Archery is not all about Winning

victoryaSport should be about participation and physical fitness, not solely about winning. Archery is a sport you can participate in for your entire life. One of the things my coach always told me was there is a real danger of achieving success too earlier in young archers. Young kids sometimes get use to winning, and they start to expect it. They never expect to have to work at it again to win and archery (and sport in general) loses more participants that way than any other.
As a national level athlete, everyone expects me to win all the time. I sometimes want to yell out “It just doesn’t work that way”. There is very little difference between top level athletes and it is more than a game of inches. As you develop into one of those athletes that are lucky enough to gain sponsorship, there is even more pressure to win. This is why I believe some athletes turn to performance enhancing drugs or cheating.
The movie “Cool Runnings” has an excellent scene where Derice Bannock ask Irv why he cheated…
CoolRunningsIrv: It’s a fair question. It’s quite simple, really. I had to win. You see, Derice, I had made winning my whole life, and when you make winning your whole life, you have to keep on winning, no matter what. Understand?
Derice Bannock: No, I don’t understand. You won two gold medals. You had it all.
Irv: Derice, a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.
Personally, it really troubles me to hear about athletes that use performance enhancing drugs or cheat, especially successful ones. They have made winning their whole life and they are not enough without it.
As part of your New Year’s Resolution, why not make sure you are participating in Archery or any other sport for the right reasons. Whether your are participating for the competition, hunting, social aspect, physical fitness or just for pure fun, make sure you set your goals to participate whether you win or not.

For the Love of the Game

“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing” is a well-known sports quote however winning is NOT everything!

Sports have the perception of big money so there are lots of different pressures to succeed. It is very common for any athlete to feel stressed which can come from thinking you need to be the absolute best and win every time. Sometimes young athletes continue within their sport, bottling up the stress and feelings to the point they break-down mentally or collapse physically and end up dropping out of the sport hating it. You can feel resentment towards your sport by being forced to compete.

The reality is, only a couple of sports produce big money contracts and then only a couple of athletes ever make the big bucks. Archery is not a big bucks sport and you need to do it for the love of the sport itself and not the thought of some large paycheck.

Whenever you start to feel pressure, resentment or giving it up completely, stop and try to remember what you loved about the sport in the first place. You may want to take a short break to regain your passion again. Archery is a sport for life and that can be a long time to be miserable.