Losing enthusiasm for your sport is more common than you might think. Andrew Smith explains how to revive your passion when it wanes
Q. I’ve been a club archer for a few years, but I’ve really lost all motivation to shoot. I seem to be just spinning my wheels. Tournaments aren’t exciting me anymore. What can I do to maintain enthusiasm for the sport?
A. This happens to most archers at some point, often three or four years after taking up the sport. At the start of the year you find yourself booking into and attending all the same competitions as the years before. Perhaps you remember comparing last year’s scorecard halfway through a shoot, or analysing your performances of a winter’s evening. You realise that each year your scores do not appear to be progressing in line with the time and money spent.
If you really want to stick with competitive archery, then you need to set yourself a big goal, and then work out how you will go about achieving it. But first I would take a step back and decide what archery means to you – this way you will be able to decide what you want from the sport. Many people forget that while winning and shooting well is the end game, focused training is an essential means to that end. A lot of archers’ shooting and training schedules are unstructured and may actually be hindering progress.
So, sit down and decide your archery future – or part of it at least. The most important aspect of setting a goal is believing from the outset that it is achievable, and at least 70 per cent of the outcome is within your control. Setting score-based goals is subject to the weather, and winning a tournament has far too many uncontrollable variables, so try and avoid these types of goals. Instead, as a club archer why not work towards a goal that in the future will give you some strong shooting foundations. As a start, how about looking to make the club league team or your county team?
The first thing you will need to do is understand the selection criteria and then plan your year around them. Success requires you putting it down in black and white. Seeing your commitment in writing makes it real and achievable. Just saying “this year I will…” never happens. By having a written plan, you can set mini goals to spur yourself on along the way; this also helps in monitoring your progress and allows you to revise if necessary. If you are unsure how to make a start, there was a very good piece in Bow International issue 122 and there are plenty of books and internet articles to put you on the right path.
Alternatively, well, they say a change is as good as a rest. If you still want to shoot each week, why not explore other archery disciplines? There are plenty of field archery clubs in the UK and many divisions and bow style to try your hand at. Some clubs and counties run clout shoots, and for the more adventurous there are events like roving marks and distance shooting.
The beauty of archery is that there is a form of the sport for everyone to enjoy – regardless of ability.