HomeAway Hobbies: Archery

Dale Churchett explains how he got involved in competitive archery.

Dale Churchett explains how he got involved in competitive archery.

Dale Churchett, Senior Software Architect, sets his sights on a new hobby!

When did you first get involved with archery? 
I got started a little over a year ago after coming back from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. The theme of the London Olympics was 'Inspire a Generation', and so I challenged my family to pick up a new sport. I've played lots of sports throughout my life, but had always wanted to give Archery a go, so this seemed like the perfect time.

How has your experience been? 
My family and I all signed up and shot together for a year.  We are lucky to have an Olympic training program here in Austin run by a former National Champion and I progressed rather quickly: I got my own bow, achieved Level 1 USA Archery Coaching Status, qualified for the OPT program (Olympic Path Training in October) and began competing in November 2013.

My first tournament was held at Texas A&M University and it was quite an experience (there were three Olympians shooting). I also trained hard and competed at the recent State Championship and National Indoor Championship.

The first year of tournaments are really just for experience, and I never knew how physically and mentally tough they are! A tournament can last from 3 – 4.5 hours on consecutive days, so you have to be pretty fit mentally and physically to withstand the demands placed on you.

What do you love most about this sport?
I love competing and enjoy sports in general. Archery is quite different from most sports – far more physical than I imagined it would be. In the picture below I'm pulling back 34 lbs (Olympians use 50 lbs) and it takes years to build up the strength and control required for consistent shooting.

Now I'm getting ready for the Outdoor season where we shoot at 30, 50 and 70m distances. I'm excited to keep challenging myself and see how far I can take my new hobby!