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The City Journals

Archery: A Lifetime Sport

Aug 03, 2016 11:01AM ● By Tori La Rue

Children practice archery techniques using a string bow. – Tori La Rue

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

South Jordan, Utah - RaLynne Takeda and her husband hunted for years with bows and arrows, but there came a time when Takeda thought she’d never shoot again.

“It was interesting because my husband passed away almost 14 years ago, and I had convinced myself that I couldn’t do archery anymore,” she said.

But in 2013, Takeda’s employer, the Division of Wildlife Resources, decided to bring the National Archery in the Schools Program to the state and selected her as the program manager. Takeda said she wouldn’t mind facilitating, but when she went to the first training meeting, the instructor offered her a bow.  

“I panicked because I was like, ‘I can’t shoot; I haven’t done it by myself,’” Takeda said. “The guy teaching the class made me shoot, though, and so once I did that, I got back into it.”

Takeda helped the division bring a two-week archery course to 95 P.E. classes from St. George to Moab and from Vernal to Logan. As a side project, she taught archery classes at recreation centers across the state, several of which have created their own program based on the things she taught them. This summer, Takeda’s brought her knowledge and the division’s bows to the South Jordan Softball Complex at 10778 South Redwood Road, teaching people age 10 and up about her favorite sport.

Megan and Preston Darby said they wanted to find a new hobby this summer, so, not knowing what to expect, they signed up for the first session of the division’s archery classes in South Jordan.

At first, the siblings said they weren’t sure how to hold the bow and found the stance of an archer somewhat awkward, but after the first day in Takeda’s three-day program, they said they felt more confident.

“It’s actually pretty simple,” Preston, 10, said. “It’s fun and amazing.”

Takeda said Preston’s impression of archery isn’t uncommon. Children who usually show improved self-confidence, motivation, behavior and focus after completing the program, according to a survey conducted by the division.

The program focuses on 11 basic steps of archery. Takeda demonstrates the steps to the group while they practice the techniques on a string bow, a training item that allows students to build muscle memory and practice releasing without firing arrows.

After the group has the 11 basic steps down, Takeda unveils the targets. They have the technique down before they try to hit the bullseye which makes them more skilled archers, Takeda said.

“What’s interesting with archery is you don’t have to be the biggest, the strongest or the fastest to be a good archer,” Takeda said. “Everyone, pretty much everyone, can participate in archery.”

Unlike football, soccer, baseball and other sports that wear on people’s bodies overtime, archery can be done at any age and for a lifetime, Takeda said. Takeda said she’s grateful for the opportunity that she’s had to teach archery through the division. Because of that assignment, her lifetime of archery wasn’t cut short.

Takeda’s final summer archery class at South Jordan begins on Aug. 16. Email Takeda at [email protected] for more information.