Fall 2020 Semester Recap – Archery at Home

Fall 2020 has been an experience unlike any other. With classes being held online and campus facilities closing indefinitely, collegiate sport has faced an unprecedented challenge. While we congratulate all who have demonstrated incredible resilience during this difficult time and finished their semester strong, we also want to look back on the journey Trojan Archery has undergone for the past 4 months. Let’s take a look at some exciting and innovative event highlights made possible by our club leaders and coaches.

Virtual Practices

For the first time in history, Trojan Archery welcomed a season of online practices. After intensive preparation by our creative coaches and club leaders, a fun, productive, easy-to-follow schedule was born for all those who wished to continue their archery training at home. The design of the schedule took into consideration multiple factors, including availability of archers, the optimal pace to build up strength and endurance, and a balance between work and relaxation.

Club Practices are live streams of club members shooting or doing SPTs together with coaches present to answer questions or offer shooting advice. In comparison, Club Workouts are more strength and endurance focused, aiming to build up stamina and body awareness in order to get in shape for competition seasons. During these training sessions, members of the Trojan Archery team worked hard and pushed each other to become better versions of themselves. We all understand that picking up a bow and going to an archery range by yourself might be challenging for all archers; therefore, we found our peers to be our greatest source of motivation and support in the pursuit of this passion we share. Through our shared tears and sweat, SPTs and strength training became a little bit more bearable, and shooting together on zoom almost felt like being able to laugh and cheer right next to our old bale buddies on the shooting line.

Team members attend Monday night SPT practice with Head Coach Dan!

If team workouts and practices did not work with your schedule, our generous coaching staff also made private coaching available. By scheduling sessions online with Calendly, our club members were fortunate enough to be able to schedule one-on-one meetings with any coach to ask questions and set up  personal training plans. Other ways to communicate with our coaches included submitting practice videos online and getting digital feedback. We are so thankful for our coaches’ time and unwavering dedication this semester!

While some ambitious archers set high standards for themselves and made routine trips to safely practice archery outdoors, we encouraged others to stay active with the resources available to them. After becoming members this year, members received online access to all of our guided workouts, group practices, workshops AND an exclusive member package. We equipped all our members with a stretch band, a fundamental part of at-home training. With a stretch band and some light weights, you can stay on top of your archery game and imitate shooting conditions, even without all your equipment handy. By adapting our training curriculum to various levels of equipment availability, our workout sessions were friendly to all individuals interested in improving their skills and maintaining the progress they have made. As we continue to make the best of this difficult time, we hope to utilize all our resources to best prepare our archers for when competitions resume and we can once again shoot together side by side. Until then, stay strong and GET BIG!

Excelling in Education

Last Spring, our very own Coach Alexandra Aloia opened a Level 2 Archery Certification class. Based on USA Archery official materials, the class is designed to help applicants familiarize themselves with topics such as setting up and managing a range, National Training System (NTS) shot cycle, conducting a beginner class and so on. After all the hard work the applicants put in and Coach Alex’s careful evaluation of their performances, this fall we welcomed seven newly certified L2 instructors to our club! A full list of our club instructors can be found on our website.

Additionally, we were excited to announce the election of our Head Coach for the 2020-22 term: Dan Kwasniewski. Dan is, undoubtedly, one of the most enthusiastic members of the Trojan Archery community. Aside from his commitment to archery, Dan recently earned his PhD from USC in Physical Chemistry and is now teaching at Pasadena City College. He has been with us as a student, a president, a coach, and now we have the privilege of being able to call him our Head Coach. This semester, Dan worked hard to coordinate virtual coaching sessions for all our members. We can’t wait to see how our team improves and thrives under Dan’s leadership!

This Fall we also had three coaches participating in USA Archery’s Level 4 NTS Coach Certification Course: Alexandra Aloia, Jim MacQuarrie, Max Zade! The Level 4-NTS Coach course provides its participants with education and training on coaching, communication, sports science in archery, psychology and biomechanics with a large emphasis on the National Training System (NTS). After intensive studying and rigorous training, it is our greatest pleasure to congratulate Alex and Max on successfully obtaining their L4 certifications and we wish Jim the best of luck on his exam in January!

