How I Got My Start: Cassidy Cox

Cassidy Cox arrived at the World University Games in Naples, Italy, in July 2019. Unfortunately, her bow did not.

After waiting in vain for the airline to find and deliver her bow, the left-handed Cox had no option but to try shooting a right-handed bow.

Although she didn’t perform as well as she had hoped, her efforts illustrate Cox’s drive and persistence. Those qualities have helped her win numerous medals, including a World Cup team gold in Antalya, Turkey, in May.

I spoke with Cox to learn how she got involved in archery.

How and when were you introduced to archery?

I started shooting when I was 6. My dad and brother bowhunted, so when they were practicing for hunting season, they would take me to the shop with them, and I started shooting with them. After that, I joined the youth JOAD club at our local shop.

What appealed to you about archery?

At first I liked that I could beat all the boys in my club. When I was younger, I played a bunch of sports like softball, volleyball and basketball at school. When I was 14, I quit softball and started shooting my bow a lot more. I figured out that I could be pretty good at archery if I practiced a lot. I think that’s what I liked. I’m a lot better at archery than I am at other sports. I also like that it’s an individual sport, because when I played all those other team sports I would always get frustrated if I had to sit out part of the game. I didn’t like that I wouldn’t get enough playing time. With archery, you get to shoot as much as you allow yourself.

Did you take lessons or classes?

Not really. When I was in the JOAD club, the coaches would help. My dad coached me a lot, just from watching other archers at tournaments and telling me different things I should try. When I was 16, I went to the NFAA Youth Compound Academy, and I learned a lot.

When did you start competing?

When I was younger I shot local tournaments. One of the events of the USA Archery Indoor Nationals is held in New Mexico, so I would always shoot that because it’s here. When I was 14, I started shooting all the national tournaments, and then I made my way up the U.S. rankings and got to go to the World Cup.

What is your practice/tournament schedule, and how has it evolved?

When I started shooting competitions, I had more time between tournaments to relax a little and get a lot of practice in. Now my tournaments are back to back, so I’m home for a couple of days and then off to another tournament. Tournaments are now really my practice because I’m not home as much.

What was the biggest factor that most helped your archery career?

Cox’s advice is to shoot at as many tournaments as you can. Photo credit: World Archery

That’s tough. When I started shooting a lot of competitions, I learned not to get too worked up about a bad shot because there’s always another tournament in two weeks. I don’t know if that’s what helped me with my career, but once I learned that, it helped with my mentality a lot.

What do you wish you had known when you started?

I wish I’d known about all the tournaments that are out there, because when I started I only knew about local tournaments. I wish I had known about Outdoor Nationals, Vegas and NFAA Nationals. I would tell someone to shoot as many tournaments as you can, and get the experience. You’re only going to get better with more experience.

What are your goals in archery?

I guess it’s just to be the best in the world.

Want to get started in archery? Find a club or a coach near you, or visit your local archery store.

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