JOAD Frequent Asked Questions

What is JOAD?

JOAD or Junior Olympic Archery Development is a USA Archery program intended to provide archery instruction and competition for young archers across the country. The JOAD program allows young archers the opportunity to get out and shoot with fellow archers of all different abilities as well as participate in local and national tournaments.

What type of bow use do you teach?

JOAD offers both recurve and compound archers the opportunity to learn range safety and proper shooting technique in an environment that also fosters focus, increased self-confidence, and team building skills. Introductory JOAD classes teach the fundamentals of proper shooting form; as the young archer develops, they will learn more advanced techniques.

What is the Awards Program?

Through the JOAD Star Pin Awards program, these archers can earn incentives as they develop and improve their scores up thru the ranks of Yeoman, Jr. Bowman, Bowman, Junior Archer, Archer, Master Archer, Expert Archer, Olympian, Silver Olympian and Gold Olympian. Each archer can advance at his or her own pace. Success at each level is dependent on the individual's skill and willingness to apply themselves.

Who can participate?

JOAD is open to any youth archer aged 8 to 17 and is designed to grow with the youth archer.

Who are the coaches?

The JOAD coaches are all members of Minnehaha Archers, Inc. All our coaches are USA Archery certified coaches, with Certification Levels 1, 2 and 3 (some pursuing level 4).

Is Archery safe?

Did you know fewer than one in every 1,000 people participating in archery suffer any injuries? That statistic is very impressive compared to most outdoor sports (Football, Soccer, Baseball, and many others). The reason is directly related to the training that most beginning archers receive when first introduced to archery.

It is the responsibility of not just the JOAD coach, but of you, your young archer, and of every adult present at the archery range, to insure that the safety rules are followed. Young archers must understand the importance of following the rules anytime s/he is shooting or is around someone else that is shooting. These rules and methods are the reason target archery is one of the safest sports.

When  are the sessions?

We offer 3 Sessions a year, with each session lasting 8 weeks, Spring Session: January to April, Summer Session: June to August and Fall Session: September to November.

Usually, each Session will consist of 3 different level classes (3 different days per week), so we can accommodate archers according to their skill levels (Beginner, Intermediate and Advance).

Classes are generally scheduled on weeknights 6pm to 8pm. During the Summer session, a day  time class is also offered depending on coach/instructors availability. 

Scheduled sessions vary from year to year, sessions are contingent to class capacity, range and coach availability and other scheduled range activities.

Where  are the sessions?

Our Fall and Spring sessions are conducted in our Indoor Range, the Summer session is at the Outdoor Range (next to Great Bear Recreation Area.- off Rice Street)

 What is the cost to join JOAD?

A Club Membership is required to join our JOAD Program, the cost for the first time JOAD student (Beginners) is $40.00 for single youth and $110.00 for Family (this is a discounted price from our regular Yearly Membership cost).

Included in that cost are the online / PayPal transaction fees and a $10 key card fee to allow 24/7 access to our Indoor Range (additional key-cards are available for $10.00 each).

The cost per session (8 week program) is $78.00.

Regular Yearly Club Membership cost is $50.00 for single youth and $125.00 family (plus applicable PayPal fees when paying online).

 Do I have to join Minnehaha Archers, Inc. Club?

Yes, to take part of Minnehaha Archers JOAD you do need to be a Minnehaha Archers member. You can join either as a Family or obtain just the youth membership. Some of the membership benefits are the 24/7 access to our Indoor Range and also access to our Outdoor range. See the Membership page for full membership details and the Facilities Page for information of our ranges.

 Can I join JOAD at any time?

Acceptance to the Minnehaha Archers JOAD program is based on availability; priority is given to the archers already enrolled in the program. To join our JOAD program, please email us to get up to date information.

Any requirements to join JOAD?

Yes, must complete an Introduction to Archery class. Please also be advised that completion of an Introduction to Archery course does to guarantee placement in JOAD. Kids who have completed the Intro class will be invited to join JOAD as space becomes available. Also a Club Membership is required.

Do I need my own equipment?

We can provide the basic equipment to the beginner archer; Genesis Bow, arrows, arm guard, finger tab (equipment must stay in the range). As the archer advances to the next levels, we advise the participants to acquire their own equipment. Our coaches can help you to determine the proper equipment to buy.

What kind of bows can be used?

Youth may shoot either recurve or compound bows.

What's the difference between bows: Barebow, Recurve, Olympic, Compound ?

The barebow is the closest to the original bow when you think of "bows and arrows". No sight, no pulleys, no add-on equipment aside from an arrow rest.  The appeal of barebow is that it takes a lot of effort to get reasonably good with one, yet archers can be remarkably accurate with one.  The simplicity of the bow keeps costs down as well. 

Generally, archers must invest much more time to be "good" with a barebow, the least time/effort to be "good" with a compound bow, and somewhere in the middle of those with the recurve bow.

