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High Performance Recurve expands its Athlete Pathway structure

March 08, 2018
High Performance Recurve expands its Athlete Pathway structure

For 2018, the HP program has begun to implement a 4-tier pathway model in order to provide an increasingly structured system for supporting athlete progression. The model was designed with a focus on allowing high potential archers to gradually develop skills while training and competing in an environment, which allows them to excel under the guidance of Archery Canada’s technical leadership. In 2018, the tiered system is defined as follows:

1.      National Team – NT: Athletes who receive national carding support and who demonstrate the potential to compete in the Tokyo Olympics in accordance with performance targets

2.      National Training Squad – NTS: Athletes demonstrating evidence to reach podium performances at the Olympic & World Championships in 5-8 years

3.      Development Squad – DS: Athletes demonstrating strong performance potential now to move into the NTS within the next 1-3 years

4.      Identification Squad – IS: Athletes demonstrating potential for reaching the NTS in 3+ years  

The first two tiers are lead by Shawn Riggs as the National Coach, and tiers 3 and 4 are lead by 6-time Olympic coach Joan McDonald, who was named as Archery Canada’s System Pathway Coach in late 2017.

“The athlete pathway, and our approach for developing our athletes in a more coordinated manner and at an earlier age, was an area that required our attention”, suggested Alan Brahmst, Archery Canada’s High Performance Director, and added, “we have done a lot of good work since the Rio Olympics to establish an increasingly professional environment for our National Team and our NTS athletes, but we knew we needed to be more intentional and structured in our approach to talent development if we want to compete for Olympic medals beyond 2020. Joan’s experience and capabilities are perfectly matched with what’s needed now to establish these programs.“

In total, the HP program is working directly with about 35 athletes, with twenty of those athletes now in DS and IS programs where Archery Canada will be investing the equivalent of approximately $65,000 per year through technical leadership, programming and the introduction of critical high performance services. Brahmst further added “we have an average age of about 16 in the IS and we have developed a program that will begin to deliver customized performance plans for each athlete and deliver about 300 hours of coaching per year. Our model is designed to work directly with the athlete and their personal coach to support athlete development in a centralized and de-centralized manner. We will be busy, but it’s an exciting and very important program to get off the ground in 2018.”

The athletes selected for the NT and NTS tiers were notified late in 2017, while the 20 athletes in the DS and IS programs, most of whom have participated in the TOP program, were notified more recently.  Both programs have been informally launched through initial training sessions, athlete monitoring, and general communication and collaboration amongst coaches, athletes, and parents. The program will formally launch on April 1st, 2018 in alignment with Archery Canada’s fiscal year.

The TOP program, which was launched in 2016 and has provided a successful entry point to the high performance pathway for many athletes, will continue to operate as an entry point to high performance with a variety of regional camps and some international competition elements. In speaking about the TOP program for 2018, Marc Gagnon, Archery Canada’s youth coordinator and leader of the TOP program announced that “we will be starting with a camp in Vancouver in March, which is organized by Linda Price and partially funded by Archery BC, and which will have our National Coach Shawn Riggs as well as Crispin Duenas as coaches. TOP will follow this up with camps in central and eastern Canada, a camp in alignment with the National Championships, and other competition projects. A full annual program will be announced during March.”

Entry points to the DS and IS programs will be dynamic throughout 2018 as Joan McDonald continues to monitor the ranking system and evaluate performance potential at TOP events and observe performances at the National Championships in Truro Nova Scotia in August. A formal annual entry point for the DS and IS programs is under consideration for 2019. More detailed information about the Athlete Pathway structure will be communicated throughout the year.

For additional information on the Canadian High Performance program, visit

About Archery Canada

Archery Canada is the National Sport Organization responsible for the promotion and development of the timeless sport of archery in a safe and ethical manner. Archery Canada supports the achievement of high performance excellence in archery in all categories and the development of a national archery infrastructure to promote archery participation across Canada in cooperation with the Provincial/Territorial Archery Associations.



Mary MacDonald

Executive Director

Archery Canada

613-260- 2113