Archery Parent and Through the Looking Glass

Most of us are familiar with Alice and Through the Looking Glass.  The meaning of through a looking glass was located on the internet: When you look in a mirror, you see a mirror image- a backward image. This past week in Las Vegas, there was an interesting shift in archery parenting.  This year, this archery parent dedicated all the time to help friends at a vendor booth.  Only when the archer had shooting times was the booth left.

The archer knows the game.  He plays the game well.  Other than basic parenting reminders and encouragement, there was little to do to assist the archer.  The game plan was laid out prior to leaving for the tournament.  There is an entirely different feel to being an archery parent when the archer is not with you or need you for the majority of a tournament.  Due to this time in the booth, this archery parent had the honor of getting to know and re-experiencing the joy through the eyes of a young up and coming shooter and his parents.

There were such parallels in what was being seen and heard from this young archer and his family.  It was a joy to experience and it was needed.  That archer allowed this parent to be able to look through a looking glass of the past and rekindle the joy archery brings to the young.  The mirror was a backward imagine to this archery parent.  There is an energy that omits from certain archers, an energy that brings smiles and joy.  This young man was able to help in a vendors booth to support his sponsor.  This young man worked side by side with the archer.  This young archer will be more than an archer to archery.

Though a looking glass also contains the meaning of looking into the other universe.  There is absolutely no doubt in this parents mind that archery is another universe!  It is unique, full of twists and turns.  Watching the other young archer, and his parents just full of joy and appreciation was not to be ignored.  Archery can rob us of energy, time and finances.  Gratefully archery can bring strength in character, strength in friendships, strength in mental control, strength in courage.

This archery parent arrived in Vegas an archery parent, this parent left as a parent of an archer.   It is now time to help encourage the new archers and archery parents that want to be able to let go of the reins and become a parent of an archer.  A parent of a better group of archers.  A parent of a young adult that has had the privilege of an archery community grow him into a better young man.   Every young archer deserves to experience what archery can do.

Your humbled parent of an archer.

11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
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Six Arrow Archery Challenge – The “Other” Archery Parent

There is not much detail on the “other” archery parent (Dad).  This parent is 90% of the time left behind to deal with life at home.  Life at home is complicated and difficult for a handful of reasons.  When travel first started entering life, there were 6 horses, 5 dogs, four cats, and a parrot.  The “other” parent has the role of dealing with life at home. This is left the “other” parent with an interesting perspective on shooting archery.

A few years ago, this other parent started discussing how easy it would be for the arrow to hit the yellow…even better the X.  When this first started, it was stated that it would take 100 arrows to hit the center.  Yes, the “other” archery parent is military trained.  Yes, he was ranked #1 in his division for firing a weapon.  Yes, the other parent is an amazing shot.  He trained for it!

As the years have ticked away, the arrow count has dimensioned as well.  Prior to the current statement, it was down to 10 arrows.  Tonight, we reached a new record.  It would only take 6 arrows to dial in and be ready.  Tonight, the other archery parent actually stood in a rather good “air” form position with his finger on a trigger, firing.  It is easy to fire a pretend bow.

6 ARROWS.  Well, this archery parent called him out.  This archery parent could easily arrange an after hour shop, to allow a camera to come in, and video this 6 arrow to center proclamation.  Is it possible?  Well, really many things are possible.  Is it probable?  Not sure the bet would be on the “other” parent.  Sorry, sweetie!

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The Archer’s “Dream” vs. The This Archery Parent’s “Dream”

The word dream often relates to things that are far away or occurring during sleeping hours.  However, often the word dream is used when a success occurs that other would love to obtain.  These type of dreams come with sacrifices and painstaking steps to achieve.   Dreams are often self-centered filled with achievement or wealth. It has been said to this archery parent and the archer that we are living a dream in the archery world that others would love to obtain.

This parent has different dreams than that often expressed by others impressions.  Parents are often deeply involved in helping dreams come true.  Involvement does not equate to having the same dreams.  It is easy to become wrapped up in the dreams of your children.  Parents want our children to find a passion, a place they belong and ultimately happiness and success.  This parent believes that it is about the journey not the final destination of the “dream”.

