Staying Motivated...and Humble
This week I've been pretty aggressive in trying to get my form right for shooting my compound bow. Each morning before work I pick up my bow and arrows and walk outside to shoot. Rinse and repeat after the work day is done. Six arrows at a time isn't much but at this point it's about all I can physically handle. Already this weekend I was able to shoot multiple rounds of six at a time, so I know I'm getting stronger day-by-day!
I'm an advocate of quality instruction when learning a new sport. My husband and I took archery lessons together on Monday night last week. Together, we picked up a new sport, and my hubby is kind of naturally good at it. He learned fast and was quickly grouping tightly at 10 yards.
I was not so "natural" at it, however. My "group" ended up being almost the diagonal length of the target.
Though I've been practicing, my groups are only slightly better than my first at-home practice. In this collage of arrow groups, can you tell a difference? I can't.
To top off my non-precision shooting with a bow, three times this week I have smacked the 40 pound draw, 300+ feet-per-second bow string into my left wrist. I tell you what, that smarts. It's a form issue resulting from inexperience in both drawing and holding the bow. I smacked my wrist twice the first time I shot my bow, then after five days of practice I thought, "It's about time I started focusing on my sight picture and release!" On the second shot after that, SMACK! Right on the same spot. It is now a mega-bruise. That will teach me to think I've got the fundamentals down before I actually do! Yikes.
While I'm frustrated every time I pick up a new shooting sport and don't immediately succeed at it (cough cough, biathlon, cough), I take solace in the little wins. One shot at a time I will erase the memories of failure and replace them with successes.
This weekend I shot a dead-nuts, smack-on bullseye with my bow. And I did it after smacking my arm again with the string. If I've learned one thing in the shooting sports, it is to develop persistence.
I love precision shooting. I love the feeling of getting it right, setting up a shot and having it go exactly where I wanted it. While I would love to say that I'm perfect, experience has taught me that I won't be able to shoot perfectly 100% of the time. The very fact that I fail to achieve perfection keeps me motivated to try again on the next shot, drive to the range the next day, sign up for the next match.
Through it all, I know I will stick with it. With every bruise and in every defeat, I can keep my chin up and try to do it better on the next shot. I will take my little one-shot victories and slowly build on them in training until one day they are match victories.
Until that day comes, I'll keep on shooting.