Milena Olszewska: Slumps make you a better archer

Top tips, advice and insight from the world’s best international archers.

Want to see inside the mind of an international archery athlete? We’ll be asking some of the world’s best for advice, expertise and an idea of their approach to the sport. 

This time, two-time individual Paralympic bronze medallist from London and Rio Milena Olszewska answers our questions…

1. Training versus competition

I always do my best, but training allows for making some small mistakes or just to do experiments. In everyday life I am a skittish and emotional person and that can be seen when I practise.

When it comes to sport events I feel calm and I am concentrated after the first whistle. Maybe this is the reason for my better results during competition than training.

2. WHY DO YOU COMPETE?

I feel I am a classic fighter and this is my nature. I love the emotions connected with competitions and I always look forward to the next event. Thanks to competition I discover myself, my boundaries and how I react to stress.

3. How do you choose your equipment?

At first I used different branded equipment from my club, but then time was needed to find a best solution. My coach noticed that archery equipment from Win&Win was the most suitable for me. Having introduced these, I not only felt the work of my muscles but also started to have better results. After a few years, we have just made slight variations on that original kit.

4. YOUR ADVICE TO BEGINNER ARCHERS

Find a coach on whom you can rely. Taking different advice from different people can lead to chaos, especially in a sport that is very technical.

At the beginning it's impossible to avoid failures, so it's very important to learn to lose, and after each defeat ask yourself what you can do to improve your results. I believe that hard work finally reaps rewards.

5. Who’s your favourite person to shoot with?

During practice, I like shooting with my coach Ryszard Bukański because he always raises the bar. He shoots with a compound and he is great at it. We often compete for an ice-cream or chocolate, and so far I have just won once or twice…

When it comes to competition, I prefer to shoot with Elisabetta Mijno. A duel with her guarantees lots of positive emotions and high final results. 

6. How do you relax?

The best is do activities that give us a pleasure. It is neccessary to try different activities and find the best that can help you relax.

For my part, I like reading a book and concentrating on its plot rather than thinking about stressful following days. And during competitions I usually think about fans who support me. 

7.  HOW DO YOU COPE WITH BAD TIMES?

I try to think that all problems are just for a moment and they can make me a better archer.

8. HOW DO YOU GET RE-ENERGISED?

For breakfast I have a porridge, which gives me energy for a whole day.

World Archery’s International Archer Q&A series spotlights some of the sport’s best athletes. Got a question to ask? Contact us via @worldarchery on Twitter.