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Why Archery Should Be a School-Sanctioned Sport

The 2020 Summer Olympics just wrapped. With millions of viewers tuned in daily, the Olympics put archery in the worldwide spotlight. It all happened just as students are headed back to school, eager to try new sports, too. Hundreds of schools across the country host archery clubs. There’s even a program that trains young archers to move from recreational archery to competition, the Junior Olympic Archery Development Program

Archery can be found in after-school programs and in the curriculum. Around 19 million students have gone through the National Archery in the Schools Program since 2002. “Our mission is to grow the sport of archery, and we’re very proud that we’ve introduced it to students who were completely unaware of it,” said Tommy Floyd, president of NASP. “We design our program to be during school hours for the kid that might never get to experience archery.” 

NASP partners with other archery groups like the International Bowhunting Organization. With all the varying clubs and organizations working together, young archers get a variety of opportunities to compete. But some clubs are hoping for a more unified option. Some archery clubs are asking their state sports commissions to sanction archery. They believe this official designation as a school sport could help it grow. 

So, what’s the difference between a club sport and a sanctioned one? Club sports are community-based programs, while sanctioned sports are school-based. Proponents of sanctioning archery believe this official school sport designation would allow more opportunity and increase awareness about archery among the student body. Participants would also officially become student-athletes.

Currently, most student archers participate through clubs. Some schools within the same area have archery clubs, and some don’t. Some of the clubs are through local archery shops. These students can compete in tournaments, but sometimes they have to travel a great distance to attend one. These obstacles limit competition and tournament opportunities. 

If archery were a sanctioned school sport, it could mean that all schools in a given area would have an archery team, opening up more opportunities for competition. Additionally, all of the teams would have a standardized set of rules, making it easy for students to know what to expect at the school-sanctioned tournaments.

As competition archery participation continues to grow across the country, advocates expect more schools to adopt the sport. And whether it’s sanctioned or not, being a student archer offers a lot of benefits including camaraderie, scholarships, physical exercise and more. 

“Anyone can compete in archery,” Floyd said. “Archery in schools in any form is great for archery and great for students.” 

For information about archery clubs in your area, check with a bow shop.



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