In all honestly, I’m not someone who likes violence and the idea of shooting something kind of freaks me out.
Recently though, my partner booked an archery lesson at Bow Time Archery for us, and even though I was really nervous to go, I didn’t want to be a Negative Nelly. So, after after a short introduction on how the compact bow works, I took aim and fired my first shot. Surprisingly I hit bulls-eye on my first shot. COMPLETE beginners luck because it didn’t happen again. It still felt great knowing that even as a beginner it’s possible to achieve greatness.
During the hour we were shooting I started realizing several things:
It’s as much skill as it is mind over matter
In the beginning I struggled, a lot. I kept worrying about where the arrow would land, if I was holding the bow right, was pulling the arrow hard enough, was I aiming at the right place. This led to my next realization…
Overthinking makes you shoot terribly!
It took a while for me to realize that I was my own worst enemy. I was making myself shoot worse because of the fears in my head. I was taking ages to release the arrow and then I’d be disappointed because it landed off target. I was overthinking every move, every reload, every aim, every shot.
Your body responds to the arrow just like the arrow responds to you
I’ve been struggling with a hip injury for the last 4 months, and during our lesson our coach kept calling my Johnny Bravo. I was leaning with every shot. I kept overcompensating for my hip. Subconsciously my body was trying to protect my hip and this was another reason why I was shooting poorly. Once I realized I could have proper posture without hurting my hip. My body responded in kind, and so did my arrows.
As with so many things in life, breath solves. I learned that by taking aim on my in-breath and releasing on an out-breath without having space for breaths in between. I did much better. I wasn’t giving myself or my body the chance to overthink or overreact.
It’s about having fun
Healthy competition was had. But at the end of the day the only person I wanted to best, was me. I tried at every round to do better. Get my arrows closer together and to challenge myself. But to also have fun, to chat, to learn, to laugh, and to enjoy the company I was with.
After the lesson I was in a fantastic mood. I felt strong. I felt determined. Like I could accomplish anything. And that’s when I realized in such a short time, I had overcome so many obstacles. I had:
- Done something new.
- Hit bullseye.
- Stopped overthinking.
- Stopped letting my subconscious rule my body.
- Had a ton of fun.
- Learned a new skill.
- Completely lived in the moment.
- Gained confidence in myself and my abilities.
- Stopped letting my insecurities get the best of me.
- Allowed myself to get over my own mind block regarding shooting.
All in all it was a great experience. An activity I’ll definitely be revisiting again soon. But above all, that day archery taught me that I can stand tall, take aim and fire at anything that comes across my path. And I will keep trying to remember this going forward.