAA, National Archery Association)
Become a National Archery
www.usarchery.org. May I suggest a family membership that will provide
the whole family with membership and provides the USA Archery magazine.
The magazine and websites are a good source of information. Another
great source of information is to speak with the advanced JOADs and their
Interested adults can become
NAA certified Instructor / Coaches / Judges. Adult volunteers do not
need to be great archers. Clubs welcome volunteers.
Get your own equipment.
To take the next step the JOAD
need their own, properly sized and “tuned” equipment, bow, arrows,
and accessories. This is where your local proshop comes in.
Find the shop that will sell you the equipment, provide service to tune it
up, and be there when you need help. Some shops focus on hunters and
don’t or can’t help JOADs. Just ask the shop if they will tune the
arrows to the bow and archer.
Bow type is a big question.
For competition there are two
basic types of bows, the recurve or Olympic bow and the compound bow.
Many JOAD start with one type of bow and then switch to another. Your JOAD
instructor can sometimes suggest the bow type based on the physical makeup
of the JOAD.
I often hear that a JOAD or
parent wants to become a recurve archer so they can go to the Olympics
someday. Remember that the Olympics only take place once every four
years. But, every year the USA selects teams (junior and/or senior world
teams) for international competitions. I would not hold your breath
for the Olympics to include compound bows, but the Olympics is not the end
all by any means. Again, look to the advanced JOADs and their
parents for an opinion. They have gone through what you are just
about to. Ask them, most are eager to share their story. And
before you purchase, check the JOADs eye dominance one more time just to
Compound bows and arrows can
be purchased quite successfully from Arizona local archery shops because
of the similarity to the hunting bow. Significant differences are
that target compound bow archers typically use “long” stabilizers, light
arrow rests, movable sight with extension, scopes and special pressure
releases. Most JOADs can start out with what is essentially a
hunting package. The decision to just get shooting or to purchase a
target archery bow and accessories depends on your circumstances.
JOADs should look for a compound bow that has a large range in draw length
and poundage adjustment to allow the JOAD to grow.
you are not quite sure about the commitment and want to keep the purchase
within reason, then purchase a wood (Internature, Bullseye) or polymer (Rolan
Dakota and Suprise) or an entry level metal riser (PSE Optima) bow with
removable and changeable limbs the Evolution II which uses the
International Limb Fitting System (ILF). Most JOADs will want to start
with 15, 20 or 25lb limbs. I have seen many a JOAD start with too heavy
limbs and then give up because of the difficulty. It just isn’t fun to
struggle or tire prematurely. The relatively light 20 to 25 lb limbs work
just fine indoors and can and have won National and World Championships.
Some of the accessories to
look for are Cavalier or Beiter arrow rests, plungers, clickers and
Sureloc or Toxonics sights that “click”. These accessories can often
be transferred to a move-up bow later on. There are charts to size a
bow to at JOAD. JOAD typically should consider a 62” bow for the
smaller person and 66” for the larger youth. Bigger is not better.
Bigger is often just heavier, clumsier and awkward.
I must be truthful here.
We went right from using the JOAD club bow to an International limb system
high performance recurve bow. The bow was a bit large and heavy and
we upgraded the riser and limbs after a year. We purchased
accessories like the sight, plunger, and finger tab that we continue to
use. Let your pocket book be your guide and borrow to try things out
whenever you can. (FYI a high performance bow setup can easily cost
between $1000 and $2000 plus arrows)
An interesting bow option is
the Genesis bow that more and more school programs are using. Many
JOADs will want a Genesis because it’s what they are accustomed too.
Several archers of differing draw length can use it. They have a
constant draw weight so it’s well suited for JOADs. Many families
own a Genesis as a training bow to reinforce their form.
Aluminum arrows are the best
choice for indoors. Size 2315 is the biggest arrows the NAA allows.
The arrow length and tip weight all need to be tuned to the archer.
Youth arrow charts and computer programs help here. Ask your shop.
You typically only shoot three arrows indoors so purchasing a ½ dozen
arrow is just fine. I like Easton aluminum arrows sized in the mid
to high teens (Jazz, Platinum, Cobalt’s, Eclipse and X7). Feathers
are great for indoors.
Always check out your pro shop
first. There is no substitute for personal service and advice.
But, if they can't help, your next step may be Lancaster archery is the
most well-known mail order archery supply house. They are fine when
you know exactly what you need and for things that don’t require any
service and if you don’t mind the merchandise return limitations and
process. Lancaster archery fills the need to purchase items that
your local shop doesn’t stock or items not receive regularly received.
