Where Are the Archery Mentors?


A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor. There are many experienced archers, there are few that are trusted advisors or mentors. There is a need for mentors in the archery community. The youth archers have heroes, but mentors? How about the parents? There are some great coaches that are mentoring to parents and youth. However, few have been a parent of an archer that has competed from cub to pro. There is a handful of parents out there that are seasoned, weathered and wanting to help.

It is unfortunate that many professionals do not see the opportunity to mentor to the youth. It is also understood, that they are there strictly for business and adding the pressure of social requirements is difficult. It would also be distracting for some many star-struck archers. Many archers do make themselves available at times when not shooting to be able to say hello. However, there are very few mentors that are helping the youth grow into better archers. There are great coaches, but the coach is not on the line next to the archer.

For archery parents, there are always the few standing junior parents. By the time most archers compete at the junior level, there are few left standing. Many archers move away from archery during high school and especially during college years. School is demanding, being a top archer is extremely demanding. By the time our youth reach the junior/senior divisions of archery, they are young adults. The time and investment in our archers are substantial.

There is a wealth of wisdom that has come with years of competitions and travel under our belts, as parents of aging out youth. In Vegas, in a conversation with another seasoned parent, we discussed finding a way to an archery parents mentor program. Or a discussion area, an area that will allow questions, thoughts, and ideas to be shared. A place of other archery parents to seek advice based on other seasoned parents experience. This year, the archer will be heading to college. The time spent at tournaments will be less, allowing more time to create a group of parent mentors available to help other parents. Time to prepare the next youth generation.


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.”


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.





The Archery Parent “Pitfalls”


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.

“Realistic” Goal Setting

Goal setting is important in life.  Goal setting for any journey or dream is essential.  This last year, with the addition of another amazing coach, not only was mental training required, but goal setting was essential.  When asked what was the goal of the archer, he went straight to “being the best archer in the world.”  The coach stated this is a great goal.  However, there are many steps and goals that need to be met in order to achieve the lifetime goal.  The archer had to go from an enormous leap to an obtainable series of steps to work towards that goal.

download-12                   VS.              download-10

This is from Steve Yee posted on his Facebook page… (sharing with permission)  Thank you, Steve.

“More on the #archery front…USA Archery‘s 133rd Outdoor Nationals are complete, and it’s a huge lesson in goal setting for those who go.


Let’s look at the reality of something like an Outdoor Nationals.

You have 8 age groups: Masters 70, Masters 60, Masters 50, Senior, Junior, Cadet, Cub, and Bowman.

You have Barebow, Compound, and Recurve.

That’s 96 medal slots for the National Championship. (I don’t count Ranking round for JOAD, nor US Open for Adults, nor team round or clout).

This year had 1168 registered archers, 1138 scoring archers.

That’s 8.5 percent of the attendees that will come home with some sort of hardware.

As a coach, you play the stats. You help set goals that are realistic for your archer. Be aware that your archer is one of many competitors going for that combination of skill, timing, and fortune. Only 96 will come away with being on the podium.

So as a parent or coach – please help set realistic goals. Because even the best in the world sometimes can’t come up with enough skill, talent, timing, or luck to overcome the rest of the field.”

This was such sound advice.  The importance of “realistic” goal setting is essential.   Not many archers came home with medals.


When looking at images for goal setting on google, interestingly, many include a target and arrows.  There are goals set that despite the effort, need to be re-examined.  Life is about missing the mark.  Archery is often lost in missing that mark, literally.


S.M.A.R.T. goal setting is essential.  Here is an example of what goal setting may look like.


As a parent and as an archery parent, it is our responsibility to help our archers have obtainable goals.  Goals that are realistic –  Could be as simple as shooting one point or x better than the last tournament.  Frustration is a guarantee in archery.   There is always positive take aways from every experience in life.  There are times it is not easy to find. Realistic goals will help find the positives.   As archery parents, helping our young archers have SMART goals will help keep smiles on the field.  At the end of the day, joy is what the ultimate goal should be.


Shoot Straight.


JOAD Outdoor National 2017 Reflections

This archery parent is happy to be home.  This year marked our third Outdoor JOAD Nationals.  There are a few things that remain consistent at this tournament.  The weather has always proven to affect the archers.  There are podium upsets and new archers shining through the pressure. USA Archery does an amazing, simply amazing job of running the tournament.  And, it is always a learning experience.

This year the weather did cause issues for most archers.  The wind and temperatures certainly played a roll on day two of qualifications.  Archers that never miss the target, missed.  Smiles shined coming off the line with the arrow scoring a 5 instead of a zero.  Archers were thrilled when all the arrows stayed on the target each end.  With up to 35 miles per hour gusts, the bows and the archers swayed and battled holding for hours.  It was an exhausting day for all.

The past three years, the podium at times reflects different winners than seen at other tournaments.  These are not incapable archers by any stretch. In fact, it is a very exciting time in youth archery.  The talent pool has grown and continues to grow.  What may be reflected is the difference in preparation coming into the tournament.  This youth group is hungry to reach the top.  Maybe the hunger coming in makes a difference?

USA archery had a tremendous job of facilitating and creating a fair field for just under 1200 archers.  This is no easy feat.  The man power required is awesome.  This tournament ran smoothly and efficiently.  Thank you, USA Archery.  The venue was so large and costly that the JOAD and Target Nationals will be split into two separate tournaments next year.  For this archery parent, there are conflicting opinions.  It is great to have a tournament dedicated to just the youth.  However, with many families having parents competing as well, this would double expenses for some.  Additionally, for the youth, it takes away the element of having the top pro archers on the field and the excitement of watching the top competitors.

Personal learning experiences come at all tournaments.  For this year, the archer had an item misplaced by TSA upon arrival.  Thankfully, the archer bought some backup items and Lancaster Archery Supply was on site for the purchase of the rest of the items.   There were learning experience on face pressure and the effects it has on arrows in the target.  Thankfully, he is determined enough to go to the practice field after working through frustration and disappointment and figure it out.  Mentally, this prepared him for a great final day at team rounds.

Upon returning home, the archer reflected, more work could have been done to prepare better.  Staying on his training schedule, he was back at practice 12 hours after returning, not missing a beat.  Some additional tuning is being done and thoughts on having the equipment rock solid were being tested.  SoCal Showdown is less than three weeks away.  Archery is a sport that requires consistency to maintain not only current levels but the ability to improve.

This archery parent will add, that the archer did well.  This blog is not really about the archer.  However, it really is all about the archer.  As a parent to a young archer that has worked his way through the levels of youth archery, and wants to make the jump in the next year or two to the adult level, there is more wisdom still to gain.

Straight Shooting.download-9


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