Mental Management for the Archery Parent – Intense to Zen”ish”

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In full disclosure, this parent has been “that” intense sports parent.  Football and baseball tend to lend to getting wound up.  By nature, worried and stressed could easily be stamped on this forehead.  Age or wisdom or experience all come with time and learning from mistakes. There is a tremendous need for archers to work on mental management programs.  How about the parents?  This is what has been learned from age, wisdom, and MANY mistakes. (The oldest son is 21 and was an avid sports player prior that multiple football injuries stole a professional athletic future in baseball.)

Mental management begins at home.  With this subject in mind, this parent just purchased a book on mental management called Parenting Champions.  Having briefly skimmed through the first chapter that was allowed to preview, the purchase button was clicked.  This is not a recommendation, yet.  However, as a parent, mental management for the young are taught by the parents or adult influences in the home.  Might be worth your time to do research and find something worth reading.

When an archer starts competing, the learning curves are huge.  The preparation begins at home.  Starting with managing expectations from the beginning will carry into tournaments.  Allowing archery time to be archery time.  These days, this archery parent is no longer hands on due to the archer’s age and experience level.  At the beginning, it is consuming.  It is important to let the archer decided to talk about archery.  For this archery parent, it was helping the archer NOT to be all archery.  Even insisting on non-archery time can establish healthy mental management. It is never good to let any single subject to consume the mind, body, and soul.

Goals versus wins.  Goal setting as a parent is equally as important as the archer.  Goals at the beginning are hitting the gold.  These are just joyful sweet times.  When celebrations of firsts come easily.  Celebrations as the archer progress can be harder to find at times.  As a parent, the goals must not be centered on the score or placement.  Those are the archers’ goals.  What are the parent’s goals?  Watching and being there is first and foremost.  Encouraging all archers should be the next.  Allow your archer successes to be theirs and not yours.  This archery parent concerns were more about behavior, handling stress, and ensuring there is fun being had by the archer.  Learning to sit back and let the “game” play out was hard.  Facial expression control is essential.  Not letting the mistake or bad shots effect you will help the archer move forward.  Prepare yourself for what is need to keep you zen”ish” is huge.

This archery parent started closer to the archer.  Young archers need more support.  There was a time that staying close is essential.  However, the closer you are the more you have to stay in control.  No anger, no bragging, no yelling, no swearing, no complaining, no coaching while they are on the line shooting.   That leaves only good and fun to be had by all.  Make friends!  Archery parents need archery parents.  Archery tournaments are high-stress long days, friends always make it easier. No matter the outcome, arrows fall were arrows fall.  Can’t control or change those.  Remember to leave archery on the field.  Take the friends with you.

Taking time for yourself!  Obviously, if the archer is young, they have to go where you go.  However, there are always ways to unplug. At the end of each archery tournament day, this parent ensures everything that is needed for the next day is done, then no more archery.   No talking about archery, unless it is an essential question needed to prepare or the archer wants to talk.  Chilling on the hotel bed can be the best medicine.  This past year, writing this blog has helped to address the archery bubbling up in me, while not spilling it onto the archer.  Additionally, yoga has been added (if the archer is not watching). Stick the feet in the hot tub while the archer went swimming at the hotel pools was a favorite way to de-stress.  A great book on tape or to read is essential.  Headphones and music that centers your soul could be a lifesaver.   Take your zen with you. Breathing.  Good old deep breath and let it go.   Repeat as necessary.   Pray.

The best advise this archery parent can give to ensure life on and off the field or range is healthy is focused on being the parent and not the coach.  This is not always an option.  Then, define your coaching times and your parent times clearly.  Allow others to coach your archer if possible.  Lastly, would be to set and establish rules ahead of time.  At every tournament prior to leaving, this archery parent would set expectations for behavior on and off the field.  Then, if issues arise they can be quickly addressed and reminded.  Essentially, who the young person is becoming far out ways the score on the field.

 

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Youth Archery Parent – It never ends.

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It is a Sunday morning, at 2:49 a.m.  This archery parent is sitting in bed, watching an autobiography on C.S. Lewis and sipping hot tea.  This is by no means a typical night.  As an archery parent with the archer overseas competing, the connection is through the internet.  Live scoring is about to start again.  There is the extra page on the computer open and it is being checked often. Too often.  Patience is not my strongest virtue.  The start time does not change no matter how many times the page is clicked. Dang it!

