Archery begins as just a hobby for many archers before developing into something far more. It provides community, lifelong friends, and opportunities to develop technical and team-building skills through regular competition. USA Archery’s Junior Olympic Archery Development program – or JOAD – helps youths nationwide do just that.
USA Archery clubs offer JOAD classes across the country, and those clubs have doubled to around 500 locations the past decade. Whether a youth is trying archery for the first time or dreaming of winning a gold medal at the Olympics, JOAD helps everyone reach their goal.
Why Register for JOAD?
Kids who join JOAD build archery skills at their own pace with guidance from certified coaches. Cassie Grieser, USA Archery’s outreach manager, said JOAD clubs are led by instructors and coaches who are certified Level 2 or higher. Members can take beginner, intermediate and advanced classes.
Grieser said USA Archery’s instructor- and coach-certification program is internationally acclaimed for providing coaches the best training and resources possible. Members can take classes in all disciplines, including basic compound, barebow, compound and recurve. Many clubs rent equipment so kids can try different bows and archery disciplines before buying their own gear.
Archers who belong to JOAD can compete in sanctioned USA Archery tournaments at local, state and national levels. These events include:
- USA Archery’s quarterly virtual tournament;
- JOAD State Championships;
- JOAD National Indoor Championships;
- JOAD National Target Championships.
USA Archery offers an achievement program for JOAD members. Archers can earn awards for their scores, which gets more challenging as skill levels improve.
“This program helps archers set goals and measure progress to achieve their personal best,” Grieser said. JOAD archers can also earn high recognition by earning Olympian Awards, which have bronze, silver and gold levels. Archers reaching these levels are recognized by USA Archery, which awards jackets, backpacks and more.
Most importantly, JOAD members grow as individuals in a community by supporting each other and building team unity. Brad Fiala is USA Archery’s event-development manager. He knows firsthand the community and culture JOAD creates. He said youths advance at their own pace with help from the many friends and coaches they meet.
As club members begin competing at events such as the JOAD Nationals and USA Archery State Championships, they also connect with other JOAD clubs and their members. “I’m still in touch with many friends I made during my time in JOAD, including two USA Archery staff members, Guy Krueger and Sarah Boyd,” Fiala said.
Who Should Join JOAD?
JOAD is for archers ages 8 to 20. Whether the person is interested in recreational archery or wants to compete for a spot in the Olympics, Paralympics or World Championships, JOAD helps at every step.
Grieser said JOAD is a critical component of USA Archery’s athlete-development pipeline. “JOAD is the entry on the pathway to elite athlete development, including high performance and collegiate archery programs,” she said.
Participating in a club is a great extracurricular activity for kids who want to join a team, enjoy problem solving, boost their confidence, and seek to become better archers.
How to Register for JOAD
Archers can visit USA Archery’s Club Locator to find a nearby program and contact information for club leaders. Contact a club leader to set up a visit and learn how to join the club.
For more information about registering for JOAD, contact its outreach manager, Callie Grieser, at firstname.lastname@example.org.