I would like to start by saying many thanks to Gavin and Liz for running the county junior squad for the last few years. They had done a very good job but the County Committee decided we wanted to do something else in 2018 to try and bring in more archers with different bow styles and change the emphasis of the sessions. The previous model for the sessions was successful and some of our better juniors have now gone on to the formal talent development programme to be coached by Lilleshall. However feedback from the Juniors suggested the County was very recurve orientated which we want to change. To do this, unlike previous squads, we are not looking to offer any detailed one to one coaching.

In talking to the juniors around the county many of them have told us that one of the things they really hate is that a coach will tell them to do one thing and then as soon as they speak to another coach they tell them to do something else. Everybody gets frustrated and nobody improves.

Therefore we are looking to base this year’s squad around the key relationship between the archer and their coach. I appreciate finding a suitable coach is not always easy and we will try and help with this but the onus is on the parent and junior to find a personal coach. In reality I have run squad sessions in the past and where you have reasonable numbers attending, the ability to find time for one to one coaching becomes severely limited. The only effective way for an archer to improve is to work with a personal coach, over a period of time, with a structured plan. This is best done outside a group environment.

Instead sessions will focus on monitoring archers’ progress against their development plan which they will have produced with their coach, on competition preparation and practice. We are trying to add in the elements that an archer struggles to practice when they typically shoot in a small club with few junior members.

At the moment I have only booked one session at Eaton Manor on 10 November and I will be running a discussion about these proposals. This session is free but there will be a charge for subsequent sessions to cover the cost of the venue hire and fuel costs for the coaches. In the past Shropshire Archery Society has provided a full subsidy and I hope the County will agree to continue some subsidy, but with the small numbers participating it is fairer to spread partly the cost across the people attending.

The first session is open to all county juniors, their parents and all county coaches. There is no need to book. Just turn up. It would be useful if the juniors could shoot three Portsmouth Rounds before they come and bring their scores with them. They should also bring their bows and a pen as there will be some paperwork to be done on the day. After the first session, if there is demand we will firm up some more dates and post them on the website.

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