I’ve really gotten into my groove in NASP archery at school this year and wanted to take the opportunity to share my love of the program with others. Hope you enjoy the transcript of my 2016 Presentation…
I will start with a demonstration of blindfolded archery to demonstrate my skills. Oh, right! I can’t do anything unsafe in a presentation. Guess I will just have save that for 4-H camp this summer!
Good afternoon, honourable judges, fellow 4-H members, family, friends, and guests.
Today I’m going to talk about the National Archery in the Schools Program, also known as NASP. This is currently the fasting growing youth sports program in the world!
First, some history: My love of archery started at the 4-H camp at Battle Lake where I used my first bow. When my parents picked me up, I spent the entire ride home talking about how much I loved archery. My parents bought me a starter bow for my birthday later that month, and I used it so much it wore out within the first few weeks. Grandpa learned to watch out for stray arrows, and I quickly learned to shoot at the side of the bale and not the core — arrows are hard to dig out! Anyhow, as a result, my parents enrolled me in the National Archery in the Schools Program.
NASP was originally developed for schools in the state of Kentucky in the U.S. by that state’s fish and wildlife department. The pilot project started with 21 schools. The goal was to enroll 120 schools and teach target archery skills to 24,000 students within three years. The program grew so explosively that they achieved this within ONE YEAR! Also, because the program quickly grew beyond one state, the name was changed from the Kentucky Archery in the Schools Program to the National Archery in the Schools Program.
So why are schools adopting NASP? It teaches motor skills to students. It improves their listening and observational skills. They learn patience, persistence, and self-reliance. They develop self-confidence and also camaraderie with their fellow archers. NASP is almost always the most inclusive sport in any school because it is open to students of any gender or ability level from grades four and up. Modifications and other accommodations allow disabled archers — those in a wheelchair, for example — to participate fully in the program! This athlete competed next to me in the Nationals last week.
NASP has partnered up with specific manufacturers to create standardized equipment. The bows are made by a company called Mathews and are known as the Genesis original.. It is a compound bow with an adjustable draw weight between 10 and 20 pounds. All of the bows have the same maximum draw length.
The arrows come from a company named Easton and are known as the Genesis arrow. They have an aluminum shaft, plastic fletching, and a beveled point that is designed to do minimal damage to a gym floor during a stray shot — gyms being where a lot of archery is done over the winter. They are longer than the maximum draw of all Genesis bows, preventing overdrawing accidents.
The targets are made to NASP standards by company’s like Morrell, and they use the same standard 80 cm target face everyone has seen in Olympic archery.
The most important point about NASP’s equipment system is that students all have to use the same gear. There is no way that someone with more money for better bows and arrows can outshoot students of lesser means. Everyone using the same stuff means that the only way to advance in the program is by advancing your skill as an archer.
NASP has developed a simple system to help archers grow their skills safely and effectively. They call it the 11 Steps to Archery Success, which I will demonstrate. I can’t actually draw an arrow on my bow here for safety reasons, so I will just simulate drawing instead.
- Stance: Your feet straddle the shooting line, shoulder width apart.
- Nock Arrow: Place the arrow below the nock point on the string with the different colour index vane pointing outward.
- Drawing Hand Set: Grasp string slightly below the arrow using the ‘archer’s crook’.
- Bow Hand Set: Place your other hand in the bow handle, rotating it outwards for string clearance.
- Pre-Draw: Starting from a relaxed stance, raise bow and aim at target before drawing string back.
- Draw: Pull or draw the string back towards your face.
- Anchor: Anchor by touching your index finger to the corner of your mouth. Maintain full draw.
- Aim: Sight down your arrow toward the target and align.
- Shot Set-Up: Begin rearward release movement.
- Release: Relax fingers and back of hand while continuing to pull back with your drawing arm.
- Follow-Through/Reflection: Your bow moves out and is lowered. Reflect upon your shot so you can adjust as necessary.
My experience is that the more closely an archer follows these steps, the more they will improve their skills. Last year I didn’t place at all in our school division’s annual archery tournament. This year I took first place amongst grade nine girls and earned the bronze medal for Jr. High Girls. The 11 steps worked for me.
I am a big fan of the National Archery in the Schools Program. It’s safe, it’s effective, it offers a level playing field, and it’s open to everyone regardless of physical ability, even to those with disabilities! It’s no wonder that in just fifteen years it has grown from a handful of schools and a hundreds of students in one U.S. state to over 2.2 million student archers this year in different countries all around the world! Personally, I’m glad that it’s in my school. If it’s not in yours, ask your principal about having it brought in. NASP will help put you on target for life.
All information in this presentation was sourced from NASP’s Website at naspschools.org. I am now ready for my question from the judges.