Elite Next Gen: Lexie Martin

Posted by Katie D'Arcy on Aug 22, 2018 8:49:41 AM

Name: Lexie Martin 

Shop Name: ACE Hardware Social Circle

Coach: John Chandler

Hometown: Snellville, GA

My Bows: Victory 37 (blue, aka "Roxanne"), Victory 37 (teal, aka "Jolene"), Echelon 37 (emerald, aka "Genna"), and Independence Echelon 37 (aka, "Dixie")

My Accomplishments:

  • US Indoor Nationals - 2nd (2016)
  • Homet Power Championship - 2nd (2016)
  • GBAA State Target - 2nd (2016)
  • GBAA State & NFAA SE - 1st (2016)
  • GBAA State 3D - 1st (2016)
  • GA Southern University - 1st (2017)
  • N. GA FITA JOAD Indoor - 1st (2017)
  • GBAA State Spring 3D - 1st (2017)
  • GAA Georgia Cup - 1st (2017)
  • NFAA Outdoor Nationals - 3rd (2017)
  • JOAD Snellville, GA - 1st (2018)
  • The Vegas Shoot - 3rd (2018)
  • US Indoor National GA Qualifier - 1st (2018)

 

My story is one of late blooming, because I didn’t pick up a bow until I was 14 years old. My Dad and I were involved in Ducks Unlimited – Green Wings, which is conservation effort in Georgia that has a focus on kids. Each year I would participate in a BB gun target game, but at 14 years old I was told I was too old for this competition and would have to move to shooting bows. I pleaded with my Dad to make an exception for me since he was on the DU Board. But he wouldn’t break the rules and told me to go try shooting a bow. This was my first time shooting, and as soon as I started I didn’t want to stop. I shot the bow for over 2 hours, and couldn’t stop talking about how I wanted a bow of my own. My original goal after that day was for Santa to bring a bow and to shoot a turkey that following spring. Santa did bring me that bow for Christmas and I was hooked. 

With the purchase of the bow, Archery Learning Centers gave a free set up and lesson. So the day after Christmas we were in the back yard shooting my hunting bow. A week later we were at Archery Learning Centers for George Ryles to tweak the bow and for a lesson. I began shooting and within the first 3 hours I had shot my first ‘Robinhood’. George stopped everyone on the range and asked had I shot a ‘Robinhood’, my dad said ‘yes’. I thought I was in trouble because I had messed up the arrow, but soon found out that many archers go their entire lives without shooting a ‘Robinhood’. Both George and my Dad were very impressed. I continued to practice and that next February I placed 2nd in the US Indoor Nationals for Compound – Cadet Female Bowhunter.

I soon realized that shooting that turkey was not my only goal, I wanted to shoot competitively. I bought my first Elite Victory 37 a couple months later and I joined the Ace Apache Team in Social Circle GA. It was there that Coaches John Chandler and Steve Pittman taught me there was much to learn about Archery and how to shoot. There were plenty of late nights at the range working on form, tweaking bows, and realizing that talent would only get you so far. It takes dedication, perseverance, a lot of practice and then more practice to correct the habits you fell into without knowing it.

I now own 4 Elite bows and I’m proud to represent Elite as a Dealer Staff Shooter.

When I look down the road as to where this journey may take me, I hope to become a Sponsored Shooter for Elite and later become employed by Elite. This year I will continue to shoot tournaments with the goal of making the USAT Team within the next year, standing on the podium in Vegas again, and securing my ranking spot in the top 5 in my division. Each year I have worked to improve my ranking and stand on the podium, its one tournament at a time. It’s definitely an accomplishment to be in the top 10 of the Cadet Female division but this year for me it’s about being in the top 5. I also want to be a role model for other young girls in archery. I would like to share the greater confidence and belief in myself that I have found because of archery. I think it’s important to find that avenue that helps build self-confidence. I have proven I can shoot with some of the best out there, I hope that others can look at me in that same way in the coming years.

I’m a senior in high school this year and have hopes of shooting archery well past this year whether that is in a Pro status or collegiate status is still up in the air. But I know I won’t be laying my bow down anytime soon.

As a teenager and a girl, I have struggled with balancing archery, school, friends, and family life/obligations. It wasn’t until my mom sat me down and helped me realize there was a time for everything that I understood there is time for everything. I had to manage the ‘Have To’s’ so I could get to the ‘Want To’s’. My priorities set by my parents started with the importance of school. We can be are stripped of many things in our lives, but no one can ever take your education and what you learn, this was a ‘Have To’. Family has always been important, we all begin and end with family, this was another ‘Have-To’, mom always said we don’t get to pick our families, LOL.

Archery was split in both categories, you ‘Have-To’ put in the effort, heart, and practice to reach your potential, but for me it was also a ‘Want-To’ as it was my outlet when things got crazy in my life. I also wanted to be in the ‘winner’s circle, so that drove archery to a priority in my life. My friends have all learned to accept that I’m not always available, this may be due to practice or traveling for tournaments; but the closest of friends have supported, encouraged, and been the best cheerleaders. When I become overwhelmed with obligations, I have to stop and breathe, there will be time for everything. In the last few years, I have not missed my high school Homecoming dances or Proms, I managed to fit in vacations to the beach (yes, I took my bow and target with me), I won the first beauty pageant I ever entered, and have a very active social life as well. 

