Since 2002, Georgia students in grades fourth through 12th have benefited from the National Archery in the Schools Program, not only from an educational standpoint but also with lifelong skills. On Feb. 8, The Classic Center will host around 500 students for the North Georgia Regional Archery Tournament as the first of three NASP regional tournaments in the state this year.
Instructors within NASP teach students to shoot on a bare bow, which differs from the equipment used in Olympic-style archery. Competitors at the event will shoot three rounds of five arrows from 10 meters away before increasing the distance to 15 meters and shooting three more rounds of five arrows each.
David Dockery, a shooting sports specialist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, said some of the students involved in Georgia’s NASP developed remarkable archery skills.
“We have kids that can shoot nearly perfect scores … from 10 and 15 meters away,” Dockery said. “They’re putting a total of nearly 30 arrows into a 2-inch circle. Seeing kids that shoot on that level is really pretty amazing.”
Archery teams from all over Georgia will compete in the regional event of their choosing, with the top 11 schools in each category advancing to the state tournament held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, Georgia, on March 1. The competitions are broken into different divisions for elementary, middle and high school students. Competitors can then advance from the state final to the national tournament, the largest archery tournament in the world, held in Louisville, Kentucky on May 12.
NASP was originally started in Kentucky and is now taught in 14,000 schools across the nation. It is designed to educate and train students in archery with a focus on mental concentration and self-improvement.
Mark Swords, training and development specialist for the department, said the archery skills can carry over into other aspects of life.
“Just because you may not know how, you might surprise yourself,” Swords said. “The people who know very little are the ones who actually do the best.”