Often, it is forgotten that parents actually have their own dreams that are not the same as our children.  Climbing to the top of any dream requires tremendous sacrifice in every aspect of life.  Time, money, friendships, family and soul have been drained by help the archer reach and stretch towards dreams.  It requires a commitment that will easily warp your dreams.  This archery parent ultimately has little regret about the journey.  Archery saved the archer and this archery parent at a very difficult time in our lives.  The sacrifice has been great, the rewards are far greater.

This parent has dreams of her own.  Many dreams have been let go or put on hold as a parent.   Spending the last 22 year as a parent to two amazing young men that are both working towards dreams, has pushed personal dreams aside.  Adjusting to their lost dreams and shifting into new dreams along the way, has changed what this parent defines as successful and happy.

The dreams, the ultimate dreams, that this parent has for my young men, are helping them to be givers.  A person that gives thanks for opportunities given by giving more.  A person that brings light and joy to others.  A man that stands up against wrong and evil.   There is no better way to measure a person than being called a good person.  A person that corrects mistakes.  Offers forgiveness and asks for it when needed.

It is amazing to see the hard work and sacrifice pay off.  It is amazing to see the mistakes that have encouraged growth and change.  It is amazing the friendships, lifelong friendships that have been developed.  It is amazing to see a sport that encourages and fosters growth.  It is amazing to be the parent of two young men and have something to offer the world.  It is amazing, despite archery not being this parent’s dream.

The ultimate dream is said in John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

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Archery Teaches Life Lessons

There is a time to let them fly and a time to clip wings.

There is a time to get involved and a time to stand back.

There is a time for correction and a time to sit back.

There is a time for trusting and a time to not trust.

There is a time for growing and a time for reflection.

There is a time to push and a time to hold on.

There is a time for success and a time for mistakes.

There is a time for helping and a time for learning.

There is a time for laughing and a time for tears.

There is a time for happiness and a time for sadness.

There is a time to stand up and is a time to walk away.

There is a time to fight and a time to stand down.

As an archery parent, it can honestly be said that all of these have been taught over the past five years.  There have been very hard and painful moments.  There have been triumphant joys and successes.  The life lessons grow harder and more difficult as the archer climbs the ladder. There is no way to protect them from life lessons, in fact, it is not good to shield them from life lessons.  Life lessons are always being taught, no matter our age.

Archery is a small community.  It often reminds me of a small country town where everybody knows everybody.  This makes for fun reunions at tournaments.  The flip side of that coin, sometimes members of the community are not always correct or to be trusted.  This is not stating that archery is a bad community.  In fact, it is the opposite.  It is a community that has proven to be worthwhile.   Archery teaches life lessons.

Archery teaches life lessons.  Archery has taught this parent, this human, this imperfect, often too trusting individual to rely on those that have and will always be honest and kind.  It has taught a continued reliance on God and to trust in His plan, His will be done.  We are all part of this community.  Together we can grow or together we can destroy.  This archery parent, this parent, chooses growth.  Our reactions, how we teach our youth to work through situations is how they will grow into better archers.  Ultimately, better people.   Archery teaches life lessons.

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The Trouble Tree and the Archery Coach/Parent

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Scanning Facebook at the typical twice a day scan, a story came upon the page.  This story was a reminder of a situation in the past and a reminder for the future.  This was a reminder of a time when newly married and typical struggles with life with young kids. Our pastor (Pastor Phil from CTKLC) came to our home and gave this very same advice.

This is the story:

“I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start.
While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.
When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation.. His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.
Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.
‘Oh, that’s my trouble tree,’ he replied ‘I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing’s for sure, those troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children.. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning, I pick them up again.’ ‘Funny thing is,’ he smiled,’ when I come out in the morning to pick ’em up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before… Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance. We all need a Tree!” (The author was unknown on the post and is not know at the time of this blog — if it is known by another, please share so credit can be given.)