My training schedule is 6 days a week, usually my off day is on Sunday so I can rest, go to church, and spend time with family. During outdoor season, I have a range set up at my house that allows for a shooting distance of 30, 40, 50, 60, 65, and 70 meters. Upcoming tournaments and the distance to shoot for that tournament will dictate the shooting distance I focus on. I will shoot on average 200 arrows a day, more if I’m preparing for a tournament. I am also blessed to have an indoor area to shoot up to 30 meters or I can blank bale if I’m working on form. I usually have one day that I focus on the mental part of my game, I review videos of my form, or just pick up my bow without an arrow and mentally go to the shooting line walking myself through each step of my delivery. I also have a 1 on 1 session with my Coach John Chandler each Tuesday at the Ace Apache range as well as practicing with my team on Saturdays. I send practice logs to my Coach weekly and sometimes if I am having particularly rough day I may send a video to see if he can pin point the problem or ask for advice on how to correct a behavior.

We all have bad days, and I’m no exception. There are days I may not feel well or my head and heart are just not focused on archery. Sometimes this can be turned around with a call/text to my Coach or Dad, other times I have to walk away to get some girl time with Mom or a close friend to clear my head. I have learned that my Dad and Coach want to be fixers, Mom’s and friends just help me redirect. I tend to wear my feelings on my sleeve, I’m very transparent. On those days where I’m being bombarded with needs or the ‘Have-To’s’, I can be overwhelmed and archery is my happy place, it’s a stress reliever. In those times of being in the happy place, it’s not about scoring, it’s about the physical execution of shooting the bow, the feeling of hitting the target, and release of the bad to hang onto the good.

The upkeep and tweaking of equipment is important to the success of any shooter who is proficient.  I work with my Coaches to make sure I understand the equipment I’m using as well as how to make adjustments even when they aren’t present. Point is knowing is it the equipment or the shooter? I have had to learn to not always blame the equipment until I have fully reviewed myself. Before I start tweaking on a sight, I need to make sure I’m lined up, that I’m not pushing the shot or holding to tight, look at the position of the sun (if outdoors) or wind, is my form correct? If I’m for certain that this is not a shooter issue, then I look at the equipment, do I need to put a few clicks on my sight? Are my fletching’s secure? Are my nocks and arrows in good? Do I feel anything wrong with my bow? 

With my two new Elite Echelon’s (aka Jenna and Dixie), I have new sights and arrow rests, I am using a different arrow rest on my Independent Series bow (aka Dixie) that will allow me to quickly change from outdoor to indoor arrows without having to have the bow completely set up again. I’ll be trying this quick change out in a couple of weeks when I will have overlapping seasons (outdoor and indoor) for a few weeks. I am very happy with the Echelon’s shots and ease of shooting in comparison to the Elite Victory. The draw and cam cycle is definitely smoother with the Echelon, making it easier to draw and hold. It has a different valley than my Victory 37’s. The success that I have had with Elite both with the Victory and Echelon bows has proven that Elite is the bow brand for me. Why mess with a good thing?

Strengths and Weaknesses within this sport can constantly change. For me, I try to start working on weaknesses when they are identified to me. When I first started shooting tournaments, I just didn’t have the stamina, so I started shooting more arrows in practice, I took weight training in school as an elective, and made adjustments to my water intake. I think this is probably a weakness of most archers at the beginning of their careers. I have also struggled with diet and proper nutrition prior to tournaments. When I’m nervous or keyed up, I’m not hungry and therefore don’t fuel up enough to sustain for hours. So I pack a snack bag before tournaments, it’s like packing a lunch for school, I need beef jerky, blueberries, granola bars, a candy bar, and pistachio nuts. I have learned that I have to keep my body fueled up or I get shaky. Once my sugar drops, it could take 30 mins to an hour to recover and by that time the tournament could be over. I still have a weakness when it comes to making a bad shot at the wrong time. I know everyone makes a bad shot sometimes but I still have a hard time letting it go if I’m in elimination rounds and it meant the difference in a top 3 finish verses 4th place.  

I believe one of my strengths as an archer is the ability to have fun when I’m shooting (practice or tournament). I’ve found that your attitude is contagious, if you are happy and encouraging, then those around you can catch the bug too and everyone benefits. Strength is defined as the capacity to withstand great force or pressure, with any competitive sport like archery there is pressure. I have found that the more you are prepared the less pressure you feel. I have been told that you don’t start preparing for a marathon the week before or you can’t expect to win, this is my thought when preparing for a tournament. This being said just because you prepare and train, does not guarantee a win, there is a competition. ‘Keeping it real’, for me, is a strength, knowing that you have done what you can to be ready, shoot at your best (just you and the target – don’t worry about everyone else and their score), and hit more X’s than anything else. The score will be what it is.

In 2016 and 2017, I had over (14) Top 10 finishes, with (7) - 1st place finishes, (2) – 2nd place finishes, (2) – 3rd place finishes in State and National tournaments.  In 2018, I finished 1st in GAA and JOAD, took 3rd in The Vegas Shoot, finished 8th in the Arizona Cup, finished 12th at Gator Cup, and ended the Outdoor Nationals in Raleigh NC with a 16th place finish in Qualifications and 4th place finish in Elimination Rounds. It’s been a great journey and I look forward to what’s ahead.

In the future, I would like to further my archery career by working with a bow company such as Elite.  I could see myself as an asset in a position of a marketing/account rep or in a business/finance position. I would love to travel and represent the company at tournaments and shows. Promoting this sport, encouraging younger archers, and being a role model to others is important to me. All things are possible, right? 

My advice to younger archers would be to take one day at a time, dream big, work hard, and keep calm. Practice until you can’t get it wrong (I’m still working on this myself). Listen and learn from those who are willing to teach you, because they care about where you go. Parents whether you know it or not, are your best friends and cheerleaders (not just the taxi and bankers), give them a ‘Thank You’. We are only limited by the restraints we put on ourselves.

 

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Topics: Elite Next Gen

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