Thursday, January 9, 2014

Archery Lessons in Toronto

Some people call it the Katniss effect.

Whatever the reason, the Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Avengers, Arrow (Green Arrow), The Walking Dead, Revolution, Reign and every other recent movie and TV which has archery of some form in it is promoting archery as the hottest growing sport in North America.

Young girls and boys are keen to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow and the shortage of archery schools in Toronto has never been so apparent - with waiting lists for people looking for archery lessons in Spring and Summer 2014.

The sudden surge in archery's popularity has been connected to the Hunger Games book and movie franchise, with Jennifer Lawrence topping the current box office as ace archer Katniss Everdeen in the recent film Catching Fire. But it isn't just the movies and TV shows that is fueling the archery movement. Some argue it is because some people want more personalized sports and have lost interest in team sports like baseball, hockey and football.

“Without a doubt it’s because of the movie. It’s the only thing we can account the huge increase in numbers we have,” says veteran archer Joan McDonald, who coaches the Canadian Olympic team and teaches students interested in Olympic recurve archery. Note - Getting into Olympic recurve archery is really expensive! It is about $2,000 for the equipment and another $20,000 per year for an Olympic coach.

“We certainly have more girls sign up than I’ve had for years and years,” says Joan McDonald, adding that enrolment in an all-girls Olympic recurve class tripled in just three years. She now operates a waiting list of people wanting to get into her classes - and the waiting list is over 30 people waiting for their turn to have the former Olympian coach them in archery.

“I keep turning people away, which I have to tell you hurts my soul,” says Joan McDonald, who keeps an eye peeled for Olympic talent. “Maybe I’m missing someone that could be really good.”

But thankfully there are other archery coaches in Toronto.

#1. Cardio Trek Archery Lessons

One such coach is Charles Moffat from Cardio Trek, who is a sports trainer / personal trainer who has been featured on the CBC, TSN and writes articles about archery accuracy for magazines. Cardio Trek offers archery lessons in Toronto where you can get 10 two-hour lessons for $520. Or you can sign up for a single lesson for $60 to see if you like it. All equipment is provided by the trainer.

Note - For special events like Halloween, Cardio Trek also offers zombie archery targets and similar "for fun" archery targets for a variety of events. The poor zombie on the right side here got what was coming to him. :)

#2. Elite Archery Lessons Toronto

Another company available is run by Micah of Elite Archery Lessons Toronto, which offers 20 three-hour archery lessons for $2,000 and *gives* you $500 worth of archery equipment as a signing bonus. So you get the lessons PLUS you get to keep the equipment.

#3. The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre

The JCCC offers kyudo lessons, beginner and intermediate. But they only offer the lessons on Saturday mornings and admittedly kyudo is probably NOT what you are looking for. Kyudo is more like Japanese tea ceremony and is a very slow methodical process - and if you lack patience you are more likely to fall asleep during a kyudo class. The equipment is provided in the beginner class, but for the intermediate class you need to buy your own equipment.

#4. You Could Teach Yourself

Yes you could even take the DIY Approach to Learning Archery, in which case you should read the Canadian Daily article written by Charles Moffat of Cardio Trek. So this is a real possibility. You could buy your own archery equipment (costs you about $350 for all the equipment, $1,000+ if you want to learn compound bow instead, or $2,000+ if you want to do Olympic recurve). Thus you can learn archery by yourself, but if you discover it is harder than you were expecting then you might want to hire one of the above coaches to teach you archery the proper way.

Learn more about archery in Toronto by visiting the Archery Toronto website.

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