Archery, Lockdowns & Me – by Jenny Collins

For regular readers of the Aim4Sport Blog you may remember I wrote about how archery has really helped in my recovery journey ( ), so when the first lockdown was announced you can imagine I was very apprehensive.  Homeschooling two reluctant children, closing my fledgling sports massage business (I had been open for clients 2 weeks), planning a 200-mile house move and having no prospect of self-regulating though archery, it all seemed a massive hill to climb.

As the weeks panned out we got ourselves into a routine, homeschool in the morning, lunch, the boys got some screen time (bribery does work!) while I shot in the back garden.  The great weather of Spring 2020 really did help so we had lots of BBQs and picnics.  The house move was still looming so I got on with the task of packing boxes – the lifting meant no need for the gym.  As we are a military family, the boys were able to go back to school in the June and the Archery Club reopened so things ticked over.  I missed competing, but all this time to do high volume, blank boss work was the perfect opportunity to do the technique tweaks I hadn’t quite mastered over the winter.  I had the luxury of time and space – something we don’t often get!

In August, our house move, my husband’s new job and the boys starting a new school came and went.  I found an archery club with great facilities and started to meet people on the school run.  Things were looking up.  I even started making the initial steps to re-open my business.  We all know what happened next and this time the second lockdown was a very different story for me.  With my husband and children out all day at work/school I was on my own, I couldn’t even go to the Archery Club.  I’ll be the first to admit that I really struggled and felt extremely low – I was back to sleeping on the sofa all day feeling very isolated and worthless.  Not knowing how long the restrictions would continue and feeling I couldn’t make any plans really hit hard.  Things bumped along and I finally got enough motivation to make contact with my new GP.

As the New Year dawned things improved.  It turns out my symptoms weren’t ‘in my head’ my blood levels were all over the place and it was something I could manage with my diet rather than any medical intervention.  This gave me the luxury of a new focus.  I saw lockdown three as an opportunity to make long-term improvements in my life.  I had the time to cook balanced meals that met the whole family’s nutritional needs (something I’d wanted to do for a long time), which has led to my physical and mental health improving.  I started shooting again in the garage (many thanks to my husband for rigging up the net and bike racks so there was space), it was only 3 or 4 dozen every couple of days but it was a start and allowed me to set goals and put structure back into my life.  Yes, I had to start homeschooling again, which wasn’t fun, but it did give me company and a sense of purpose each morning.  Though we were all glad that the schools reopened on 8 March!  As we are emerging from such a strange and difficult time, I am getting my confidence back (again) and feeling hopeful.

So what’s next?  Well, we have another house move on the cards (hopefully this is the last one), I’m shooting daily, my diet is under control and we have our routine back.  I’m looking forward again and not dwelling on the things I can’t control.  I’ve taken a bit of my own advice and done one little positive thing each day because they all add up to a big difference.

Stay safe everyone and keep making those little steps.

Jenny x

Author Archives: Jenny Collins

I started shooting in 1992 with Links Archers in Scotland. About 18 months after I started shooting SAA were short of girls for the Scottish Junior Team, so at age 14 I started shooting 70m with a one piece wooden bow (a Greenhorn GreenKat) that stacked like mad and I had about 24lb on my fingers! I made my first junior team in 1995 (now shooting a KG1), Scottish Senior Team in 1996 and British Squad in 1997 (I shot over 1200 for a Ladies WA 1440 with a KG1 at about 30lbs and X7 arrows). I represented GB in Czech Republic, the USA and Italy.

Due to injury and joining the RAF I stopped shooting around 2002 and started again in 2007. This time with Oxford Archers. I had some really good results and shot at Vegas and Nimes (I was 8 months pregnant at the time). When I had my eldest archery stopped shooting again.

Fast forward to 2017 and I was in the process of being medically discharged from the RAF. It was suggested that getting back to archery and trying for the Invictus Team might help my recovery. It took a lot of persuasion but I picked up my bow again and was selected for the Warrior Games (US version of Invictus) in 2017 and the Invictus Team in 2018. I’m a member of Old Basing Archers (who are a great bunch) and I am really enjoying archery being a major part of my life again.