This was advice given to the “other”  parent about return from a long day at work and walking into the home from our pastor.  Reminded about this, this archery parent thought this is amazing advice for this archery parent!  Imagine arriving at a tournament and locating a “tree”.  It can be anything that is around and maintaining a location.  Walk to the “tree” at the beginning of a tournament and pray over the “tree”.  At the completion of each day, find the time to walk to the “tree” and touch the “tree”.

Do not get me wrong, this is not about not talking about archery.  Archery preparation for the next day will need to be addressed.  Ensuring next day times and planned to wake up and departure time are necessary to be discussed.  However, leaving any of our regrets or thoughts behind.  As a parent, we all want our child to succeed.  As a parent, there are opinions or frustrations that can spill over.  This is about “coaching” after the tournament is over.  Allow the “coach” to stay on the field and the parent to walk off the field.  Archery is a sport that many parents must assist during tournaments, especially at the beginning.

As an individual sport, it is often left to the parent to “coach”.  This is hard to avoid at times.  The best advice was often given by the archers JOAD coach, Alanna Dunaway,  not only did she prepare the student, she helped prepare the parent.  Much credit is given to her and still today, her advice is often sought.   Unfortunately, not every parent has such an asset.    This is a reason for the blog.  The hopes of helping others navigate the archery world from the mistakes of this archery parent, advise of others, and successes.    At the end of the day, if our youth are finding joy in archery, that is all that counts.

As Vegas approaches, let us adopt the attitude of “What happens on the line, stays on the line.”

The Archery Industry, Youth Archers and This Archery Parent’s Thoughts –

Let us start with the facts.  One, the largest growth in archery is the youth. Two, the archery industry is struggling. Three, social media is essential to the industry.  This year the archer and this parent attended the ATA show in Indianapolis.

The ATA show is essential to the industry.  This is a time for education, new product reveals and re-energizing the owners.  This year the show offered a few educational speakers directed at the youth archers. Unfortunately, all the seminars run at the same time, first thing in the morning.  This leaves tough decisions on what to attend if they even choose to get up that early.  Unless your only focus is on the youth, there are many other important seminars that could be chosen.  Why not have them throughout the day?

The industry invests a tremendous amount of revenue in the exhibits.  Simply put, many were intimidating to this archer parent.  The time was divided between assisting friends at a booth (staff had to stay home due to the flu bug), walking the show several times to observe, and going on coffee and food runs.   Now, the “job” at the booth was equivalent to being a Wal-mart greeter essentially.  In the wandering around time, there lacked attention to the youth.  If the largest growth is in the youth and the female youth specifically,  it was disappointing to see that most manufacturers are still falling short.

There were the usual youth programs at the show.  Yet, they did not focus on the growth aspect that the youth are bringing to the industry.  In this archery parents opinion, there is an “aging out” and “aging in” hitting the industry.  The “aging out” archers at those that have dedicated the last 10 to 15 years of there life shooting and increasing the marketing.  However, they are starting to do less, they are having families and the travel is wearing on them.  There is the “aging in” archers, these are the top youth archers that are on the heels of the pros, however, they are still young.  Many are just turning 18 or will be soon.  They are focused on high school, college and growing up.  There appears to be a gap.

These “aging in” archers are largely ignored by the industry.  Yes, some have contracts and only a few were seen at the ATA show.  This is where the industry needs to pay more attention.  Social media is “extremely” important to the industry.  The youth archer has the best grasp of the social media.  The youth are the future of the industry.  It would be beneficial for the industry to start targeting the youth.  Today, it is easier to find products that are designed for the youth, but there are still large holes and often the youth are required to adapt to products not designed for them.

This archery parent is not a supporter of large marketing campaigns directed at specific youth.  Yes, it would be amazing to see a poster with your archers face advertising, however, they are not ready for the pressures it brings to them.  They are too young.  However, targeting them for ideas and opinions would bring new and fresh ideas to the table.  What do the youth want to see on social media?  More podcasts?  More live streaming?  More ideas and programs just for the youth?