Last weekend, the archer drove over the mountain and through the woods (literally) to a tournament to help prepare for this current tournament.  The archer was allowed to go off on his own for the first time.  During that tournament, there was communication concerning safety and arrival, of course.  Then it went into archery.  On that lazy Sunday afternoon, this parent spent much time scouring the house looking for a 10-degree quick release.   Changes were needed to be made and tried upon arriving home. There were several found, but not the “right” one.  As those others were not the brand he wanted.   Searching the garage, the office, the junk drawers, bedroom, etc.  The archer ended up using one of the parts that were found after much time was investing in locating them.  Organization of my sixteen-year-old is equal to the aftermath of a tornado.

This weekend, much sleep has been lost checking on live scoring.  The mental stress increases as a parent when the archer is out of your control.  There have been many conversations, corrections, a few reprimands, and many praises this past year preparing the archer to rely on another adult. Additionally, to ensure behavior and BEHAVIOR are appropriate.   There have been tough texts sent and a couple received on problems that need to be addressed.  There have been far more successes than mistakes, thankfully.

By the time an archer is a seasoned national competitor, there is a shift in needs for the archer.  Mental management of the archer and the parent come in to play.   Even with successes, there are the concerns about physical health and strain on young muscles.  Pains and aches are managed.  The archer spends much of the time training, so ensuring that when there are teenage time opportunities, encouragement is giving to go have some fun.

Even when negotiating curfew time, because that is always a debate, this parent gives weird times to be home.  Like 11:14.  Two reasons, first, typically is how we agree on a time, next, giving an obscure time actually helps teach time management.  There is a challenge there and the lesson in being on time.  Time management is taught and learned.

It is now 3:26 a.m., 14 minutes until the next scoring round begins.  This archery parent is wide awake and my attention at church will be a struggle in the morning, well, daylight.  These new levels come with many additional stresses.  The biggest worries are the distance and keeping the scenarios of tragedy possibilities in check in the head.  Oh, this parent is a WORRIER!  (7 minutes to go!)  Dreams often come with battle wounds.

Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5: 3-4

Scoring is up!  Shoot Straight.  May at the end of each day hope be what we have left.

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The Archery Parent “Pitfalls”

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Yes, this archery parent played Pitfall in her youth.  In fact, my sister broke the 10,000 points mark and a photo was taken with her and the score.  A Polaroid camera, of course, was used.  Now that has not one thing to do about archery, other than it fits the blog title. First, there is no former training, unless a college child phycology course counts.  The education is parenting and being involved st a sports parent for 18 years.  There are many pitfalls that cross all sports that can lead to traps and falls.  Archery is a very unique sport, so it quickly complicates and can muddy water for the archer.

These are areas that personally this parent has crawled in and out of or witnessed on the fields.

Over Protecting/Involved Parent

GUILTY.  It definitely helps that the archer is the youngest child.  Experience as a football team mom, travel ball team board member…Stepped into a few situations that are regretful.  A young momma lion is not always easily tamed.  There are lines that need to be protected.  In archery, that line is the competitors’ area line…try to handle situations like you are observing the situation.  In the middle of the competition, all emotions are high and things can escalate quickly.   Trying to ensure the archer is shooting and focusing on the target is the main goal.

Over Coaching Parent

These parents just want to help.  This parent gets it, once again guilty.  There are numerous times that this parent offered baseball tips that were yelled towards the batter’s box.  Archery is a quiet game, it takes little to be seen and heard by the archers.  There is not supposed to be talking on the line…okay, well this is not always followed by the young.  The young archers should be taught to focus on the target.  Constant coaching and suggestions are hard on the archers during competition. Yes, this archery parent has competed in sports, including archery.  Being coached during the shot is not helpful.

“Soccer” Type Parent

Guilty, again!  Archery can’t handle soccer parents.  Archery is a quiet sport.  Think golf.  Soccer is a fast game, adrenaline is needed to keep the game moving fast.  Archery, it is the opposite.   Pacing and fidgeting are not helpful.  Find your zen.

My Child is Amazing Parent

Hoping to not be too guilty of this syndrome.  It is hard not to want to talk about our archer and accomplishments, however, not needed.  Let the archer’s actions on the field say all that needs to be said.  This parent tries to stay humble and thankful in the good and bad.

No one works harder than “my” Archer Parent

Let this be said…THERE IS ALWAYS an archer that is working harder.  There is always an archer that is hungrier.

Not Guilty.

 High-Pressure Parent

This is the parent that uses muscle with words to try to motivate.  It has been heard by a couple parents on the field the archer better get it together or they are done.  That they did not come here for the archer to lose.  Or the cuss words that can fly when the archer is not performing perfectly or the arrow did not hit the center.  The finger shaking, huffy puffy parent to the archer.  There are times to motivate! There are times to shake a finger, but not at an arrow or mistake on the line.

