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.


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

  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?


    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!



    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.



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  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)





Teaching “Honor” to the Archer

Honor is a word that makes most stand up taller.  Honor has a few definitions, in this blog honor is a verb.  The word is defined as keeping or fulfilling an agreement or obligation.  It is not often, that this archery parent has to insert “authority” into situations.  Typically, in conversations (relentlessly by archery to achieve the desired outcome) we can come to a middle ground or understanding on what is expect or “required” to fulfill.

As an archery parent, there are always situations that with the wisdom of age can assist the archer.  There are some situations that require immediate parent reaction and some that need to be left alone and allow mistakes to teach.  Mistakes are often the best and most efficient way to learn and grow.  It was a few months ago that the archer was trying to “renegotiate” some set lines in the sand.  Typical, saying no, is not the best way to handle all situations.  In training a child in the way he should go, it takes clarification and reasoning.  Life needs instruction manuals and sound reasoning, especially with the teenage brain.

This particular situation the archer was trying to get out of a commitment.  There was something better that was wanting to be done in the eyes of the archer.  Yes, the first answer was no…then it went back and forth.  It came down to, we made a deal and you agreed.  The response was “So, it does not matter.”

This archery parent response was, ” You’re wrong, honoring a deal means everything.”  Thankfully, he got it.  The reply was, “You’re right.”  This was a good night.  Not often does the teenage back down, accompanied by “you’re right” statement was mind-boggling. The deal was honored.  And honor was taught.  It is still believed that a handshake is as good as a signature in our home.  Your words are powerful, your actions identify your spirit.



Humility Taught 7,644 Miles Away to the “Other” Archery Parent

It is not often the “other” archery parent is mentioned, due to the non-flying status.  Unfortunately, the other parent dislikes traveling even more.  This is a story of humility taught by an archery tournament 7,644 miles away from the venue.  Humility taught in the privacy of the home.  Here is the story:

A few nights ago, the archer was competing in the top 16 towards the top eight elimination round.  This round, the archer was up against a great archer from a  foreign country, which, let’s face it, it is easier to cheer against another country.  That evening as the scores were being observed by this archery parent, the “other” was up pacing around the bedroom.  This is another reason this parent stays home, the pacing is not helpful to any archer.  As every end completed and scores were updated, despite the request to not share, it was shared.  Finishing the 4th end,  the archer was up by one.

Now, in eliminations, there is often not a good enough point spread to ensure winning.  Every archer shoots all the arrows the same as the first, in the attempt to keep the score high or even.  With a quick reload of the computer, the page showed that the archer had won 144-147.  Now, in shock, because it was such a huge triumph, it was said that the archer won.  This parent sat in shock and joy and the other disappeared into the bathroom.  Now, because the page looked slightly off in color, the reload button was pressed.  THE SCORES DISAPPEARED from the page.  It was back to showing only the prior 4th end scores.  It took only a couple minutes, but hours in a time warp for the updated page to show…the archer LOST 147-146.

Now, it was disappointing, but knowing that nothing is for sure until it is official, the emotions moved slowly to a bummed feeling.  For the “other” parent, well not so easy to shift.  About ten minutes later a statement was made, “It was my fault he lost.” Apparently, there was some major celebrating in the bathroom.  Feeling like the celebration was quite prideful, thinking that that weird computer glitch on scores was possibly about a lesson in humility.    Was it only on this computer that the weird glitch was seen?  Is it possible, it was another lesson on being humble?

For this archer family, it was another valuable lesson in humility.

Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Lesson learned.


The Archery Purge – The Youth are Watching

For the past several years there has always been archery talk about bow companies and the staff.  Favorite archers are followed on social media.  The youth get star struck at events.  This archery parent can clearly recall the archers first trip to Vegas and the encounter with his favorite.  There are several more years of contract changes and the effect it had on the archer.  These top archers can clearly define the bows and equipment purchased.  The youth are especially driven by who has what on the field.

The first “favorite” encounter was in Vegas.  Now, Vegas is unique in the fact that it is easy to stand next to a professional archer.  Archery is a unique sport in that there are hands-on and personal encounters with the top archers.  Now, the archer is unique and smart.  He spent much of his time on the practice range.  First, stopping wasn’t until it felt perfect and the score reflected the feel.  At the beginning it was hours…Second, the archer would also wait to see where his favorites were shooting and slowly work his target to the same target.  This allowed him to shoot next to them and feel the energy.

