IFAF sign-off training

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I recently attended the first IFAF course sign-off training day, which was held in Laois on the 27th August .

Approximately 20 participants gathered in the Dunamaise Theatre for the session, which included a PowerPoint presentation, many questions and lively discussion covering many aspects of course safety.

A light lunch was followed by the practical part of this training day. We travelled to the Laois woods and groups were formed and sent to different parts of the unmarked animal round course to assess safety , adherence to the rules and look for the “ deliberate mistakes”.

I spoke to Nick Anton, IFAF’s Coaching Admin, to find out more.

MJ: Why was there a need to have this course?

NA: So, at the IFAF AGM last year, it was decided that we would do this, and the reason was that there was a difficulty with getting people to sign off courses and people were feeling like they didn’t know what to do. When a club was looking to get someone to come over to sign off a course, the transport thing and everything was part of it, but there was just the people feeling like they didn’t know what was required, so to fill the gap.

Also, to make it easier for clubs, as there will be a list of people, or they could have someone in their club that was on this course and up to date with what is required.

MJ: Was this course a way to standardise the way people sign off a course?

NA: This was the whole idea with the new sign off sheet. The new one lays out everything you should be looking at or attempt to . So if you were signing off a course in Galtee Archery or Valley Bowmen, you’d be looking for the same things. So you don’t end up in a situation where one person’s shoot was dramatically different from another person’s shoot, because we have found that some of the parameters within the rules haven’t been adhered to.

Some of the shots then become a bit too “challenging” to say the least.

There are a lot of new people, as well as people coming from other organisations, with slightly different rules and a slightly different take on things.

You’ve got to get the balance right between having a good day out and difficulty.

MJ: I don’t think it’s a good day out when I can’t see the targets.

NA: The target should be fully visible to all archers, and that definitely isn’t happening right now as it stands.

MJ: At least we all have the info on that now.

NA: Yes, and it is very definitive in the rules, but people don’t necessarily read the rules. They hear them from other people, and that’s like Chinese Whispers. They should check the rule book, and again, this is part of why the course was needed.

IFAF’s International Rep, Lynn Ellingworth attended the course and said:

“ I found it very good. I have a real bug bear with people thinking they know something because they heard it, and or confusing rules from another organisation with the IFAF/IFAA rules. I would recommend that anyone setting or signing off courses should complete this training.”

One attendee said “very informative, great presentation and excellent facilities “

Another course attendee felt that the course cemented the knowledge they already had. They were happy to attend, felt more confident in their understanding of the principles involved and were glad that the course was available.

I gained a lot from this course, especially the practical, afternoon session. I found it incredibly valuable to look at layout , shooting positions, danger zones and waiting areas with other people. It was an interesting and enlightening day, and I think it is a really good initiative to aid the future development of our sport.

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