A long time ago, I met Kevin and he showed me how to shoot a bow. It seems like its been forever since I had that first tiny bow. Since then, we have traveled all over the United States competing and having fun at archery tournaments.
I feel grateful for him introducing me to archery but I really feel grateful that he went to war and made it back. Today, you should take the time to remember the Veterans that made it back and those that did not. Thank them, hug them, support them. If you are looking for a good place to donate, Operation Homefront is responsible for making sure we had a home.
I got my first “Five Questions” back from an Olympian! I hope you guys like it. I didn’t get to meet Jacob at the Texas Shootout because he was busy but it is cool that he was willing to answer questions for ME.
1. Do you use different arrows for indoor vs. outdoor? If so, what are the differences? I have used the same arrows for indoors that I use for outdoors (x10’s) and I have switched to aluminum arrows for indoors because they are a larger diameter. In my experience I shoot about the same scores either way. I think x10’s tend to be more forgiving but they don’t catch as many lines, while if I shoot aluminum arrows I will catch more lines but I’m more likely to have a flier. Because of that I have shot my x10’s more than my aluminum arrows for indoors because I’m more consistent.
2. Do you different string colors in different tournaments? If so, how do they help? I don’t use different color strings depending on the tournament. I have used black, red, blue, and white and honestly don’t have much of a preference. . . I have kind of settled on white. I put plenty of work into getting my bows to shoot exactly how I want them to, and once I get a setup working right I’m going to have more confidence shooting it exactly how it is, then if I switched the string based on conditions.
3. Did you always want to be an Olympian, if not, what did you want to be when you grew up? I didn’t always have my sights on the Olympics, but I also didn’t have something that I always wanted to do in place of the Olympics. What I did though is I’ve always believed that whatever I do I should do my very best, and so when I started shooting just for fun, I enjoyed it and gave my best, and that was when I shot compound archery in 3D tournaments. From there I became interested in Olympic archery from age 15 and gradually learned more about it and began competing with the recurve.
4. I have read that you used mosquitoes in training? How does this work and how does it help? Yes where I live in Ohio we have a lot of mosquitoes so I would get the bulk of my training done during the day when the mosquitoes weren’t out as much so I could make the most improvements on my technique. But at the end of the day when I was already tired and it was difficult to make a good shot as it was, the mosquitoes would arrive, and I intentionally continued shooting with mosquitoes all over me because my physical exhaustion combined with the mosquitoes forced me to learn how to focus on my technique and still shoot a good shot, it taught me how to have more control over my body when my body wanted to do anything but what I was telling it.
5. Since you have gone through trials more than once, what have you learned in the process that helps you each time? I think the most important thing when shooting Olympic Trials is to go out there and give it your best without worrying about where you stand and the best way to do that is to have already put in the work and gained the knowledge of how to compete at a high level. If you know how to shoot your shot, you know how to shoot the scores that you need to be competitive at that level, and you know how to keep your mind focused on that during the competition, then you can go out there and give it your best and all of that can be prepared for. If your technique needs work then you work on your technique, and if you need to be able to focus better when the conditions are difficult, your heart’s pounding and maybe you’re shaking more than normal, then be creative and figure out ways that you can teach yourself to focus more. On top of that is my faith though, and the most important thing for me to remind myself is that I’m a Christian and because of what Jesus has done for me I’m saved for eternity, and that he has promised to work all things together for good, for those who have put their faith in Him. So whether I’m competing in the Olympic Trials and my health is struggling, or right now I’m trying to figure out an occupation, or really whatever situation I find myself in and whether the results are what I had wanted or not, my focus is on the fact that He is in control and can be glorified through the results, and that is what’s most important to me during the trials.
This week I have been trying to do a lot and I am running behind some. What I was able to help mom finish is a short film she had to do for school for her film class. It is about me and my step-dad Kevin. It is about some personal stuff but we have talked about him being a disabled Vet before but this tells you a little bit more of what happened when we met. I hope you like it!
