Claire Chen, Lori Liu and Cyrus Wong shoot for their passions

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Graphic illustration by Anushka Anand and Lilly Wu

Student archers senior Claire Chen and juniors Lori Liu and Cyrus Wong shoot at ranges across the Bay Area.

Audrey Sun

For senior Claire Chen and juniors Lori Liu and Cyrus Wong, archery is a process of self-discovery and an opportunity to spend time with their family. Chen first began her journey in archery while exploring outdoor activities with her father, while Liu was introduced to the sport when celebrating her 15th birthday. Wong grew interested in archery after attending a family gathering at a shooting range.

Despite being intrigued by archery from a young age, it wasn’t until Liu’s 15th birthday, when her parents brought her entire family to an archery range, that she began to further explore the sport. Archery has since become a vital part of her life. Liu practices bi-weekly at Bow Hunter’s Unlimited and works on various typs of ranges, her favorite being trail ranges, which are hiking trails that have different targets stationed throughout the route.

“Trail ranges allow me to better understand the different positions in archery and practice with a variety of targets,” Liu said.

Wong also practices at ranges with a diverse set of targets. He enjoys archery because it allows him to relax outdoors while having friendly competitions with his friends and family. 

“Archery has taught me to remain patient and maintain a positive mindset,” Wong said. “Practice also helps me critique myself in a healthy way to improve my future shots.”

Archery requires concentration — it often takes a new archer many weeks to learn how to aim and build a solid foundation before being able to consistently shoot well. 

“A lot of archery is repetition,” Wong said. “You must remain calm after your shots, whether they are good or bad, to focus on the next.”

Similar to Wong, Chen’s journey has also taught her to develop a focused mentality, which  not only helps her in archery, but has also helped her strive to reach her fullest potential in everything else she pursues. 

“Whether it’s to steady my arm to release the bow, or to fully engage myself in a school project, I have learned to put my mind entirely on what I am doing,” Chen said. 

Missing shots in archery is normal — the hardest part of archery is staying concentrated. Liu’s biggest challenge is consistency. With the overwhelming amount of thought an archer needs to take into consideration before taking a shot, it can be difficult for her to pinpoint her mistakes.

“I sometimes get frustrated and impatient with myself,” Liu said. “Although there are off days for everyone, I really want to nurture myself to not blame outside circumstances for my shortcomings.”

Liu’s practices are typically two hours long; she predominantly shoots from the 20-yard mark, but moves to the 30-yard mark when she wants to challenge herself. 

“As I shoot, I like seeing my shots becoming more clustered together and becoming closer to the bullseye,” Liu said. 

As Chen practices, she moves through the range 10 yards at a time, spending more time on the 30 and 40-yard mark to train her accuracy. She tries to use various types of bows to train all aspects of her archery skills. 

“I have become more precise in my shots, and my arms get stronger to draw bows with more tension,” Chen said. 

In the future, Liu, Wong and Chen all plan to continue pursuing archery as a hobby with their friends and family. 

“Overall, archery is a fun and fulfilling sport,” Wong said. “Not only can it teach athletes to reflect on their own performance, but it can also help them develop a healthy mindset.”