Anna C. February – When I was little, and went to my first competition, I was so nervous and had no clue what to expect. I was scared because I’ve only ever practiced with my friends and the rest of my team, which wasn’t very many people. When I went into the gym where we were going to be shooting, I got overwhelmed seeing so many people of different ages and from different schools. Before every archery tournament, I think everyone gets the jitters before they shoot. These are a few ways that I cope with that anxiety.
The first thing that I do is get into a focused head space. I tune everything else out and picture in my head how I want the competition to go. I feel like that helps me focus more on all the good things that could happen instead of the bad.
The second thing that I do to help me relax when I’m on the line getting ready to shoot is just shaking my arms out or stretching. Shaking out all of those nervous feelings helps me to shoot my best! I can say this one thing with 100% confidence, and that is you will shoot so much better when you’re smiling and having fun. If you’re grumping the whole time and in a bad mood, of course it’s not going to be a good experience. So maybe before the tournament or in between ends, talk with some of the people that are shooting with you, and get a conversation going to get your mind off being nervous. Encouraging your teammates will also help them with their anxiety too.
The more tournaments you go to, slowly you’ll feel that anxiety less and less. If you’re still a little shaky before competitions, that’s normal! After several years of shooting, I’m still a bit shaky at the beginning of the tournaments. Once I shoot a few rounds, and just relax and talk to my friends, I feel a lot better. At the end of the day, you just want to shoot your best and enjoy the experience!