Interview with U.S. World Indoor Team Member, Meghan Collins
Meghan Collins, a 14 year old archer from High Springs, Florida, will soon be boarding a plane for Nimes, France to represent the United States in the 2014 World Archery Indoor Championships. For six days Meghan and her teammates will compete against other archers from around the world in ranking, individual and team elimination round events for the Indoor Championship titles. As she prepares for this exciting trip to France, Meghan took the time to talk with us and share about her own journey in archery.
OAS is especially proud of Meghan because she started archery through the OAS program at her school. When she was in 6th grade her school, First Christian Academy, joined OAS with Coach Pat Combs leading the program. That year she even got 2nd place in our National Mail-in Tournament! From there her interest in the sport grew and after a year she joined the classes at the Easton Newberry Center to learn more. Then in 2013 she finished in first place at the Easton JOAD Nationals, earning her the Grand Champion Title! She has continued to excel in the sport thanks to her positive attitude and strong work ethic and this has led to her recent success at the U.S. World Indoor Team Trials held at the Easton Newberry Center.
To make the team, Meghan first had to be in the top eight after the ranking round of 120 arrows. She did so easily by taking first place. The top eight archers then competed in head to head round robin matches in which Meghan also finished in first. She will be joined by Rebekah McLeod and Laura Shelton to represent the U.S. in the senior women’s division.
One of our program goals is to not only expose youth to Olympic-style archery, but to also create pathways for them to continue to excel in the sport and to take advantage of the many opportunities available to them in archery. Thus we are thrilled to see archers like Meghan pursue their dreams in archery and are happy that we could be a part of their journey.
We hope you enjoy this little glimpse into Meghan’s story and that you will join us in wishing her luck at the 2014 World Archery Indoor Championships! Good luck Meghan!!!
Hi Meghan! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us and to share your story. We are very excited for you and wish you luck for the Indoor Championships. It was so cool for us to hear that you had started archery through OAS and I recall that you had also won 2nd in the 2011 Mail-in Tournament we held. Many other OAS archers share the same dream of going further in the sport and I believe your story can provide some insight and inspiration as to the journey to get there.
1) Please tell us about yourself (age, school)
I am 14 and am in 8th grade at First Christian academy. My favorite subject is Algebra and of course archery!
2) What are some of your goals? (archery related and non-archery)
For archery, my goal is to go the Olympics! That is my long term goal. For this coming year I want to make Cadet USAT (United States Archery Team). So I will be shooting at several USAT competitions like National Indoor, Gator Cup, Texas Shootout, and JOAD Nationals.
It’s a really amazing experience getting to travel to these competition and to meet new people, even from other countries. At one of my previous tournaments, I was on a bale with archers from Chinese Taipei. One of the parents at the competition spoke Chinese and English and helped translate. Even though we didn’t speak the same language we were still able to get to know each other and we also traded archery pins which I have on my quiver now.
In addition to archery, I’m interested in pursuing forensics. I think it would be a really neat field to get into.
3) How did you get into archery? What was interesting about the sport that made you choose it?
I started archery through OAS at my school. They had joined the OAS program when I was in 6th grade and they put up a big sign on an archery target in the lobby. I thought it was a cool sport to do and signed-up. I found that I really liked the mental side of archery. It requires a lot of concentration and focus.
4) Tell us about your time shooting with the FCA program and OAS. Did this impact your decision to go further with the sport?
I shot for a year with my school team. Most of my friends signed up as well and it was a lot of fun. Our school also competed in the OAS mail-in tournament that year and I got 2nd place.
A lot of the form work we did then still helps me today. We did a lot of practice with stretch bands, learned how tournaments work, covered the different parts of the bow, and much more. My coach was really helpful and those lessons prepared me for my training at the Easton Newberry Center.
5) How did you know that you wanted to do more archery? What was the next step?
Our school was invited to an archery competition at the Easton Newberry Center. Once I shot in the tournament I knew I wanted to do more! Everyone was so nice at the center and it was really fun. The competition also showed that, “hey, I can actually do this!” I then signed up for classes at the center and started working with Coach Rob.
6) Did you have any archers or coaches that inspired you?
A lot of the Olympic archers, like Brady, Jennifer, etc., have inspired me and looking up to them has been really helpful. Michelle Gilbert is really nice and it’s always helpful to watch her form. Jake Kaminski is at the center often and has helped me with my form as well. It’s so cool because he’s an Olympian with a silver medal and he’s here helping younger archers. Coach Rob of course too as he is always helpful and so nice!
7) When did you buy your first bow?
I first used the school OAS bows. Then in February last year, 2012, I had saved up enough birthday money and other savings to buy my first riser, a Hoy Eclipse. Then I got a pair of used limbs and later on found a used sight on archery talk. So I got little pieces over time and from different places to make my complete bow.
8) How often do you practice and what is a typical practice session for you look like?
I practice five to six days a week for about two to three hours, sometimes longer depending on the day. When I arrive at the center I do my warm-ups, setup equipment, stretch, mirror work, stretch band, light bow, blank bale, distance, and scoring. Now that I am shooting in the cadet division I’ll need to start shooting 60m now when outdoor season begins.
During practice I work on one main thing for the day. I’ll always be thinking about it and will check myself with video or a mirror. I really like the mental practice that goes with shooting. When I’m shooting, it’s just me and the arrow; no one else is there in that sense.
9) Any advice for your fellow OAS archers?
Don’t get discouraged, no matter how hard it gets. I’ve had awful days, like it’s the end of the world, but the next day I shoot a personal record.
Also trust in the people coaching you. When I first started getting coaching here at the Easton facility my scores dropped, but I trusted my coach to make those changes. Before then I had been shooting 250’s at 18 meters, but then it dropped by 100 points as I made form changes. Eventually though the scores came back and I was shooting 275’s and higher.
Sometimes training is not a lot of fun either. You trade in your bow for a training bow and then it can be five weeks in front of a mirror working on just two things like not dropping your bow arm for example. “She has always had a good attitude though,” says Meghan’s dad.
10) As an archery parent, Mr. Collins, do you have any advice for other parents in learning how to support their kids in the sport?
Ask a lot of questions. We are lucky to be near the facility as they have a strong passion for the sport and are always willing to answer questions. There is a lot of info online as well especially through the OAS and JOAD programs.