Bullseye: Shin’s (12) journey in archery

Max Chasin, Staff Writer

Alexander Shin (12) attended an archery tournament held by his camp, Ramapo Country Day Camp, in third grade. Very few of the attendees knew how to properly shoot, yet Shin enjoyed the experience so much that when he arrived home that day, he asked his parents if he could continue playing the sport, he said. From then on, he consistently attended the archery elective at his camp, which sparked the beginning of his archery career.

Shin is currently a part of the Junior Olympic Archery Development Program, a group that works with archers inside the USA in order to teach them techniques and skills. Together, the participants sign up for tournaments, and shoot together occasionally, he said.

Shin is attracted to archery because it is a relatively atypical sport to play, he said. “I liked the

fact that the sport is slightly different and how it’s off the beaten path.”

At first, Shin did not play archery competitively. However, in sixth grade, when he was given his first bow, he decided to devote himself to the sport, he said. Shin began shooting frequently at a range called Queens Archery in Flushing, New York.

“A kid named Ian helped me out,” he said. “He was a few years older than I was, and he was very encouraging.” Shin greatly admired Ian, who inspired him to continue playing the sport and to practice regularly so that he could improve, he said.

At competitions, the archers line up at the range and take turns shooting at targets that are a set distance away. An official then walks up to the targets to score each of the shots; the closer to the bullseye the arrow lands, the more points are awarded, Shin said.

“While the events are a very similar style to the practices, there is a large light that flashes as you’re supposed to shoot at the tournaments,

which is very stressful,” Shin said. “There are also a great deal of parents cheering, which creates additional nervousness. However, I always enjoy the competitions, and I’m always excited when I play.”

Lately, COVID-19 has limited Shin’s ability to practice, and in recent months, there have been very few tournaments, Shin said.

“I haven’t been shooting as much as I used to or as much as I want to,” he said. “I can still shoot, but I am required to wear a mask, and the range I normally go to has limits on how many people can attend at once.”

Shin has also had to juggle shooting with college applications and schoolwork but hopes to shoot at his range more frequently during the second semester.

One of Shin’s greatest role models is Kisik Lee, the U.S Olympic archery team’s head coach. “As a Korean-American, I’ve always thought it was cool seeing another Korean make it so far in American athletics,” he said. “In general, I think

Korea is known for its talent in archery, and I love seeing so much representation and recognition for Koreans in sports.”

JOAD Achievement Pins are awarded by USA archery for accomplishing a certain score. Shin considers his greatest achievement in the sport to be receiving one of these pins for shooting 240 points in 30 shots from 20 meters with an Olympic recurve, a special kind of bow. This pin is one of the most prestigious awards possible to earn in the sport, he said.

Shin is unsure of his plans in archery moving forward, but he is happy to have found an activity he loves, he said. “Beyond trying to simply win awards or use the sport to get into college, I think it’s a fun, enjoyable sport, and it’s something that I genuinely want to continue,” he said. “Wherever I go to school, I’d like to work with USA Archery to set up clubs, and find places where I can continue to compete.”