I have recently returned to a childhood love of mine. Archery! It had been so long that I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Back in summer camp I took the elective using a traditional recurve. I enjoyed myself so much that I have kept my scoring chart in my keepsake box all these years later. I loved that in this sport you are mostly competing against yourself.
Now, my husband has introduced me to the world of the compound bow! I'll admit that I was skeptical at first about all the bells and whistles. I still think there is something timeless about the recurve, but the satisfying *thwack* as the arrow hits the target is even more satisfying at higher speeds.
My husband got me a bow in my favorite color as an early Mother's Day gift along with a lesson with his Archery Mentor, Jim Brown. The man is a born teacher and he generously passes on his knowledge to others. (Thanks Jim!) Adding this hobby back into my life has brought an unexpected peace.
Yes, you can fling arrows at the target, but accuracy is greatly enhanced by technique and regular practice. This is true about many things in life. I was surprised to see how these techniques could be paralleled to those in my spiritual life.
Noch an arrow - I like to mentally place a prayer or care as I clip to the string. For me this is a spiritual act of casting my cares before the Lord and takes my practice into a meditative place. When I loose that arrow, my prayers are in God's hands.
Stance - Often times I am in such a rush to draw. I would then end up shuffling my feet into a more comfortable position. Not only does this break the flow, it is dangerous! Planting my feet first ensures that I don't trip and send an arrow launching prematurely.
Draw - Clipping in securely, raising the bow by pushing with one hand and drawing back fully with the other. As my muscles become accustom to the motion it becomes smoother and good posture becomes a habit. I tuck my three fingers for more stability. This also keeps me from gripping the bow and getting struck by the string.
Anchor - Placing my knuckles in a comfortable and consistent spot allows me to see through the peep clearly and be consistent. I remove dangling jewelry and keep a hair-tie or hat for my hair for those windy days.
Breathe - A steady breath or two here keeps me from jumping the gun with a jerky release and allows time for me to tune out my surroundings. Breathing is also a reminder to be in the moment and focus on enjoying life. Shooting outside in nature with fresh air is refreshing!
Pin, Bubble & Squeeze Release - I set the pin on the spot I want, glance at the bubble and adjust if need be and then back at the pin before squeezing my release. I am still working on slowly making a fist rather than punching my release.
HOLD - This is hard! It is easy to want to drop the bow and see if the arrow hit its mark. My husband reminds me that I don't need to see, but that I need to trust my bow. He brought to my attention that I was dropping my bow prematurely. He jokingly threatened to rap me across the shins with an arrow if I did it again. The threat was enough to keep me from doing it again.
Noch an arrow - put on the armor of God
Stance - through prayer we check our relationship with God
Draw - strength is found by pressing into God
Anchor - God's word is our never changing anchor
Breathe - Allowing His presence to bring peace so we can enjoy the moment
Pin-Bubble-Release - Targeting & balancing our priorities so we can succeed
Hold - Trust in Him to make things happen and keep us well aimed.
I'm thankful for the many voices who have patiently advised me over the years on proper technique. Bad habits can be really hard to unlearn, so most recently I am grateful for my husband's coaching. I hear his voice repeating my checklist even when he isn't present. Thankful to do life with a great tribe!
My Current Mantra
Walk humbly with God and do the work at your hands....