One small adjustment
September 14, 2009
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A few years ago a friend and I got into archery. His Mum has been doing archery for years and has been competing at the Paralympics too. Even more impressive, is her having the full set of medals from the Paralympics during the course of her career. Because of that she spends a lot of time training (she has a full time job as well) and my experience with archery started with being invited to a “fun shoot” around christmas. In all honesty I was somewhat apprehensive about the whole thing because I had never done archery before and was afraid of making a fool of myself. I did go and it was a lot of fun.
After the christmas shoot it slowly progressed to us going to his mum’s place of practice more often and I started to really get into the whole thing. His Mum uses a very high tech bow, very lightweight with sights and everything. We, on the other hand, used old fashioned longbows, which is basically a piece of wood and a string!!
It started off well and I was hitting targets (most of the time) until I started to hurt my elbow. Every time I let go of the arrow the string would hit my elbow despite my best efforts to get it out of the way. It is rather painful as with most of these bows you pull around 40 lbs, which hurt when it hits you! I eventually started to adapt to having a permanent bruise on my elbow and it did knock my confidence. Instead of focusing on the target I was preparing myself for the pain of letting go of the arrow!
We then got invited to go on a field shoot, which is a weekend of walking around a forest shooting at animals. No, not real animals but cardboard cut outs in the shape of different animals, which are placed in different positions and at different distances. It was a great new experience but at the same time I was still worried about the elbow issue until I met a guy who was very experienced in archery. He noticed the bruise on my elbow (One would have had to be partially blind not to notice it) and he commented on it. I told him that I couldn’t seem to find a way of avoiding it. He asked me to show him what I did and immediately spotted where I went wrong. He told me that instead of gripping the bow while drawing the string just to let it rest naturally in the palm of my hand. That was it! For the rest of the weekend I was able to finally shoot without hurting myself.
I don’t know why I thought of this today but it leaves me with another question to ponder. If all it took to eliminate a significant problem (at least for me) was one very small adjustment, then is it possible this same approach could be used in other areas of my life. Maybe I have a tendency to overcomplicate things when the solution may require nothing more than just little changes!