This year, Thanksgiving started the same way as always, Dad makes French toast and mom starts on sides for lunch. Every year at the beginning of November, we sit down at dinner and plan what everyone wants. Sometimes we do non-traditional stuff like Italian food which is fun. This year we decided to make ham and save the turkey to make when my brother and sister can be here closer to Christmas. Since they are grown ups, sometimes they have to go by their work schedule.
After breakfast we watch the Macys Thanksgiving parade and then the Dog Show. In between we pile our plates high with all our favorites. My favorite is Lady and Sons Cheesy Mac. If you don’t know Lady and Sons, maybe you know Paula Deen? Mom isn’t allowed to make any other recipe, it has to be hers! I got to go eat in her restaurant in Savannah, its one of moms favorite places, and everything is delicious.
Every thing was going as normal and we were trying to decide on what movie marathon to do and mom said “Emma, I got an email…”
I really don’t remember much after that. See just a few days earlier, mom got an email that a short Junior Dream Team camp would be held in Colorado Springs at the USA Archery facility. I applied but I wasn’t sure if I would be one of the first ten to get an invite. That was the greatest email ever! I was selected to attend so I will be training with the US Archery Olympic coaching staff for an entire week!
Isn’t that crazy?
I still can’t believe it. I had to sit down with my parents and my coach to figure out my training from now until then. You have to shoot 150-200 arrows a day. I feel certain I can already do this. I have been doing 100 a day for a long time. I went up to 125 for two weeks and now I am going to 150 a day for a couple of weeks. I will move up to 175 after that and be shooting 200 arrows a day for a full week before going. It seems like a lot but I break it up. I get up at 530 everyday to shower and then I shoot for an hour or so blank bale in my garage. After school I finish up my remaining arrows at the indoor range. It for a by faster than you would think but it takes about three to four hours total.
I am going to try to write in a journal every night so when I get back mom and I can let you guys know all the cool stuff. If I can use my cell phone, I may text mom some pictures that she will post to my Tumblr and Twitter in case you want to follow me at one of those places too.
I am so excited!
What questions do you want me to try to get answered for you while I am there?
When I first got interested in shooting, my parents told me that I had to learn about things so that I could make the best decisions. Part of that was setting goals for myself of what I wanted to do and learning about the best kinds of equipment.
A lot of times, you will hear students say “I want to go to the Olympics” or “I want to be a Pro.” When I started shooting, my step-dad said, “Well Emma, how do you do that?”
So, I started asking questions. This is my first blog of research about PSE.
This summer, I got to meet the awesome Lee Ford when the Paralympians where here to train. When my parents came to pick me up, I had notes I took about all the questions I asked everyone. The reason what Lee said was so important to me because I had never had someone explain equipment the way she did. Usually people say stuff about how their bow is the greatest bow in the world but not every person can use the same bow. Some things are better for others but Lee talked about why, as a female, she feels the PSE bow was better for her.
I sent Lee an email to ask permission to put her story on this blog because there are people new to archery that read this and are trying to learn. This is what Lee said:
“I had started shooting an Optima when loaned one by a fellow Kennesaw Archery Club member and liked the PSE a lot. I had the opportunity to buy a PSE X-Factor from another club member and did so, since the Optima had treated me so well. One day with my coach, this same club member and I were shooting and he was complaining about how much poundage he was shooting to get to 70 meters, but I was shooting much less poundage, about 6-8 and not having a problem and told them so. We took off all my equipment from my PSE and put it on the other riser. Turns out now I couldn’t reach 70 meters anymore either! We put everything back on the PSE X-Factor, exact same limbs, limb bolt settings and I again can shoot 70 meters. We realized that the ratio from the arrow rest to the sight bar screws was better for someone with a smaller face or a woman, since they would not have to shoot as much poundage to shoot 70 meters and keep their shoulders safe and a strong form and not have to struggle.”
Cool, right? I sent a letter to PSE after I talked to her because of everything she had told me about how great the bow was. I asked them to tell me what they look for in someone that will be one of their Pros so I can use that to set some goals for myself. The super cool Bobby Vargas wrote me back, this is what he said:
“Being a part of the team requires a lot of hard work and dedication to the sport and to the brand. We look for shooters that participate in as many events as possible and help to introduce new people to the sport. We need shooters that are willing to take the time to speak to other archers about PSE equipment and the company. Our staff is also required to help drive sales through their local PSE retailers. Your job as a Pro Shooter is not only to always perform to the best of your abilities, but also to help grow the sport and the PSE name. In order to be a factory sponsored Pro Shooter you are expected to do this AND perform well at top level events.”
