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HomeSportsArcheryArrows Fly at Local Archery Club’s Summer Youth Days

Arrows Fly at Local Archery Club’s Summer Youth Days

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The Citrus Archery Club kicked off a busy June month with their Summer Youth Days program on Saturday. The club, which was founded in 1953, is led by president David Ireland and is a local family-oriented archery organization located in Spring Hill. Ireland and company saw a turnout of 25 competitors with 45 registered and 12 sponsors. Some archers missed the meet due to graduations and other such obligations.

Those who participated were split up into three different skill levels: beginner (seven and up), intermediate, and advanced. The attendees set up shop on two separate ranges, with the fledgling archers using the shorter of the two. The competitors nocked their arrows and fired at various types of targets, including traditional-style, small rings (for beginners), and inflatable dinosaurs.

The latter two of these served as targets in what Ireland dubbed as “skittle challenges.” The goal was simple: loose an arrow through a ring or hit one of the dinosaurs. If the archer hit the mark, they would be awarded a small bag of candy for every successful attempt.

Ireland was delighted with the effect this had on some of the children’s performances. He marveled how kids who had struggled mightily to hit their targets suddenly began to hone their shots “due to incentive.” Even a simple bag of skittles can be a good motivator for a child.

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When asked about preparation for such events, Ireland noted that their members’ volume of practice varies, and he has seen some athletes shoot 100-200 arrows a day. Archery is about “your state of mind and body,” he continued. An archer’s focus is more internal, and the results are a “measure of how well you repeat the exercise.” Especially for competitors, equipment and the condition of that equipment is important in addition to personal aspects like attitude.

Though most people do not practice archery as an art, the club’s president stated that those who excel “have discovered to treat the whole. It is all about control and consistency and where you need to be to achieve that perfect shot.” At the local archery organization, they generally shoot just enough to “check out the condition of the gear and of you,” and members can continue to train if they are striving for excellence.

The Citrus Archery Club will be hosting several more Youth Days throughout the month until June 29. The next event the group will be participating in will be the Sunshine Games in Gainesville this upcoming weekend (June 8-9). President Ireland and company hope to have more children sign up, take part in the sport, and compete if they so choose.

“Competition is just a way to compare yourself to others and measure how well you are progressing,” Ireland said. “It is just an attitude toward another practice where you can strive to meet your own goals. You can have good days and bad days, but it is always in your own hands. That is archery!”

Club President David Ireland sets up inflatable dinosaur targets as part of another "Skittles Challenge" on Saturday. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]
Club President David Ireland sets up inflatable dinosaur targets as part of another “Skittles Challenge” on Saturday. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]
Citrus Archery Club President David Ireland helps a young archer with his bow on Saturday. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]
Citrus Archery Club President David Ireland helps a young archer with his bow on Saturday. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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