Conquering the sport of archery means conquering your self....
While I love bowhunting, I was first and foremost a targret archer. When I started shooting I wanted nothing more that to compete against the best archers I could find. Of course on a farm in the middle of Indiana, there were not to many other archers around.
But I practiced everyday I could, and read everything I could find. Tried every hand position, and bought every gadget that might get me another point. And physically I became very solid, but I just could not seem to get over the hump so to speak.
Then I read a book called "Understanding Winning Archery" by Al Henderson. And that book made me look at shooting a bow in a different way. I came to understand that once you had trained your body, you had to train your mind. That at it's highest level shooting a bow was a form of meditation, in which you focused all of your concentration on one point, the aiming of the bow. And you simply let the bow shoot itself.
On the tournament line, when winning or losing is decided by each arrow, you have to let your mind take over, to over come the pressures that you naturally put on yourself. But when you finally understand the essence of archery, and just enjoy emersing your mind into the pure act of putting the arrow in the center time after time...winning or losing no longer matters. Just making a good shot each time. Everything else takes care of itself.
Today with my eyesight failing, and my shoulders hurting I do not shoot as much as I would like. But when I do get the opportunity it brings back all of the reasons I started in the first place. Enjoy this wonderful sport, for it is a purest form of combining body and mind. Take satisfaction from knowing that you are following in the foot steps of such greats as Fred Bear, Howard Hill and many others.
And did I mention enjoy every minute of it!