I first met Jake Kaminiski a few months ago at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. At the time, he was not assured of a trip to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. As an Archer, he had yet to qualify for his spot. Jake first picked up a bow and arrow when he was six years old and began competing when he was nine.
And though I was clearly not dressed for the occasion, he spent a few hours with me and a group of bloggers – all guests of Kellogg’s – giving us a lesson in his sport.
In that time, I learned a number of valuable lessons from this soon-to-be Olympian
There is no substitute for paying attention. After my very first shot, Jake was able to assess what I needed to adjust simply by the direction of that initial arrow. He made one suggestion: That I close my left eye as I shoot. I went from missing the target entirely to hitting red and yellow.
Having a skill and being a good coach are two different things. You may be extremely talented at a sport but unable to guide others. Jake is both.
Practicing your craft is key. Jake had the Olympics in his sights and he knew that he would have to continue practicing to get there. A lifetime of experience isn’t enough when you are faced with your dream. You must keep going.
Breathing through fear can help you to focus. I asked Jake about the intensity and mental focus each shot requires. He is skilled at breathing and quieting his mind – allowing him to have faith in his abilities in the moments when it is just he and the target. A powerful metaphor for life.
There is no point in doing something if you don’t do it with purpose. You will even hear Jake saw this in his Kellogg’s Start Story. He has been moving towards this moment for a lifetime.
I am grateful to Jake for the time he spent with me. You and I both know, athletics do not come easily to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed this lesson. I found it to be both cathartic and mind cleansing. It is on my list of things to do again.
Thank you, Jake. Good luck – I will be watching from here!
If you would like to follow Jake’s journey – beginning of course on Friday, July 27th at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, you can keep up with him on Twitter.
Photo Credits for 2nd and 4th pictures above: Trent Stafford
Disclosure: I am proud to say I am working with Kelloggs and was their guest for this trip. As always, all thoughts and opinions share are mine alone.