Interview with Cam/Edin/HW Captains - March 2002

Omar Al-Mushadani Dave Sewell Chris Cook
25 23 2?
Born Macclesfield, resides Cambridge Born , resides Edinburgh Born ?, resides Edinburgh?
Oxford University 1995-99 Physics
Cambridge University 1999-date PhD Theoretical Physics
Edinburgh University 1997-date Veterinary Medicine Heriot-Watt University 199x- subject
How has the result of SUSF Indoor Champs affected mental preparations at each university?
Not a great deal. The result at the SUSF indoor was disappointing for the team. I have no doubt that our team was capable of shooting a winning score, but the team is not as strong as it has been in earlier years and combined with the pressure of maintaining a winning streak the team was under a great deal of tension. The team and I have tried to make the experience a positive one by encouraging the team to stop focussing on the fear of losing first place and to simply concentrate on achieving what we all know we are capable of. Good indication that we can perform well, with incentive of being so close to top and wanting to close the gap. We know we have the capability, so our approach is to focus on our shooting, try our hardest and not get distracted by our score.
Do you think you have a team strong enough to win the competition? What sort of score will be required to win this year?
Yes, most definitely. We would expect to score in excess of 2200 and other teams on current form would have to perform outstandingly to match it. I know that our team is capable of shooting scores over 2240 as we have in the past and as we are still doing for the SAA league. Any score over 2240 is a potential BUSA winner, the team simply need to forget about any expectations and shoot with confidence. I think our team is definitely strong enough, and I think the required winning team score will be around the 2170 - 2200 mark. However, at the end of the day, it's not a projected score that matters, it's whichever team pulls together best or shoots to their highest capabilities (as a team and as individuals)on the day.
How interesting are the non-BUSA events, such as the Home Nations, the novice team/novice medals.
The novice competitions are especially interesting because they give an indication of the up and coming teams who'll be challenging in the future. The performance of the novice teams partly reflects on the time and effort being put in by clubs into coaching beginners and making sure that they're being well looked after. I personally view novice competition as being incredibly important. Novices are the ones who will be winning BUSA events in 2-3 years time. The sooner BUSA recognises the importance of encouraging novices to shoot at competitions for their university the better. As for Home-Nations matches, I think that this is a great Idea that will eventually be something the top archers can aspire to. Clubs such as Edinburgh have a number of exceptionally good archers who have a tendency to tire of University competitions. This is because they know that they will make the club team, the challenge of being selected for the home-nations team however may help to encourage these archers to remain sharp and competitive. All experience is good experience, and it's good to build up to big events in our main leagues by attending shoots outside the university circuit. Also good to meet new people and socialise. IF YOU FIND ARCHERY INTERESTING THEN IT'S ALL INTERESTING.
Who, from your university, do you expect to shine in their respective divisions at BUSA this year?
Andy Somers is looking pretty good for the gents recurve individual gold as most will know. I personally feel that Claudine is our star recurve team member this year, although the pressures of organising the BUSA indoor may have unpredictable consequences on her shooting. Tim Mundon and Tim Keppie have been excelling in the gent Compound category and we cannot fail to mention Lucy who did us proud at the British Champs by coming 4th Lady Compound. Our novice team this year has suffered from the loss of some very promising archers however Simon, Tobi and Heather are certainly capable of walking away with the Novice trophy that Edinburgh are donating to BUSA this year. I EXPECT ALL THE MEMBERS TO SHINE, EACH IN THEIR OWN WAYS. EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT STANDARDS AND DIFFERENT GOALS TO ACHEIVE.
Last year was your first BUSA Indoor victory since 1995. What steps have you taken to try to retain the title? Will the effect of the responsibility of being the leading English university be positive or negitive? What lessons did you draw, both personally and as a club, from losing against St Andrews in the SUSF League and Indoor Champs.?Over the last three-five years, Heriot-Watt have magnificent record at BUSA Champs, [3rd and 2nd indoors in 2000 and 2001, 2nd and 3rd outdoors], but no 1sts at all. Why has HW failed to take that step up the podium?
