School kids learning a new sportBy BRITTNEY MANGUM,
When most people think about school sports, they think about football, basketball, baseball, and other traditional sports programs. There is one sport that both Enterprise and Quitman have that does not get much recognition, though: archery.
With archery, students who may not be athletic enough to play some of the other sports can excel in a sport of their own. Instead of requiring the skills to be fast or strong, archery focuses on the skills of focus, discipline, and muscle memory. While in the program, students learn the 11 steps to successful shooting.
There may be some who question whether it is really safe to hand up to 24 students a bow and arrow and ask them to shoot it, but archery is actually statistically the safest sport in schools. The students are highly disciplined in how they handle the equipment and must pay attention to signals to know when and where to move to.
In order to create consistency throughout the schools, the program only allows the students to use a Genesis Original bow in the competition. The only thing that can be changed on the bows is the draw weight, which can be adjusted from 11 to 20 pounds. During a match, each archer is able to earn up to 300 points. The competitors shoot four sets of five arrows, with the first set being practice and the last three sets scored. They shoot the sets from each of two distances: 10 meters and 15 meters. The archers keep up with their scores on a scantron between each set.
“Every student will have a chance to shoot,” stated Enterprise Coach, Jeffrey Gibbs. “They don’t have to worry about whether or not they will get play time, because it is guaranteed that every member of the team will have a chance.”
Once the archers have completed all of the sets, they run the scantrons through a machine to see what their total points are. Awards are given to the top 12 scoring students—the top four boys, top four girls, and top four scores in all—and those top scores are then added together to get a total team score to determine who wins the match. Teams are able to compete against each other all around the region before attending semi-finals and finals.
Enterprise School District
Enterprise has been competing in the archery program for eight years. When they first started out, they were given a a grant by NASP to purchase some bows and targets to get started.
The team has been very successful since they started. This past year, they qualified for the state championship and finished seventh in their division.
“I like how any student is able to participate in archery,” stated Coach Jeffrey Gibbs. “It’s coed, so both genders can play. I have some football boys on the team, but I also have a lot of students who don’t play any other sport.”
Quitman School District
Quitman’s archery program was started six years ago at the junior high by John James. Instead of only doing archery as a sport, it is also a part of the PE curriculum.
Each year, the team works hard and shows improvement.
“We have a very determined group,” stated Coach Amanda Reeves.
Unfortunately for the school, the equipment is six years old and has to be shared with the PE classes during the day. The team needs funds to purchase their own equipment, and they intend to contact local businesses in the future to try and get sponsors to help raise the funds they need.
“We are in desperate need of our own equipment, and we have never owned the scanner that reads our score cards. As it is, we have to add score cards by hand for each home match,” explained Coach Reeves. “We will need to purchase two NASP kits and a scanner, score cards, and additional tools and parts, which totals approximately $8,000.”
The team has been working with what it has for many years, but they would love to have some sponsors donate to help them raise the funds to update and purchase much needed equipment.