JOAD Club Spotlight on THE JOAD Club
Junior Olympic Archery Development is USA Archery's youth archery program, found in clubs across the United States. USA Archery's goal is to offer a quarterly JOAD Newsletter that focuses on news and issues specific to JOAD - program updates, Club Spotlights, and coverage of the great things youth archers are doing nationwide.
The Club Spotlight is a great way for JOAD clubs to learn about one another - and hopefully get some great ideas about everything from club growth to making practices fun for archers.
For the November edition of the JOAD newsletter, T.H.E. JOAD Club was chosen as our JOAD
Spotlight club. USA Archery would like to thank
2004 Olympian John Magera, the club’s director, for taking the time to answer these questions,
as well as his continued support of the JOAD program.
Where is your JOAD club located?
T.H.E. JOAD club is based in Columbus, Texas,
a small rural Southeast Texas town located between the cities of Houston and
San Antonio. We shoot at the Colorado
County fairgrounds and have archers from all over the county as well as from
Houston and its suburbs that come out to join us.
How, and when, did your club get its start?
There was already a very successful 4-H
archery program in the area, but the season is just a few months long. While many Southeast Texas counties
participate in an active 4-H archery program, there were only a few JOAD
programs. So, after moving back to Texas
from Illinois, I decided that a JOAD program would complement the 4-H program
very well, and allow kids a chance to compete throughout the year and at state
and national championship events. With
help from the 4-H coaches and parents, we officially started T.H.E. JOAD club
in January of 2011 with about 8 archers.
We have since grown to over 20 archers, including adult achievement
program participants, and we’re still growing!
What is your club’s name, and what’s the
significance of the name? Was it something the archers chose, or did the club
leader choose it?
When we decided to start the JOAD club, I
asked the kids to think of a name we could use.
Nobody could really come up with a name everyone could agree on. Then one of the young archers asked “why
can’t we just call it “THE” JOAD club? I
told them we could, if that’s what they wanted, and so we did. Then we set out to decide what the letters
“T, H, E” stood for, and came up with “Toxophilites Honoring Excellence!” And we’ve enjoyed being “THE” JOAD club ever
Please tell us how large your club is –
number of archers, number of coaches:
We have 14 youth archers and 8 adults. We expect to grow that number by about 50% in
the coming year. I’ve seen an increase
in interest in archery since the summer Olympics and we’re making plans now to
accommodate the new archers. We also
expect to have a few join our club from the 4-H program each year. It’s a great feeder program for our JOAD
The program is coached by Olympian John
Magera and NTS level 3 coach Michael Hollmann, with help from several parents
who are experienced archers and 4-H coaches.
Do you have a large concentration in one
age group (for example, mostly bowmen)?
Our archers are spread out pretty evenly in
age, except that we don’t really have any junior archers. As most program leaders know already, it’s so
tough to keep kids in archery past the ages of 15 or 16. They have so many other activities they are involved
in these days.
What’s your format for lessons/practices
(days per week, and do you shoot as a group, or do archers get private
coaching, or both)?
We practice every Monday night, January
through June – a formula that’s worked both here and previously with my club in
Southern Illinois for many years. It
gives the kids and adults something to look forward to on that first day of the
week, and Mondays seem to reduce conflicts with other things. We shoot as a group on Monday nights, and we
will offer small group or individual lessons on another night during the week
or on the weekend. Lately, we’ve
received so many requests for coaching that we have hosted off-season practices
on the weekends for the more advanced archers wishing to compete all year.
Does your club shoot for score (or
achievement pins, or both)? If so, how often?
We typically score a 30 arrow indoor round
or 36 arrow outdoor round at every weekly group practice. However, we also work on skill building prior
to and after scoring. By offering a
chance to shoot a qualifying score at each practice, the kids are able to see
progress toward their goals, and quickly reach the achievement that challenges
them. I’ve known clubs that shot
achievement scores only once a month, but I feel that the weekly scores give
kids a chance to miss a practice and not fall too far behind. The regular scoring round also provides some
consistency and structure to the practice, and a regular opportunity to gauge
their progress, which both the archers
and parents seem to appreciate.
