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.

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.

Straight Shooting.download-9

 

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 Official Practice Day 2017

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wp-image-390705499It has been beautiful weather in Lansing, Michigan.  The clouds and breeze kept the temperatures bearable on the field today. Granted this archery parent was in the shade and enjoying time with friends.  Official practice today was from 12 to 5 pm.  It was a day of smiles, reunions of friends and the joy of archery all around.

Bows were inspected, official credentials and yummy popcorn were given to the competitors.  This field does allow the spectators to be close to the archers for great viewing of targets.

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This tournament is quieter and less hectic with only youth cadet and juniors shooting it out to make the top 8 on Saturday and then those  8 working through 8 round robin matches to earn a spot on the team.  Scoring is different at this tournament.  This tournament awards point for placement, but also for scores shot during the rounds.

Weather is promising to be good and the young archers are here to compete.  There certainly are a few missing in the crowd.  Some due to the cost of the travel and some to injury.  This archery parent wants to say, you are missed.

wp-image-1002608379This was a new item added…however, due to the fact that the tournament is not making any money on the tournament a parking fee was added to ensure that the host club has some revenue coming in for the hours of time involved.   A bit of a surprise, but understandable.

This archery parent only pulled out the binoculars once to look at the target, but honestly, not even sure which target the archer was shooting on.  All the arrows looked good in the target and all looked about the same in scoring.  Saturday, the cadets start at 8 a.m. with the juniors coming in behind at 1 p.m.

Shoot Straight.

 

 

Archery, the “Luck” of the Stars, and A Prayer

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images-8Most of us have heard some saying that includes the words “when the stars align.” These words have been said and heard at many tournaments.  Archery and making the podium is much like that day when you hit every green light driving through town, and you drive into the parking lot and there is a space waiting up front in a filled lot.  These are rare days, it seems often.  As the archer prepares, like the 180 youth coming from all over the USA to make a team of three, we pray for success.  This team can consist of any young archer coming.  This is not like horse races, there aren’t favorites or odds.  Just a group of very talented archers come together to shoot it out.

In this home, when the archer is mentally preparing, we use words like when you make the top 8, or make the team.  This archery parent asks after practice some days if he is ready to win.  The answer is yes, from the archer.  This archery parent then says, yes, you are ready to win, let’s pray the stars aligns that way.  Every archer and parent coming into the World Archery Youth Team Trials are hoping and praying that it is their archer that makes the team.  Every young archer there is dreaming the same dream.  Every archer there has worked hard and parents have sacrificed to afford and take the time required to attend not only this tournament but every tournament.

Came we pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity our children have to follow a passion and the love of archery.  Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to be attending, not only as parents and archers, also friends and family.  As an archery community, may we come together with kindness.   As parents and mentors of the young, may our actions and words glorify you.

In mistakes, we ask you offer grace and forgiveness of self and of those that may error against us.  Lord, may the fields be safe, may the archers be protected, may the judges be blessed.  Lord, in anger and frustration, help us breathe and love.  Lord in defeat, may our hearts not break, but draw on you for strength.  In triumph, may our heart be humbled and gracious.

Lord, may the arrows fly safe and straight.  May the equipment stay steady and true.  May the field be filled with joy and laughter.  May the travels of all be easy and restful.  May the return home, not matter the outcome, be peaceful and reflective.  Lord, in all things we are called to give thanks and to love others.

Thank you, Lord.

Amen.

This Archery Parent’s Prayer