Ben Humphrys

How did you first get involved in your sport?

I got into archery 10 years ago when I completed a 6 week beginners course with my dad at Hampstead Bowmen archery club in London and found out I was very good at it. I started shooting with an Olympic Recurve bow at the London Youth Games winning Bronze, Silver & Gold medals and the Gold elimination cup. I carried on with doing more GNAS tournaments with the recurve bow but quickly realized that the compound bow was more suited to me which was when I started competing in NFAS Field archery winning every tournament I ever entered, including all the major championships. From there I went back to GNAS target archery. I wanted to compete for England and Great Britain and after a few years hard practice I did just that. I shot for England in the Home Nations event in the indoor junior nationals and then the Euro-Nations where I won individual gold and helped to win team gold as well with the highest scores of the tournament. After my success with the England team I progressed to shooting for Team GB in the Europa Cup and European Championships in the same year.

 

What are your long term targets?

To re-gain a place on the Archery GB Junior Squad, shoot for England at the Commonwealth Games and Great Britain at other International tournaments.

What do you enjoy the most about being a sportsperson?

The doors that open with being recognised as an outstanding athlete and the great feeling you get when you have a medal around your neck at the end of a hard days competition. Also being able to put something back into the sport like helping others less able to enjoy the sport you do. The discipline and dedication that you gain that help you cope better with real life situations.

 

What do you do in your free time?

With my current job I have very little free time as I am personal trainer working 15 hours most days. However before this I enjoyed trying new activities like Falconry and Clay Pigeon shooting. In the evening I would train in the gym, listen to music and play video games.

 

How has your SportsAid Award from Aim4sport helped you this year?

With the award I have been able to change bows and have noticed a rise in my indoor scores already which has motivated me more than ever to keep training hard so I can continue shooting well throughout the outdoor season.

 

Key achievements

3 National records for 50m 122cm face, 40m 80cm face, and equalled 5 others

24 County records

24 Club records

595/600 Portsmouth

300/300 Worcester

Fita 18: 574

Gents Fita: 1341

90m: 320

70m: 341

50m: 345

30m: 359

 

2013 Middlesex Senior Indoor Champion 579/600

2013 Aquarius Portsmouth Champion 580/600

2013 Middlesex Worcester league team Champion with my dad (perfect score again 300/300)

I have also recently qualified as a Level 1 Archery Coach and this has enabled me to assist in the coaching of disabled children, vulnerable adults and even those who are visually impaired which I have found to be very rewarding. Success in my sport has opened a number of doors and some of my greatest achievements include shooting at Lords Cricket Ground for the IOC team and Lord Seb Coe, helping to win the London 2012 Olympic bid;  being part of the Olympic Coca-Cola advert           “Move to the Beat” with DJ Mark Ronson and singer Katy B; I shot at Lords a second time, performing a demonstration for  Lloyds TSB Go for Gold who were one of the sponsors for the Games meeting Jonathan Edwards; I was invited to the House of Commons where I met Sally Gunnell MBE; demonstrated archery for the Conservative party at their summer event and I have appeared in numerous local newspapers and magazines as well as archery magazines in one of which I featured on the front cover with a two page spread inside, Live TV, BBC news, DVDs and Radio on various occasions.

When I first started archery I competed in the London Youth Games winning Bronze, Silver and Gold in consecutive years and as a result being awarded Most Outstanding Boy in Camden two years in succession which no-one else has achieved in the Borough.

Interests

I have been a very sporty individual from a young age with interests in tennis, table tennis, badminton, weightlifting, basketball, rifle and clay pigeon shooting and fly fishing.

Two Bow set ups

Indoors

Mathews Conquest C4 & (Spare Bow) Hoyt Contender Elite Cam ½ XT 2000 Limbs

Draw length: 27 inches

Stabilisers: Doinker long rod, Easton side rod

Arrows: X7 Eclipses 2315, 200 grain pro points

Quiver: Angel

Weights: 4 weights on long rod, 3 side weights on short rod

Sight: Sureloc Challenger

Scope: Black Eagle 29mm 0.7 magnification lens

Release aid: True ball back-tension

Arrow Rest: Trophy Taker, 10 blade rest

 

Outdoors

Mathews Conquest C4 & (Spare Bow) Hoyt Contender Elite Cam ½ XT 2000 Limbs

Draw length: 27 inches

Stabilisers: Doinker long rod, 1 Easton side rod

Arrows: X10 Protours 470,120 grain tungsten points

Quiver: Angel

Weights: 4 weights on long rod, 3 side weights on short rod

Sight: Sureloc Challenger

Scope: Black Eagle 29mm 0.7 magnification lens

Release aid: True ball back-tension

Arrow Rest: Trophy Taker, 10 blade rest

 

Tips

Overcoming Target Panic for compound shooters

The answer to overcoming this problem is to seek the assistance of a professional coach who may use one of the following methods. Failure to do so can result in the end of a good archer’s career of which I know many who have given up for good. I would say that nearly all compound archers may suffer with this at some point in their career and I am proof that with the right assistance and training methods you can get back on top of your game at the highest level. Methods that I found useful were:

  • Changing my release aid from a wrist trigger to a hand held back tension release with a safety.
  • Standing in front of a blank boss (no target face) at 5 metres shoot hundreds of arrows until your mind and body sync together so that shooting the arrow can be done like driving a car.
  • The whole purpose of using a back tension release is your mind is now not telling your finger to punch the release to fire the bow, you are now focusing on pulling your rear elbow down and back using your upper back muscles and rhomboids so the bow fires itself in a smooth, fluent motion.
  • Some coaches advocate that you shoot with your eyes closed and of course at very close range, so that you take away the element of vision so that your mind only focuses on trying to release the arrow and not aiming.
  • Check your peep height and draw length to suit you as this can sometimes cause the phenomenon of feeling that you cannot lift the bow so the dot reaches the gold.