Something else we do is match play and
other elimination rounds as often as possible.
Archers shoot match play at the distance where they are trying to
qualify for their next achievement pin, which handicaps the event very well and
gives everyone a chance to win. We also
have a traveling award (a small “golden archer” that hangs off the archer’s
quiver) that the winner of the match play gets to keep until the following
week. You wouldn’t believe the
competition for this tiny golden archer award!
Do you have adult members (or an Adult
Archery Achievement designation)?
I believe very strongly that the best JOAD
parents are also active archers. The
advent of the Adult Achievement Program is one of the best things to happen to
JOAD archery in a long time. We have 8
adults (mostly parents) who are working toward their achievement pins alongside
of the kids. It’s such a great
opportunity for them to share a sport, and for the kids to see their parents
struggle with the same things they are struggling with, and also to feel the
same sense of accomplishment when they reach their goals. This helps the parents realize how to better
help their children, when to encourage them, but most importantly, not to
criticize or judge them too harshly.
We are so fortunate in archery to
have a sport the whole family can participate in at the same time, at the same
events. We should take advantage of this
every chance we get!
How many adult club members do you have?
We finished last season with 8 adult archers,
but I expect to be over 10 for this season.
Because the sport of archery is still relatively new to this area, it’s
taking a little while for the adults to join in. But those who have are the best advocates for
the Adult Achievement program. Some of
them have become celebrities in their home town when their friends and family
find out they are shooting in archery tournaments along with their kids. It’s been such a positive addition to the
your club experienced growth, lost archers, or stayed at basically the same
size in recent years?
We have been growing since we started. Initially, I thought we could handle about
8-10 kids and that’s what we started with.
But quickly the word got out that there was another opportunity to shoot
archery besides the 4-H program, and with the help our faithful 4-H coaches and
parents, we are handling the increase in interest well.
What kinds of things does your club do to
help make practices fun and interesting?
First of all, we don’t take ourselves too
seriously. Most of our kids (and
parents) are small town rural folks that just want to enjoy shooting
archery. If they take it beyond that,
then it’s because they stepped up and wanted to compete on a bigger stage. Otherwise, we make sure everyone is having
fun first and foremost, then getting quality instruction and an opportunity to
advance through the program. By keeping
things simple and easy to understand, JOAD practice is a way for the kids to relax at the end of a difficult Monday, and it’s refreshing and
rewarding instead of stressful.
Some of the things we do to keep it fun are
to shoot impromptu matches and games after the normal scoring round. Outdoors, we will shoot handicapped matches
based on the archer’s level of proficiency.
Indoors, we use a modified elimination round that I created using two
strips of masking tape in an “X” shape on the target face. The first round, everyone gets 4 arrows to
shoot 3 of the four scoring quadrants.
Everyone who does that then gets 3 arrows to shoot 3 scoring
quadrants. Then we start shrinking the
target by color until we have a winner.
So the winning archer may have to shoot 3 arrows into ¼ quadrants of the
red or even the gold. This adds a lot of
pressure and also keeps them from getting too reliant on aiming directly at the
gold. The kids and adults love it and
really look forward to the shoot-offs.
Does your club practice indoors, outdoors
We do both.
Our Indoor season starts in January and runs through March. In April, we start shooting outdoors until
the end of the JOAD outdoor season, which is usually JOAD Nationals. Then we take the rest of the summer off. Most archers will then shoot 4-H archery in
the fall too.
I found that a lot of youth archers in our
area had only ever shot indoor events and that outdoor archery was new to
them. But they quickly take to it and
most of them learn to love the challenge of shooting outdoors.
Do archers focus on target archery only, or
do they also try field, 3D, clout or other rounds?
Mostly we focus on target archery, but
occasionally we will shoot other events.
We’re fortunate in that the TSAA State Field event is also located in
our county. Several of our JOAD archers
participated in that FITA Field event this past year and they really enjoyed
it. Some of our archers who shoot 4-H
archery will also shoot 3-D and other formats at their events.
Please tell us about equipment. Are your
archers shooting recurve, compound or traditional equipment? Is there a large
concentration of one bow type versus another?
