After eight years of archery, I am nearing the end of my high school career. Looking back on this season alone, I have learned many lessons in archery that can apply to life and whatever I choose to do in my future.
This being my senior year, there has been a lot of pressure on me. Last season, I won every tournament in my region which added to everyone’s expectations. This made me nervous. I would be fine going into the tournament but as soon as I stepped onto the shooting line I would begin to shake. I have written about this in more detail before, but I was simply too worried about the end result of the tournament to be able to do my best. Fixing this has been the most difficult part of my archery career and I am getting better at it. To overcome this, I must place complete focus on the process of archery. So, when you are worried about results, focus on the process and trust yourself.
There were tournaments this year that simply were not fun. I had trapped myself in the mindset of “I have to win” so severely that I was having no fun. I have seen many archers that have reached a similar position and they quit. Quitting is not an option for me. I never considered quitting but looking back many people would have quit. When things do not go as planned, work harder.
After certain tournaments I would be extremely upset with myself and it would put me in a bad mood. I eventually noticed this, and it was unacceptable. I had to be a good influence on my teammates and the younger archers. I began to accept and take ownership. I needed to show them that even though things do not go as planned, accept it, and move on. If I shot poorly but the team shot well, that is a win. If I did not perform as I would like but a younger archer shot his or her best, that is a win.
Lastly, I had to redefine what a win was for me. Before, a win consisted of two things: If I shot a high score and if I won the tournament. I had to change this to give myself a more positive goal that was all about myself. My new goal was simple: stay calm during the tournament. This was the main objective for me, and it helped tremendously. I eventually was able to shoot in the 290’s again because of this and even shot a 295 in 2 of the last 3 tournaments this year. So, if you cannot reach your big goal, don’t give up but rather give yourself smaller goals to work towards that help you on you way to the win.