Ricci Cheah is the National Para Coach for Archery Australia, and coaches the NSW Institute of Sport para archery squad.
Cheah firmly believes that the mental game is just as important as the high level of skill involved in archery.
“I think the missing component that separates elite archers and beginning archers is how much they invest in their mind.
“There is a tendency to focus on getting better technique, better equipment, better tuning, more time behind the bow but most archers miss training their mind”
“Similar to getting a muscle stronger by pushing it to its breaking points we also need to push the mind to its limits to really test an archer’s mental game. This needs to be consistent in training as well as measuring cognitive load to have the right amount of push.”
“The best thing about archery is that it is a sport for everyone, it doesn’t matter if you are the biggest, strongest, tallest, steadiest or fittest, it always comes down to how mentally strong an archer is.”
Key things to building the mind that Ricci Cheah believes are most important include:
- Focusing on process and execution
- Growing your ability to have a positive mindset, goal-setting and a strong focus on learning
- Understanding your mental game (both the inner critic and inner coach)
- Researching mental strategies, life/work/training balance, and knowing your ‘why’
- Simplification of mental processes for use in problem solving and in competition
For Cheah, training to be mentally stronger is not a quick process, it is an investment.
“Play the long game, be consistent, measurable and holistic in your investment.”