Several months ago, an article from the internet was printed to read. Well, Christmas Eve afternoon there was some time that allowed for reading. Some read for pleasure, at this point in life, reading is for researching and spiritual growth. Just that phase of life where children take less actual time and there are holes in the day now that can be filled with other pursuits. Jim Taylor, Ph. D. wrote a free download called Prime Sport. This article is on the psychology of champion athletes. This is on the importance of the mental game and mental imagery. Yes, a good read and worth the time.
From age 7 to 38, this archery parent rode and competed in the horse world moving to dressage. Dressage is an equestrian sport. To those that do not know horses, it is often described as dance with horses. Doing all those fancy moves while riding a dancing horse. It takes a lifetime of commitment and dedication to reach the top level. At the end of the competitive years, though not reaching the top level, upper-levels were reached. The mental imagery of the show or test that was being performed was imagined mentally many nights on riding the perfect test or class in the show. It was also done at the show and just before entering the test or arena. The typical class or test is no more than 5 minutes. This is not hard to do mental preparation when it is a “short” game. Now, an archery competition, this is hours of mental focus. How does an archer mentally train prior when it is hours long?
Nope, do not have the answer. So, the archer was asked. The reply was the perfect shot. His visual mental part of training is the feel of the perfect shot. But, then thirty times in a row. The need to help find some ideas or methods to help the archer as a parent drives the research. How does a parent help prepare a child to compete in a sport that requires longer mental training than many sports? The answer that can be given is the education and wisdom of others that have and are walking ahead. In the introduction download of Prime Sports training, there was several items and ideas that need more thought. In a highlighted box regarding sports success, one of the bulleted topics was; Prepared, bring it, no regrets.
Prepared: Going into a tournament, is the archer doing everything to prepare for the tournament. Bring it: At the tournament, did the archer bring it? Did they do everything in the toolbox and push the limits? If the answer to both is yes, then the third and final goal is no regrets. Regrets can burden a soul for life. Teaching this idea to 3 goals is a great tool for an archery parent. Ensure and encourage all phases, but remember, it is on them, to prepare with assistance. It is for them to bring it. It is for them to have no regrets by teaching this or a similar mental game to archery. As a parent, you can ask ourselves the same questions going into and out of a tournament. It is ok, we can “bring it” too.
Personally, the mental game as a parent has been a tough area that still is a challenge. By nature, not a calm cool person. It has taken time to work towards maintaining the appearance of no big deal. In prior blogs many of these of been discussed. There is mental and visual training that is used. Music, friends, breaks, breathing, laughing, etc. As a parent, it is the job to keep it calm, keep it light, keep it focused. Our energy is easily transferred to others and those around. Trial and error have provided more wisdom and insight. Mistakes led the way to different approaches.
Archery is a game of mental pressure. Not having regret doesn’t equate to no disappointment. Archery is disappointing to everyone that is not in first place. Dealing with loss or disappointment is a subject for another day. Let us not look back, we are not going that way.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.