In this episode, Renata speaks to Tom Hinojosa with All American Archery. They discuss how families should introduce archery to their children as it’s a very safe sport and teaches them a variety of life skills. Tom also talks about how he works with Coaches and Families regarding the mental side of sports and how mental training is as important as the physical.
You can find more about archery at usarchery.org or nfaausa.com. And you can find more information about Tom Hinojosa at allamericanarchery.com and thementalperformanceacademy.com
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This is The Your Sports Resource Podcast, where each week we’ll discuss strategies that you can implement so the operations of your club support your coaching staff and the direction of your organization. We are committed to excellence in youth sports leadership. Let’s get started.
Hi everybody and welcome to The Your Sports Resource Podcast. I’m very excited to have Coach Tom Hinojosa on today. Tom has over 35 years of experience in education and outdoor recreation instruction with a degree in human biology from Stanford University. He has been a USA Archery level-4 high-performance archery instructor for over 10 years and has coached students to World Archery Youth Indoor Championships.
Top ten national rankings USA Archery Junior Dream Team, USA Archery Regional Dream team, State Indoor Champions and has worked with International Olympic Archers. He has also coached an individual archer to advance to the level of the 2020 USA Olympic Trials.
I was going to say swimming trials there. And he has been a volunteer coach for the Valor Games for the wounded military personnel, and he is also the founder of Mental Performance Academy, which we’re going to discuss a bit today, welcome Tom.
Thank you, Renata. It’s truly a pleasure to be here and I’m looking forward to our conversation.
Great, great so tell the audience. When did archery become a passion for you?
Well like many kids, I think archery held an immediate fascination for me from a very young age. The idea of confidently skillfully launching an arrow. You know there’s something romantic about just the idea. But as in the movies, you possibly might be saving the day or winning the royal tournament and, it was just a great fantasy for a kid, so. I think the fact that it was a rare skill, something that drew me to it as well. I grew up with four brothers and three sisters.
All of which were involved in a lot of sports. And we all participated in this menagerie of sports, team sports mostly, and I’ve known very skilled athletes my whole life. But when I was young, I had never come across an expert Archer, and so I knew it would be something special.
Also, I think you know the fact that you could do archery alone or with others and you don’t need to gather a team. It doesn’t matter what size you are, whether you are fast or especially strong. And from the beginning, I could see that it could be a very accessible sport if you could just get some equipment and a place to practice.
And I think that holds true even today.
Awesome, so how did you know that your love or that passion of archery would, you know, turn into being a coach, or you know, leading others in developing their passion for archery, and then eventually you know, starting All American Archery.
Well, one of my favorite archery ranges once Saturday, helping with routine maintenance and a woman showed up with a young boy and she came up to me and asked if there was someone who could show her son how to shoot a bow.
Ah, I volunteered to help of course, and it didn’t take long for that young man who’s his name was Ras never forget and to shoot an arrow in the bullseye.
Well, you know the look on his face and then the look he gave to his mom was something that you know I’ve always remembered, and I had coached other sports, but I think the idea that started coming to me was that I could provide an opportunity in a sport that virtually anyone can do regardless of their previous athletic activity with almost no barriers to participate in. It’s a sport that’s included in the Olympic Games and it just drew me to focusing on just archery and eventually founding what is now All American Archery LLC, and by the way, the name All American is intended to suggest that every one that is all, everyone can do this sport.
You know that’s really interesting because you’ve said it twice now and then. I guess in the title like anybody can do the sport, you don’t need a specific type of skill, or you know you don’t need a ready-made skill or a performance per hour, so to speak. In order to do this sport. But it’s not necessarily a sport that comes to mind to parents when their children are growing up, you know?
I mean, I have to laugh because when we did family camps with our kids, archery was the one thing that both kids loved, right? And my husband and I love watching it on YouTube. We watch different kinds of sports, but we watch, you know archery on YouTube and absolutely love it and how many different types of events there are, which I would have never known. But why do you think it’s not front of mind for parents to go, you know what I think my kid might be or should try archery as a sport?
