The Virgin Islands was graced with the presence of World record holder in Compound Archery, Recurve and Compound Coach Raymond Michael Gerard (better known as Mike) of St. Thomas, USVI and Olympian and Archery Coach Tatyana Muntyan of St. Thomas, USVI. The coaches came through the initial invitation of Virgin Islands Archery Federation (VIAF) in St. Thomas, USVI, who graciously extended the invitation to us in the Virgin Islands.
Mike has over forty-four of years of experience in the sport, shooting competitively since he was 14 years old and now shares his love for the sport through coaching. He has won every major US Championship in the US, in Indoor, Field and Target Archery, except for 3D Archery. Currently he has the World record for the youngest Archer that shot indoors. No one has broken his record to this day, which he accomplished when he was 14 years old with a score of 598 out of 600. The closest anyone has gotten was a score of 596. He has trained several Junior Olympic Archery Olympians and Junior World team members. He serves on the National Coaches Development Committee and the Board of Justice of USA Archery. He has written articles for several magazines and has given numerous seminars on archery.
Tatyana came with a wealth of thirty-five years of experience in various disciplines in Archery. Tatyana is an Olympian and has shot at national tournaments in the US since 2015 and was part of the squad’s Olympic trials for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. World Archery Championships Silver Medalist, 2-time Individual Gold Medalist in Indoor Archery, Bronze Medalist in individual and teams in Indoor Archery and Silver Medalist in Field Archery. She has worked with National teams in the Ukraine, Romania, and France along with individual archers around the world.
Mike, shared with the Compound Archers the information required for their discipline whilst Tatyana shared with the Recurve Archers the knowledge needed for their discipline, as both have different mechanisms that rely on completely different aspects of the sport of Archery.
VIAA President and Archery Coach Patrick Smith re-iterated a few key messages that was imparted from the two visiting Coaches which was to “Know your equipment”. Coach Dwayne Donovan mentioned that he liked hearing about “magnetic resonance” and that to “tune into your body and not the people around you” were key lessons to be learned.
When the team of younger Archers were asked about their greatest take away, Shile David mentioned that “Coach Tatyana’s approach methods, specifically for warm up before, during and after along with the Archer’s form and shot process” really stood out.
Both visiting coaches were asked, “how did you find the experience to be working with our Archers in the BVI?”
Tatyana responded by saying “It was amazing to practice for all of us. All of people that I met, talked to, and practiced with, they are positive, they are coachable and teachable. That is very, very important! Coach Patrick and all of you did a great job to have that level of Archery in the BVI. I respect that very much.”
Mike mentioned that “coming to the BVI was a fantastic experience. It took no time to see that the archers are “all in” with regards to enjoyment and growth in their abilities. Sky is the limit as a result!
When asked, “What did you see as the greatest challenges and Strengths?”
Mike stated “the greatest strength is the commitment from both coaches and athletes and the respect shared throughout the team and the patience I witnessed. Everyone seems to enjoy each other. Low friction is huge and allows for unrestricted progress.”
The biggest challenge is access to the equipment and information you need. Because you work harder for that, then many, the value is higher and appreciated. I believe you are doing well so far and on the right track.”
Tatyana mentioned that “As you can see in the videos and pictures that I took during our 1-day practice, all the archers made a great form transformation in a short time. All the archers form transformation is possible because of my systematic training method that was developed by me from the decades of experience in archery as an Olympian, pro archer, and National level coach.”
They were asked “What goal would you like to see achieved by the team?”
Tatyana responded by saying that “I see, and I know for sure that here in the BVI there is a big potential for the archery sport. My vision and goals are to see BVI landers of all ages and the division teams on the top of the podium at the Caribbean and Pan American Games. I see potential for BVI archers to make the Olympic games as well.”
Mike said that it “would be great to set up a monthly video conference with the team to discuss needs, challenges, and triumphs. The next move is to get the ability to compete remotely with other teams. This will inspire your inner greatness! It will add value to your hard work.”
The Archery team has its largest delegation to date gearing up to compete in the Caribbean Developmental Championships from September 6 through 8 and the CAC Games Qualifier from September 5 through 12, both in Santo Domingo, so this training was timely.