Did you guys know all of that? I think a lot of people think “oh if I win this and that, I can be sponsored as a Pro” but really, you have to be able to talk to people. If you are afraid to be in front of people, you will have to get over that quickly!
After my experience in Texas this year, I know for sure what my goals are for next year but I do think I want to bow hunt with a compound. (Right now, all my field and 3D tournaments are with my recurve.) I think PSE has a lot to offer on both kinds. For a long time, I have been speaking with Paige Pearce at events. She is always kind and will answer questions and sign anything I ask her to. After I got the email back from Mr. Vargas, I thought I would ask her what she would say about her bow in case anyone is looking for a new compound. This is what Paige said about hers:
“PSE is the smoothest and most forgiving bow I have ever shot! When you add the fact that the PSE’s are among the fastest bows on the market, you just can’t go wrong.”
Paige uses different ones for hunting and competition. I think this is what I have to do, the more competitions I go to. What I need set up for Olympic competition is completely different from the other stuff I like to do and I don’t want to give anything up. Equipment is expensive but I think if you want to do things well, eventually that is what you end up doing.
Have any of you shot PSE bows? What kind and is it recurve or compound? Can you tell me what your experience with them is? This is important research!
If you are interested in reading more, here is a good blog from PSE pro Emily Anderson about her bow decision too.
This isn’t necessarily “funny” as much as it is cool. When I went to the Vegas shoot this year (I won 3rd place!), I got to meet Andre Agassi and get his autograph. He was super nice but I didn’t really know at first that he was such a big deal. I found that out because of my mom. The funny part was her reaction to this photo. She lost it and then wished she had been able to go with me. I had to travel without my parents to Vegas to go with Coach Bill and the team but mom lost it when she found out. Turns out to mom, Andre Agassi is a really big deal! After meeting him, I can see why. He was professional but also very kind and does a lot of really cool stuff for kids in Las Vegas. That’s the kind of person I want to be.
This weekend, I went to the Texas Shootout. When I went to practice I arrived next to Brady Ellison, one of the top men archers in the world, I was pretty excited. When I practiced, I was doing good. After a good practice, we went to Wal-Mart to pick up food and we got my favorite, roasted chicken, Hawaiian rolls and salad! After dinner I had some dessert (evil brownies made by my Aunt) and I started thinking about the next day and how I could get first and do really well. When I woke up, I got breakfast and went to the archery field.
The Competition Begins
I saw the pros arrive and my competition…I had the Junior Dream Team as my competition! I knew right there it would be tough. When we started shooting I was in 9th place for most of the tournament. Then I started to get tired and my arrows started dropping low and I fell in last place. ::sad face:: When we got done I was last but I learned a lot from my competitors Karissa, Mariam and Hye.
Day 3 in Texas
The next day I didn’t have to shoot but I watched the pros and got pictures with Brady Ellison, Jennifer Nichols, Khatuna, Miranda and the Coach Thomas from Texas A & M. I was very grateful that I got to watch them and take pictures with them. It was a really great experience and I am very glad I went!
I fell short of my goal of 400 but I am 12 so I think I get a little time to bring it up. For the next calendar year, I am setting my goal of a 550 or better for my next USAT qualifier. I want to do this so that I can apply for the Junior Dream Team Camp. If you would be interested in doing that, the requirements can be found on the USA Archery site here. Beyond that, I would hope to be ranked high enough to apply to the Resident Athlete program in a couple of years. Those requirements are on the USA Archery site here.
When I got to meet the Paralympians, I was really excited. At the beginning of the day I wasn’t thinking that I was going to meet them because they were scheduled to train on the day I was leaving for another tournament. Lucky for me, they showed up a day early!
That was a nice surprise. The Paralympians are really inspiring because if you think “Oh, I cant do this,” and you see them doing it, you really have no excuses. It was really a great experience and I hope I get to see them again.