College Archery Programs: Should You Join?

College Archery Programs

For those of you who are passionate about archery, you may be wondering if now is the time to pursue a college archery program. There are many different programs available across the country, and each one has its own unique benefits. In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of pursuing a college archery program. We will also provide some tips for choosing the right program for you!


During the 1960s, Ryder initiated a vigorous campaign advocating for Physical Education classes to be included in elementary, middle, and high schools. Consequently, universities started providing more PE majors along with exercise lessons that obligated their students to take part in varsity sports activities. If some of them weren’t competent at prominent games including football or basketball, they sought out marginal ones such as archery and fencing instead.

The students yearned to be able to compare their archery scores with others, so colleges began competing through a postal system. As time passed, teams began competing in person against one another. The National Collegiate Athletic Association considered sanctioning the sport of archery – yet it’s still awaiting approval after all this time.

Program Details

Since archery isn’t an NCAA-sanctioned sport, college programs vary immensely from one another in terms of the number of coaches and athletes on board, archery styles or disciplines practiced, as well as where and when it’s feasible to practice. According to Ryder: “It truly depends on what school you go for – some colleges have very thorough program details while others are more lenient. Archery is definitely a unique kind of sport”.

College archery teams, both varsity, and club-level are typically co-ed and abide by USA Archery regulations. Unless the team or program is granted funding from outside sources, coaches tend to volunteer their services. The size of college archery teams can be small – constituting only a few participants – or large with up to 50 members! College athletes compete across four main disciplines: barebow, recurve bow, compound bow, and fixed pin competitions; however not all colleges have gained access to specialized coaching for each style yet.

Some universities have the privilege of both indoor and outdoor shooting facilities, while others, unfortunately, lack access to such resources. In these cases, they may form agreements with local archery pro shops to secure a reduced annual range fee for their athletes.

Surprisingly, some universities view bows and arrows as weapons, prohibiting students from having archery equipment on campus. Nevertheless, the institution can still form an archery team; however, athletes must practice off-campus in those cases. USA Archery will double-check that these individuals attend the university and are deemed qualified to compete independently of their college at collegiate-level tournaments.

Ultimately, the number of archery events or tournaments a college team participates in is dependent upon their ability to fundraise. Unfortunately, JMU’s Archery Team doesn’t receive any university funding so Ryder and his athletes have had to get creative when it comes to raising money for competitions. With enough funds generated from various sources like donations and fundraisers, they are usually able to attend 8-10 tournaments each year – including USA Archery’s Indoor Nationals and Outdoor Nationals!

Expectations, Pros, And Cons

Whether you’re looking to compete or simply have some fun, participating in college archery can be beneficial. As Ryder stated, it’s like joining a cappella group – if that’s your passion then go for it! Now let’s learn what else you may experience from a collegiate archery program. Some programs are even equipped with gear obtained through grants so competing athletes don’t need to spend money on their own equipment; however, those who take things seriously usually purchase their own set of tools as the price tag can sometimes reach high levels.

Apart from the savings and discounts at local pro shops, athletes relish in the fitness competition that archery provides. Not to mention, they also get to connect with their peers during tournaments and events. Ryder once noted: “When you compete in college-level archery, not only do you gain friendships that will last a lifetime but your co-archers as well.” As everyone goes through graduation together, collegiate archery offers an invaluable connection among its participants.

Archery is an activity that will bring you a lifetime of family and friends, as archers are some of the most dedicated sportsmen. You get to assist others while getting to know your opponents on a deeper level; this is what makes it such an amazing sport. Each coach has different requirements for athletes according to their program: some coaches prefer strict practice routines while other programs may be more flexible with how much time should be spent practicing – whether it’s just two hours each week or six days daily at two-hour intervals!

Many sports organizations motivate their participants to become involved with the surrounding community. For instance, Ryder’s athletes must comply with a certain annual requirement of volunteer hours in order to remain part of the program. These service activities could include mentorship programs for newcomers, archery tournaments, and other local events.

Picking a School to Attend

College athletics, such as archery, are an excellent way to develop skills beyond the classroom. However, Ryder encourages students to make their academics a priority so they can be successful in life even if they don’t move on to higher levels of competition.

As he emphasized, the key for high schoolers is to prioritize their studies. Choosing a major and finding an institution that provides quality education should be of utmost importance. Even if the chosen college has no archery program, USA Archery can offer guidance on how students may still join collegiate archery programs elsewhere. In other words, there are plenty of opportunities in college archery regardless of where one goes!

Did you know that there are 56 universities with archery teams, listed on the USA Archery website? If your chosen school is one of them, Ryder highly recommends scheduling a meeting with the coach. This way you can get to know each other and discuss all sorts of topics such as program details, equipment options, and practice/community service expectations – so that you can decide if this sport suits you or not! However, don’t worry if your dream college lacks an archery team; simply reach out to USA Archery in order to figure out how it could be possible for you to join their squad at the college level as an individual athlete.

A Note About Archery Scholarships

Numerous organizations, such as USA Archery and the National Field Archery Association, provide scholarships to those who compete in collegiate archery. Additionally, some individual colleges and universities offer their own archery scholarship programs. For example, out of the 56 colleges with an active archery team across the United States, 21 have indicated they are providing scholarship opportunities. However just because a college may offer a scholarship doesn’t necessarily mean that its respective archery program is thriving or successful.

Before taking up a scholarship, it is wise to consider if the aid will help you achieve your financial objectives. It may even be more cost-effective for you to choose public schooling than private schooling with a scholarship in some cases. To learn more about college archery programs, head over to USA Archery’s Collegiate Archery web page now!

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