An archery parent can ABSOLUTELY destroy a young archers career.  It has been heard many times that archery parents are the worse, by those in the business of archery.  If we become the tar pits, crocodiles or scorpions in the archers’ path, the journey will be much harder.  No one should have to use a rope to swing over a parent as an obstacle.

 

Shoot Straight.  Visit facebook: https://www.facebook.com/archeryparent/?fref=ts

Comments, ideas, and stories always welcomed.

Fall is in the Air – Indoor Season

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Fall or Autumn or Pumpkin Spice Latte, hunting season…this archery parent loves the switch from outdoor season to indoor season.  This week central Oregon has had a light switch in weather, with below freezing evenings coming this way.  Indoor season means the end of travel and a switch in the game.  The time when financial pressures, move to mental pressures of the upcoming financial pressures as a new season is planned.

Wait, it is the end of travel.  Sigh.  Take a deep breath.  Each year travel presents challenges and stresses that have stretched this parents mental, physical and spiritual health.  As a parent of a now driving archery, this will be the first official indoor season that hours each day are spent NOT waiting in town for the practice to be concluded.

Physical health?  Two years ago in the month of May, my not so graceful self -took a tumble off the deck breaking the right foot.  The first four days, due to the fact that the other archery parent was driving the archer to a tournament for several days, never went to the doctor…well had a herd of animals to care for.  Broken did not stop the process.  The foot needed surgery….there was an upcoming tournament.  Six weeks later, really need a surgery…there was another an upcoming tournament…the good news, after 16 weeks in a boot the foot healed well.

Mental health…let’s just say…four years ago an airplane ride caused panic attacks…now, just nervous.   Archery stretched my courage and secured a spiritual growth that is relied upon as often as it is remembered to breathe and thank God for being there.

Fall is really the beginning of the archery season.  September sponsors contracts are in review.  By October the new contracts are released.  November new bows hit the market.  All during this time, archers have moved inside.  New arrows are fletched and tuned.  Local shops startup indoor leagues.  The time changes and darkness take away long hours being outside, with the sun as the closed sign.  Indoor seasons, often archers are limited to hours available to shoot.

Fall is in the air – It must be the indoor season (almost).target6-Large-1024x683

 

 

“2018” Archery Season Calendar Madness

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A few nights ago, the courage finally rose up enough to sit down in front of the computer and start to finalize outdoor season (one left) and prepare for the indoor season.  In order to do this, multiple tabs on google had to be opened to start to coordinate dates with the organizations that are required or typically attended each season.

The first tab was USA Archery – The year is always set around the USAT national tournaments.  Why?  It represents an association that the archer enjoys the most, target/FITA style archery.  The goal is to attend one indoor national tournament, the mandatory JOAD outdoor nationals, and two of the four USAT qualifiers.  There is always the last of the season added as a maybe.  Well, this is just in case another tournament can be used to improve the national standings and/or make the USAT.  (United States Archery Team)

The second tab was the World Archery page.  When an archer is reaching towards the top and staying consistent and growing, there is a time that international travel needs to be considered.  The archer has competed in two international tournaments and preparing for his third.  Now this a very hard part of archery and the emotional status of this archery parent.   This archery parent stays home.  The tournaments are considered safe and the selection is narrow.

The third tab is the NFAA, National Field Archery Association.  The fun to be had at NFAA events.  Hands down, the favorite of many archers.  Every year the Vegas Shootout and 3D nationals are on the calendar.  In fact, this archery parent will most likely still attend these events if the archer attends as an adult and not living at home.  They are fun and always include so many dear friends and archery family, it is a reunion.

Fourth, fifth and sixth, the three local associations that the archer shoots.  These are the foundation of every archer.  Local tournaments support our local archery shops and dealers, they grow archers and prepare them for the state and national tournaments or hunting.  This season will probably be the first season that only one or two maybe attend by the archery “mom”.  This archer is a licensed driver and most are within a few hours of driving.  The biggest issue with this schedule is the weather.

After lots of notes and arrows and additions, it is basically set…it is overwhelming.  As always, it takes the breath out of the lungs.  There is so much sacrifice that goes into any parent of a child seeking dreams.  No matter the passion, the fuel is the parents time, patience and finances.  It has taken me days to even type about it, let alone go back and finalize it and speak with the archer and coaches to make a few decisions.

