Brennan Stephans May – A topic not often discussed in archery is the role that parents play in an archer’s performance. This effect can be positive or negative and it can affect the archer beyond their archery career.
Use Archery to Instill Values
Archery can be great to teach your child about life. Honesty, hard work, and teamwork are an integral part of archery. Encourage your archer to be honest on everything from their scoring to taking responsibility and admit if they made a mistake. An all too often occurrence is someone who makes a mistake or has a failure, and they blame an external reason instead of taking ownership. Teach them the mindset of “Theres no excuse and it won’t happen again.” Show your child that hard work and teamwork are the only ways you can make archery a worthwhile journey. Teaching these lessons through archery will help them in other aspects of life.
The Dichotomy of Praise and Criticism
A lot of parents fall into two categories. They either always tell their child they are doing great, or they will never tell their child that they are doing good. Today most people have a skewed view of supporting people. There is a balance and I do not believe that it is very difficult to do this correctly. Simply ask yourself “Does what I am saying or doing help my child or does it just make them (or myself) feel good?” Be honest but lift them up. If they are not shooting as well as they should, don’t tell them “You’re doing great” but rather “keep up the work and you will keep getting better” Too much praise or too much criticism can negatively affect your child. I’ve seen many archers quit or be miserable because they felt like they could not do good enough for their parents. Remember that archery is not all of life and that it is meant to be a challenge but also something to enjoy. Support your archer.
Understand your archer’s abilities.
Not everyone is able to shoot at the same level and you should be honest to yourself about your archer’s abilities. Everyone starts at a different point. Encourage your archer to compete against themselves rather than compare their scores to everyone else’s. Archery is much more rewarding if an archer is trying simply to better themselves.
Brennan Stephans is a 2023 Student Contributor.