Gloversville Middle School students recently took aim at learning new skills through a centuries-old sport: archery. Students participated in an archery unit where they received instruction on how to safely handle the equipment (bows and arrows) and practice proper technique during physical education classes this spring.
“The students understand the seriousness of what we are doing, and are all very well behaved when we are in the archery range,” said Michael Hallenbeck, physical education teacher. “It’s exciting to watch students who may not do well in traditional sports, enjoy themselves and succeed during the archery unit. They also enjoy it when their teachers join them during this unit. Many of the teachers, just like the students, have never shot a bow before, so they come in for lessons to learn the proper technique.”
Physical education teachers at the middle school are National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) certified instructors. Students who chose to participate in the archery unit are taught the 11-step process on how to safely and properly aim and release arrows at fixed targets. During the unit, students shoot for scores, as well as play different archery games.
The archery unit concluded with a tournament that had a total of 88 students and staff members compete after school. Half of the participants were eliminated during each round of the tournament. Participants shot seven arrows during each round and could score a total of 70 points. The top 20 competitors in the tournament consisted of 11 staff members and nine students.
Congratulations to the top five finishers:
1st – Garrett Dooling, grade 8 – 62 points
1st – Mr. Stoller, GMS teacher – 62 points
3rd – Alex Rosmarino, grade 8 – 61 points
4th – Mrs. Kremler, GMS teacher – 60 points
5th – Mr. Richardson, GMS teacher – 56 points
Middle school students participated in archery for three weeks. Archery has been taught every other year at the middle school for the past five years. Physical education teachers received training during a professional development conference day in 2013.
“Archery is one of my favorite units to teach because it gives the students an opportunity to learn a skill that they otherwise may never have the chance to learn,” Hallenbeck said.
More about archery
Archery is the sport, practice or skill of using a bow to propel arrows. The word comes from the Latin arcus. A skill that was once important for survival in early civilizations — today archery is mainly considered a recreational pursuit. Some attribute the rising interest in archery among younger generations to the popular “Hunger Games” movies and book series.
Many schools around the country have introduced archery as part of the physical education curriculum because of its benefits, which can include improving student focus and engagement, as well as developing coordination, confidence and goal setting.