How we beat lockdown pt 2 – by philippa lowe

Following on from the last article I’d like to share some of the weekly challenges I set the group through lock-down. This, for a diverse range of ages and abilities, has proved challenging. By and large, we nailed it as archers enthusiastically joined in all of them. Even the seniors joined in the more junior based activities – maybe a little too competitively lol

We re-visited the AGB skills and drills with clini bands – I thought this would be a week-long task at most, as the archers already knew these. Hmmmmm!!!! When the videos started rolling in I quickly realised that what the archers thought they were doing and what they were doing were two different things – even after posting links to the AGB site and posting my own demo’s – skills were still lacking. It proves that generally most archers pay brief lip service to this important skill set and move quickly onto bows. They worked hard and I put the ball back into their court asking them to view their own videos and tell me how they thought they were doing. This really highlighted the importance of these exercises and even some of the more skilled archers admitted they had found them useful and would continue with them – they actually did say this, honest!!!

Strength and conditioning challenges ranged from press-ups, sit-ups, planks and even a number of star jumps to complete before shooting – set by aim4sport this was one of the harder challenges, raising heart rates before scoring. The time-lapse videos were very entertaining. The 30-second bow-holding challenge even persuaded our current Olympic Coach to join in.

Nutrition week brought a selection of nutritional snacks suitable for shoot days. Flapjacks, muffins and even a fruit platter in the likeness of a target face were displayed – all made from store cupboard ingredients. I mean it wasn’t quite MasterChef – but close.

However, what stands out – what actually shines – is the fact that without exception each and every archer has come out of strict lockdown in some way better than when we started. Some have mastered skills that they were unable to before, some have actually re-built their shot which is a serious challenge by video links only, fitness has improved, bow cases are tidier (allegedly) and the clini band has suddenly become the archers best friend (honest!)

The proof is in the pudding as the saying sort of goes, and now most archers are able to get back to the range, scores, groups and techniques are testament to the hard work that the archers have put in over the last 12 weeks.

So we will keep the group running – it works!! New archers have joined and a new recent contingent from Jersey have just signed up – maybe the virtual challenges will become actual challenges – a trip to Jersey has already been requested (not realising there is always a howling gale over there) but, that would be a lovely thing to make happen at some point in the future. Archery has always been about forging new friendships and alongside new and improved skills – this has and is happening.

To say I’m proud is an understatement. I’m actually, for once, proud of myself for navigating such tricky waters in such testing times. I am unreservedly proud of my archers – they have made it totally worth the head-scratching – they all deserve every success!!

Author Archives: Philippa Lowe

Philippa Lowe has an archery career spanning 35 years starting when she was talent spotted as a junior aged 15. She has represented Club, County, Region and Country extensively and is one of the few archers to be selected for the GB development squads with both recurve and compound bows. She acheived 5th place at the selection shoot for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Winner of many national titles over the years she has also achieved GMB with both compound and recurve bows.
Philippa now puts her extensive experience into encouraging and coaching archers from all over the country including the Jersey Island Squad. In 2017 the Jersey team travelled to Gotland for the highly competitive Island games.With Philippa as coach, the team successfully won several medals including the recurve team gold and mixed team compound alongside individual medals.

Her latest achievement is setting up her own Heart of England Coaching Group where as a County Coach Philippa works with archers of all ages to develop their shooting to a very high standard and has been instrumental in keeping them all motivated and progressive during the recent lockdown.