I've been training in the SF Bay Area since late 2016 and by now, I :
(a) have finally developed a personal shot sequence that works.
(b) shoot decent, tight groups with six arrow ends @ 10 yards indoors.
(c) am relieved that my sessions no longer conclude with deep constellations of bruises across my bow arm. (See (a))
(d) now consistently shoot @ 20 yards, indoors and outdoors. The archer's equivalent of stage fright is (mostly) gone.
I am guided by the words of wisdom and stern talking-to's from award-winning archer, coach and spirit guide Nico Gallegos, the owner-operator of fantastic Ohlone Archery. More than just a range, Nico has created a close, supportive community of local archers in an environment where you get better proportionately to the ends you're willing to lob at targets for hours at a time.
As a competitive archer, my aspiration is to become what poet Stephanie Burt calls the sport’s “…elevated counselors / of the air, which will not take / anything but our most forceful advice.”
Archery has been the ultimate practice of mindfulness and I have the aching arms and shoulder blades to show for it.
...and let the glove move where we draw the wire,
scared that the machinery
will misinterpret us,
that we may not stop trembling, that we may lose
our belief in ourselves
before anything is released, or shared, or sent...
-Stephanie Burt, “Archery”
Bo Knows... Archery
Just watched an incredible documentary on the late 1980s powerhouse that was Bo Jackson in the fantastic ESPN series 30 for 30.
This Heisman Trophy winner at Auburn University would become the only pro athlete to become an All Star in two sports: football with the LA Raiders and baseball with the Kansas City Royals (and later Chicago White Sox). He was a superhuman in both, for his strength (breaking baseball bats over his leg), speed (tearing through walls of linebackers in real live, being Super Mario star level invincible in Tecmo Bowl on the Nintendo NES), and agility (running up an outfield wall to catch a baseball). In the 1980s, you could't get more viral a video than being featured in your own Nike commercial.
Jackson also worked out his compound bow skills throughout his pro career and his personal retreat is into his man cave, where he builds arrows under the gaze of all of his game hunting trophies.
Just so inspired by a person who pushed himself to dominate two tough sports so handedly, using his grit and determination to sharpen his preternatural athletic gifts. And then finding peace with a bow and arrow.
"Despair in no way," says Teucer (via Horace), to inspire continued journeys and self-discovery. I take this to mean, "Don't worry, you'll finally master your shot sequence and raise your average six arrow end score into the low fifties."
In the professional quality assurance world we already known that being consistent is not great if you are only ever consistently bad. Don't despair. Practice.