By Keaton Chia, Program Director, Easton Archery Center of Excellence
Archery is an age-old sport. Conversely it is also a sport for all ages. From young to old, archery truly captures the imagination. This is evident with the growing interest in the sport with popular movies such as “The Hunger Games” and television shows like “Arrow” prominently featuring the sport. It has a special draw that urges people to pick up a bow and arrow. From the first shot, especially for young archers, there are many paths and opportunities available. At the Easton Archery Center of Excellence, we aim to open the eyes of young archers to the many possibilities for them in archery as well as what it will take to achieve those dreams.
Located at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., our facility is a high performance-training center dedicated to the sport of Olympic-style archery. Our primary users are the Resident Athletes (RA) of USA Archery who train full time. While the RAs range in age, many of them are quite young, in their teens or early twenties. Having a dedicated archery center affords them the best possible training environment to achieve their Olympic aspirations. They are able to live on site, train at 70 meters (the distance shot in the Olympics) both indoors and outdoors, work out in our gym, tune equipment in the workshop equipped with a high speed camera and 3D motion capture system, and more. Many of these archers were successful in youth divisions before taking this step into full time training, which is reflective of the pathway archery provides from first shot to elite shooters.
What does this mean for young archers? Alongside the high performance training of the RA program, our center offers a variety of opportunities for archers to come and experience what it means to “train for excellence”, as we say here. We host youth development programs such as the USA Archery Junior Dream Team program as well as our own training camps for youth clubs, school teams, collegiate teams, and more. By blending high performance athletes with developing archers we are able to teach lessons that can only be learned from experience and those interactions.
Archery is a very simple sport at heart, however one quickly discovers that the lessons it offers are endless. In the same way, we hope young athletes will discover new sides of the sport they love by being immersed in the culture and environment here. We want them to see both what it takes to step into this next level of high performance archery as well as see it is possible to continue challenging themselves in exciting ways to attain a new level of mastery of their bow. The RA’s who train at the center are on an incredible journey of growth and success. With their bow in hand, we know young archers will be inspired and encouraged as they find their way to archery success.