Poplarville archery provides opportunities for students

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Archery is a precision sport with the smallest of measurements resulting in the difference between victory and defeat.

Head Coach of Poplarville’s archery program is Beth McShea, and she’s been steadily trying to grow it by showing students how enjoyable the sport can be.

“I try to make it fun to be there,” McShea said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“The best way to get other students to come out is if the ones that are there talk about enjoying it. “

The events work much like other shooting sports in that there is a target, and the closer to the center an arrow hits the more points are gained.

However, hitting the actual target is of the utmost importance in the sport because if an athlete were to miss, it goes on the scorecard as a zero; a hard deficit to overcome.

McShea said that she meets with her athletes about twice a week to practice.

She said that not only are there improvements made during practices, but there are also benefits just from participating in the sport as a whole.

“It gives them a chance to compete individually and as a team,” McShea said.

“It also gives students who may have a health condition that prevents them from doing highly active sports a chance to be a part of a team.”

McShea fields a variety of athletes, and she said that being able to shoot well, and overcome adversity serves them well.

“They have to have good self control,” McShea said.

“They need to be able to recover well if they shoot a bad arrow.”

The accessibility of the sport means that McShea can work with students of varying skill levels and those who aren’t involved in other sports, providing them a chance to compete and work with others.

“I think archery is great for those kids that don’t have an interest or cannot play mainstream sports,” McShea said.

“We have had students in the past who were unable to play sports due to a health condition that were able to do archery.”

Additionally, the archery is unique in that the competition aspect is multifaceted.

It can serve as a team sport in the sense that athletes can have their scores added up to a total a group score.

However, there is also a solo component that allows archers to be praised for their individual performances.

“There are those students who like the individual aspect of the sport,” McShea said.

“While they depend on each other to place for the school, they cannot shoot for each other.”

McShea said that not only could it benefit students in the short term, but also that the longevity of the sport can afford them opportunities after graduation.

“There are scholarships available now in the sport,” McShea said.

“There are several colleges in the state that offer archery as a college sport.”

Practice sessions for archery don’t start until Christmas break, so McShea and her team are biding their time before having the opportunity to start shooting again.