With the 2023 Island Games in Guernsey fast approaching, the Club focused on Team building at the weekend. With the help of a grant from Island Games sponsor Natwest, through their International Sport Development Programme, and money raised through bag packing, the Club was able to afford the services of international coaches Tony Drabble and Clive Jeacock. The boys have a longstanding relationship with the Isle of Man Archery Club and their coaching event during the Indoor season is an annual fixture. This time the Club members who had made the selection criteria got the benefit of an intensive mixture of training, coaching and kit fettling outdoors at Greeba.
Saturday morning was given over to tuning the bows and making sure everything was ship shape. Danny Cowin, who has struggled in recent months discovered that this was largely due to his bow being misaligned. Clive and Tony worked on it for most of the morning and the results were immediate and impressive. Alex Allen-Snell had an entirely new bow to set up and get to grips with. Compound archer Joy Gough got her bow balanced and a clarifier installed. Once the bows were tuned, it was the archers turn. Bad habits were gradually eradicated, and techniques were either tweaked or changed altogether. The afternoon was given over to a ½ Fita, 18 arrows at each of four distances (90/70/50/30m for the Gents and 70/60/50/30m for the Ladies). In this way the archers and the coaches could gauge progress.
Sunday saw the archers being put through their paces in a 720 round – 72 arrows at a single distance: 70m for Recurves, 50m for Compounds. Barbara Harris, whose world had been going south since midnight on Thursday either due to a stomach bug or a dodgy tuna salad, arrived to join the fun. Dosed up on Imodium, Dioralite and VitB 2 and looking like an extra from The Walking Dead, Harris somehow managed to shoot for the entire day. In fact, Clive Jeacock thought that Barbara made the draw look too easy and so began to wind weight onto the limbs. The once inert bow seemed to come to life under her hands and Barbara’s confidence and scores began to climb. As did everyone else’s over the course of the weekend.
The final part of the day was given over to practising the team events, getting the rotation on and off the line and in and out of the 1m box against the clock. Important to get right as the team will be penalized if they don’t let their colleague clear the line before they step in. With only 20 seconds to shoot each arrow, there is no margin for error. All done under the watchful eye of Clive and Tony – speed should not come at the expense of form.
It was an amazingly productive and positive two days. The team managers Pete Mumford and Alison Cowin were also on hand as they will be in Guernsey. Alison constantly brewing up tea and coffee and dispensing cake and affirmative comments. Her efforts were much appreciated by everyone, whether she was spotting an arrow or pressing a cup into the hands of an exhausted archer. The team is more than just the shooters. The squad would like to thank everyone for their help, especially Clive and Tony. The rest is up to us. Let the Games begin.