Find your sport!

I’ve always found archery to be a sport that involves both physical and mental strength and discipline. I have had a rough start to my PhD last year this time and in retrospect, I can say the only thing I managed to do consistently for a few months was archery. This is probably because it is such a mindful activity – they say the organ that works the most in our body whilst shooting is the brain. Archery as a sport is fairly technical which forces me to pay attention to every single step in the process of shooting. I very rarely have stress, worries or negative thoughts get in the way. While you can choose not to pay much attention, you will notice how clearly it is reflected on your shot. Despite the weird year – with the pandemic on top of a tough start to my PhD, I’ve managed to do so much sport and have plenty to take back from these experiences. Here’s everything I did before the lockdown:

-did a charity shoot for The hallow project and managed to raise a fantastic £134. I also scored a new PB!-

-finally bought new indoor arrows-

-did my training to be a Level 1 Archery coach at the Guildford Archery Club (yet to give an exam, thanks pandemic) –

-my first time shooting at BUCS nationals in Warwick. This was, I remember, the weekend just before the lockdown in March-

-and managed to do some drills over zoom with the club members during the lockdown! We mainly practised drawing (without the arrows obviously) and did Specific Physical Training (SPT) exercises. My bow also got some good upgrades over the season-

As we slowly started seeing a decrease in Covid-19 cases, the National Governing Body for Archery – Archery GB, prepared guidelines for clubs, coaches and members to return to archery safely across the UK. When outdoor shooting was allowed, I started shooting at Guildford Archery Club. In order to maintain social distancing, the club came up with a booking system that controlled the number of archers shooting at any point, targets and target faces were no longer shared with archers outside your household, we were probably 5 meters or more away from the next target, and many more safety procedures. This was my first time shooting outdoors and while it wasn’t typical, it was memorable!

Moving on to the new academic year and the new term, I’m now on the committee of the uni club. I am enjoying being involved in the admin side of things and actively taking part in running the club. The sense of community and team I get at the club makes me want to go spend all my time shooting and with the lovely people. I look forward to more adventures if i can say with the pandemic still in place! It has no doubt been tough keeping up with the government restrictions, the ever-changing Covid-19 guidelines and preparing for safe shooting this season, but if anything I am going to value my time spent organising and doing archery more than ever now!

What’s your sport?