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NIMES, France - The third leg of the Indoor Archery World Cup series continued today with two sessions of qualification and elimination matches for all categories through the semifinals. Because the Indoor World Cup, unlike the outdoor, has open registration, there is no minimum qualifying score or national team requirement to enter. This allows aspiring and up and coming archers compete alongside some of the most decorated champions in the world. George Ryals IV of the Archery Learning Center Hornet Team brought a large group of his most promising archers to France to experience the competition.
Ryals explained: "Our focus while growing archers in our program is helping them to become independent and capable of anything within their age category as quickly as possible. We stretch their possibilities and encourage them to stay at the forward end of their comfort zone so they can grow and become more, often quicker than they think. We bring them up through club events to state level events. As confidence and skill increases we encourage them to range to larger events and test their skills at a higher level."
Ryals emphasizes the importance of competing at these events is not to win, but to learn: "Any of the team members who are traveling to a major World Cup or Professional event are encouraged to compete hard while metering expectation. In most cases the mental approach to these events isn't to hit the qualifications, shock the world and pull off upsets in the matches while showing archery how perfect they can be. The mindset is education, experience, and growth. We aren't there to win; we are there to figure out what it takes to shoot with peak performance at huge events. We experiment, adjust, understand what intense competition feels like while developing a base skill set that will go with them into adulthood and Professional Level archery. Success at this level is learning to put your whole self into the event and enjoy the rush. it's learning to come back from mental mistakes and dealing with distractions of large events."
On his second year shooting the World Cup in Nimes, Hornet Roy Green III, who is shooting for gold in the compound junior men's final tomorrow, shared: "I'm really hoping for big things this season. I am one of the older kids in the program, being it's my last year as a junior. I really feel that shooting overseas at big world level events really sets you ahead of your competitors. I think that it's the fact that the environment is so out of most peoples' comfort zones, that it forces you to perform under a lot of mental stress, which will put you ahead of others who haven't done something like this before."
Hannah Bartos, who qualified first yesterday for the compound junior women and will be shooting for bronze in the finals tomorrow, commented: "I decided to make the trip to Nimes because I felt like it was going to be a great way to bond with the team and spend some quality time with everyone. Also, the experience I gain from shooting a shoot this big is going to be a big help in taking me to where I need to be."
Teammate Caroline McCracken agreed: "The first time I came to Nimes in 2016, I was simply hoping to gain experience by stepping outside of my comfort zone and shooting under the pressure of a large international level event. This time, I came with the goal to simply better myself. I believe the type of pressure this event provides helps you build confidence for future events."
Carson Sapp echoed: "I think the more of these types of competitions you can attend, the more experience you can gain shooting against the best in the world in your division. This type of experience will help me handle intense pressure situations and the atmosphere of any tournament."
Marcus Kvalöy who joins the Hornets from Sweden shared the mentality of his teammates: "I'm excited to experience a world level event and start my journey to the Swedish Archery Team and World Cup archery events. I realize I can't be my best unless I compete with the best the world has today."
While the Hornets experienced great success in the event, both with big scores and shots at medals, and countless lessons in the mental game, tournament preparation, and team building, Ryals concluded: "No one ever learns big lessons from winning. It's the misses that teach us the most."
Competition concludes tomorrow with all finals matches, which will be available via live stream on ArcheryTV. Seniors Dave Cousins and Brady Ellison will both be competing for the compound and recurve bronze medals respectively. Complete results from today and photos from the event are available at www.worldarchery.org. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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