Golden Gate JOAD Head Coach David Chan presented archer Jeremy Steinkoler and instructor Gerard Hughes with official recognition from USA Archery headquarters. Jeremy earned Bronze and Silver awards for Adult Outdoor Barebow and Gerard earned a Bronze. The awards recognize achievement above and beyond the regular Adult Achievement Awards pins and includes publication of their awards on the USA Archery website. Both archers earned their awards at 50 meters, shooting bows without sights, stabilizers, draw checks or other gadgets. Gerard’s Bronze is likely the first and only Adult Outdoor Barebow Bronze award earned from the Green Pin on up using a plastic Rolan training bow with 10 pound rated limbs. Jeremy is now working on earning the Gold, and has exceeded the required score by 10 points in practice.
Accredited archery clubs around the country shoot for USA Archery Adult Achievement Pins. The pins are a great way for archers to set goals and mark their progress. For clubs, the pin program helps motivate their archers and allows clubs to offer inclusive, fun shoots where skill and achievement are recognized. The pins are issued following USA Archery national standards and shot under tournament-like conditions. They must all be earned one at a time, in sequential order.
Ok, enough with the stuffy, press release-style writing. The pins program is just fun. There’s a kids version and an adult version. A few years back everyone got sew-on patches when they earned their award – which was great if you were a scout with a big merit badge sash, but it really made the program seem kind of dated. Then USA Archery updated kids awards from patches to pins on lanyards, and the program really took off. Kids love swag. When they updated the grown up program, it turned out that grown ups love swag, too. 😀
The awards program isn’t competition, so there isn’t just one winner – everyone who shoots the required score earns the pin they are eligible for. But that doesn’t make everybody happy. There are a few really competitive people who criticize the program for not being competition, because their interest in archery is about being better than someone else – that is their metric for achievement. Which is fine, for them. And while many competitive shooters love the AAP awards, what those few competitive shooters who object to the program are missing is that there are no default awards in the program. If just three people turn up to a competition, they win by default, getting Bronze, Silver and Gold based on their relative scores alone, even if they didn’t shoot very high scores. With the AAP, you have to meet or exceed the nationally required score for each pin. But, don’t worry, they start off at levels that are achievable for new archers who put in some time and training. The goals gradually move up with increasing levels of difficulty to provide archers with continuing challenges. And then, as an extra bonus, there are three additional awards for advanced archers, the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards – awards that are special and have to be vetted and approved by USA Archery.
Now, as to motivation, Jeremy has had a lot of fun with the awards and so have I and the other archers and instructors. In fact, Jeremy is so motivated by the awards that once he earns the Outdoor Barebow Gold he’s planning on starting from the ground up in a different bow class so he can earn another full set. I think he wants them all 😀 For me, I decided to see what I could do with one of our 10 pound training bows. We start all of our students off using good quality, light draw weight training bows – typically a 25″ Rolan riser with 10 pound limbs from Quintessential. It only seemed fair to do what we ask of our archers and see how far it is possible go with one of these bows.