Throughout my life in sports when I trained there were goals. Whether the goals are personal or professional it is good to have them set.
Once a goal has been reached the question becomes – what now? I manage goals and the “what now” dilemma by setting short-term, intermediate, and long term-goals. My ultimate goal is to have my cremated remains shot out of a cannon across the river where I live. In the meantime, there is a lot to be done.
A short-term goal I had was to compete as a professional archer at a World Championship. By qualifying as a professional I was able to accomplish that this August. Yes, that was a “short-term” goal.
In archery, many of my goals were established to create a forward momentum and to learn. Part of the learning is to gain a ‘feel’ for the various levels of competition and an understanding of tournaments. That is, to become comfortable shooting despite the conditions.
Becoming comfortable during an archery tournament is more important that many people might consider. If you’ve been competition for decades, you’re probably comfortable. You probably have a group of your friends that you shoot with during a tournament. Your arrangement is social, easy, relaxed and supportive.
When I land at an event I never know whom I’ll end up shooting with or against. Where I’ve shot multiple times, I do better. I am more comfortable there. However, for the most part, it is always a little awkward.
For that reason, one of my goals was to shoot at least 2 competitions per month in the 2015 3D season. That activity and that goal would help in the mid-term when I arrived to qualify for a spot to compete at the IBO World Championships. On that day, I would be shooting with guys I knew in Delaware and Maryland. I’d also be shooting further away from the target and didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of my friends. At times, it can be more difficult to shoot with friends that you haven’t seen in a few months than when shooting against strangers. When the shoot was over, I wasn’t embarrassed.
I didn’t win the World Championship –it wasn’t a goal for 2015. Being realistic and having first picked up a compound bow 23 months and a week prior to the IBO event my plan was a bit more realistic. The plan was to shoot against the best in the world and to become more comfortable during that level of competition. My goal to win isn’t until 2017.
In the meantime there are goals and milestones. Along the way, experimenting and learning there have been some humiliating moments. Those times are when I shot a 5 or, as happened 3 times this year, missing the target entirely.
Thus far, in 2015 I have shot 500 arrows during competition. Since January I’ve competed 19 times or just over 2 tournaments per month. Of those I took 1st four times. That means that 21% of the time – I win.
There were also some rather sad days where I didn’t perform to par. Fifty-three percent of the time I ended up 4th place or lower. My second worst shooting of the year came at the 2015 IBO World Championship. During practice, on the Defense Range, I shot great. Apparently, I left all my good shots there. When shooting for the money, I shot badly.
That is one of the reasons I went to the tournament. Not to shoot poorly but to get the feel for the level of competition. I was uncomfortable which was entirely a mental error. One of the goals is to overcome mental stress during competitions. That comes, in part, with competition at all levels.
As I review the upcoming fall and winter tournaments, I’ll be looking at the tactics involved in achieving my goals and the plan itself. During this phase I may realign goals or completely change some of them. As with all sports, athletes should set goals, have tactics to help achieve the goals and evaluate performance. During the process adjustments will be necessary. Don’t be afraid to change things up a bit.
Good luck with your plan.