Beiter has a local Arizona
distributor so their products are readily available in just a few days
from your local shop. Cavalier is a Gilbert AZ company so their
products are only days away from your local shop, too. PSE is a
major bow manufacturer located in Tucson.
Most stores will not stock
what the JOAD exactly needs. Be patient and allow plenty of time for
the store to collect all the parts. A friendly weekly reminder of
call is sometimes needed.
Remember if your JOAD is left
eye dominant, then they should be shooting left handed. Many
accessories come in right hand or left hand. Unless you specify
differently, it is usually assumed right handed.
Once the JOAD has their tuned
equipment, its time to train. My guess that most practice at least
three times a week by getting a range pass at the local shop and shooting
in the garage or back yard. Phoenix is lucky to have three full size
outdoor ranges, Usery, Papago and Ben Avery.
Coaching can “happen” in
One way is to have the JOAD
club instructor give one thing to work on each week at the club shoot.
The JOAD then has a week or two to master the technique before moving to
the next item.
Another way is to seek regular
private lessons. Ask other advanced JOADs about their coaching.
Regular private lesson is the best way to see improvement in the JOADs
Your JOAD will perform at
their best if they are well nourished and well hydrated. They should
not be fueled by caffeine or sugar.
Once a JOAD has a bow and some
arrows they can compete. A youth archer competes in specific
divisions such as girl, boy, compound, recurve and age. Visit
www.usarchery.com , the
Arizona Archery Association and or the excellent
Texas State Archery Association for tournaments. For most
tournaments are open, one need only be a NAA member and pay the entry fee.
It’s that easy!
JOAD compete in
different age classifications.
Note that the year of birth,
not age, determines JOAD classification.
As a result these JOADs classifications are for the entire calendar year (Jan. 1 thru Dec.
31), so you don’t have to change classification during an entire indoor /
outdoor tournament season.
Classifications (Jan 1, 2013 thru Dec. 31, 2013):
2013 Yeoman, born in 2004 or later
(up to and in the year of their 9th Birthday)
2013 Bowman, born in 2001, 2002, or 2003
(up to and in the year of their 12th Birthday)
2013 Cub, born in 1999 or 2000
(up to and in the year of their 14th Birthday)
2013 Cadet, born in 1996, 1997, or 1998
(up to and in the year of their
2013 Junior, born in 1993, 1994, or 1995
(up to and in the year of their
You may “shoot-up” to an
older division as long as you shoot the older division requirements.
The TSAA site has a birth
day/division “calculator” check it out. Remember the classifications
change on Jan. 1
JOAD Age Division Calculator
Ultimate JOAD goals include
the Junior US Archery team, University Level teams, World Championship and
the Olympics. After JOAD is the Senior Archery world. (Yes,
anyone older than 18 is referred to as a Senior)
There are other archery
organizations such as the National Field Archery Association (NFAA).
Investigate them if JOAD is not quite what you had in mind.
Sign up for the free Texas
State Archery Association's JOAD newsletter which is emailed out
periodically. It contains stories and information from around the
country. Sign-up by emailing
and Subscribe by entering your NAME as the body of the message.
Dedication and discipline can
take a JOAD youth far in the sport of archery. The steps to success
are different for each archer. Our experience has been:
First, learn the basics with
JOAD club bows.
Second, establish a
relationship with a “bow tech type person” that can advise you on
equipment and help you set up the bow. This person may be found at
an archery store or be a JOAD volunteer.
Third, seek advanced training
or coaching. Arizona has great-dedicated Archery coaches. Some
are volunteers. For others, teaching and coaching is their
Fourth, compete at
tournaments. The JOAD community is small on the State level.
Beginners routinely “win” their division!
Practice each step of the way.
The local archery shops with
JOAD programs are the logical place for indoor practice.
Outdoor practice in the
Phoenix metro area is available at Ben Avery in the Northwest valley and
Usery Mountain Park in east Mesa and Papago Park in the Central Valley.
Phoenix has a seldom-used range, El Oso Park on the west side.
Tucson has the PSE facility with both an indoor and outdoor range.
Payson and Prescott Valley have shops too.
JOADs using light poundage
bows need light arrows to be able to make the long distances and skinny
arrows so the wind doesn’t blow the arrows far off course. Most
advanced JOADs start with Easton ACC carbon aluminum arrows. A year
later they move up to more costly ACE or X10s.
CT McKinney makes some very
nice thin carbon arrows too. Ask your shop.
Finally, it is my
pleasure to answer the questions that I had when we first started out.
Please do not hesitate to email me with questions.
Arizona Junior and Collegiate Archery
8681 East Via De