We've been sending our squad all over the place to get as much practice in as possible. As many know our lack of a decent sports hall has been hampering our efforts but we've now sorted out facilities so that those who want to put in more time training can do so. This gives us more hope for the future. We've also spent more time coaching beginners with some of last years intake now reaching the team standard. Next year should be even better than last with an increasing pool of talent. I don't think that being the leading English university should have too much effect as we've arguably held that position since Loughborough in 1998. To us it's business as usual. As I have said, I think that the team have been placed under too much pressure to win competitions in the face of some difficult challenges. When confidence is low it is very difficult to raise team spirit and shoot well. I also believe that St. Andrews deserve credit for demonstrating they can produce a team which shoots steady, reproduceable scores that can beat any team having a bad day. I hope that we can learn to concentrate on shooting the scores we know we are capable of and maintain a happy, friendly attitude when shooting. Now that we have failed to retain our trophy, I believe the team will be more inspired in future to win it back! Be warned! CONSIDERING WE ARE ALWAYS A MINOR STEP BEHIND EDINBURGH, WITH ONLY OUR 2-3 TRAINING SESSIONS A WEEK COMPARED TO EDINBURGHS PERMANENT 7 DAY ACCESS - WE HAVE DONE WELL. OUR PERFORMANCE IS NOT A FAILURE BECAUSE WE DON'T BEAT EDINBURGH. IN MOST CASES A FAILURE IS SIMPLY NOT PERFORMING AT OUR BEST INDIVIDUALLY BUT THAT IS SOMETHING THAT THE TEAM AS A WHOLE CANNOT PREDICT OR CONTROL. WE ARE HAPPY WITH THE FACT THAT WE CONTINUE TO HAVE AN EXCELLENT TEAM SPIRIT WHICH WE HOPE WILL STAND US IN GOOD STEAD FOR ANY COMPETITIONS WE TAKE PART IN.
How has being defending champions affected the club this year? How will you be ensuring that Edinburgh perform at or near their truer potential, something they have failed to do so far? It could be argued that Heriot-Watt have the most efficient uni club nationwide, weighing size against achievement certainly by far and away the best "new" university. Do you think this is justified?
Makes the team more focussed on winning. People are putting in more time and effort to try and make the team. This year has seen the largest attendances at tournaments for quite a while. Winning BUSA Indoors last year has also meant that archery as a sport is being taken more seriously here in Cambridge. More and more people are now hearing of the club and deciding to give the sport a try. The loss of archers such as Atle Wold and Ben Robinson has made it very difficult this year to put in consistent team scores. This has been a catalyst for doubt and low morale among the team. I believe my main fault as captain this year has been to underestimate the importance of structured team training and activities that bring the team together socially. By focusing attention on team activities that encourage confidence rather than complacency and demonstrating that all our team members are capable of shooting winning scores I believe that the team will regain its focus and its form. YES - EVERY MEMBER SINCE DAVE BOWEN REFORMED THE CLUB HAS WORKED HARD TO MAINTAIN THE CLUBS VALUES. TO HAVE A GOOD CLUB YOU NEED TO HAVE GOOD ORGANISATION AND TEAM SPIRIT. WE HAVE A GOOD COMMITTEE WHO ENJOY HAVING AN INPUT INTO THE CLUB. THE ACHEIVEMENTS ARE JUST A REFLECTION OF THE AMOUNT OF HARDWORK EACH MEMBER HAS PUT IN.
Exactly what happened to the trophy itself last year? Did BUSA authorities take it from you, despite the fact that it was donated [by Pete Rowe and Tom Davies] privately? Edinburgh possess a formidable compound section of which you are a part. Do you think BUSA are doing enough to reflect the presence of compounds at the BUSA Champs? How will the club cope after this outdoor season, with so many talented archers due to graduate?
We didn't get to keep the trophy at the Indoors. After much bother we were finally sent it so that we could take photos of it with the rest clubs bounty from last year. It was then sent back to BUSA where it is now residing. Compound archery is not yet well recognised at University level, but there are very good reasons for this. University clubs find it very difficult to cater for recurve archers without the added strain of catering for compound archers as well. There is also the danger in small clubs that compound archers will detract from the development of a strong recurve team. Edinburgh has been lucky enough to deal with these issues and we have been able to afford the appropriate equipment and have coaching from excellent Compound archers such as Tim Goodwin. So far there are only a few compound archers in University clubs and I would not support active encouragement towards more compound archers, especially when there are areas such as novice archery and home-nations events which I belive are far more deserving of BUSA recognition. Many of our archers are staying with us as alumni members, providing a good base of skills for training new members. Although our placings in leagues etc. will most likely drop some ways, we will still have the training on offer to produce more winning archers. WE ALSO HAVE AN ALUMNI AND ASSOCIATES CLUB AFFLIATED THROUGH GNAS. WE ALREADY HAVE A GOOD BASE OF MEMBERS FOR IT AND ALOT OF INTEREST FROM OUTSIDE ARCHERS TO JOIN. THIS WILL HOPEFULLY RETAIN THE SKILLS WITHIN THE CLUB FOR TRAINING. HWATT HAVE ALWAYS BEEN KIND TO OTHERS SO WE HAVE RECEIVED ALOT OF SUPPORT IN RETURN. WE ALSO HAVE A COMMITTEE FORMAT IN WRITING FOR NEW MEMBERS. ONE THING YOU MUST REALISE THOUGH - HWATT HAVE ALWAYS REGARDED RECRUITING MEMBERS AS VITALLY IMPORTANT REGARDLESS OF THE CURRENT NUMBER OR PRESENT STANDARD OF THE CLUB. OUR MAIN AIM IS TO INTRODUCE NEW PEOPLE INTO THE SPORT AND INCREASE NUMBERS. ITS NOT ALL ABOUT WINNING.