Well, I think you know many things and I had to smile when you gave the example of the camp experience.
If I had a nickel for every time a story of that sort was told to me by parents or later on Archers that you know they would see archery at camp and they would love it. Everyone seemed to want to do it. And then they go home. And I think right there highlights one of the factors and that is, archery doesn’t seem to be available as commonly as some of the major you know, team sports, or even swimming and some other things that are, you know, pretty common.
But I do think that parents are often concerned about an imagined safety issue when it comes to archery, so even if they are aware that there is a program you know in their area, I think there is some underlying caution about going towards a sport.
You know, I think back to my own mother. And again, I already mentioned, you know I grew up with a lot of siblings.
And four brothers and I can remember my mom in reference to not just archery, but several things we wanted to do, which you’re going to put your eye out, right. You know somebody is going to get hurt all of that.
Now at the time you know we didn’t have a useful response to that besides she was mom and pretty much what she says goes, so that the fact is though, when you look at statistics for archery, incredibly safe sport in that, you know it’s taught by people typically that are very skilled and knowledgeable about how to teach it, how to teach it in a safe way, in a safe environment, and so as a result, along with the protocols that are routine amongst those again who are trained in the sport and how to teach it. The number or the likelihood of an injury having for the participant or spectator is somewhere on the level of ping pong.
So, if. No, that’s why I throw it out there because it gets people’s attention, but you know, compared to, of course…
I would not expect you to say that.
Football, soccer, basketball, softball, even golf. You know, you imagine golf. Let’s talk about that because you know, we’re archery, where we’re launching projectiles and acknowledging yes, it does have a history in hunting and warfare. But we’re not talking about that here. We’re talking about a sport.
Well, if you look at another sport that launches projectiles. At some distance, namely golf. You know, I’ve played golf. And like most people, sometimes you’re not real sure where that ball is going to go. When you take a full swing, well, I could tell you that in archery we’re pretty confident where that arrow is going to go on pretty much every shot now, even with that we take, you know, great measures to maintain safety and you know concern for both the people and the facilities.
But again, there’s this idea. I think that oh, that sounds dangerous, and you know people are unfamiliar with it. So, I think maybe lack of perceived availability. Uh, a bit of a concern about the safety of it, and the fact that it’s not necessarily familiar to a lot of parents. I think all factors in too, uh, why it’s not the first thing that comes to mind.
Yeah, but what’s interesting though is you resonated what I was saying about camp is you know everybody goes home and they, you know they know their kids enjoyed it, but then they don’t, they don’t think twice. So, where, I mean, obviously they can go to Google, but where, how do they find where there may be an opportunity to join or just to have their kids participate in something archery focused, even if it’s not a club?
Great question, but because they are out there and that’s the interesting thing, there are archery clubs and archery ranges throughout the nation throughout the world actually, and of course, yeah, now these days we can do an online search, but even easier you can go to for example, USA archery has a pretty extensive website it’s usarchery.org that’s org.
And they actually have one of the menu tabs, its “I want to find” And then a menu drops down. And if you want to find a club, you can do that. They have a search engine which you put in your area code or your state or both. How close do you want this club to be to you?
So, you put in the mileage or whatever and it will pop up a list of USA Archery Clubs in your area, but that’s not the only entity, there’s also the National Field Archery Association. That’s NFAA. There is the ASA Archery Shooters Association. And a lot of other things like 4H clubs, YMCA’s are and it’s not uncommon for them to have and it’s an archery program. Certainly not every YMCA, but there are many that do.
Other youth clubs and activities and people are sometimes surprised to find out that summer recreation programs will contract with a local instructor to create an archery program if, at least for the summer, and I would have to say it’s a matter of doing that search, but put the word, you know, archery lessons, our youth, archery in the search engine, and people I think will be surprised what comes up. They’re out there and most of the time you know outdoor archery ranges are often in really scenic, you know wooded areas that are really, you know, nice to go to, so I think it’s a matter of realizing you know, maybe it’s just somebody like me saying, hey, they’re out there, you know, check it out. And then people look, and they go wow, I never knew.
