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NFAA Easton Yankton
Archery Complex

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Yankton, SD 57078


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Saturday: 10am - 7pm
Sunday: 12pm - 7pm

Great To Get Some Help


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Nicole Schmitz and Vernon Hess are at drastically different stages of their archery career.

One, Schmitz, has only been shooting a bow for a year and a half, while the other, Hess, competes in the senior division which means he’s been shooting arrows for considerably longer.

But each took part in a brand new event this weekend in Yankton.

They were among 25 students at the inaugural High Performance Adult Compound Academy, which was hosted by the National Field Archery Association (NFAA).

The three-day seminar — held in conjunction with the Outdoor National Target Championships — featured instruction and advice from four professional archers (Paige Gore, Paul Tedford, Braden Gellenthien, Chuck Cooley) and four national coaches (Josahan Jaime-Santa Cruz, Mike Price, Jeff Sanchez, Bill Hewes).

Schmitz, a 25-year-old who works in Elk Point, was looking for something to do when she moved to Yankton. Her mother then suggested that she look into some of the adult archery classes offered at the Easton Yankton Archery Center.

So that’s where Schmitz got her start. And when she heard about the Adult Compound Archery, she jumped at the opportunity, she said.

“It’s great to get some help,” Schmitz said Sunday evening, during the final session. “There are a whole bunch of things they tell you that you probably didn’t even think of.

“So it’s nice to get another set of eyes.”

And that was one of the goals of the academy.

The three-day event featured forums led by the professionals, assessment of equipment, and individual video analysis — with six different camera angles. Areas such as proper form, sights, stabilizers, training & conditioning and mental management were addressed.

The result?

“I used a lot of what they told me (Saturday),” said Hess, who lives in Burlington, Kansas.

During the Sunflower State Games in his native Kansas back in July, Hess carded a score of 824 at the same kind of round (90 arrows total over three distances) as Saturday in Yankton. But in Yankton, even with the less-than-ideal weather conditions over the weekend, he finished with a score of 844.

So yes, his attendance at the academy produced immediate improvement.

“The coaches have been very helpful,” Hess said Sunday night. “I like the advice they’ve given me.”

And for the coaches, that was the entire point of the academy.

Tedford, who lives in Great Falls, Montana, said he had people ask him, ‘Is it worth signing up for?’

Yes, Tedford said he replied.

“If you can go to something like this and get even one or two things to take home with you, it’s definitely worth it,” he said.

Pairing the academy with a national tournament certainly helped the attendance, but ultimately, the professionals wanted to make sure they were helping others.

“You just have to make sure they can take something away from this,” Tedford said. “When they’re traveling all this way and paying the money to enter, you want to make sure there’s value to this.”

Even though many of the students in the academy had also competed in the Outdoor National Target Championships, it wasn’t as though they were all novices. No, even other pros took part in the seminar — for example, Richard Smith took part in academy, and he won his division Sunday at the Target Championships.

Put another way: Everyone can always learn something new.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Gellenthien said. “This is actually my first time working with a group like this.”

And for someone still new to the sport like Schmitz, such an academy can only help her down the road, she said.

“I’m trying to get more involved in it,” she said. “It’s still new for me, and definitely challenging.”