Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Welcome to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Arrows"

All the build up, the expectation, the anticipation of the last few weeks is gone and I'm feeling a bit like someone let the air out of me. Been needing more caffeine and sugar to get through the week (as I drink my coffee and snarf back the Jelly Bellys).

Everything has sorta come full circle since last year. Had a few more brilliant ends last weekend that showed me that improvement is possible. Was good for me to see that world-class level athletes have off days. Apparently they are just human, too. It was also good to see the para-athletes compete alongside the rest of us and kick some butt. There was a guy shooting in his bare feet. I didn't even notice that his arms were missing from across the room. (ok, maybe my powers of observation were not so hot there, but still).

What I relearned that hit me last year- this group of cool women that are so competitive with each other are really fun to hang with between ends. The barebow archers - and I thought what I was doing was tricky.

Looking for the next thing to sink my teeth into. Feeling it may be more on the creative side of things for a while. Or I might shoot 3-D this summer just for something fun and new to try. What the heck.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wagons Ho!

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." ~~ Thomas A. Edison
I love this quote and so timely since we are heading west in the next few days. Looks like a very busy weekend ahead, so will post all photos and the stories I am allowed to share when I get back. :)
If by chance you will be there in Louisville, too - please say hello. I would love to meet you and find out your story. I'll be working the Pro-Am on Saturday night  - just look for the short blonde with the obnoxious grin wearing a 420 polo. Giddy Up!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Grey Matters

 I was surfing around recently and ran across this great archery practice visualization exercise by Kevin Foss, MFT.  Mental practice has been thought to exercise the same part of the brain as actual practice time, and in some ways can be more beneficial. You can control the outcome to be positive every time and you can add as much detail of the shoot as you wish.  I tried this during lunch - got some practice in and found my elusive archery happy place.  Ahh.  Tweak it to fit your specialty.

For best results, read through and record this visualization script to be listened on a CD, tape, or MP3 player. This is a sample script that should be customized for your individual shooting needs and goals.
While reading or recording this script, be sure to read slow and clear while taking brief pauses at the ellipses (…) for a few seconds then continue.
Following the directions outlined in the reference article, find a quiet place without distraction for up to 30 minutes to focus on your physical and mental relaxation while seeking lucid detail in your visualization.

This visualization is designed for a recurve archer shooting a standard outdoor FITA tournament. 
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Start by taking a few seconds to take three deep breaths… in … out… in… out… in… out… Now imagine yourself standing on the field of competition with the sun shining down on a warm, breezeless day… Imagine sitting in a chair prior to your end. Feel your weight in the seat as your muscles are fully relaxed… Feel your shoulders and back muscles completely at rest… You feel the heat of the sun on your shoulders gently warming your body and face… You turn your attention to your legs as they sit at rest only sensing their own weight in the chair… Now image a calm warm breeze blowing through the green trees rustling the leaves… Listen to the soothing leaves as they quiver in the trees…. As you inhale, you smell the green grass and dirt beneath you and it reminds of you of your hours of practice and countless perfect shot executions in leisure… 

Now as you hear the sound of the timer beep signaling your end, you detect a subtle smile form on your face. As you stand, you feel the bow stringer on your finger and your arm guard strapped securely to your forearm… Taking your steps toward your bow, you sense your finger tab tied to your right hand, swinging with every step… As you approach your bow, you gently reach down gripping your bow and arranging it in your hands in preparation for your end… Reach around to securely attach your bow sling… Gently push your palm into the grip, feeling the perfect hand arrangement with just the right pressure points to remind your hand of its point of strength and security… Imagine your bow transforming and melding with your hand… feel the bow become an extension of your forearm as if the bones had become fused together into the structure of the bow’s grip and riser… Now look down to your quiver and select the perfect arrow… remember during practice as that particular arrow found its home in the X-ring as if without effort… insert the arrow under the clicker, gently on the rest, then securely snapping onto the string at the knocking point… Now feel your right hand form into a hook that wraps around the bow string… Feel your hand become one solid structure as it slides over and around the string… You feel the pressure distribution on your fingers… 

As you straddle the line, feel your feet shifting your weight back and forth until you reach your perfect balance point… Feel the weight distribution between the ball of your foot and heel… Remember your countless hours of practice and how you felt your stance, from your feet… to your ankles… to your knees being straight, but not locked… to your hips gently tucked forward… up your straight spine and flat back… feeling your abdominal muscles pulling your chest down forming a solid base… Now feel your shoulders drop down locking into place… bone to bone in proper alignment… Take a calming breath… Pulling your focus to your bow, you hear the single beep signaling you are free to shoot… With your body and shoulders in the perfect configuration to begin your shot cycle, you rotate your head gently to the left facing squarely at the target… You look longingly at the X-ring down range and imaging your arrow coming to rest dead center as it has done hundreds of times before… 

