Young Norfolk Sports Academy archery star Joe Ground sets sights on success

Launch of Young Norfolk Sports Academy (YNSA). Archer Joe Ground.

Launch of Young Norfolk Sports Academy (YNSA). Archer Joe Ground. - Credit: Archant

In the latest of our monthly Young Norfolk Sports Academy updates, archer Joe Ground writes about his development as a youth international.

Team close-up, L-R Jack Masefield, Joe Ground, Bradley Denny - 2014 European Youth Archery champions

Team close-up, L-R Jack Masefield, Joe Ground, Bradley Denny - 2014 European Youth Archery champions - Team GB. - Credit: Archant

The 16-year-old, from Little Ellingham in south Norfolk, is one of 14 young athletes receiving coaching from the YNSA, led by Norwich School.

The Attleborough Academy pupil is a member of Hingham Bowmen and topped the UK junior rankings at both under-16 and under-18 levels last year.

I started archery just before my 10th birthday after trying it at a village fete – six years later I am on the Talent Confirmation programme run by Archery GB.

Joe Ground in action for Great Britain at the European Junior Cup in Moscow.

Joe Ground in action for Great Britain at the European Junior Cup in Moscow. - Credit: Submitted

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Often I will be training alongside Olympians and receiving world class coaching at the National Sports Centre in Shropshire. This is all balanced around my schooling, in which I am in my GCSE year.

2014 was a great year for me; I represented Great Britain three times. Firstly in the European Youth Championships and Europa Youth Cup stage one in Ljubljana, Slovenia, then Europa Youth Cup stage two and final in Moscow, Russia. And finally the Seoul international Youth Archery Festa in South Korea. I was also one of three male archers to be shortlisted for the Youth Olympic Games.

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I got off to a great start in my international career, becoming a European champion after winning gold with my team-mates Brad Denny and Jack Masefield.

We then did the double, winning gold again at the second leg of the Europa Cup in Moscow.

The trips are also a great experience outside of archery – seeing Red Square, the Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral were a particular highlight. I also had a great time going into the cities of Ljubljana, Moscow and Seoul with my team-mates.

The year of 2015 brings new challenges and new opportunities to represent GB; firstly the World Archery Youth Championships in Yankton, USA.

Then it's the European Youth games stage two in Rome, Italy, and then the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa.

The selection shoots for these events take place at the end of April and at the beginning of May.

None of these opportunities would be possible without the support and help of many people and organisations: coaches Tim and Tom Barber, Robert Ewin, Archery GB, Breckland Council, Clickers Archery, Sportsaid and the YNSA.

The YNSA play a big part in my training schedule; the lectures that they run on varied topics from physiotherapy to goal setting, sports psychology to nutrition, ensure that I get the most out of my training schedule.

The YNSA is also a unique opportunity to meet and talk to other top athletes in the country, and learning about their training methods also benefits mine.

Hearing about the other athletes' experiences in their sport also helps motivate me and is useful in helping me deal with any issues that arise in my training or competition.

About the YNSA

The Young Norfolk Sports Academy (YNSA) is aiming to bring together young talent from different sports, to offer coaching in the various aspects of life for an elite athlete, as well as expert support, training and education.

The YNSA athletes will be part of a physical tracking programme and will develop their understanding of topics such as nutrition, psychology, injury rehabilitation and handling the media.

Norwich School completed a successful pilot scheme with their own athletes during the last academic year and has now extended the opportunity across the county.

Applicants for the YNSA needed to be between 15 and 18 years old and ranked in the top 10 of their chosen sport in their home country in their age group, and also have a proven record of performance.

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