Hit the target at a local archery range

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) — There are plenty of options at 419 when it comes to entertainment for the whole family. There’s one in particular that hits the spot.

Archery dates back thousands of years. While people still hunt with bows and arrows today, it has also been a popular sport for centuries.

“It’s a sport that lasts a lifetime and that you can start when you’re very young. We started when we were two and I taught someone as old as 85.

Audrey Berning-Matell is the owner of AJ Archery in the Secor building in downtown Toledo.

“It’s not a job. It’s my passion, so I don’t work a day in my life anymore,” Berning-Matell said.

There are classes for all skill levels and they fill up fast. Some students drive more than an hour.

“Even in a group lesson, I keep my numbers low so I have enough time for everyone.”

Audrey coaches children and adults, and many of them compete on the national stage.

“What does it take to be a good archer? Patience, practice and attention to form.”

Johnathan Willhite, 16, started his archery career less than a year ago and has already competed in national championships.

“The best way to put it is you’re kind of free the moment you shoot,” Willhite said. “You have to focus on everything right away. There is nothing else to do but focus on this goal.

Win or lose, Audrey says the rewards of learning and perfecting archery have far-reaching effects for her students.

“It’s so cool to watch them grow as an archer, not just in skill but also in their mental ability to focus and concentrate,” Berning-Matell said. “I get calls from parents saying they are doing a lot better in school too. It feeds their whole being.

Some students practice five or six days a week, and many can shoot up to 200 arrows in an hour.

If you want to know more about AJ Archery, click here.

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Earnest A. Martinez