Follow-up to “We Can Learn from Teenagers”

Follow-up to “We Can Learn from Teenagers”

I was discussing my last post’s topic with the colleague/friend who brought it to my attention (Tom Dorigatti) and in that discussion Tom pointed out that:

You may recall that she (Liko Arreola) won the Women’s Championship at Vegas last year and a 15 year old young lad won the Men’s Championship at Vegas in 2022, too.

In bouncing these things back and forth in my mind, I followed on with “I think this is a combination of a couple of things: good coaching and a willingness to be coached on the part of the young athletes. Combine those with the benefits of youth (no mental scars, steady nerves, etc.) and great things can happen.

We didn’t get the coaching, at least until we were much older. So, we had pounds of bullstuff circulating in our heads and with no guidance in the mental game, equipment, etc. we created all kinds of blocks to good performance.”

I was thinking of professional golfers who fondly remember being able to putt brilliantly when they were in youth golf, but can’t “find the magic” again now that they were competing at the professional level. Those pros had accumulated a vast number of failed putt images in memory, so when they are to block out any expectation of the success of a putt, there is still this wall of memory holding back a flood of negative thoughts to contend with. (Think of the Dutch boy with his finger in the dike.)

As we age we accumulate many, many positives to build upon, but also things we consider as failures. It might be best if we didn’t label our shots as “successes” or “failures” but that seems an almost automatic process—maybe we can train ourselves to not do that. Not having those stores of memories tagged as successes or failures may make it easier to clear our minds and execute our damned shots.

As the young lady stated (“In practice at home, I don’t keep scores because, for me, it will lead to expectations and pressure in tournaments. My practices focus mainly on trying to perfect quality shot executions.”) self-knowledge is always the key. Some philosopher long, long ago gave the advice “Know thyself.” Still seems to be good advice, especially for archers.

Originally from A Blog for Archery Coaches.

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