– Grace Groves –
A few weeks before the 2021-2022 New York state tournament, I felt my shot changing. I was not shooting as well as I had previously, and I just could not understand why I was unable to aim and shoot like I had. Many people noticed when I was struggling, many made jokes, especially my friends. Because of what other people thought of my shooting ability, it affected me even more.
Other people’s judgement affected me more than anything. Because of this I became frustrated and went from a 280 out of a possible 300 shooter, to a low 200’s and 190’s shooter in a brief period. At the state tournament, my first practice round was noticeably different from any rounds that people saw me shoot at previous tournaments. After my second scoring round at fifteen, I recognized that I had lost my ability to place at the tournament. I did not give up; however, I was not going to get down on myself for having a difficult day. I continued to shoot, and my final score was a 196/300, this was a big drop from my previous tournament a month before in which I shot a 278/300.
After my first shot from ten went far from the yellow bullseye, I felt discouraged. I did not understand what had caused my shot to change. I tried repeating the same process so I could shoot a group and adjust based off that. I became much more frustrated with myself, because I could not shoot a consistent group. I felt myself begin to give up. One of my very close friends was shooting at a target near me, so during rounds I was able to talk to him, and forget about the bad rounds.
Shortly after I had finished shooting, several teammates and asked how I did. When I replied with my score many were shocked, some encouraged me and reminded me that nationals would be soon, and I could have a better day then. Although this tournament outcome was discouraging, I knew that one off day does not make me a bad shooter, it just means that I must work harder to get back on track.
Although I had shot a personal low score that day, I would have to say that the awards was the worst part. I did not place as I expected, but fortunately my team placed first. When the Overall Female Award was announced, the winner had a score that I had beat in a tournament a month before. Not winning was not the part of this that was dreadful, it was when my friends and teammates turned around and said, “That should have been you” or “What happened?” This was incredibly upsetting to me.
Although this was a bad experience for me, it will help me grow as an archer and a person because I learned to never let other people’s judgement or expectations affect me or my performance. It also helped me learn that there will be more opportunities to succeed in the future if you work for them, so I am hoping for the best at nationals.
Grace Groves is a 2022 NASP® student contributor. Watch for her future submissions.