Boe relishing new role as Norway’s national team coach
Morten Boe, a world team champion from 2001, was appointed coach of the Norwegian national team late last year and has now served in the role for seven months.
The former international compound archer has been central to most of Norway’s archery success stories on the global stage and now has his sights set on helping the next generation follow in his footsteps.
“This role has been an idea from a lot of clubs, and I have had this idea myself for a long time,” Boe said. “It has been missing, a national coach to take care of the archers, their preparations and how their planning is going, so they are not practising alone all the time.”
Boe’s four world championship medals make up two-thirds of his country’s total in the history of the competition, with the 51-year-old one of just three Norwegians to have stood on top of the podium courtesy of the men’s team triumph in Beijing in 2001.
A successful transition to coaching then saw him help Anders Faugstad to world silver in 2019 and Boe has gone on to become the omnipotent force in the set-up after being appointed Norway’s first full-time national team coach.
“It’s a long-term thing but we need to start somewhere,” Boe explained. “We have received a very good response from the archers, who feel they are more taken care of, which is a positive.”
Before, Norwegian coaches would only work with the archers at competitions, with only three or four gatherings during the year. Now they see them every month.
Boe’s first full season in the hot seat is fast approaching, with the opening Hyundai Archery World Cup stage of 2023 taking place in Antalya this week, and he is hoping enhanced attention to detail will pay dividends.
Boe, who won individual compound world championship medals in 2001 (bronze) and 2005 (silver), began his coaching journey while still a member of the Norwegian squad.
His experiences as a competitor at the very top level equipped him with the ability to pass on technical and mental knowhows, and he enjoys the challenge of connecting with archers who have often become accustomed to figuring out their own methods.
Chief among them is Faugstad, 23, who sprung a surprise with his world championship silver in 2019, a year which also saw him win gold at the World Archery Youth Championships in Madrid.
“[Anders] is quite self-sufficient, but I like to think I contributed to his ideas and progress,” Boe said of his new protégé. “He educated himself in a lot of things but there were some aspects of mentality I could provide for him and he got positive vibes from that.”
Faugstad was self-taught in his own club. The new national coach analysed his approach to the sport and, together, the pair optimised. It was mostly technical, but Boe also provided his influence in how to think as an archer, to believe he can shoot high scores.
“I tried to plant some ideas in his head while he was shooting and it went well. He is an individual and, like most archers, he likes to think for himself. “I don’t want to change the archers from what they are doing, I want to see if we can make what they are doing better.”
As a competitor, visualisation and breathing techniques helped Boe get in the zone, and he now tries to impose on them some tricks they can use in that area.
Faugstad’s performances in 2019 were no fluke – he took silver at the Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in Paris last year – but both he and Boe are keen to see more Norwegians competing for honours.
The youngster spoke of a ‘six-year curse’ following his world silver medal, and while keen not to dwell on such language, Boe understands where his compatriot is coming from.
“I can relate to it,” Boe said. “We talk about a curse which sees one Norwegian archer every six or so years come forward and shoot high scores.”
“I don’t like to talk like that and I hope the upcoming guys can look upon us as role models. Hopefully, more people can come through and we can break the curse.”
When it comes to ambitions in 2023, Boe added that they always have high goals and the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final is one of the targets. It has been for several years and they were very close last year. Faugstad ranked on the circuit 15th at the end of the season.
The main goal is the Hyundai World Archery Championships in Berlin, though. They want to perform well as a team and hope that it will then translate to the individual competitions.
“It’s an early world championships this year, which may be better for us as we have a very short summer. I think it being in July might suit us,” Norway’s head coach concluded.