Sending The Wrong Message

Open Letter To Archery Parents(Coaches),

“Sending the wrong message”

Parents and Coaches we have to do better. We have to set a better example. We are sending the wrong messages to our youth archery competitors when we don’t follow rules and more importantly when we aren’t explaining them. Your kids need to know how to keep score, keep running totals, and approach calling arrows and line etiquette with integrity and respect for their competitors. If your son or daughter shoots a national tournament, there is no excuse for writing down wrong scores, not keeping running score, not working as a team of individuals on each target no matter which competitor is shoooting with you. Teach your kids how to be confident in their arrow calling and encourage them to resolve the call themselves. Let’s not allow adult America’s inability to agree to disagree trickle down to our kids.

When parents yell and scream at each other in front of their kids and other kids on the 3D course or tournament line, we’re sending the wrong message. We are setting the wrong examples when we teach and promote our kids to worry more about playing mental games rather than the their shooting game. If your son or daughter must rely on shifty arrow calls, flicking hats, bad attitudes, and being anything other than respectful or results driven their career will be shorter than yours was, if you had one.

Parents, stop seeking out archery sponsors. Teach your kids to seek greatness as a human being. Stop telling everyone your kid is sponsored. It only means something to you. Congrats on your discount but all it’s doing is giving your kids an over inflated sense of self worth and puts more pressure by you on them to perform. Which means more self inflicted pressure by them just the same. Hope it’s worth your 10% off.

Your shooter needs to be a kid first and archery competitor second , they are not billboards for your ego. They know nothing about sponsorships, social media, and what it really takes to be a “sponsored athlete”. You aren’t “sponsored” unless you’re getting free equipment and lots of it. Please stop, you’re sending the wrong message. Your local bow shop giving your a discount doesn’t make you a sponsored athlete.

Teach your shooters to pursue greatness through dedication and be driven off of their individual results. When you tell me, “my kid folds under pressure”, ask yourself why? When your kid folds under pressure and you refuse to believe it, re-evaluate your approach as a parent and your shooters coaching, chances are you don’t need to search very deep. Stop making excuses for them. Let them experience failure and learn how to climb out of its black hole ALONE. The tournament line is lonely enough as it is. It’s not easy, have you done it? Don’t expect them to do something you can’t or haven’t. If you knew what it felt like maybe you would back off.

Don’t tell them how bad they did, don’t say a word after the tournament about what they did wrong. Tell them “I love you, I’m proud, go take your mind off things.” They know they weren’t great that day, let them process it first and even forget about it.

Move on.

Sincerely,

A Former Kid Shooter

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