What goes into making the ultimate archery facility? Lucy O’Sullivan visits the World Archery Excellence Centre, and discovers the features that make it a dream destination…
During my archery career I have been very fortunate to travel the world for my sport – yes, it has equated to a small fortune, but why else do we work? However, if you’re thinking of spending your hard-earned cash on trips away to help your archery, let me tell you why Lausanne should be on the list.
It’s the home of the World Archery Excellence Centre
The building itself is fantastic. It is modern and sleek, the floor is a memory foam type matting and the concrete Art Deco-ness is highly impressive. I can’t believe how many targets there are – but it’s all done in a space-efficient way, using target walls (much better than bulky club targets that have to be stored and moved around). Of course there are free-moving targets too, but the most impressive thing for me was the quality of the whole setup.
The fact that there are targets along one wall, and free targets at the other end of the hall, means recurve archers can shoot 70m while the compound archers shoot 50m, with others able to shoot 20m or 5m for technique work using the hall in an L-shaped way. It is highly space efficient, and meant that I could shoot and collect without having to wait for other people to finish shooting.
What else is there?
Not only are there bows and arrows galore for members to borrow (not as high-sepc as you’d be looking for if your were buying your own equipment, but useful nonetheless) – think of it like a gym membership, you can go and play and use their equipment and then head home. There is also a tremendous amount of space, lockers, and great facilities for archers who have their own their equipment. I think the locker system is a great idea if you want to leave your things there.
There are benches used almost like barriers, keeping you out of the way of other groups of archers using the range, so we could walk to and from the lockers as the arrows flew in perfect safety.
Another great feature was the classroom-type setup, that could be used almost anywhere: whether this be in one of the countless meeting rooms, adjacent to the stylish boxes full of Olympic memorabilia, or in the shooting hall itself; in front of one of the many TVs where the Excellence Centre pen and pads of paper could be utilised to their full extent; or in the canteen (which was more like a cool meeting room) where we ate and finished our Friday night seminar.
Another thing that I loved (naturally) was the gym – it was full of back and leg machines, cross trainers, treadmills, a couple of free bar racks and lots of stabilisation and core aids that I am thinking of investing in now! It was packed full of equipment yet it had the sense of openness, space and calmness. It is not a sweaty Betty gym, nor is it a shouty men gym – it was there for athletes to enhance their performances, and I love how that came across in its design. One of the best features in the gym area, just beyond the changing room, were the two hydro massage beds, that direct jets of water into your back, shoulders or legs depending on how you programme them. Just 15 minutes on one of those and I felt like a new woman.
The last cool thing to mention about the centre is the outside shooting area, complete with a lawn mowing robot that danced around the field of its own accord, mowing tracks into the lawn, until it felt that it was all cut or it had to go back to its power station to charge. The outside area itself is under cover, so archers are protected from overhead elements, yet it is open enough that you can work in the wind and practice your competition training.
Why bother going?
Of course it is all very well and good having a cool building, but what about the content? Why bother going there? The reason I went was World Archery was hosting my coach out there at the centre for two consecutive weekends, so I jumped at the chance to go.
The course itself was great, but there were limited spaces, so if you’re interested in attending one make sure when you see a course pop up you book into it as soon as you can.
One downside I must mention is that there is no accommodation on-site. I had to travel to and from my accommodation all weekend, which was reasonably close to the archery centre, but still quite expensive to get to. Then, when I wanted to head to town to catch the train for example, it was quite a long journey and even more pricey. The centre itself is pretty far away from everything; about 20 minutes from the closest town Lausanne, which in turn is almost an hour away from Geneva.
Switzerland in general is quite an expensive place; BnBs are not cheap, and neither is food or travel. However, for the expert knowledge available, and if you know that you’re about to have access to the incredible resources World Archery have to offer, it is worth the travel.
I personally would reserve trips there for a seminar or workshop, or if Team GB decide to take us over for a training camp, but if there is a certain course you are interested in or you want some information or help with technical set-up from a coach, it is worth the wait and worth booking into the coaching.
Courses and more
The course I went on was with compound expert and guru John Dudley, from Friday evening through to Sunday evening, which for me was worth the trip as America is much further away!
I would suggest that if you are a new club, or a country looking to improve your archers, or if you want to set up your facility properly, you MUST visit this place.
The World Archery Excellence Centre is, in my opinion, what archery facilities should try and emulate, and I cannot wait to see if Archery GB and other federations try to create facilities of equal calibre, to run high performance programmes and to which they can bring in experts for conferences and coaching. If World Archery decides to add in some accommodation blocks on site, it will really become the best thing since sliced bread.
You can check out up-coming courses – for archers and coaches – at the World Archery Excellence Centre website at worldarcherycentre.org