Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Greetings from Connecticut! December 1, 2022.
Brrr...it's getting cold out there. That means it's time to make some improvements to the indoor practice range! While I much prefer practicing slingshot target shooting outdoors, training indoors can come with fewer distractions and its easier to set the stage to achieve a settled mind to promote focus and flow. I like to put on some music and fill the air with Pine Barren Essential Oil that my daughter and I extracted from last year's Christmas tree. Then, I'm off!
Or perhaps more accurately, "I'm in!" I'm in a space where I'm more fully present and the slingshot disappears as an extension of my body. I can achieve this outside too of course (ideally standing among actual pines), but my focus there is often challenged by the neighbor's tractor starting up or our dog barking at a passerby walking their pooch. I don't present these as excuses, but rather admissions of my shortcomings. I've often told our daughter that ideally there would be no real distractions to my training short of somebody physically knocking me over. Now, with the colder weather and my advancing age, I'm happily back inside for now and that brings certain opportunities.
With our season of group Slingshot Safety and Target Skills behind us, and anticipating holiday orders for handcrafted slingshot frames and flat latex slingshot bandsets, I thought I'd return to another hobby I enjoy - creative writing. I like writing a lot! But, this hobby had to be set aside to focus on getting Fork Plus Band Slingshot up and running. Now that I have more time inside at the desk, I thought I'd combine these two interests and put down some thoughts about how slingshot target sports can become a valued part of a healthy lifestyle. It's more than just a really fun and cool sport to me, it's a way for me to connect with myself, nature, and friends. Slingshot is great for family parties or team-building events. It's a great option for youth camps and is simply just a great excuse to get outdoors - or get a group together indoors if it's December in Connecticut! I'll be writing about these things and more as this blog develops.
In addition, I'll focus on the nuts and bolts of slingshot sports that people often seek answers for. As examples, lot's of people want to know how to choose slingshot equipment and how much a professional grade slingshot costs and why. People often ask about the best and strongest materials for building slingshots. They may have questions about whether slingshot is legal where they live and wonder about more specific provisions like whether slingshot hunting or pest control is reasonable or permissible. I'll try to find answers to questions like these and offer my opinions. I also look forward to exercising my scientific background and report results from controlled experiments to answer questions such as how fast does a particular band set propel a specific projectile or what are the best materials for slingshot pouches? While there are far better shooters than me, I'll also offer my advice about form and share my practice drills. I'll share here what works for me and what doesn't. I make no claims to be the final word on these matters, but I'll try to give compelling reasons why I see things the way I do.
So....I'll be focusing on these and other matters of buying, using, and shooting slingshot, some of which will be factual and mundane and some hopefully insightful and beneficial on a more personal level. I feel the single most important thing to both achieve and enjoy in slingshot target sports is a facility for achieving and inhabiting a state of mindfulness. This sport has helped me on a deeply personal level and I see its benefits every day on and off the training field. You may also benefit in this way. Slingshot as a tool of mindfulness is not a radical or new concept but rather is a simple (and perhaps obvious) adaptation of Zen Archery, which has held an honored place among the Japanese Zen arts for hundreds of years (see https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/zen-in-the-art-of-archery_eugen-herrigel/252709/#edition=2270613&idiq=445458) For me and other dedicated slingshot enthusiasts, slingshot sports are practiced in a way that are antithetical to the mischievous and delinquent image of slingshot promoted by Hollywood. I'm not alone in this perspective - I've heard and read other committed slingers express similar views. Of course, you don't need to pursue slingshot as such to enjoy slingshot target sports, but I think you'll enjoy it on another level if you do.
Whatever your reasons for your interest in slingshot target sports, be it to settle the mind, to fetch some free-range dinner (not in CT, of course), pest control, competition, to show off, or just to smash cans in the backyard, I hope you'll find something worth reading in this blog. If you have particular topics you'd like to see discussed, drop me a note and I just might have something to say about it. Thanks for reading. Be well.