Yeah, yeah. Well, thanks for that one and for the audience we’ll put the links in the show description so they can go look and search.
Oh, thank you.
So, I have one more archery question before we move on to The Mental Performance Academy and for me, I’ve always told the audience and my clients that organized sports for kids contribute tremendously to their life and moving into being a young adult and an adult. You know I owe a lot of my, being organized and being in leadership roles for the bulk of my career mainly because of my swimming career, you know.
I mean, it was a very long career, it was a great one. I enjoyed every minute of it, and it shaped me as an individual. Do you, I mean, what do you? How do you feel about that? Like how do you see archery teaching life lessons to youth who are involved in the sport?
Well Renata, you know I completely agree with you. You know, I definitely have some background in competitive swimming as well and have a daughter who competed at a very high level in swimming. But what my point is that I think as I think you would agree, sports, in general, have so many valuable lessons and metaphors that are, you know something that’s important I think, or young people learn from, but archery in particular, wow! Everything from formulating goals and then creating a plan for how to achieve those goals. A training plan of goals which include both process goals, meaning they are things that you are in control of such as, well I have a goal of I want to increase my practice time from one day a week to three days a week.
Well, that the individual largely has the opportunity to make that happen or not, and that precedes the desired performance goals. So, performance goals might be while I’d like to shoot a certain score in an upcoming tournament a month away and those that performance might be predicated on the process goals that you set for yourself and then eventually, you know, we all like to imagine uh, winning or placing or winning a medal at something, so those are outcome goals.
So, people can learn about those three types of goals. It goes right along with; you may have heard the acronym Smarter Goals or even smart goals. So those apply directly to these archery goals I’m referring to.
So that’s just one, but another one is focus and probably a little bit more generalized. The idea of being aware and present in what you’re doing. I mean so many times how many times during the day do we all go through life? And we’re really not thinking about what we’re doing.
Right. We’re on autopilot.
And yeah. Right, right, right, and then we come back to it. And you know sometimes it results in a mishap but sometimes not. But on the other hand, we all realize that optimum performance in any endeavor, whether it be school or, you know, hack just relationships and actually being present when you’re speaking with someone will always increase the likelihood that you’re going to have a productive and valuable. I’m going to use the word performance doesn’t always go well if you’re talking about relationships, but you know what I mean.
And so, in archery, as again like most sports, those little lapses in your mental focus and your awareness of what you’re doing are often at the root of errors, so the mistakes which result in, say, an arrow misplaced on the target. I don’t like to use the word miss, so a non-centered shot perhaps, but many times it’s not due to lack of knowing what to do, but rather a slight lapse in focus.
That you just lost it right there. And they’re all you know. It’s been said that archery is one of the few completely honest sports and part of that is, you know, the arrow lands where the arrow lands, and there are score rings there. There there’s no hiding it. It is what it is, and I like to say to my athlete you know, hey, look at that great shot. You did that. There are no lucky shots in this sport.
You did it based on your dedication and skill. So again, right there I think highlights a great life lesson that you know if you dedicate yourself to something, set goals, create a plan for how to accomplish those goals in order. I mean what a great life lesson that is right there as well as what I mentioned about being present in what you’re doing and fully aware.
I love it. I love it because there’s a lot of times when I talk to families, you know, and they don’t want to get their kids involved in sports and a lot of the times it comes down to that competition like they don’t want to compete with other kids or have their child feel bad because they feel like they may not excel at whatever that sport is, and I try to remind people that there’s so much more to sports than the actual competition itself, right?
I mean, just the mere fact that you can remember to put your equipment in a bag and show up on time is a huge life skill throughout their entire life.
So, I mean, there’s life lessons in camaraderie and friendship, and honesty and focus like you just said. I mean, that’s just those are all amazing life skills. Now you can get them in different ways. It doesn’t always have to be in sports, but sports is a great teacher in a variety of different skill set to become a functioning young adult and parent.