Recurve or "Olympic" bows start with the same bow shape as the barebow.  "Olympic" because this is the only style of bow allowed at the Olympics, "Recurve" because the bow actually has a middle curve and then a second curve, a recurve, at the tips of the bow, are allowed to have many more enhancements to the basic barebow, such as:  kisser button, sight (no magnification or electronics allowed), a clicker, stabilizer(s)

Recurve archers draw the bowstring back using their hand (and finger-tab) just like barebow archers

Compound bows are a product of modern knowledge and technology.  Their appearance readily shows that there are major design differences from the recurve bow.  One or two wheels are used to use leverage to make the bow easier to shoot than the recurve, and to make the arrow go faster.  With eccentrically-shaped wheels on the bow that provide "letoff" the archer doesn't have to hold as much weight while aiming to shoot the bow.  There is no let-off with recurve and barebows.

The rules for compound bows permits the sight to actually have a scope.  The sight can also have electronics, such as lights, to illuminate the crosshairs in lowlight hunting conditions.  Barebows and recurves are not allowed to have "bubble levels" which compound sights routinely employ.  All of these modern enhancements contribute to making the compound bow potentially much more accurate and easy to learn and shoot than the other two styles described above. 

Should I buy a Right or a Left Hand bow?

The eye dominance of the archer used to be the absolute factor that decides which side of the bow the arrow should be placed on, and which hand the archer uses to draw the bowstring. Now it is more accepted to have the archer follow "hand dominance" to choose whether to be a left-handed or a right-handed archer.

A "Right Hand" archer means that the archer DRAWS the string with the right hand (and is usually right-eye dominant).  The JOAD coach will verify eye dominance as one of the first things done with each new archer, to assess the archer's potential.

How can I check my own eye-dominance? 

Hold both hands out in front of you at arms' length and make a small circle with your hands (a "peep-sight", that you can see through).  Now focus on a point (say a picture on the wall) with this "peep-sight" and keep looking at that point as you move your hands towards your face.  As the hands approach your face, you will discover that the peep-sight has gone to one side/eye or the other.  The eye you kept using as the hands drew near your face is your dominant eye.

Will wearing glasses affect my ability to use a bow and arrow?

No, people with glasses actively participate in archery every day. 

Do I have to compete in Shoots and Tournaments?

Though all members of Minnehaha Archers JOAD will have the opportunity to compete, none are required to. For those looking for purely recreational archery, JOAD is a chance to hang out with friends and pursue the sport for fun.

What’s so special about Archery competition?

A unique thing about archery competition is that while there is a degree of "do better than the other guy" element, there is much more emphasis placed on "try to shoot your personal best”. JOAD archers gain great self-esteem by virtue of competing against themselves and improving on their personal best scores.

Do I have to join USA Archery?

Initially you do not need to join USA Archery. Upon reaching the level of Bowman you must join USA Archery before you can advance to the next level.

What is JOAD (USAA) Dress Code?

  • No camo or blue denim (jeans) may be worn at target events. Accessories such as trim on shirts, caps, quivers, armguards, footwear, etc., are permitted to be camo. At field events, denim may be worn but camo may not be worn.
  • Clothing may be of any color
  • Shorts, skorts and skirts must not be shorter than fingertip length while standing normally.
  • Shoes must cover the entire foot.
  • Cannot wear any article bearing any image or language to be considered offensive to others.

What about Safety?

Rules must be obeyed and follow at all times for your safety, and the safety of your fellow archers.

What are the Safety Rules?

  • NEVER EVER POINT A LOADED BOW AT ANOTHER PERSON
  • Obey all the commands of the person “Running the Line”.
  • Do not load the bow with an arrow until you are on the shooting line AND one whistle blast has been sounded.
  • Never cross the shooting line unless you hear three whistle blasts.
  • Never ‘Dry Fire’ a bow (draw back the string to full draw and release without an arrow).
  • Never draw a bow unless facing towards the target and with no one in front of you.
  • Do not walk behind an archer when they are at full draw.
  • Always ensure that any clothing, jewelry or hair will not interfere with the equipment.
  • Always warm up correctly
  • Never shoot directly upwards.
  • If in doubt – ask. 

What are the Whistle Commands?

  • Two whistle or horn blasts  -  Grab your bow and walk to the line
  • One whistle or horn blast  -  Commence shooting, start of an end.
  • Three whistle or horn blasts   -  Finish shooting, end of an end, and collect arrows.
  • More than three blasts  STOP SHOOTING IMMEDIATELY.  This command means that there is a danger to a person or animal and therefore all activities MUST cease immediately. An archer must not shoot an arrow and if at full draw you should ‘come down’ and remove the arrow from the string and return it to the quiver.

What should I check Before Shooting?

As an archer you should always ensure that your equipment is working properly.

  • Check all equipment including bows, strings, arrows, nocks, fletching, etc. Any damaged equipment should not be used and should be put to one side for repair or thrown away if beyond repair.
  • Check strings and servings are not frayed.
  • Check nocks for possible damage or cracks, don’t use it if found damaged.
  • Check arrows are long enough and fletching are secure, arrows should stay on the string by its own weight.
  • Ensure clothing/jewelry is appropriate and not going to interfere with the string.

