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Chapter II

Handling an Archery Class
Part 1 of 22

In preference to giving a description of the fundamentals of technique of "Archery Simplified", I am going to give in detail the methods which I employ in handling a class, because this method will not only be descriptive of the technique itself, but will also illustrate a practical application of it. You who teach may not use the same words in giving this work to your class, but even if you should, you will, with the addition of your own personality, make this definitely your own course. I believe there is no better method of teaching the initial steps of archery than to learn by rote, if you please, the first few steps, just as an actor learns his lines. Because the lines are learned by heart, and repeated per­formance after performance does not make us any less appreciative of the acting, due to the injection of the actor's personality. While repeat that I would advise you to learn this method by heart, yet at the same time I would also advise you not to give it as though you knew it by heart.

At the end of every lesson describing the class routine, I have added certain remarks that may help you to handle situations that may arise, and also some definite reasons for employing particular methods; I furthermore mention some dangerous faults. I wish particularly to warn you against giving your beginners large doses. Beginners are confused by being told too much at one time. Tell them just as little as possible but make that little very clear, very definite, and very brief. We are apt to become careless about this in teaching. I remember an instance at the Sargent School where I omitted, in the second lesson, to review the subjects cov­ered in the first and on the third day questioned the class about these. Much to my chagrin only two or three of the group knew the six fundamentals of shooting in proper order. This instance occurred after I had been teaching many months and was a re­minder that those of us who teach must have our routine constantly before us. We must put ourselves in the position of the beginner, because only in this way can we cover the ground as completely as we should.

These instructions are written as though intended for students of college age, who usually have had considerable work in physical education so that their muscular co-ordinations are fairly well de­veloped. In teaching younger people more patience and more time is required, but these, as well as their elders, should be permitted to shoot at the first possible moment. In your first attempt you cannot handle, alone, a class of more than fifteen and even this may tax your ability to the utmost. If you have a large class it will then be necessary for you to train some of your students in advance so that they may assist you during the first few lessons. All be­ginners must always shoot their first arrows under strict super­vision. I have seen a highly trained instructor allowed to make one mistake through my own careless initial supervision and have seen her repeat that initial mistake fourteen consecutive times in spite of constant correction. Careful initial supervision would have prevented this, as it will in many similar instances. Once you per­mit a beginner to shoot an arrow incorrectly your difficulties are doubled. It is better to make a start the first day with only a third of your class shooting once and only three arrows each, rather than to permit one uncoached archer to shoot one single arrow.