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

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.

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

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

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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