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.

“Realistic” Goal Setting

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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.

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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.

Why?

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.

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

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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

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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.

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2017 Outdoor Nationals Photo Journal Part 2

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There is nothing like Nationals to shake things up and encourage growth. There are are several reflections that this archery parent will share next week upon returning home. Tomorrow is team rounds for the JOAD youth. Typically a fun day with guards downs and new friends made.

The podium.

The medals.

The shopping.

The comrodory.

The elements

The excitment of receiving medals

Shoot Straight.

A Boy and A Bow – An Archery Poem

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A Boy and A Bow

 

This is a story of an archery bow

Put in the hands of a young boy that sparked a glow

The world of archery entered into his sights.

Striving to find those shining bright lights.

 

Thousands of arrows have hissed through the air

Shooting each with purpose, taking the targets dare

Fed a soul hunger towards perfecting the shot

That wants only arrows to mark the x spot

 

With miles behind and more still to go,

This archery parent prays it stays slow

While reaching towards the ultimate goal

Of standing on the podium shining with gold

 

An army of archery “angels” guiding the way

Helping prepare the archer for each day

To a path that needs many to help a archer grow

With sincere gratitude, all my heart can bestow

 

No matter the end of the story being told

The heart will have many stories to hold

Archery brought purpose and love for a game

No matter the outcome, no matter the fame.

 

By: This Archery Parent

 

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World Archery Youth Trials Round Robin 2017

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This morning was another cool breezy day.  The day started with the top 32 archers in compound and recurve archery of cadet and junior ages.  Cadets are 15-17 years of age and juniors are 18-21 years of age.  The photo above shows the archers in the morning meeting prior to the start of the competition.   ( Loving the beam of light shining upon the archers.)

These young archers competed in 7 rounds of elimination style round robin.  This allows every archer to compete against each archer that qualified for the top eight in the prior day’s competition.  This is a long day of continuous shooting, with one quick 15-minute break in the middle to allow for restroom use and fueling the body.  The competition started a 8, with most archers arriving around 7 to be able to get some shots off on the practice field.

This year, electronics got the best of the tournament with scoring and some confusion.  Live scoring was down for some archers, which can be frustrating.  Most spectators rely on the live scoring to keep them up to the date of the scores on the field.  It is often not easy to know the scores on the target even with binoculars due to the distance away from the target.  By the end, there was confusion and incorrect scores that delayed the team and had growing frustrations by parents and archers on the field.  This is archery.

Once corrections were completed, the team member with one alternative where announced and parents and archers gathered for the team meeting on the upcoming tournament in Argentina in October.

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This is your 2017 USA World Archery Youth Team.  There were hugs and tears by parents and excitement at the opportunity ahead.

Congratulations to the team and to those that just missed making the team.  There is impressive talent in our youth and many lost the battle by a point or two. There are Olympic hopefuls preparing for the 2020 Olympics in the recurve world and hopeful compound shooters with the possibility of compound archery in 2024 Olympic games.

As for this archery parent, today was spent watching some of the ends, talking, and laughing with friends.   The frustration of the live scoring being down just seemed like a sign to not stress about it and just enjoy the day.  For this archery parent, the best part of the day is a hug from the archer (he is not a hugger.)

Finally, as with most tournaments in the US, there is the required Panda Express meal to finish off the tournament.  Traditions are hard to break and Panda is just one of them. Praying for safe journeys home, for rest and rejuvenation.  JOAD Nationals are just a few weeks away, making goodbyes easier.

This archery parent is tired and looking forward to being home tomorrow night.

Blessings to you all.