Dick Tone leads elite recurve training camp at Lancaster Archery Academy
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics might be three years away, but the Olympic spirit was alive and strong at Lancaster Archery Academy June 9-11.About three dozen archers, coaches and parents immersed themselves in all things Olympic recurve archery over those three days under the tutelage of former Olympic coach Dick Tone, Olympic gold medal winners Jay Barrs (1988) and John Williams (1972) and master recurve equipment technician, Tom Stevenson.“This was a tremendously successful camp for us and for the archers and coaches who participated,” said Rob Kaufhold, president of Lancaster Archery Supply, which is the parent company of the Academy. “At Lancaster Archery, our goal is to help archers of all disciplines in every way possible, to be the best they can be. This camp exposed archers to shooting and coaching techniques that maybe they never thought of before.”Archers started the camp by shooting their bows through the Academy’s Vision Quest system. It’s a series of four cameras that captures an archer’s shooting motion from four different angles. They shot through the system again at the end of the weekend, after they had received two full days of instruction from Tone and his team.“We were able to show them the differences, so they can see what they’re supposed to do and how they’re supposed to do it,” Tone said.Each camp participant received copies of their videos for future training.During the two days of instruction, Tone and Barrs worked with the archers as a group and individually to coach them on stance and form. Stevenson made sure everyone’s equipment was properly tuned, and he showed them how to fix common issues, should they arise.Stevenson also explained his analytics software, which is used by archers to break down their shooting form, and shared advanced tuning techniques to optimize grouping and tournament performance.The coaches also stressed the mental training archery requires. Tone’s shooting method is pretty simple. Get your form right. Perfect it through practice, so the act of shooting becomes a subconscious act during competition.“Rhythm and timing are critical to the process,” Tone said. “All the top archers in the world have the best rhythm and timing.”Too often, Tone said, archers get caught up thinking about minute details associated with shooting a bow.“When a pitcher throws a pitch, he’s not thinking about mechanics,” Tone said. “He’s thinking about throwing a strike and he just acts naturally.”Tone’s system works, said Barrs, who has been coached by Tone for more than 30 years, and is one of nine Olympians Tone has coached.“It’s simple, easy to learn, easy to perfect and anybody can do it,” he said.USA Archery enjoyed some success at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, with Brady Ellison taking home the individual bronze, and the men’s team of Ellison, Jake Kaminski and Zach Garrett winning the team silver.But Tone and Barrs said there is a lot of room for improvement in the weeks, months and years leading up to Tokyo. Especially with mixed team archery being added to the Olympic archery tournament in 2020.“Thirty years after I won my gold medal, you’d think we would have a deeper team,” Barrs said. “There should be 30 archers fighting for the Olympic spots, but there’s always a couple good ones at the top, and then everyone else behind them.”This was the second year Lancaster Archery Academy has hosted Tone for an Olympic recurve camp. Kaufhold said he expects to bring Tone and his team back again later this year or in 2018. Keep checking lancasterarcheryacademy.com for information on dates.Lancaster Archery Supply, Inc., offers the world’s largest selection of 3D, target, bowhunting and traditional archery equipment. The company actively supports tournament archers around the world, and hosts the annual Lancaster Archery Classic, an international competition that draws over 1,000 competitive archers to Pennsylvania each year. The Lancaster, Pa., based Pro Shop is also home to the Lancaster Archery Academy – a year-round training facility for beginner, intermediate and competition archers.