Online platforms and extra cardio: How top archers practice for a season that might be cancelled

A new 3D archery season is approaching, but the corona pandemic has hindered athletes from practicing in their normal way. With closed training halls and no gatherings, the Norwegian national team has found new ways of practicing for this year’s championships.

The new archery season starts in April and lasts until late September, with competitions nearly every weekend if the coronavirus is under control. It will then be nearly half a year since Norwegian 3D archery national coach Lars Erik Amundsen last saw all of his team members gathered together. 

“I cannot guarantee that they are not just laying on the couch,” says Amundsen about the communication with his team members.

They use teams, an online platform comparable to Zoom, to talk about how each athlete’s practice is going, and communicate their challenges and needs. “We’ve become very good at using Teams, phone calls and such,” says Amundsen.

“The general archery culture currently moves from it being just a hobby to a professional sport,” Amundsen says, referring to the culture in Norway. This shift requires a greater emphasis on athletic training which goes beyond merely shooting an arrow at targets. Instead, athletes need to focus more on muscle strength, cardio, and mental preparation. All these can be practiced without physical access to a coach or training hall.

When it comes to the everyday practice, the archers are used to exercise individually. Spread across the countries, the team members usually only meet at gatherings a few times each year for teambuilding and to learn from each other. With a national governmental advise against cross-regional travelling, gatherings cannot be held at the moment.

Linda Cathrine Herud plays on the national team, and is the best Norwegian female 3D archerist, according to Amundsen. She and Amundsen practice in the same training hall, which is still open for use.  

The Lens followed Herud on her first training session in two weeks inside the training hall, as she is practicing for this season’s championships and the next annual outtake to the national team.

“I do struggle a bit with the motivation,” she says. “Usually, I look forward to when the season starts, but now I’m just… don’t know if there will be anything.”

An outdoors track in the local forests also gives them the chance to simulate the first aspect of a competition. With temperatures reaching -30 degrees, it is too cold to practice outside at the moment, but Herud doesn’t mind those cold temperatures.

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