There are two archers. Between the two of them they have 16 individual world championships. (Seriously, I checked) You can imagine they are great archers. One shoots dots the other shoots foam animals. Both are extremely pleasant and polite. Neither is a perfect archer. They’ve missed before and they’ll miss, again.
This year the 10X world champion at 3D made a mistake adjusting the yardage on his sight. It cost him a win. Two years ago the 6X world champion against paper targets lost it on his draw and missed a target. These are two of the very best archers in the world. They’ve made mistakes.
At their level a mistake will cost. In the case of 3D champion it dropped him from 1stto 3rd. In the World Cup Archery style the miss took the other world champion totally out of the money. In both cases, they simply moved on to the next practice and next event. Neither got overly out of sorts or concerned. Both have won subsequent tournaments. At their level any opening given to the competition is costly.
When you sign up for an archery tournament your registration pays for you to have the maximum points allowed. If it’s an ASA 3D event you’ve paid for, at 20 targets, you have bought 240 points. If you’ve entered an indoor USA Archery style event with 60 arrows you’ve bought 600 points. They are all yours. The question becomes how many are you prepared to give back? Every shot where you miss the X or 12 you’ve returned points.
You’re not alone. Unless you’re one of the top the world you’ll be returning points throughout events. A problem can develop when you make a mistake and dump a pile of points in a hurry.
In a field tournament this year I was losing by a few points going into the second day. The competition was extremely tight. In fact, the top three finishers in my class all broke the previous State field record. It was truly an exciting tournament with anyone of the top three within a point or two from taking it all.
Then, the fellow that was leading made a mistake. It was a big error and I moved ahead by four points. Did he lose his composure after error he’d made? No. In fact, he seemed to loosen up and finished the remainder of the targets nearly perfectly. He slowly pulled ahead and took 7 points to win by 3 points. It was truly an amazing comeback.
He’d had a bad break. Aside from a momentary shocked look on his face all he could do was laugh about it and move forward. He didn’t let that single error get him so upset that his shooting spiraled downward. Although I wanted the win it was honestly fun to watch this athlete shoot the remainder of the day and honestly I was happy for him.
He’d reached a point where he’d given up all the points he could have afforded on that day. He laughed at the error and continued to trust his training. His efforts and composure led him to the victory and a new State record.
You’ll miss. I miss. We all miss. We get more than we miss. The questions become how badly do you want to keep the points you paid for and how do you deal with adversity? Staying in the frame of mind that every arrow counts and each arrow is a single shot helps. Be positive and be able to laugh off a mistake. You might not win after an error. But, next time the error might not be as great. Keeping the right attitude can make the next small mistake count less those in the past.
Perfect scores are rare, great scores aren’t as rare. Creating a mindset to reach greatness and perfection is part of archery.
When I was talking with the multi-time world champion 3D archer he laughed and told me he’d made more mistakes than he could remember. The multi-time world champion at World Cup and USA Archery style shooting said everyone he competes against is great. All you need to do is put the dot in the middle and shoot the dot. Both agreed you have to love the sport and be willing to understand you’ll make mistakes.