Karen Williams -
I started Archery in 2007. It started as a family exercise activity which my daughter wanted to get into. I soon found the social side really enjoyable, meeting new friends, being introduced to different aspects of archery; local friendly tournaments, field archery and traditional archery. My first club had members with a great mix of experience and knowledge to draw from. The club was really active hosting a number of tournaments and all members were quickly enlisted to help with the wide variety of volunteering roles within the club’s activities. At my first club AGM I was encouraged to become the club Treasurer and since then I have been active within my club and county committees in various roles at different times, Chair, Secretary and Coaching Officer. I am currently Vice Chair of my club Exmouth Archers and County Secretary for Devon and Cornwall Archers. My bow style is Recurve but I have been known to shoot a longbow from time to time. Having started out as a social archer, over the years the competitive spirit was awakened and as my shooting improved, I started to focus on the goals of getting into the County Team and achieving Master Bowman. In 2013 I reached my first goal to shoot for Devon and Cornwall. I suffered a setback in 2014 with a broken elbow, but I was back in the team in 2015 and I have been shooting for the County Team every year since then. In 2019 I finally achieved the classification of Master Bowman. After many years accompanying my friends to the Masters as cheerleader, I was incredibly proud to shoot at the 2021 Masters at Lilleshall. My proudest achievement in archery was also my biggest surprise. In 2021 I had a year of really mixed fortunes; I struggled with both mental and physical form and it really felt like a year of highs and lows in competition. However, at the end of the year I discovered I had achieved my highest National Ranking position coming joint 18th Recurve Woman. I rewarded myself with a lovely new riser which I had been promising myself for several years, and thanks to Adam at Wales Archery I was able to find the perfect one.
Plans for 2022 My plans and goals for 2022 were thrown a curve ball in November 2021 when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. One of my first thoughts was great sadness that my hard work to get where I have in Archery would have to be put on hold or might be lost. However, I researched and found examples of athletes in various sports who have come through treatment for Breast Cancer and returned successfully to their sports. So now my plan and goals for 2022 start with focusing on my treatment and getting well. I am using archery visualisation to keep shooting in my recovery plan even when I can’t physically shoot. I took photos and video of me shooting before I had to stop for surgery. These are a great tool for visualisation focus and I have been able to share them with my surgeon when taking about my health care and recovery plan. I have made a point of going to my Archery Club from time to time with my family who are all members. Keeping in touch with Archery friends and being around the range is helping to reinforce a mental and emotional reminder that this is only a temporary pause from shooting. Treatment for Cancer is a process that has to be taken one day at a time, it is hard to set goals when the likelihood of achieving them depends on as yet unknown factors. Nevertheless, I have set myself two goals for Archery based on my current prognosis. First to be shooting again before the end of the indoor season and second to get back to shooting at tournaments in the outdoor season.
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