-Brennan Stephens- No matter what you normally shoot – you will have off days. Everyone has days that they do not perform at their peak ability. Getting past the tournament is not always quick, especially if you are used to placing, or, if you (like myself) are very competitive and hold yourself to a high standard.
The first step to keeping the tournament from affecting your next tournament is to realize that it happens to everyone. However, do not be satisfied and do not make excuses. Any excuses you give must be followed with a solution.
The next step of this process is to do an after-action review and report. Analyze your whole day with archery in mind.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Was I mentally prepared and focused on the tournament?
- Was I physically prepared for the tournament? Have I practiced enough?
- Was my equipment good? Did I check my equipment?
- Did I do anything different from what I normally do?
These are the questions I ask myself. At the state tournament, I fell to the third question. Right before the tournament, I noticed that my rest was bent so I replaced it. The replacement rest turned out to also be bent. This caused damage to my arrows and inconsistent shooting.
The next step in the recovery process from a bad tournament is to focus on the next tournament. Use the information you gained from the previous step to improve and fix whatever issue you had. Shoot a lot and focus on your next tournament. Just like you can not change an arrow after it flies off the rest, you can not change a tournament after the last arrow is shot. Remember the past and learn from it but do not get hung up on it.
The last step is to go into your next tournament with no past. The only thing in your mind should be the tournament at hand. If you have practiced enough, you should be confident enough to not worry and you should do well. Although I have never put this into words this is what I do after any tournament, not even just after a bad tournament. You can always continue to get better. This process can be used in any part of life in my opinion.
Brennan was a 2022 student contributor. Find his other articles here.