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History of Educational Gymnastics in British schools
February 13, 2018
Educational Gymnastics in Britain A popular conception of gymnastics today is of young girls in sparkly leotards with hair kept up in tightly bound buns.  This is a relatively new concept, with gymnastics originally being an all-male outdoor pursuit. Gymnastics has originated from several different sources, but all had the underlying principle of healthy movement. […]

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Getting fit for Archery

“Whatever’s wrong ain’t the bow and whatever’s right is the archer.”

archery fitnessFor the last 18 months I have been working alongside the Gloucestershire Archery Society and a number of local clubs as part of the.

My role has included working directly with the young archers as well as workshops to help educate coaches and parents to apply the key principles for physical development.


The emphasis of any of these sessions has been the Long term development of the athletes, and developing fundamental movement skills as a foundation on which to build.

Although Archers rarely have to run fast or lift heavy weights off the floor (despite what a job application for a recent position with high performing archers stated!), there are many physical abilities which are important for successful performance.

Mandigo et al., 2007 listed a number of fundamental movement skills, many of which can be directly linked to archery including:

1)      Stability

  • Balancing- maintaining centre of gravity above base of support
  • Stretching-being able to efficiently hold different postures
  • Twisting- rotating parts of upper body/ resisting rotation of torso
  • Pushing- strengthening front shoulder
  • Pulling (drawing)- strengthening rear shoulder during rotation

2)      Locomotor

  • Walking/Running-important for developing efficient aerobic system
  • Jumping- developing lower body strength and stability
  • Hopping- lower body stability and coordination
  • Skipping- coordination and timing
  • Climbing- increasing upper and lower body strength

3)      Manipulative

  • Throwing (over and under arm), Catching, Striking
  • All good for improving hand-eye coordination and accuracy

fit for archeryIt is important to note that fundamental movement skills are the building blocks of sport skills, which is why these movements form the basis of the sessions for all of the archers I have worked with.

Despite varying broadly in terms of age and training experience, most of the athletes have developed deficiencies in mobility and posture due to the environment they find themselves in either at school hunched over a desk, or by regularly shooting (consistently using uneven posture).

A lot of emphasis during coach education sessions is on regularly practising exercises which will reinforce good posture, balance, stability and mobility to develop the Structural Integrity of the archers. This could include using exercises during warm ups or encouraging athletes to practice exercises away from training.

Cooperation in Coaching

I have been very fortunate to work with some fantastic coaches (Roger Crang, Steph and Dan Gill and Graham Williams to name a few) who have all bought into the need to develop physical skills as well as technical skills.

The Excelsior athletic development centre was set up to help young athletes by either working with them directly, or by running courses and workshops with the coaches, parents and teachers who are working with them week to week.

By working together with sports coaches, positive behaviours and habits can be constantly reinforced rather than competing with contradicting messages.

Click here for the full Archery Guide to Fundamental training

Matt Durber 

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Client Testimonials

Exeter Chiefs Rugby Academy
James was in sole charge of fitness related matters, organising and implementing training programmes... also provided players with mentoring and advice on nutritional needs. He varied the programmes and was keen to keep ideas fresh and designed activities suitable to help young rugby player's progress. James was keen to put time into the thought process of his ideas and carry out to a very high standard.

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Teenage movement seminar: Willand
10 Apr 2018

Your future success starts here Are you an active teenager who wants to get a bit fitter? Feel like you get overlooked by school teams? Do you want to learn how to become more agile and faster? Do you want specific advice on how you can balance study and becoming more active? Do you want […]