Jillian McClanahan, February – In the 2023 Nevada State Tournament I placed tenth, and while I was still happy with my score, upon reflecting, I made some much needed adjustments which led to improvement. My hard work paid off, placing 1st this year in the 2024 Nevada State Tournament.
Now I have some tips to share. These may seem silly or obvious, but really evaluate how you shoot and take these into consideration.
Almost every archer that shoots in competitions can relate when I say, the hardest part of scoring well at competitions is getting over nerves while shooting. I know that I personally get very tense between shots. I have found a foolproof way of loosening up, I do a little dance, and literally “shake” off the nerves. Some other archers, and even coaches stare, but who really cares what others think of you when they call your name to claim your trophy or prize bow.
During competition I had been doing consistently well, and then I shot a six. A bad shot can throw even the best of archers off, but it’s important to remember to not let one, or even two, bad shots ruin the rest of your round. Shake it off, take a breath, say a prayer, whatever works for you. In addition to this tip, also keep in mind that we have a full two minutes for each round. Completely anchor all the way to your cheek, make sure your aim is steady, and hold your bow steady until your arrow reaches the target. So many archers rush through their arrows, sometimes causing them to miss the target completely. Don’t feel pressured to hurry even if you are the last archer on the line, I promise taking your time and shooting your best outweighs winning an internal race and hanging your bow on the rack before everyone else.
Keeping the mood light with your teammates while waiting in between rounds is important to keep up team morale, and to remind everyone that we’re all there to have fun. I am lucky enough to have my closest friend on my team to shoot alongside me. The morning of the competition when our team was practicing together my friend, Elizabeth shouts jokingly, “ This is going to be a slay.” Naturally, my whole team thought it was hilarious. This was the phrase that I, and other teammates, said to one another all day. It made us all laugh and even though it was dumb, it ended up being really encouraging.
I hope some of these tips help you reach your goal in the next state competition, or even help you raise your score at nationals.