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Monarchs arrow in on archery to relieve stress

With an eclectic sports professor, students at Valley College receive safety and mental wellness in the arts of archery.

By Kevin Zuniga, Staff Writer

Archers assemble on the line in front of targets during an archery class at the Valley College archery field on Nov. 22. (Griffin O'Rourke | Valley Star)

Archery students on the range Tuesday and Thursday mornings draw back their bowstrings and hold tight, waiting for the sound of the professor’s whistle to finally untether the arrow on their target.

Valley College is the only campus in the LACCD that offers archery classes, KIN 364-1 and KIN 364-2, instructed by Professor Louis Jones for seven to eight years. The class is held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:20 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the archery range, between the baseball field and Monarch Stadium.

“Ultimately, everyone's constantly working on their shooting, hitting the target, their technique and how to perform,” said archery instructor Jones. “So you try to meet the conditions and help them to get better –– to improve themselves on the archery course.”

Jones has a long history on campus. He coached football then became a Monarch himself, transferring from Valley to CSUN in the year 2000. The archery professor finished his degree in kinesiology in 2004. The professor has contributed to numerous positions at Valley, going from coaching football, managing the fitness center, teaching fitness for adaptive students and being a facility coordinator.

“It’s pretty fun loading up a bow, shooting it, and trying to hit the target,” said music major Matthew Del Valle. “Sometimes the teacher does fun activities to get extra points, two weeks ago we blew a balloon and we put it on the target and we got extra points.“

According to Jones and his students, safety is a top priority at the archery range. For the first couple weeks of class they watched videos on basic safety. Monarchs enrolled in the course learn how to hold their equipment and how to safely position themselves on the range.

Practicing and repeating these movements as Monarchs shoot their arrows throughout the semester can help students build and strengthen areas in the chest, hands, arms and upper back muscles.

A bow and a collection of arrows during an archery class at the archery field. (Griffin O'Rourke | Valley Star)

Archery also helps improve mental health as it demands concentration and breath management. These techniques can be carried through to every other area of a student’s life, from pressing work deadlines to exam pressures.

Students are only allowed to fire when Professor Jones blows his whistle, indicating when to stop or start shooting and when there is no one in the line of fire. Archery is a sport where serious injuries could happen, so practicing safety and constantly implementing it during class is a necessity.

“We practice safety all the time,” said computer science major Patrick Darby. “It doesn't matter if you're experienced or new, you always put safety first. ”

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