New to the club – Coaches’ Corner

This semester, our coaches initiated a bimonthly virtual book club: “Coaches’ Corner.” At these casual meetings, our coaches led discussions on diverse topics including coaching techniques, philosophies, and methods. Joined by our club instructors and other team members, the book club aimed at introducing anyone interested to the internal working mechanisms behind creating the best team in Southern California!

Coaches’ Corner took place every other month with a discussion based on the reading materials provided prior to the meeting. During our past meetings, members of the community exchanged opinions on selected chapters from The Art of Failure: Why some people choke and others Panic by Malcolm Gladwell and 10-Minute Toughness: The Mental Training Program for Winning Before the Game Begins by Jason Selk. Getting access to the materials is as easy as simply talking to an Executive Board member! As our coaches continue to facilitate interesting and productive conversation, we’d like to welcome all individuals with an interest in becoming a better-informed member of the collegiate archery community to join us. Our next Coaches’ Corner will take place on Monday, December 14th from 9-10 PM at this link!

Staying Connected

We all understand that one of the biggest impacts of this pandemic is the physical distance it puts between college students. To help alleviate the lack of team interaction from not being able to hangout during practices in the PED gym, we set up a weekly social zoom meeting hosted by e-board members. This is an open space to all with an interest in archery to ask questions, socialize, or simply hangout in a virtual setting. During many of these meetings, we chatted about whatever was on our minds, whether it was midterm anxiety, registration pressure, new film/TV releases or even sport events. We also played many hilarious rounds of Among Us, an online multiplayer game where players are given tasks to complete while trying to figure out who the imposter on the mission is.

As a small token of appreciation for all the club members, the e-board also sent out care packages to each member of the community at the beginning of the semester. The packages contained hand sanitizer, a special tie-dyed mask, a stretch band for our weekly practices, and some goodies along with a monthly social calendar. You can now find most up-to-date information on our community gatherings and other events on our website.

Click through the slideshow to check out some of our memories together:

During the month of October, Trojan Archery celebrated the spooky season with a themed movie series. After E-board members handpicked movies from streaming platforms available to all USC account-holders, a poll was conducted to determine the movie for the week. Throughout the month, we watched a psychological thriller, a classic horror and a yokai-related family movie, screaming together, laughing together, and maybe even crying a little too. Though we cannot hold arrow fletching parties as we would normally do on campus, online watch parties allowed us to enjoy our favorite entertainment together without having to share the popcorn! Other nights, we enjoyed each other’s company through other activities such as making pizzas and carving pumpkins.

Looking Ahead

As we stay flexible and attentive to the development of the pandemic and its impact on our community, we expect an even more exciting semester after a well-deserved winter break for everyone! During the winter recess, we will adjust our practice schedule to accommodate our archers and coaches but we hope to keep our spirits up and not waste all the hard work we put in this past semester. With the 52nd National Indoors Championship scheduled to happen in January(still open for registration!), some members of our team are preparing mentally and physically to compete and do their best despite difficult conditions and the most unusual season in Trojan Archery history. As things change, we hope all of our archers evaluate their situations and make the safest, most responsible decisions as we go into Spring semester.

Surely, you don’t think the fun is stopping during the break either! Coming up next, we’ll dive straight into the holiday spirit with Trojan Archery Secret Santa, where members of the community will be exchanging gifts through the mail and opening the gifts (and guessing their gift-giver’s identity!) together on a zoom call. We will also be having themed movie nights and other festive activities such as making gingerbread houses or decorating cookies. All events will be held online via zoom and we look forward to celebrating the holiday with everyone!

As always, if you’d like to see more fun updates from us, you can join our mailing list and find us on Facebook and Instagram at @trojanarchery. Feel free to reach out to us at archery@usc.edu with any questions or concerns!

Stay safe and Shoot on!
Trojan Archery Executive Board

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