There are more young archers starting athlete pages.  However, essentially, until they are winning consistently at the upper levels, there is not much attention paid to them.  How do I know?  It was asked.  They do not really care much, yet.  Imagine if they took time to engage the youth, this would start to grow loyalties sooner.  The youth are often star-struck by the top archers and these archers directly affect sales. If the manufacturer had youth growth programs they could essentially start to rebuild the industry.   With the shift in social media playing such an important role in the industry and the youth being the largest users of social media,  where is the connection?

This archery parent has a marketing background, with the main focus on merchandising.  Walking through all the top manufacturers in the industry, it was disappointing to see the lack of attention to the youth.  There are some great and simple ways to help shops grow in customer base and essentially revenue.  Start focusing on the youth.

 

 

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More on the Mental Game of Archery Parenting

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.

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Philippians 3:13

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.

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This Archery Parent’s New Year Resolutions

res·o·lu·tion
ˌrezəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. 1.
    a firm decision to do or not to do something.
    “she kept her resolution not to see Anne anymore”
    synonyms: intentionresolvedecisionintentaimplanMore

  2. 2.
    the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
    “the peaceful resolution of all disputes”
    synonyms: a solution to, answer to, an end to, ending too, settlement of, the conclusion to

    “a satisfactory resolution of the problem”

    Don’t you love words that have two meanings?  One is concrete and solid and the other is an action attached.  A resolution.  A new year.  What is New Year’s Resolution as an archery parent that is concrete and forward moving?

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    It is a new year.  Each month has archery.  Each day has archery.  How exciting to start a new book.  What is your first chapter about as an archery parent?  For this archery parent, the first chapter is the archery industry.  ATA show coming soon!

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    More important, what do the days of this new chapter bring?  January 1st will most likely bring the undecorating of last year that often brings reflection.  Reflections often equate to resolutions.  Reflections are bringing serious thought or consideration.  Reflections are not about regret.  This word is empowering, it is a word that allows wisdom and growth and faith to move through it.

     

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New hope, aspiration, and resolutions.  This world is paved with good intention.  No, there will be many days that this parent falls short.  There will be mistakes.  When a word, like resolution, allows the definition to be an action, there is some control.  There is a promise of new seasons, new mistakes, new successes, new friends, new joys, new sights.  As an archery parent, as the New Year smacks me right across the check, in reflection, this year will be a journey, an adventure and full of life experience.  May your year bless you and yours.  Happy New Years!

 

James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

The Twelve Days of Christmas Gifts the Archer Wants Under the Tree

Merry Christmas!  This archery parent will be taking the rest of the year off from blogging.  Head over to https://www.facebook.com/archeryparent/.  As we start to prepare for the 2018 tournament year, lots of archery thoughts dancing in my head, no sugar plums for me.  This year the first trip is to kick off the season at the Archery Trade Association show.  There is work planned and hoping to get some swag to share in giveaways!

The Archers Twelve Days of Christmas

By: This Archery Parent

On the first day of Christmas, the archer wants from me, a MATHEWS TRX38 Bow under the  Christmas tree.

On the second day of Christmas, the archer wants from me, an AXCEL CBL Sight under the Christmas tree.

On the third day of Christmas, the archer wants from me, an EASTON Z Flex stabilizer under the Christmas tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, the archer wants from me, a T.R.U. Ball Abyss Release under the Christmas tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, the archer wants from me, a Feather Vision AciesPlus 4X lens under the Christmas tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, the archer wants from me, Leupold Optic BX4 Binoculars under the Christmas tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, the archer wants for me, AAE Hybrid vanes under the Christmas Tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas, the archer wants from me, a Last Chance Archery bow press under the Christmas Tree.

On the ninth day of  Christmas, the archer wants from me, AAE Freak Show Rest under the Christmas tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas, the archer wants from me,  Easton 2315 Arrows under the Christmas tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, the archer wants from me, Bow Junky Media swag under the Christmas tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the archer wants from me, EASTON Super 3D Nocks under the Christmas tree.

Anyone else playing the lotto?  Merry Christmas to you and yours.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace
(Isaiah 9:5)

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