What to do During Shooting?

  • Follow whistle/horn commands.
  • Walk to the shooting line when instructed.
  • Commence shooting only when told, either by whistle, one blast or verbal command.
  • When arrows shot step back off the shooting line without disturbing other archers.
  • When not shooting archers must stay behind the waiting line.
  • Do not cross the shooting line until the signal to do so is given, by whistle, three blasts or verbal command.
  • Always react to the command STOP or several whistle blasts no matter who gives the command.

What to do After Shooting?

  • Wait until you hear three whistles or horn blasts to collect your arrows
  • Walk, don’t run to the target.
  • Watch out for arrow that have fallen short of the target and are on the ground in front of the target.
  • If scoring needs to be performed (Shoot / Tournament), do not touch your arrows until the scores are documented
  • Take care to remove arrows correctly without bending or twisting.
  • Make sure no-one is standing behind you when you draw your arrows from the target.
  • Don’t stand behind someone who is drawing arrows.
  • All arrows must be accounted for-if an arrow cannot be found, it must be reported to the person in charge of shooting (Judge).
  • When returning to the shooting line with your arrows always carry them either in a quiver or in your hands with the points facing down.

What are the general basic guidelines when shooting?

  • Stand up straight when shooting
  • Feet should be shoulder width apart
  • Shoulders should be parallel to the floor
  • Elbows should be in line with shoulders
  • Aim and continue to aim after the arrow has left the bow
  • Teeth should be closed together
  • The only thing that moves is your drawing arm when you release the arrow
  • Do not drop your bow arm until the arrow hits the target

What a good archer should not do?

  • Talk in a loud voice whilst others are shooting
  • Talk to another archer who prefers to be silent
  • Offer advice unless asked
  • Exclaim on the shooting line, for themselves or others, in joy or disgust
  • Walk off the shooting line while a neighbor is at full draw.
  • Touch another archer’s equipment without their permission.
  • Walk up and down the line comparing scores.
  • Shoot distances beyond their capability, continually missing and holding up shooting.
  • Disturb people with loud mobile phone ringtones or speaking on the phone on or around the shooting line.
  • Leave litter on the archery ground.

What are the Scoring Guidelines?

  • Do not go behind the target to retrieve arrows before the scores have been taken (outdoors).
  • Depending on how many archers are at the bail, there should be one (or two) "Caller(s)" and one (or two) "Scorer(s)"
  • When calling scores, do it in groups of three, and in descending order, for example, 'X-10-9' pause '9-8-7'
  • While calling scores, points to each arrow as it is called, without touching the arrow or target face
  • Do not touch any arrow or the target face until all arrow values have been recorded and checked.
  • When required to do so, take turns at scoring.
  • Only withdraw the arrows of others if this has been agreed by them.

What are the 11 Steps to Archery Success?
1. Stance

You should have your feet shoulder width apart and your weight evenly distributed.

2. Nock

Always be sure that you hear the nock snap when it goes on and that the arrow is placed in the arrow rest. Your bow should be vertical at your side and pointing toward the ground between you and the target. 

Drawing then firing the bow without an arrow will result in a Dry Fire and can cause injury to people and harm your bow.  Never shoot a bow that has been dry fired until examined by a qualified bow technician.

3. Set Release Hand

Attach your release to the bow string or loop and set your hand in the release. If you shoot with fingers put your fingers on the string the same way each time.

4. Set Bow Hand

Place your bow hand in the bow grip. Your hand should be set firmly into the grip and relaxed. Your grip should only be hard enough to stop the bow from dropping. Once again it is very important to have your bow hand set the same way very time.

5. Pre-Draw (Set-up)

Raise your bow arm. The bow should be raised slightly pointing to the target.

6. Draw

Draw the bow straight back to your face. Continue to point the bow to the target as you come to full draw.

7. Anchor

Keeping your bow arm extended and your elbow slightly bent, you anchor your release hand snug to the side of your face or jaw as your anchor point. It is very important to anchor in the same place every time for accuracy.

8. Aim (Loading - Transfer - Holding)

Aim at the target. There will be some movement of sight. Once you are “on target” you are ready to begin your release sequence.

9. Shot set-up (Expansion)

The shot set up is the part of the release sequence. Apply a little extra tension to the bow string by using your back muscles as the string begins to move make your release.

10. Release

While pulling the string back with your release hand, begin to slowly pull backward, using your back muscles, to activate your release. When you release it should be all one smooth movement.

11. Follow through and reflect

Keep your bow arm up through the shot.  Let your release hand come back naturally as the bow moves forward, on its own. Keep your eyes on the target as your whole body relaxes and follow through. After each shot it is good to reflect on your shot. See what you did well on so you can repeat those actions in your next shot. Also see what you need to improve on so you can concentrate on them in your next shot.