By Perry Smith
The Easton Sports Development Foundation is proud to announce its newest affiliate center, the Archery Learning Center in Snellville, Ga.
The Archery Learning Center is very proud to be a part of Easton Sports Development Foundation’s endeavor to promote and support archery around the country. The training center is constantly evolving and working on new ways to train future archery athletes to enjoy the great sport of archery for years to come. Their programs include introductory group classes for kids and adults as well as open times for individual lessons and coaching. The Head Coach, George Ryals, works closely with the assistant coaches to manage about 40 local kids on the Archery Learning Center’s Hornet JOAD and Adult teams. The Hornet teams travel around the world and competes from the local to world level in archery.
Started by a 25-year pro and National Championship archer who enjoys spreading this lifelong love of the sport with his community — which now includes athletes who train there for Olympic competition — the Archery Learning Center has a growing reputation as a place where archers of all levels can learn, train and practice their skills.
The founder, George Ryals IV, “grew up around the range and in pro shops,” he said, surrounded by a sport he naturally took to at a young age. He still competes, but his focus now is on spreading what he’s learned in the course of a quarter century-long career in championship-level archery. One of his true joys is in watching the progress of the first groups that he’s worked with more than a decade ago — as well as developing skills in new, young archers, many of whom became involved after “The Hunger Games” movie series.
“It’s very rewarding,” he said. “We’ve got several generations of archers now. Those initial kids that started that first JOAD program, many of them are still with me and they’ve graduated high school and are in college — and they’ve taken the whole arc, from starting with a little wooden bow to winning championships.”
The Archery Learning Center offers instruction at three different levels, ranging from first-time archers, to elite Olympians who compete at the international level, as part of the center’s Hornet team. Ryals has a list of champions he’s helped train at his website, which currently includes three of the five members of the U.S. National Men’s Compound Bow Junior Team.
Ryals’ bona fides are internationally renowned — in just the last two years, his coaching accomplishments include training the winners of the World Indoor Championships in Nimes, France, the USA Archery JOAD Indoor Nationals, the USA Archery Easton JOAD Nationals, the NFAA Outdoor Field Nationals, as well as multiple state champions for Georgia. And in 2015, GRIV also won the USOC National Developmental Coach, Coach of the Year, an award that includes all sports sanctioned by the United States Olympic Committee.
But despite the growth of the center, Ryals maintains roots that go back to the beginning of his archery career, noting one of the trainers at his center, Jake Veit, was one of his coaches when Ryals was an up-and-coming archer, and he credited another friend, coach and champion archer, Ginger Hopwood, with establishing the framework for the junior programs at ALC that have flourished in the last six years and become a model for similar programs at other centers in the region.
The center currently offers about 6,000 square feet of training space, and also includes an outdoor range area. Ryals is in the early stages of planning what could include more range space that will allow the center to offer another perk for archers — a 3D archery range for practice and give the ALC the capability to offer its own simulated 3D competitions.
In addition to three different levels of training offered — depending on how comfortable the archer is and also, how dedicated he or she is to the sport — there are Saturday classes for children and adults, weekly fun-shoots, leagues and intermediate to advanced classes and lessons.
Ryals also offers information about his training sessions, seminars, competitions at his website, extramiddle.com, a joke among his archery friends because archers like himself are always aiming for the “extra” middle.
The Archery Learning Center has joined a national network of prestigious archery facilities connected through the Easton Sports Development Foundation. Other Easton Foundations Center Affiliates include: The NFAA Easton Yankton Archery Complex in Yankton, SD; The Demmer Shooting Sports Education & Training Center at MSU, West Michigan Archery Center in Rockford, MI; Georgia Southern Shooting Sports Education Center at GSU; Nebraska Game & Parks Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln, NE and the Outdoor Adventure Center of South Dakota in Brookings, SD.
The Archery Learning Center is looking forward to an excellent collaboration with the other ESDF Affiliate centers and their coaches around the country and they expect that while working together they will make a lasting impact on our sport.
Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
2164 Fountain Square
Snellville, GA, 30078