Archive for February 12th, 2014

Archery: In search of a quiet mind again

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

This is the first winter I can remember since I was quite young where it hasn’t given us any relief since late November. In the last few months we’ve only had a few days where the temperature has stayed above 25 degrees for a full day. I’m worn out both physically and mentally. I can’t get enough rest lately no matter what time I retire to bed. Today I came home from work, ate dinner, and passed out in the recliner for three hours. Now, as I write this, it’s 8:30 and I’m ready for bed. I’m hoping this brutal cold begins to let up in the next couple of weeks. I’ve had enough.

In early January I decided to attempt shooting in an indoor archery league for the first time in three years. I couldn’t shoot the year before surgery, the year of surgery or the year after surgery. Although I felt good enough to give it a try this year I’m not sure if it’s one of the better decisions I’ve made. I’ve had a lot of tenderness in the neck and shoulder area, but I believe it’s related to the muscles not being in shape for the required repetition of the shooting process.

It has become evident that my mind is no longer quiet when I’m at full draw. I used to hear very little monkey chatter as I drew, aimed, and released. This year I’ve heard nothing except monkey chatter. My inner voice talks to me non-stop, which has hindered me from achieving the scores I used to shoot on a regular basis. While I’ve had two above average rounds neither one of them is close to my best. There are days when I feel very close to regaining my old form, but the voice of negativity seems to creep in at inopportune moments.  I’ll continue fighting the fight and see where I end up by the end of the 10 week league. I have a feeling I’m going to come out on top in late March. I feel very close. It’s like being in the woods and feeling like I’m very close to seeing a deer. Very rarely am I wrong. It’s an inner sense that is unexplainable to most people. The power of positive thought almost always wins out over all the background noise. If I continue pushing forward on the march toward achieving my goals I will surely make progress.

Archery has brought a lot to my life. I’ve tried to give back as often as possible. Sometimes it’s something as simple as giving someone a nock if they break one during a round. Other times I might offer to work on their bow in my press. Since archery has given me so much I feel the obligation to help people. It’s one of the most gratifying things I’ve done. There’s nothing like watching someone become extremely accurate with a bow and arrow and achieving results they only dreamed of in the past.

A few years ago at this time I was told I would never shoot a bow again. Although it was quite realistic I never believed it. I figured I could beat the prognosis if I had surgery and gutted my way through the rehabilitation process. At times the rehabilitation seemed like it wasn’t doing a thing. It got so bad that the doctor asked me if I was even going to therapy. My range of motion didn’t improve in six months post-surgery, but I continued on. Many people asked why I bothered, but I knew if I gave up I would never have a chance to improve. Nine months into rehab I started to feel a little better. Now, I can shoot my bow and throw a ball again.

I might try shooting in tournaments this spring and summer if I continue making progress. I need to work on my mental game in order to be successful. I’ve started doing visualisation exercises to help me achieve a few goals I’ve set. I can’t wait to track the progress.