What role do you expect John Sullivan to play at these championships and what role would you like to see him play.
At these championships I guess John will be helping to oversee the scoring and presentation of the prizes. I'd like him to explain the situation regarding how BUSA are spending the funds raised at the championships on archery and how much is used to help support the costs of running the association. I guess many people have a variety of concerns about how BUSA treat archery compared to other sports and how we'd like to improve our sport. Most of the English and Welsh clubs don't have enough contact with him because of our non-participation in SUSF and so only ever get to meet him at the championships. I guess university archery as a whole could do with more communication between clubs and with BUSA, GNAS. John Sullivan is the SUSF co-ordinator and I believe that he should represent our interests at BUSA events. This can be achieved by advertising SUSF competitions so that other universities can shoot as guests and also working towards raising the profile of the home-nations match and forming a strong Scottish university team. Johnís role as a BUSA representative has the potential to lead to a conflict of interest. John deserves credit for the work he does for university archery, I believe there should be more students and non-students prepared to take on responsibility as John has so that the profile of student archery can be raised. AT BUSA I JUST EXPECT HIM TO BE JOHN - TO BE HONEST WITH YOU I DONT ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT HIS JOB ENTAILS OR EXPECTS OF HIM.
Who are the teams who could stop your club from winning?
Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt are obvious threats and I can see a few others that might cause some trouble. Special mention to the likes of Southampton and Imperial who could always upset the status-quo. I believe that Cambridge university present the greatest threat to our team this year, they have a very strong team. Archery is all about what happens on the day however and I would not like to make any predictions. NO ONE CAN STOP OURSELVES FROM WINNING BUT OURSELVES.
What would victory at these champs actually mean to your club?
Would further help us to champion our cause here in Cambridge for improved facilities and better funding. It also allows us to raise our profile in the student body and attract new members. Just because our club has done well recently, does not detract from the achievement of coming first at BUSA. After coming second place last year the team would dearly love to win this years BUSA indoor event. And following recent problems, a good result would be invaluable for regaining confidence among team members. Each individual has their own reasons for aspiring to first place. For me it would be the highlight of my year as captain to see the club win the BUSA indoors at Edinburgh. IT WOULD BE A GOOD FINALE FOR THOSE WHO ARE LEAVING AND A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR THOSE WHO ARE NEW TO OUR CLUB - SOMETHING FOR THEM TO AIM FOR, SET THEIR SIGHTS ON - BOOM BOOM
What role can you play as captain of your club in inspiring them to victory?
I guess my main role this year has been getting people to go and shoot in more tournaments before the championships. It's been very much a team effort when it comes to motivating each other and offering advice. We have plenty of old hands providing experience and newcomers with loads of enthusiasm. It's a testament to the strength of the club that some of last years novices are now vying for the last places on the team alongside older archers like myself and others. As captain I will be supportive in any way possible. I will need to spend much of my time organising the event so that our team members are not expected to do too much prior to shooting. In addition I plan to shoot at BUSA myself both for my own pleasure but also because I feel it is important for a captain to be seen playing an active role in the sport. The rest I have previously talked about. Quiet encouragement, AND SETTING AN EXAMPLE, FINDING OUT WHAT EVERYONE IS UP TO, ARE THEY HAPPY?, KEEPING UP SPIRITS, INCENTIVES, BEING POSITIVE AT ALL LEVELS, BEING POSITIVE ABOUT HIS OWN ARCHERY AS WELL AS OTHERS.
Finally, I need some quick predictions. Gents Recurve, Ladies Recurve, University Team Rec and Comp and Home Nations Team Rec and Comp.
Here's a few names: Gents Recurve: Andy Somers Kevin Sheppard Steve Beecher Ladies recurve: Claudine Jennings, Roz Bowen, Marietta Scott Gents Compound: Tim Mundon, Dave Spinner, Tim Keppie Ladies Compound: Lucy Spackman, Christina Clarke, Philippa Ascough, Julie Bancroft Gents Recurve Derrek Burrough (H-W), Ladies Recurve Claudine Jennings (Ed), University Team Rec Edinburgh, Comp Edinburgh, Home Nations Team Rec Scotland, Comp Scotland. GENTS RECURVE - WILL BE MALE LADIES RECURVE - WILL BE FEMALE UNI TEAM - WILL CONSIST OF 4 ARCHERS OF EITHER SEX COMP - SAME AS ABOVE HOME NATIONS - WELL IT HAS TO BE THE BRITISH TEAM. COME ON YOU MUST ADMIT - THIS IS A SILLY QUESTION CAUSE ANYTHINGS POSSIBLE ON THE DAY.