Right and have fun as you’re doing it.
I mean really, yeah, the major reason people choose to participate in sports is to have fun. And that’s another topic of. So, what happens you know, with sports specialization, and you know there are some really unsettling statistics about children, young adults, you know teenagers leaving sports.
And you know again, that’s another topic, but. Yeah, there’s ah, there’s so much that people get out of it, including like I think when you mentioned the time management, what a great life skill that is, we all struggle with that. I think as adult and learning that at a young age and that it is something that you can manage with some planning and then again kind of dedication to the plan and then seeing that it works, I could go on and on.
All right, well, let’s move that because I feel like it relates. Let’s move it over into The Mental Performance Academy, tell us, tell us about that, what is it?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked because, well, first of all, in sports if you ask someone, especially in there are two types of sports primarily, there are reactive sports and proactive sports, and a reactive sport might be, for example, a football player carrying the ball running down the field and there are people you know, trying to, uh stop him or her from running with the ball so you know you have to react to them. Similarly, in basketball, a baseball batter is reacting to the pitcher’s pitch, but there are sports that are proactive, like archery, and bowling, and well for that matter, swimming.
And so, if you ask somebody, especially in a proactive sport, and it what applies to reactive sports. But in proactive sports especially, what percentage of your performance in competition is mental?
I would say it was pretty high.
Yeah, exactly, and whatever number you put on there, of course, it’s going to be subjective, but everyone that you ask that question too, it’s pretty high, you know.
75%, 80%, 90%. What have you? And that it’s true and it’s a bit of a trick question in a way, because in fact, in my opinion at the competition it’s 100% mental and 100% physical. You know you cannot separate them, and they go together, and yet, given that the mental part is such a large factor in your performance, ask an athlete.
So, if that’s true and they agree with you and they will, then you go OK well, what percentage of time and investment do you put into your mental skills versus your physical skills? And the same could be asked of coaches. You know, I coach a lot of coaches and certify them, and I’ll bring up the topic in a you know, kind of tactful way of so when you’re planning to practice, what percentage of practice time do you spend on developing mental skills? It’s pretty low. Or another thing I said to an audience once.
Do they understand that statement though when you ask, do they understand what you mean by that?
I think they do understand what I mean by that, because for example, you know who teaches or where do you, what class in school, for example, teaches how to build your self-image or how to maintain confidence in the end faced with adversity or conflict and so on.
So, you know, or for another one, typical thing. When you go, and by the way, what I’m talking about here comes largely from a program developed by a man named Lanny Basham and Lanny Basham wrote a book called With Winning in Mind which is about a program in mental management that I now teach. Lanny became my mentor and taught me his system and applications to archery, and it is now what I have adopted as my approach.
But many, many time coaches and primary mental coach for kid is the parents. Well inadvertently say things to that young athlete that are not necessarily supportive and in fact, can be negative.
For example, OK, you’re going up to bat. Critical time in the game. Hey, whatever you do. Don’t strikeout. What are you thinking about? When they say that?
Yeah, striking out.
Yeah! Or in football, you know, we’ve got this as long as you don’t fumble, we’re going to be fine. You know those are common, simple, and again, unintentional ways that sometimes adults involved with young athletes create some negative or nonproductive thoughts that can impact performance and increase pressure and stress and so forth.
So, I think everyone recognizes that that’s a part of sport, and yet, once again, you know you could, you could throw a rock down the street and hit up a technical coach in one sport or another. But the mental coaches aren’t as easily found unless you consider that the parents are actually the primary mental coach of those young athletes.
And yet, once again, I know that when I, we picked up my first daughter from the hospital and put her in the car in the car seat. I couldn’t believe when they close the door they go. That’s it, they’re just going to let us take this kid. There’s no manual. You know, and I grew up in a large family…
Nobody’s prepared for that.
