Looking for that archery breakthrough

You know, I am looking for that breakthrough. That Zen, zone, flow, centered, in the moment feeling free timeless shooting where I hit X after X after X. That athletic change where everything comes together and I can’t miss the X even if I tried.

I’ve considered the Force and Yoda. Tried being the arrow, seeing myself leap from the bow string and land smack in the center of the target.

I’ve concentrated on not concentrating, focused on being unfocused allowing my subconscious to take control.  I’ve sought alpha brain waves and just the right segment of my heartbeat to fling an arrow.

It ain’t happening.

In my defense, I’m not shooting arrows all over the yard or sticking them into a tile ceiling or bouncing them off the floor of the local indoor range. If 9 were the top score I’d be golden. Oh, I can wear out the yellow section of the target that scores a 9. But that tiny 10 ring is small. I don’t miss by much, but my arrows seem to be allergic to 10.

I tired changing practice around, hoping that might remedy this slump. Rather than pound away shooting 70 to 80 arrows, 60 for scoring and 10 to 20 for warm-up and warm-down, in two session a day, I switched to four shorter practices. Same result.

I trained with background music playing and without musical accompaniment. I plugged the DVD of the 2008 Ford Ironman World Championship into my computer and had that running in the background looking for inspiration. Nothing.

At night, I’ve re-read, “With Winning in Mind” by Lanny Bassham. I’ve watched YouTube video of Reo Wilde, Roger Willet, Dan McCarty, and Levi Morgan. Guys, you haven’t helped.

I drove into Elizabeth City to shoot with others thinking I needed side by side live competition. Just an embarrassment. Only 30 arrows and couldn’t break 290. (287)

I switched from thumb to hinge to thumb to hinge, back and forth – no difference. I’ve taken careful consideration of my form. I’ve examined where I anchor and the angle of that hand.  I’ve moved and curled and relaxed and studied fingers.  I’ve considered stance, from my toes to my nose.

When I practice, I record each end. Ten, nine, nine. Ten, nine, nine. Nine, nine, ten. Nine, nine, nine. Ten, ten, nine. Then, I think it’s going to happen – Ten, ten, ten. Yes. Ten, ten, ten, again. I’m there. Nope. Next end, nine, nine, ten and the cycle starts anew.

If I were missing the ten by inches rather than millimeters, I think it would be less frustrating.

Archery, who was it that told me this was a relaxing sport? They lied.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll find archery nirvana.

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