By: Alexis Dehner
I would really like to thank Erin McGladdery for teaching me how to think during competitions. Because of my new mindset she helped me develop, I was able to shoot my personal best score of 415 at the Second Leg of the IBO Triple Crown this weekend.
“I try to think of it as an experience that will happen one way or another and then you will go back home to normal life and everything will be fine,” she explained. “No matter whether you shoot a world record or totally blow it and miss half the targets, it’s not that big of a deal. Go and do your thing and actually just focus on enjoying your time there. First target I try to really just breathe, take a look around in the wilderness and enjoy the outdoors. Try to have a laugh in between judging targets and keep it light. Practice is when you need to be very serious and work the hardest and I know you’ve done that! So competition is meant to be the easier and fun part. Other than that if you do get anxious find happy and light things to think about. It’s not as huge of a mountain as you think. Tell yourself everything you’d tell a younger child who needs a pep talk. (I’ve got this, I have done this before, I know what I’m doing, I just want to enjoy today) and breathe.”
Usually, I would really overthink the first few targets, have a very disappointing first half, and have to make a huge comeback by the end. This time I didn’t because I knew I had the ability to shoot better than I previously have. Although there were a few times where I felt my mind start to go back to the score, I took a deep breath and just tried to relax, found something else to talk about, and really just enjoyed shooting my bow with some amazing people.
By doing just this, I managed to get my first IBO Triple Crown shoot win, achieving something greater than I have ever reached before. I am extremely thankful for all of the opportunities I’ve gotten through archery, and the many more to come. Thanks to all of this, I now know that I have the potential to go further than I have ever imagined. You can do it too. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do anything, for you will accomplish many wonderful things if only you put your mind to it. All it takes is practice, determination, and the ability to believe in yourself no matter what stands in your way.