Right. And so off and off you go. And I’m sure I’ve done many things to my children you know when they were young to you know that would not be. What would be the best psychological parenting? But you do the best you can. We all do and same thing with the parents I’m talking about. So, there was a need in my opinion, as a coach to create a course of instruction. In fact, several to provide education for coaches, athletes, and parents. On what are some ways we can in fact work on and improve our mental game that can then go hand in hand with those physical skills we spend so much time developing and then together create the best opportunity for us to have our own personal best performance on the field or on the court or in the pool.
Yeah, I can see how, wow, can you imagine if you had all three cylinders like you were actually fortunate to work with a team to where you could have that type of support and instruction not only for the coach but for the parents and then get together with the kids and all of that singing in harmony?
Because like you said, I think you could be in the best shape in the world, but if in the world, but if you’re not mentally prepared to take on that challenge. Or you know, I think back to my time when I was a swimmer at university, I was just tired.
You know, and I was in the best shape of my life, having the best times in my life. But I was mentally tired. I was physically tired, and I think if I had that some support on how to deal with that versus you can’t stop because how are we going to pay for your school?
I think, I probably you know, probably would handle, you know things very, very differently, so I can imagine having this three-pronged approach of dealing with your coaches, your parents and your, and your, I was going say swimmers again, sesh! your athletes would be pretty amazing.
So, if you had to, is there one tip or one piece of advice as far as the mental side is concerned, it doesn’t matter which faction or if it’s all of them. That you, whether it’s parent or coach or athlete. If you had one piece of advice, what would it be as far as that mental side?
The fundamental idea here for the mental side is that it can be developed, strengthened. There are skills involved which can be taught very much like what we consider physical or technical skills and sports.
There was one time where we were largely assuming that our mental capabilities were set. They were what you got when you were born, and that’s just how you are. Either you are outgoing and confident and assertive, or you’re shy and kind of reserved, or what have you, and the fact is that neuroscience and common experience has shown us that that’s not true.
You can in fact work on your mental skills and in a manageable way and develop them towards your best self. So, the simplest thing I can say is you can work on it and just like you have to be devoted to your sport in terms of learning the skills, the body movements, developing the physical strength and endurance.
If you apply that same dedication to developing your mental skills and applying it as a mental program in your sport, you can see similarly some development of skills and improvement and as a result you know just like physical skills that satisfaction that you when you can look at yourself and see, you know what this is good, I’ve made some progress. I grew as a person. Yeah, then I’d like to see more of that.
Yeah, I can see how that mental agility in practice like creates a better mindset. And the more you practice, the more you have uh, you know you have a better mindset and it’s kind of like with your physical. You know it’s that repetitive action and practice and practice and practice.
Same thing mentally. You know if you practice and practice and practice and saying the right things to yourself, you know things come into play. So, your courses for all parents, coaches and athletes is on the website?
Yes, it’s on the website. The website is Th Mental Performance Academy. The word THE is in there. www.thementalperformanceacademy.com and we have a listing of the course offerings there, and yeah, I’d encourage anyone that has an interest to check it out and feel free to contact me and we can talk all about it.
Wonderful. Alright, any final words for the audience?
Sure, let me just say this. It comes out often, but hey, archery, give it a shot. It’s a natural slogan, right?
Really, hey, the Olympic Games in Paris are only a couple years away. Ah, Los Angeles after that in 2028, and ah, you know what, the oldest Olympic archer I’ve known as a woman who was on her last team when she was 56 years old.
The other hand, yeah, we’ve had Olympians when they were 17 years old. What an opportunity there. So, I just I had to get a plug for archery. I think it’s a great sport. Everyone can do it, and everyone could do it well. It just takes a little time, so give it a shot.
Wonderful, well thank you, Tom. I really appreciate you being on the show. Thank you for being the guest.
And please everyone check out the show comments for all the links and I’ll also make sure that the links to The Mental Performance Academy and All American Archery are there, as well. As always, please like subscribe, and even comment so we can reach more listeners. Thanks, everybody!