Hunger is something most understand. Hun*gry – having a strong desire or craving. One would suspect, most of us read the children’s book called, The Hungry Caterpillar, to our youngsters. (If not, Youtube has fun readings.) This fun book takes us on a journey of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Eating his way through each day of the week, each day with a greater hunger than the last as he grows and grows into a transformed butterfly. On the next the last day, that caterpillar consumes an enormous amount of food. This book is similar to the hunger that it requires in the belly of a young archer to reach towards dreams and goals.
The archer’s coach from that first day is Alanna Dunaway of Willowcreek Archery. This lady is second to none in our book. The J.O.A.D. program embodies the archers with love, support, joy, and encouragement. Never has there been a time that she is not available or supporting the archer(s). It was her words to the archer at the last tournament that sparked this blog, what she shared will be shared at the end. She sees a hunger and fed it constantly.
The wee little archer is much like the day one and two of the book. At this age or beginning of archery, it is about learning to shoot and finding success by consistency and the arrows moving closer and closer to the center of the target. This is the time that should be fun and games. It must be encouraging. This is the time that learning is at the highest rate, for the archer and you. It is important to be engaged, watch, learn and encourage. Listen to the coaches and comments. This is when they are excited and as a parent the learning curve together is fun.
As the archer progresses, much like day three and four in the story, the hunger to improve and learn and perfect grows. Tournaments are being weaved into the archer’s schedule. As a parent, this is the time to learn about what is needed on the field. Knowing the rules, the scoring of the tournaments help greatly. Knowing what the archer needs to know on the field, what should be in the quiver and basic tools to take. This is when as a parent it is essential to start watching the stress levels, learn from other parents and figure out what helps the archer and what makes things worse. Learning the archer’s personality under stress and success helps greatly.
By the time at caterpillar is on day five, there again, the hunger and the appetite required even more fuel. At this point, there is a shift in needs, as travel begins to be added to the schedule. Budgets and finances are added. In hindsight, the advice would be to start saving, sooner. Travel stretches not only the archer but also the parent. This is ensuring rules and schedules are known. That there is a solid plan. Nothing really prepares an archer and parents for the first “big” tournament. Plan and simple, it will be overwhelming. Ensuring every adventure has some fun, not too much pressure and time to learn more about your archer and the game can really grow an appetite.
This is the inevitable day 6 of the journey for the hungry caterpillar. This is the day the poor thing consumes masses and masses of food. To the point of exhaustion. This is the when the podium has been under the feet consistently and international travel or more national travel is added. This is when archery is no longer a game or sport, it is becoming a career or lifestyle. It is the drive to make the teams offered and scores that are equal to the top professional of the sport. It is the drive to beat the professionals’ scores. The archer has always been score driven. The podium was always the icing.
So, what did Alanna say to the archer? She texted him and reminded him to stay hungry for the next days shooting. It was the final day of medal rounds. She said that his reply to her was that he was STARVING. Yap, still hungry. This is day seven when less was consumed because the caterpillar was now big. This is the internal focus and mental work that goes into working to the top of any goal or dream in life.
If your archer is hungry, feed that passion. Feed the hunger.