Why start with #1 on the list, when #3 can be addressed. This is not about how to “do” archery. Or the rules of archery, however this essential subject will be addressed in the future. This is about how to play the game of archery personalities and walking through the companies and sponsors and coaches. The “game’ of archery of any potential archer is a sensitive, tough, small political business.
Let’s start that wisdom comes from experience, and experience comes with failures. Therefore, know, the mistakes made are many. Having been honored to have industry members, we call friends, the parents are being watched and you can make or break opportunities. Depending on the age of your archery, your role is slightly different. Ultimately, sponsors want to hear and see the archer, not the parent. This is were age plays a role. With younger archers, you show them by having them go up with you and say hello and introduce themselves. Your job is now done. Sponsors are just another layer to the team that top archers have in place. Sponsorship is an important subject, that will require more research and conversations before opinions are laid down on the internet.
Archery is small, however growing. New archers and faces are seen at every tournament we attend. Tournaments are selling out in hours. It has been amazing to watch the boom these past 5 years. Archery can be lonely to the new parents and archers. However, those parents soon can become your closest friends and a fun reunion or two or five per year at tournaments. The young archers today, will be the top archers in the next few years and those young archers could travel the world together or become a future spouse or hero. Eventually, the parent is not there and it is just these archers on the line. Help your child navigate relationships with other archers on the line. There will always be an archer or two that your archer may not like. SO WHAT. What a gift to teach your child to get along with someone they just do not like. As a parent, put yourself out there with other parents. Ask which archer is theirs. Ask about how their archer started…Always smile. Always encouraging the success of other archers, offer kindness. Introduce your archer to the archer of the parents you meet if they come around. Make sure you say goodbye.
Don’t be afraid of the Pros. Ensure your archer talks to them as well. Try not to answer every question for your archer. (I was bad at this!) They want to talk to the archer. Archery is a very small business, the same faces are seen over and over at tournaments. These top archers and looking to help their sponsors find new talent and having a simple relationship is important. Get the pro talking about themselves, develop a relationship.
Every parent out there will make a mistake, every archer out there will show weakness. Forgive mistakes. We all want our archer to succeed and, honestly, win. When loss comes, we teach strength in falling short. Learning to win in archery is equally as important as learning to lose at archery. Lets be honest, there is more losing in archery than winning. Make sure you come with a calm mindset. Bring your stress relievers with you. Personally, headphones and uplifting music are working for this parent. While looking ahead and seeing your archer, but not really focusing on the every arrow, the music keeps the thoughts calm and centered. There are other distractions, like a book or your phone, however, your archer only see your head down. They want to know you are watching. Not hovering, not always engaging, just watching. Eventually, we parents get so busy talking and catching up, we forget to target stalk.
What happens when you make a mistake…well, I guess I will share a story. Few years ago, my son was corrected about his pull angle and it possibly being sky drawing. Great, not an issue. It is important to listen to other, and it was a good observation. Well, it continued. Still sighing, watching my archer for signs of stress, from the continued correction, that was not needed. However, my archer was instructed to just keep moving forward and be respectful…Then, I got mad. My son was standing next to the archer on the line shooting a short 3D yardage. While my archer was at full draw, focusing on his shot, this archer, decided to get in his face again…Well, I sternly said, “Please not on the line, while he is shooting.” Reasonable and correct response, I thought. However, the archer then decided to lecture me and well I finally had to raise my voice and say, “THAT IS ENOUGH.” Was the reaction wrong…was it right? Well, it did not matter, it was more important how my archer saw how to move through this. I ate humble pie and apologized to the archer and all the other archers shooting. Because, anger is never the correct response and even if shown, it can be corrected. My heart still beats faster when this story is told…pissed me off. However, the rest of the weekend was great fun and all was forgiven.
The “game” of archery is not any different than the game of life. What is put into it, it will be given back. Archery is after all just a game. Ultimately, being the calm parent is best. However, at tournaments, the phone in my pocket has several friends checking in, because they know, the nerves inside have me freaking out. Find your archery pack. We need each other.