Jarrod E. Stephens
The Ashland Beacon
If you’ve spent any time around NASP tournaments, then you know that archers cannot fake being good. Sure, they may be able to get lucky with a few arrows, but the truth will come to light as they continue shooting. The NASP program encourages the archers to use an 11-step process as they shoot and the last step, Reflect, is perhaps the one step that can guide archers along the path to improvement.
One local archer was blessed with a season to reflect on and one that he won’t soon forget. Brennan Stephens represented Rose Hill Christian School’s middle school archery team and did so in grand fashion. Having relatively good success in years past led Brennan to set his mind to achieve more on the archery range.
In all sports the athletes need to be self-motivated and set goals to achieve. Sometimes achieving those goals can be easier said than done. At the beginning of the archery season Brennan had a goal to reach. “I wanted to shoot a 290 before the season was over,” he said. On February 8, he reached his goal and used it as a point of motivation. “The next tournament honestly kept me motivated. I just wanted to beat my old scores.”
To bring it into perspective on how difficult it is to shoot a 290 or greater, an archer shoots 30 arrows which account for their score at each tournament. Fifteen arrows are shot from 10 meters and 15 arrows from 15 meters. Each arrow is worth a total of 10 points and the bullseye is about the size of the bottom of your favorite coffee cup.
Archery season is extremely long which allows archers to hone their craft and become better with each passing week. When asked what attributed to his success he said, “Lots and lots of practice. I practiced several hours each week at home and school. We rearranged the couches in the basement so that I could practice when it was cold.”
During the regular season Brennan won eight first place honors and one third place, so it is evident that his hard work paid off. He had a lot of support along the way. “My family members definitely were my biggest supporters.”
At the state competition in March, Brennan shot an impressive score of 289. While that score was good enough for eighth in the state, Brennan had his sights on something better, the national tournament. At the National Tournament in Louisville Brennan shot a 286 which again was not the goal he had in mind, but he had qualified to shoot at the NASP Championship in Nashville.
Throughout the summer Brennan continued to practice and set a goal of 295 at the NASP Championship. As the date for the tournament neared, he was consistently shooting in the 290’s as he practiced.
After the last arrow was shot Brennan had scored an impressive 292. “I barely missed my goal,” he said. The competition had the best archers in NASP and he won fifth place in the middle school boys division.
As one season has come to an end, Brennan has spent some time reflecting on his success but has already set his sights on some goals for next season. “I just want to maintain my scores in the 290’s and I want to do better and win more. I also want to represent my team well and maybe my whole team can go to the NASP Championship next year.”