Kids "Flip" over Atlatal Class

When it was time to describe the technique of throwing the atlatl, a primitive hunting tool, instructor Ray Madden described the motion as a toss, fling, or flip verses a heave or throw. “Beginners want chunk the spear as hard as they can. But folks are surprised with their results by simply giving it a calculated smooth “flip” instead,” mentored Mr. Madden His adolescent pupils at the event hosted by Young Outdoorsmen United at the Anderson MO baseball complex, listened carefully as Madden demonstrated how the atlatl and dart/spear combination increase velocity and distance (verses using a spear all by itself). He encouraged them that with the correct grip, flipping motion, and plenty of practice they could harvest game animals just as ancient huntsmen did as early as 30,000 years ago. They could hardly wait to put their newly acquired knowledge into action. On the practice field, the kids struggled with the basic procedure. However, as they continued to refine their technique, their patience and persistence was rewarded by seeing Mr. Madden’s hand-made atlatls produce straight, accurate, and longer launches. “It was not easy at first, but mine is going farther now”, commanded Reagan Myrick age 12, Pineville MO. She beamed and nodded when asked if she was having fun. Proceeding the practice session, the kids were divided into six groups. Each squad was assigned to a station with a large cardboard box target. Individually, each youth rotated at the station within their own group and took aim. Their accuracy skills were tested at close range, then stepping back further away as their confidence grew. “I hit it, I got”, exclaimed 9 year old Jayden Hooper from Pineville MO. Soon more and more thumps could be heard from the spears hitting the targets as the exactness of each participant’s good aim became the expectation and not the exception. The final stage of the seminar was a long distance match. All the kids were assembled in two units. Each had one final atlatl toss and was flagged, the top three advancing to contend with each other to the next round until a single competitor was the victor. The champion from each team was Kadence Akins (age 11, Anderson MO) and Cole Lewis (age 9, Pineville MO). Mr. Madden gifted each of them with his hand-made atlatls. Atlatls are approved by the Missouri Department of Conservation for hunting game animals and non game fish (please refer to MDC code book for rules and regulations). Mr. Ray Madden is an accomplished atlatl authority, and is featured in dozens of publications, documentaries, and is the first recorded hunter tolegally harvest a squirrel with this type of hunting device. Madden’s expertise is easily accessible on the internet. To learn about Young Outdoorsmen United, visit www.youngoutdoorsmenunited.com plus LIKE theirFacebook page, or call 417-439-8594. At the conclusion of the day’s activities a grilled picnic lunch and refreshments were served to everyone. Not a single youth attending had never previously used an atlatl and were motivated in unison to thank instructor Ray and shake his hand. It appears they learned their lesson well as they all “flipped” over atlatls.