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Business, Olympic Edition Interview with Archery Australia Head Coach, Ya-Ping Shih

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By: Ya-Ping Shih •  4 years ago •  

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Ya-Ping Shih is a former champion archer herself, winning an individual silver and team gold medal at the 1999 World Archery Championships while competing for Taiwan. She was recruited to the top job in Australia in 2013 after coaching the Chinese Taipei team in 3 Olympic Games (2004, 2008, 2012).

Why did you leave a successful role in Taiwan for Australia?

I had a desire to see other countries and experience a different system of training and sports management. I am also able to do leadership training targeted at sports coaches and managers every year with the AIS in Canberra, which has been a huge learning opportunity. It is always good to learn more about other sports and professional programs. It has been a very good experience for me and I feel very lucky to be chosen to the be the Australian coach.

What have been the challenges?

I feel I have made progress with the team in the last 3 years, although it has taken time to understand the different program and system of administration. For instance, in Taiwan, each coach has one or two athletes, here the head coach is responsible for the entire national team. It is definitely a challenge! I am happy with the performance so far, but we could be stronger.

What was your pathway into elite level coaching?

My family are not into archery, but I decided to try at a young age and had some good performances. By the time I reached university, I was competing in international tournaments and starting to coach. After the 1999 World Archery Championships, I retired and focused on my teaching career and coaching. In my country, your parents will support you through university, but after that you need to support yourself, and coaching offered me a way to do that alongside my chosen career. I coached the school archery team as well as archers on the university team, and worked up to coaching the Olympic team for 3 Olympic Games (2004, 2008 and 2012). Three of the 2012 team archers were my students.

How are you preparing the team for Rio?

This year is definitely more intense. It will be a stressful time for the athletes, and if something happens, you need to be able to find a solution quickly. If you want to make it to the top in archery, you need to be able to bypass the stress by finding solutions to problems. If you worry and think too much, it wastes energy. We are going to Taipei in July for some tournament practice prior to Rio, so the athletes can learn deal with different situations. It is a young team, and they can shoot very well at home, but competitions can be high stress and challenging situations.

For the Olympics, we are aiming for a stable performance with good concentration through each shot. If you lose concentration, you lose the shot. The most important thing is that the athlete learns to trust themselves and aim for a personal best. It’s also important that the archers trust you as the coach. The performance is not about me, but about each team member, and learning to work together for the best result.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=__NKHPC9YK4

What are your Rio expectations?

All our archers will try their best, and I would like our team to make the top 4. We have quite a young team, so I expect many will continue on to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST RIVALS

For the women, our biggest rival is Korea. They have the 7-time female champion, as well as 5 individual gold medals. Chinese Taipei is also very strong. For the men, the Korean team is again the one to watch, however some individual Europeans are also very strong.

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