Seventh grader Jamie DiGiacomo enjoys being outdoors, loves spending time with animals, and dreams someday being a zoologist. At age 7, she had the opportunity to experience archery for the first time at the Phoenixville YMCA. The coach for the class was a Paralympian and was very focused on safety and proper form. Right from day one, Jamie took very naturally to having a bow in her hand.
Age 7 First Archery Experience Hitting Gold
Each week, Jamie was the first to arrive and the last to leave. Eventually, she got her own equipment, and her commitment really took off. Her style of archery is known as barebow. This involves a simple bow, arrow and minimal number of things attached to the bow’s riser. Typically, it is the bow (string, riser, plunger, weight, and arrow rest) along with the arrows and the archer. That is it, no sight, no stabilizer, no other aiming aids. It is up to the archer to put it in the gold!
After the YMCA experience, Jamie joined a local JOAD club. JOAD is the Junior Olympic Archery Development program that helps archers work with coaches to advance their talents. The program offers pins for achieving score thresholds. At the club, archers get to experience indoor and outdoor formats. Indoor barebow archers shoot 40 cm target faces at 18 meters that have 1-10 points available. Outdoors, barebow archers shoot 120cm target faces and again have 1-10 points available. However, the distances change outdoors. Under the age of 14, archers will shoot 30 meters and all other archers will shoot 50 meters. JOAD also promotes local and national completions. At the national level, USA Archery hosts country-wide contest.
In additional to target outdoor and target indoor, there is an opportunity to shoot field tournaments. Field tournaments are a bit like golf in the woods shooting target faces worth points that will get totaled. Jamie probably enjoys field the most although they are not held as often as the indoor and outdoor target contests.
One of the largest and highest profile tournaments on the East Coast is the Lancaster Archery Classic held typically in January. At this tournament, over 2000 archers will compete in their respective classes (Olympic recurve, compound, barebow, traditional). Jamie shot her first classic in January 2019 and won her first major tournament in her barebow female bowman class!
To be successful at archery it takes dedication, a good attitude, knowledgeable coaching and of course the support of friends and family. Jamie has a very strong mental game as it is important to focus on form rather than hitting the gold (9s/10s). By concentrating on proper form, the higher scores will come. Fast forwarding to 2021, Jamie has had the opportunity to shoot with world and national record holders, US Archery Olympians, and World Champions. Here in Pennsylvania, we have a very active archery community, especially the barebow class.
Speaking of records, as of the time of this publication, Jamie currently holds 2 Lancaster Archery Classic first place finishes (2019, 2020), outdoor JOAD bronze, silver, and gold Olympian pins and 8 national barebow female records.
In closing, archery is an excellent sport for children to develop confidence, a calm mind, and get some exercise. With her continued dedication, training, and positive attitude, we, as her parents are very excited for her continued archery journey!