After such a great tournament the weekend before at the CT State Championships, I had pretty high expectations going into Indoor Nationals this year. No matter how good of an indoor season I’ve had, I never seem to perform well at Indoor Nationals. This year I knew was my year, so I was pumped to head to Southbridge, MA for the two days. In fact, I didn’t sleep well the night before, not because I was worried, but the complete opposite, bc I was excited. I felt like a kid getting ready to leave the next morning for vacation.
We arrived at the venue Saturday morning, and I learned R and I were assigned to the same bale. I quickly found a judge and asked that one of us be moved because I didn’t feel like this would be fair, and I didn’t want anyone questioning my results. The only place open was down with the master’s men, so I was put on a bale with them. During both ends of practice, I shot 29s, which I was ok with. We started scoring, and I opened with another 29. I reminded myself not to worry, that’s exactly what I had done the weekend before. My next two ends, however, were 28s, and I started to panic.
I had just dropped more points in the first three ends then I had in 59 arrows last week was all I could think. I tried to focus on what was going on, and I determined I had just been too amped up. I needed to take some deep breaths and just focus on shooting my shot. I knew it was a long weekend, and I had the ability to turn it around. I reminded myself that I had a magic bow in my possession, so just go out and shoot and whatever happens happens.
I ended up not shooting a 30 until the 8th end. This solicited a round of high 5s from the men on my bale. They didn’t know I was a top shooter, so they figured a 30 was a big deal for me. This and the fact that they insisted on calling my things like “little girl” just infuriated me. In my head I was steaming mad, but I had to play nice and just smile. In my head I was saying, “I should shoot a 30 every end! 29s suck, I just want to punch that guy, etc.” (Go ahead, feel free to call me crazy, I am 😉 )
I ended up with a 291 the first half, which I was pretty disappointed about. At that point I took a step back, realized my expectations for the tournament may have been a little too high, and I decided to focus on a previous goal, which was to shoot 292s or above. Yes, I had just shot a 291, but it was close to a 292. I also had plenty of time to make up that one point in my next 3 rounds. The second half ended up going much better. I shot a 297, which tied my previous pb (had I not shot a 298 the weekend before). That gave me a 588 for the day, which was 2 points below what I had in my head as “acceptable,” but I reminded myself this was only a single point off my old pb.
Sunday morning it was back at it again. My practice ends were atrocious, but I tried to keep my cool and just remind myself that it was a long day ahead. I started slow again, but luckily not as bad as the day before. I was down 3 points through 3 ends, but then I went on a 30 role until the 8th end. I ended up with a 295 for the first half, and I was ok with that. I told myself another 295 or higher and I finish with a 590, which had been my goal all year. I shot 29s and 30s all day until the 19th end. At this point I was down 9 points for the day, meaning I could drop just one more for the next 6 arrows to meet my goal.
I shot my first arrow. It was a good shot, but I feared it might be a little low. I checked it with my binos and sure enough it was out. I didn’t stress bc I knew it was “supposed” to be there. My next shot was one of those that feels just perfect. However, I looked down range, and it looked funny. I pulled out my binos again, and I saw the shot wasn’t even a big 10. What??? I had NO idea why this arrow was where it was. Not only did it mean I couldn’t hit my goal, but it also meant I had my first 28 of the day, so I was mad. The last arrow I used my anger too much, and I shot the arrow out the top high, giving me a 27!!!
At this point I was mad at myself for letting past arrows affect the arrows I hadn’t yet shot. Isn’t this something EVERY coach tells their students. Once an arrow is shot, it is gone. You can’t get it back, all you can do is control the next one. Yep, I was the idiot who didn’t listen to my own advice! All I kept thinking about is that second arrow, as I couldn’t figure out what had happened. Guess what when you think about 9s, you shoot 9s and my first arrow of the last end was another 9. This meant I had dropped 4 in a row. I stopped myself right there, recentered my mind on what it SHOULD be focused on and closed out with two beautiful inside out 10s!
This left me with a 587 for the day and an 1175 for the weekend. I wanted to kick and scream and be mad bc I knew I could have done so much better, but I instead choose to focus on the positives:
-I had shot my highest ever indoor nationals score by around 10 points
-I shot consistent between the two days (in the past I had one good day, one bad)
-I was sitting in 1st place by 13 points after the first two weekends, with just a couple locations left to shoot
-I let down at least 75% of the time when I should have
Last year, I took 2nd at USA Archery’s indoor nationals, outdoor nationals and field nationals. Yes, I took home the SILVER medal from EVERY national tournament they offered last year. Initially, I fully expected to not win another national title, but as the results came in each week, and no one was able to break into the top 5 (that were set after the second weekend), my hopes got up.
And just like that, they were crushed again when on the last possible weekend, Carli came out on fire and beat my score by 2 points! I was happy for her shooting such a great score, but that meant another silver medal at a nationals event for me. Even worse, it brought back all the bad shots and stupid mental mistakes I had made. I was most upset because I KNEW I could have shot better. I COULD have won my first USA Archery National title, but I didn’t because of my mistakes. Nothing hurts worse then knowing you had it in your power to do, yet you didn’t…