SPECIAL REPORT: Swap the mobile phone for a chance to go for gold with the Silver Spoon Bowmen
In a bid to help children off social media and back into the community, learning new skills and making new friends, this week we look at learning archery.
For anyone who’s watched the hit film trilogy The Hunger Games, they’ll remember the image of hero Katniss Everdeen with bow and arrow, leading the revolution.
Showcasing skill and accuracy, and some rapid fire shooting, it showed that archery can definitely be cool.
It’s a fast growing sport across the UK and one of the oldest sports still practiced today, seen as being closely linked to the development of civilisation.
And for youngsters wanting to try something different as an alternative to staying at home on the computer or playing on their mobile they have the chance with the Silver Spoon Bowmen.
The club has been running a series of have-a-go sessions at Spalding Grammar School with another next Thursday (March 22) (7.30-9.30pm) with its qualified coaches.
Goal setting, strength and conditioning training, shooting and competitions are the perfect relief from GCSE revision!
Lynn Fisher, club secretary, said: “The sessions are for anyone from age 9-99. It’s one of those sports that is for everyone. It is not like football or running, it is a totally different sport.
“One of our junior archers said he could not really run and could not do football so he chose archery.
“It is still an active sport and there is quite a lot of physical involvement; and it is a social sport.
“And if you really want to you can go on to do competitions. There are many different types of archery.
“We have a range of equipment at the club for people to try of various shapes and sizes so people can pick the equipment that fits them best. They would start with a beginner bow which weighs 12lbs or an 18lbs bow for adults.”
While the sessions at the grammar school have all been about having-a-go, it could lead to serious competition.
Teenagers Amy Gott, Louis Perkins and Jasmin Lyon, from the club, are all Team GB archers. And young archer Tillie Craven (12) is a national champion ‘at least three times over’ said Lynn.
Amy (17) has represented Great Britain in four international trips since 2014 in Moscow, Seoul in South Korea, Heviz in Hungary and Porec in Croatia.
She said: “Being able to go and train with like minded people is essential in such a repetitive sport because it provides me with much more enjoyment than training on my own and motivates me to continue.
“Another benefit of being a part of the club is making lifelong friends, found in archers and coaches alike.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the constant support from my coach, Barry Molsom who has coached me since the beginning eight years ago.
“The best parts about archery are the atmosphere of competitions and meeting new people from all across the country (and world) and seeing new places that you would never have thought about going to before.”
Louis (16) said: “I took up archery after being inspired by the athletes at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“When I was 11, I joined Louth Archery Club and when I started to compete I moved to Silver Spoon Bowmen to be coached by Barry Molsom, even though it is over an hour away from my home.
“At 14, I was selected to represent Great Britain for the first time and since then have travelled to Hungary, Mexico, the USA, Romania and France to represent my country.
“My biggest achievements so far are winning gold in the team cadet final in the SoCal Showdown in California and making it to the adult Archery GB National Series finals all at the age of 14.
“I love that archery gives me so many opportunities after seeing all my hard work pay off.
“I enjoy shooting at home on my own everyday to perfect my technique and improve my strength and aerobic fitness.
“Then, I go out to my club at Silver Spoon and take part in competitions all over the country and meet up with my archery friends.
“My next goal is to be selected for the European Youth Championships in Patras, Greece in July where there will be an opportunity to compete for a quota spot for the Youth Olympics, Buenos Aires, Argentina in October.
“Goal setting, strength and conditioning training, shooting and competitions are the perfect relief from GCSE revision!”
To have a go at archery with the club, which also has a field for practice near Donington, find out more via their website www.silverspoonbowmen.org.uk
○ Club secretary Lynn got into archery while working as a primary school teacher at Sutton St James.
She said: “It was a Year Six activity and we got to have a go at lunchtime.
“I found I was hitting the gold (the top scoring part in the centre of the target) and I thought ‘I can do this.’
“It is a very individual sport when you are shooting a competition because you are focused on what you are doing.
“It is seriously a hobby but has worked its way into our lives. My husband John is into it as well.
“But it is also a team sport if you look to the Olympics, and we have county and regional teams.
“There are juniors coming in but as they get older and meet boyfriends, girlfriends or go away to university, we lose them.
“We’d love to have more juniors in the club.
“I’d say to anyone thinking about joining us just to come and have a go.
“For youngsters wanting to have a go, the parents really need to have a go as well to find out what it’s all about.”