Beginning your shot cycle, you feel your bowhand raising in conjunction with your stringhand… Feel as your left arm transforms into a solid rod of steel with your elbow rotated in at the perfect angle… sense your steel arm melding together with your left shoulder, which is locked into position… as you prepare to draw, feel your right shoulder, arm, elbow, and hand melding into one solid structure… Feel the strength of your scapula as it draws the string hand structure back… You feel the string touch your chin and nose as it has done thousands of times… Sliding your up to your jaw, you carefully position your hand in anchor securely… Feeling your scapula in load transfer, you sense your back becoming comfortably warm as your scapula are drawn together… As this occurs, you feel the arrow in perfect alignment with your stringhand forearm structure… Envision a bright yellow laser pointing down from your right elbow, to your forearm, down the arrow, and straight down range into the X-ring… Feeling your body enter expansion, you notice your mind is perfectly clear, and devoid of all thought other than the sensation of your body running its programmed movement to perfection… Notice your sight picture and bow alignment as you have seen it thousands of times before with the X-ring glaring back at you though the sight… In perfect timing, feel the clicker snap to the bow, cuing your bowhand to become like jello allowing the string to slip through your fingers… Feel the pressure of the bow pushing back on the steel structure that was your left arm and shoulder… At the same time, feel your right arm structure continuing to move with the pull of your scapula muscles… You feel your right hand come to rest just behind your right ear after following the perfect line of follow through… As your arrow gently soars from your bow, feel the bow leap from your hand and being caught by your sling… Feel the tug of the bow in your hand, then as the bow comes falling forward, sense your arm continue its strength to support it as it comes to rest… In slow motion, you see your arrow twisting and turning as it flies toward the X-ring, and just as it has thousands of times, it plunges directly through the X, coming to rest… With your sense of peace, you remind yourself that this is how you shoot, and that is how every arrow of yours is shot…

Now completing the same pattern two more times, you detach your bow from your hand, placing it down, and return to your seat with the comfort that all three arrows that were once touching one another in your quiver are together again in the X-ring. In peace, return to feeling the warmth of the sun on your shoulders and face… feel the steel structures warmly melt to full relaxation back into your arms… 

Take a deep breath…
Now is the time you come back to full attention… Focus on your calm body and clear mind as you return to a wakeful mind… As I count back from five to one, progressively increase your mindfulness… Five—begin transitioning to full wakefulness… Four—a little more awake… Three—a little more awake… Two—you are almost back to a fully conscious state… One—open your eyes and notice full focus, attention, and calm. 

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Countdown to Kentucky

Only 14 days to go... can't believe it's almost here already. I also can't believe it's been an entire year since we all made the trek to Louisville AND it's been a year since this blog started. Much has played out in between.

My goals for this event are pretty basic. Stay out of trouble, don't make any stupid mistakes that cost points and keep a good attitude - even if things are tanking. Last year was so much fun, the bar has been set pretty high. Great food, great people, cool places to visit and everyone came home tired and smiling. Hoping to watch some good people shoot and learn a few things.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Deep Thought Thursday...

Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes; work never begun.
- Christina Rossetti 

Yup, this is my mind set at the moment. I have sooo many ideas and projects in my head and will have to stop sleeping to get them all done. Those of you who know me, know this is a bad idea. Even when I am well caffinated.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Quiver Me Timbers

My new quiver. Leather work by me,
knitting by the multi-talented Inessa Ellsworth.
If you likey, let me know. Now taking orders.
Finally after seemingly weeks of "why the hell am I doing this?" I finally had a "holy shit" moment on the range on Thursday night. In order to put your body in a position, you have to RELAX it there. Not PUT it there and try to force it to stay there.

I really should know better. Riding is a sport where you must allow your body to be fluid and relaxed in order to absorb a sometimes immense amount of energy. Just holding your breath over a fence will cause your horse to tense and catch the top rail. Anyhoo, my brain made the connection, the shoulders stayed down without much fuss and everything got easier just like that.Whaddya know.

Three days later... or this morning, whichever, I made up a massive amount of points, stayed relaxed and had a decent dose of how it FELT to shoot well without overtrying (is that a word? I just made it one). Outcome = relief. I will not die in three weeks, things will be just fine, thank you very much. Onward and upwards.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's time for a Deep Thought

Wait for it...

I saw this on Etsy (my favorite site) today.