FC Archery News

The Power of Stillness

March 18, 2019

Hey FC Parents and Archers,

The ability to stay still – what a rare skill these days. The world at our fingertips, anytime and anywhere but without stillness how do we reflect on what it all means? Time slows, understandings grow, and knowledge builds when I shoot my bow. I hope and wish that all students learning archery at FightClub find these things too.

Olympic Gold Medalist in Shooting Peter Wilson wrote about this very subject not to long ago …

 

The Power of Stillness

 by Olympic Gold Medalist in Shooting Peter Wilson

The word ‘sport’ conjures up images of athletes pushing, grunting sweating or panting in a bid to get faster, higher or stronger. But some prize stillness – both in mind and body. I’m talking about mental sports like archery.

The arm pumping or leg lunging movements of sprinters or footballers are distilled into a slow, almost imperceptible squeeze of a trigger. It’s not about kilometers or even meters of movement but millimeters. Maintaining this kind of physical stillness in the heat of competition requires serious mind control. The heart is pumping but adrenaline is the enemy.

A raised heart rate may cause a slight shift in arm position but also a momentary mental drift and the focus is lost. I’ve worked with a few archers shooters and the zen-like state they aim to reach is remarkably similar to that of meditation. A shooter may take 40 shots in a match but the shot being taken is the only one that matters – it’s the very essence of here and now.

If the shot before was bad the mind frets about the future score. If the shot was good the mind anticipates success: both are bad.

The yogic sage Patanjali wrote ‘yoga is the stilling of the thought waves of the mind’ in his Yoga Sutras. Yoga has a vast range of techniques to reel in a jittery mind easily adapted to mental sports. Breathing exercises used both pre-match and in between shot cycles, to pre-shot visualization and meditation. Mindfulness is also useful as it teaches us to stay both alerts but anchored to the present moment.

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