Stop the madness.  Honestly, the days are numbered that my involvement will be needed.

 

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The Silent Archery Parent – Or When to Keep Your Mouth Shut

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One of the hardest aspects of life and relationships is being silent at times.  Then knowing these times compounds the issue.  Even on social media, especially, on social media, this is a time to know when to be silent.  Recently, an opinion was asked about an archery related subject. This archery parent is invested, like the rest of us, in the future of archery, by default at the very least. So, an honest kind opinion was given…

There is a difference between offering an opinion and then having someone, that does not know you, start a debate or even an argument.  There are times for healthy debates and even healthy arguments.  Typically, those time should be face to face.  Starting a debate or argument with a “virtual” stranger, can and will eventually create drama.  Yes, this archery parent has had a couple relationships hurt by social media. This instance, the comment was deleted.  Not worth the time, this time.

The lessons learned are this, when the heart rate increases in a negative way, pay attention.  Remove yourself and the situation…and take a day or two.  There are many that handle things the minute ruffles get feathered.  However, for this parent, the lessons have led me to take a breath.  Pray on it, chew on it, weigh the relationship, pray on it…then act. This is with social media.  Real life, sometimes head on is the only way, sometimes just stepping out is needed.

In the past two years, one archery relationship was healed and growing.  The second that was affected, took time, but we are kind and respectful to each other.  Looking at biblical principles, always help draw the attention off of the emotions, which can be five at a time, and on to the working forward.  Recently, on the internet, a page was screen shot and saved and even printed as a reminder to have on hand at tournaments and in life.

WHEN TO KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT

By God

In the heat of anger – Proverbs 14:17

When you don’t have all the facts – Proverbs 18:13

When you haven’t verified the story – Deuteronomy 17:6

If your words will offend a weaker brother – 1 Corinthians 9:11

If your words will be a poor reflection of the Lord or your friends and family – Peter 2:21-23

When you would be ashamed of your words later – Proverbs 8:8

If the issue is none of your business – Proberbs 14:10

Of your words would convey the wrong impression – Proverbs 17:27

If your words would damage another’s reputation – Proverbs 16:27

If your words will destroy a friendship – Proverbs 25:25

When you are feeling critical – James 3:9

If you can’t speak without yelling – Proverbs 25:28

(There are more on the list, but these seem most appropriate to the archery field.) The last one in very large print was this Proverbs 21:23

“WHOEVER KEEPTH HIS MOUTH AND HIS TOUNGE, KEEPETH HIS SOUL FROM TROUBLE.”

In a resolution, this archery parent has to says…all we can do is try.

 

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USAT #3 So Cal Showdown Practice Day

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On an overcast cool breezy day in Chula Vista, unusual for this time of the year, archers came in to practice.  The wind was a bit trickier than normal, however, the quick glances at the archers on the field showed constancy on the targets.  This tournament is always like coming home for this archery parent, as my childhood home was only about 40 minutes north.

As the archer went about practicing with his coach, this archery parent sat with other parents on the “national” tour.  For those with juniors competing, much of the conversation is surrounded around college and archery.  For those younger, it is mainly archery.   There on conversations about who is going to Texas for the last USAT tournament of the year and who are staying home.  Those going are typically those that are still working on improving the standings for national rankings and needing or wanting to improve scores.  Improved placement at a tournament will replace the higher points earned in rankings.  The lower the points the higher the ranking and placement.

Today, there was the great news of having a jump start on the 2018 tournament schedule from one of the USA Archery judges/parents.  The information was shared by another parent that received it from another parent.  This information is helpful in planning the 2018 year and the ability to see if other association tournaments can be added to the schedule.  For the archer, the goal is the addition of another NFAA and ASA tournament into the schedule, if time and budget allow.

Tomorrow, weather looks nice for qualifications.  The archer trained harder for this tournament than the prior.  Coming off of nationals with lower placement than hoped and with facing eliminations against the seniors, he still dreams of beating out some of those top dogs in archery.  No matter the outcome, he will go out with finishing up a great outdoor season, with several goals met and new challenges and goals to stretch toward.

No, the 2018 season is not over.  This tournament marks the final USAT tournament of 2018.  This tournament does mark the LAST tournament this archery parent is “planning” on attending in this 2017 season.   The archer has some that he will attend with his coach.  This tournament marks a year of growth, friendships, and joys.  No, the work is not done for this archery parent.  There are budgeting, resume, sponsor gifts to make, even, business plans to work on.  Oh, the life of an archery parent.

Shoot straight.

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