We have archers who shoot compound, recurve
and barebow, but mostly recurve. I like
to encourage them all to try recurve because I feel it better prepares them to
shoot any style in the future. But we
teach all styles and encourage kids to use the type of equipment they enjoy the
Are your archers participating in
tournaments? If so, what kinds of tournaments do they enjoy (local, state,
national – target, field, 3D)?
Our archers have done well at state, 4-H
and national events. We don’t keep close
records of which archer placed at which event, but we do recognize them for
those achievements at the next JOAD practice to provide incentive and encourage
goal-setting to all the archers.
Our main goal is developing young archers and
giving them a place to shoot in a safe and supportive environment. Each archer faces their own individual
challenges, and we encourage them to set personal goals and pursue those
achievements regardless of what other archers around them may be doing. These are important life lessons that can be
taught through the JOAD program.
Are there any milestones you would like to
In only our second year, T.H.E. JOAD club
hosted the TSAA JOAD State Outdoor event in our hometown. We’re very blessed to have the excellent
facilities at our county fairgrounds to use, and all the participants enjoyed
the event very much. We’re also very
fortunate to have a dedicated group of volunteers and parents with many special
skills who all worked tirelessly to make the event a great success. Our kids were so proud to show off our
little town and their home club. It also
gave them a great opportunity to see the work that goes into hosting a
tournament, which will make them better appreciate the events they attend in
We also were able to have six of our JOAD
club archers attend Nationals in Ohio this year. For many of them, it was their first major
trip away from home to compete in an archery event. We hope to double the number of our archers
who attend nationals next year, and I’m confident we will.
Does your club do anything socially outside
of archery (for example, annual team party, Christmas get together, etc.)?
Twice a year, we have an “end of season”
party where we fire up the grill, eat good food, enjoy each other’s company and
recognize archers with achievement awards.
We do this after the indoor season and again after the outdoor season. It’s a nice way to wrap up each season and
look forward to what’s next. It’s also
an opportunity for the kids to just play together and relax. Many of the kids know each other from school
and local activities, but these events are important for those out of town
archers and parents to hang out and feel like part of the club.
Has your team done any fund-raising during
the past year? If so, what was successful for your club – something you would
suggest to others?
Hosting the TSAA JOAD State Outdoor event
was our biggest fundraiser for the club.
Our strong concessions and excellent support from “target sponsors”
helped us raise enough money to purchase a 20’ storage container to house all
our targets, stands and supplies at the county fairgrounds. So we now have a “home” so to speak, and some
spending money for equipment in the future.
We also need to recognize Easton
Foundations and USA Archery for helping us with a start-up grant last fall that
we used to purchase 8 quality target mats and supplies to build stands. This was a huge help and allowed us to move
away from the 4-H target bales we had been fortunate to use the first year.
Another source of revenue is through our
coaching. Rather than charging for
individual lessons, archers who receive individual lessons from our JOAD
coaches are encouraged to make a donation to the club. We regularly receive generous donations from
archers and parents who would otherwise be paying an hourly fee for lessons at
We have actually exceeded our goals for
fundraising (to raise enough money for
the supplies we use each year). With the
additional funds, we have been able to reimburse archers for registration fees
at nationals, and hope to continue to be able to do this in the future. Having archers who compete at major events
like JOAD Nationals really enhances the profile of the club, and every archer
in the club feels they are participating in a prestigious, national
Anything else you would like to include?
JOAD has been such a blessing to our
families. I can’t say enough about the
positive way it has been received in our small town. Rural America can be a tough place to promote
a little-known sport like target archery, but the JOAD program and Adult
Achievement program have been a great success here. In combination with the 4-H Shooting Sports
program, it’s a perfect complement and natural progression for those kids who
love archery and want to compete on a national scale in an Olympic sport.
I’m not going to say it’s been easy though. The sport of archery is pretty foreign to the
folks in this area, and the expenses involved in this equipment-intensive sport
can be quite staggering for these families.
However, with the help of many generous donors, active fundraising by
the JOAD families, patience and understanding, these families are getting to
participate in an Olympic and World Championship sport right in their own back
yards. It’s been a real source of pride
locally, and we see bright things for the future of T.H.E. JOAD Club.