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NFAA Easton Yankton
Archery Complex

800 Archery Lane
Yankton, SD 57078


Weekdays: 9am - 9pm
Saturday: 10am - 7pm
Sunday: 12pm - 7pm

On the Job: Local Archery Coach Trains the Very Best

For his job at the Yankton archery center, M.J. Rogers wears many hats.

As the facilities coach at the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) Easton Yankton Archery Complex, Rogers' primary function is as a coach for the NFAA Foundation that operates the center. This involves training archers, serving as coach for the Mount Marty archery club and checking equipment used for tournaments.

He also handles logistics for various events held by the World Archery Festival, a subsidiary of the NFAA.

“There's such a variety,” he said. “It's just a matter of stepping in and being a part of it.”

Rogers, a USA Archery Level 4 instructor and NFAA Master Coach, teaches a variety of students, from the young beginner to the experienced Olympian. While there is a wide gap in talent, he said the two extremes have more in common than one might think.

“They're actually quite similar in that a beginning archer has no preconceived notion on what is good or bad, and ultimately, that is where an Olympian needs to go,” he said.

Once a coach at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., Rogers has had extensive experience training archers at the highest level. He coached a Canadian archer in the 2004 games in Athens, Greece, and is currently working with four individuals who are vying for various Olympic positions. He is also involved with the U.S. Paralympic team.

He said that once archers reach that level, the physical part of the sport takes a back seat to the mental side. Since the Olympic archers shoot outdoors primarily at 70 meters, it can be a significant challenge for them to maintain their abilities in those elements. While this part of his job is the most challenging, Rogers said it is also extremely rewarding.

“Watching an archer become more comfortable in their skin while they perform is probably one of the most interesting components of what I do,” he said.

Rogers also spends a lot of time working with children, and the archery center has made a concerted effort to reach out to junior archers.

The complex hosts an after-school program for elementary and middle school students, and plans are in the works to start a junior Olympic archery development program (JOAD). JOAD is a nationwide program that helps develop youth in both compound and recurve archery, and it will serve as a stand-alone archery club on the junior level.

Rogers said he thoroughly enjoys working with beginning archers and seeing the progress they make over time.

“That's the best part - watching someone that is able to take a skill that seems at the beginning very cumbersome and turn it into something that looks effortless,” he said.

Before moving to Yankton, Rogers worked primarily for the World Archery Festival. He was also the liaison between the NFAA and the U.S. Olympic Committee and managed all the archery programs at the Chula Vista U.S. Olympic Training Center. When the NFAA moved its headquarters from Redlines, Calif., to Yankton in 2008, Rogers and his wife Marihelen, executive secretary for the NFAA, followed the association.

Rogers said the biggest adjustment has been getting used to the South Dakota winters, which are much more “aggressive” than he had previously experienced living in California and Illinois. The weather has also made him focus more on indoor archery during the winter months.

While the temperatures might be colder than what he is used to, Rogers said the warm reception from the area has helped ease the transition.

“The community has been very welcoming, and I've made a number of friends and developed many relationships,” he said. “It's a very friendly atmosphere here in Yankton.”