What’s S3DA? Learn about this challenging new archery program

For the past 12 years, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has coordinated the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) and promoted instruction in international-style target archery as part of an in-school curriculum. This has been shown to improve educational performance and participation in the shooting sports among students in grades 4-12. 

Above: A conservation officer assists a NASP competitor with calculating her score at the 2020 tournament in Albuquerque. Martin Perea, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

Educators in the school systems provide NASP-certified archery instruction during the school day to ensure that all students have the opportunity to discover target archery. Every aspect of the NASP experience is suited to a large number and variety of students. Of the students who participate in NASP in school, 77 percent say they have never touched a bow before.

Archery equipment used in NASP is highly standardized to be safe, durable, economical and, most importantly, a universal fit for almost every student. In NASP, learning the “process” of shooting is stressed far more than an archer’s score. The only bow used in NASP is a Genesis brand compound bow, which has no let-off and is adjustable from 10 to 20 pounds in draw weight for any draw length. The only arrow allowed is the Easton 1820 aluminum Genesis arrow, which pairs perfectly with this compound bow.

Statewide, New Mexico currently has over 15,000 students involved in NASP. Over the past nine years, the Department has conducted an annual state championship, attracting hundreds of student archers each year. The 2020 New Mexico NASP Championship was held this past February at the Albuquerque Convention Center and had a record number of participants. A total of 999 archers competed in this tournament. Individual and team champions qualified for the National NASP Championship.

Click the logo to learn more about SD3A.

Scholastic 3-D Archery (S3DA) is the “next step” archery program. The Department is the coordinating agency bringing S3DA archery to New Mexico. S3DA is a unique, family-oriented youth archery program that has grown exponentially across the United States as a next-step initiative to follow introductory archery programs. The mission of the S3DA program is to foster, educate and guide youth in the areas of 3-D, indoor and outdoor target archery, as well as safe, ethical bowhunting practices.

The goal of the S3DA program is to provide archery and bowhunting opportunities to youth in after-school settings and with archery-affiliated clubs and businesses in the community. S3DA students participate in 3-D and target archery using compound and traditional archery equipment. Students can participate at local, regional, state and national archery events and earn scholarships from colleges and universities from across the United States. S3DA addresses the need for a program to bridge the gap between beginning target archery and more advanced activities such as 3-D shooting and bowhunting. The program currently operates across the United States, with hundreds of certified coaches serving thousands of young archers, grades 3–12. 

For more information regarding NASP and S3DA, contact Bruce Atencio, archery education coordinator for the Department. He can be reached at Bruce.Atencio@state.nm.us.

About Bruce Atencio

Bruce Atencio is the Archery Education Coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.