Links Archers in Montrose has a long history of success in competition and building on a strong junior membership but for the last years we have also developed a good relationship with Lathallan school and Mearns Academy.
Our story with Lathallan School began in 2007 when we were asked to do a come and try at the school Highland games. From that I was asked if I could run some after school classes, which I have been doing for the last 11 years. The junior class, some of whom shown in the photos, are J3-4 ( 7-8 yo) shooting 4-5pm on Wednesdays, J5- S6 shoot on Thursday 6.30-8pm. We also have the occasional parent join in. Most notably Fiona Hirst who came along to collect her son Curtis and 3 years later was Scottish lady champion. The club gains from the relationship by being allowed to use the school playing fields for outdoor club sessions and tournaments.
Coaching 7-8 year olds with real bows and arrows is not as hard as one would think. Using step by step techniques, following some of the Korean methods, and a firm emphasis on the safety rules, the children soon learn the basics as can be seen in the video.
The relationship with Mearns Academy occurred at the same time as Montrose Sport Centre was closed for building of a new swimming pool. Approached by Aberdeenshire active schools to do a try day for the academy we took up the offer and progressed on to setting up a junior club in exchange for use of their gym after the school club session. At this point we were using equipment on loan from Links Archers. The late Tim Howe, Keith Blundell and I, as the coaching team, realised we needed a way to increase support and equipment to run the club. I together with the school applied for a lottery grant to provide club equipment for a new senior club Mearns Archers. Mearns, a sister club to Links, has now been running for 5 years and several members assist in running the after school club.
Any clubs wishing more information on our journey or my process in coaching younger children is welcome to contact me