At the time, the bow was basically the same as that pro.  Now, in fairness, this archery parent will keep that archer’s name quiet.  As the years progressed, so did the equipment. Now for the first three and a half years, the archer was very committed to a particular bow company and equipment.  He worked hard to look at the best and try to mimic certain aspects of the archers on the podiums.  Let’s be honest, wins and podium placement drive purchases.  Every archer wants to be on that podium of the senior class in archery.

Anyone in the archery world knows the names that the youth love and are star struck over.  About a year and 1/2 ago the archer made major shifts in his equipment.  This was absolutely driven by a top archer in the USA.  It was driven by the desire to be on the podium. It was driven by the drive to be the best.  The archery “purge” this time of year, each year, is interesting to watch.  Archery is such a small sport, manufacture changes are felt personally.

It is known that despite the growing number of archers competing, the industry as a whole is down.  It is not a rich man’s sport, however, this sport certainly requires money! Most archers are hard working individuals that do all they can to afford attending tournaments.  Add the cost of a new piece of equipment or bow, it can be crippling.  As the “purge” happens, be mindful.  Keep the gossip to a minimum.   Support the archers’ moves and decisions, even if it is upsetting to the youth archer in your life.  This is not only business for the top archer’s, it is their life and livelihood.

Now, the change in the archer’s bow greatly increased his confidence.  Prior, it was a struggle to find confidence and this change has been amazing.  Different archer, different bows.  They are as unique as the individual.  However, if the archer believes that bow is the best because the best use it, it does mentally change the game for some.

With all this said, any top archery can take any bow and work and tweak it to make it work.  In fact, changes each year are based on the input of these archers to improve the equipment.  There is no doubt that the game of archer has changed greatly in the five years, starting the six of being in the sport of archery.   The equipment and mental game are driving archery to a level of “many” top archers.  The game is on!



A Grateful Archery Parent – Giving Thanks

In the spirit of Thanksgiving this week, this archery parent is not only thankful but grateful.  Being thankful is a feeling of being pleased or relieved. Grateful is showing an appreciation of kindness.  One is a feeling, the other an action.  Therefore with a grateful heart, this archery parent gives thanks to archery.

Archery gives far beyond what can be taken. Give and it will be given unto you.  The archery family that we have gathered are beyond friendships expecting in adult life.  By being available to give to those that support the archer, relationships have developed out of kindness and respect.  These are friends that know our darkest moments in life.  They have shared tears and triumphs.  Archery has given to this parent the truest friends (outside my sister) that have seen the real-life battles in our life and carried us through.

Archery has giving courage in my weakness.  Four years ago, when travel was added the stretch began.  Ever stretched a rubber band to the point of it either snapping or that the fingers are in pain?  That is the closest analogy that can be given.  This parent had the first panic attack while at a tournament.  Thankfully, the following morning after a very rough night, his JOAD coach took him to the tournament in my place.  Yes, it was later that morning that my feet walked the field.  There were more “attacks” to follow in the coming years.  This archery parent is thankful.  These days, still do not love traveling, however, there is strength in the prayers offered and in knowing that God has put this path in front of these feet for a reason.  Grateful for learning courage in weaknesses.

Archery has strengthened the relationship with the archer.  Travel lends to time together.  This time allows a parent to have conversations, share laughter and experiences that years later will not be regretted.  The archer is a unique individual, learning to understand how he handles success and mistakes (never failures), helps any parent lend navigations skills that can grow the archer into a person.  This archery parent is grateful for the time with the archer.

Archery keeps things in perspective.  Let’s be real, it is just a game.  Archery allows breaks from real life and offers a cocoon.  This world is rough.  The mere fact that we live in a country to allows travel to fling arrows around, should offer a grateful spirit.  Yes, it is stressful and expensive and time-consuming and and and….What a blessing to be able to go out in the woods for a 3D or sit behind targets watching our youth share in a passion!

Archery brings joy.  Joy in the biblical sense.  It is an attitude of the heart.  Going into anything with the spirit of giving, the spirit of learning, and the spirit of prayer will lead to joy.  Praying with other parents has happened several times on the field.  Prayers of the archers joined together on the field happens.  The time when the bows are down and the scores have not begun can open the doors to a grateful heart. This parent is thankful for the moments of joy.  Focusing on the moments of joy found carry us through the moments or even hours of bad tournaments.

This grateful archery parent gives thanks to you!  We need each other.  We need to show what mankind in unison can do.  May you be blessed with joy on Thanksgiving.





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.




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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