Behind the Bow: Megumi Chang Shoots for Bullseye at USA Archery Nationals


Sophomore Megumi Chang prepares to shoot during the 2022 USA Archery Junior Olympic Archery Development Target Nationals on July 21. Chang said her interest in archery sparked at 9 or 10 years old after she watched “Brave,” a storyline surrounding a princess named Meredith who is extremely skilled in archery. “I really like archery, because it taught me resilience and discipline and responsibility of your own shots,” Chang said. “Since it’s not really a team sport, you have to depend on yourself, and it’s on you.” (Photo Courtesy of Megumi Chang)

For 15 hours a week over the course of three months, sophomore Megumi Chang practiced endlessly with a single goal in mind: To place in the top 20 out of over 100 other archers competing in the 2022 USA Archery Junior Olympic Archery Development Target Nationals. 

Chang attended the JOAD nationals at the Jack Allen Recreation Center in Decatur, Alabama, ranking 17 out of 106 athletes in the qualifications round for the Recurve U18 (Cadet) women’s category. The event took place over the course of four days ― July 20-24 ― and was a requirement for archers who sought a national ranking. 

The JOAD Nationals was the most important competition of Chang’s career because it was a major opportunity for her to redeem herself as an archer, according to Chang.

“I broke through my streak of doing bad; I fixed my mentality,” Chang said. “I did good last year, but in the beginning of this year, I didn’t do so well. And it was some sort of mental block where I thought I would do good, but I didn’t. So it messed me up a little, and it took me a few months.”

After the competition, Chang found great confidence within herself in learning to overcome the fear she was dreading for months leading up to the event: target panic. Target panic is a common form of anxiety for archers before they are about to release.

“If you don’t let it affect you, it won’t affect you,” Chang said. “It just changes your perspective on how well you shoot. So I guess in a way, it’s just about your mentality on your competence in yourself.”

Now more reassured than ever in herself as an archer, Chang is preparing for her next competition, the 2023 State Indoor Target Archery Championships, which will take place from Jan. 7-8 in Tulare, Calif.

“I learned to believe in myself and have fun because I think that’s what I was focused too much on ― my score in the beginning of the year, which caused me to have all these problems,” Chang said. “I think this competition just changed my perspective on how archery is supposed to be something passionate, and if it’s not fun for me, then there’s no point in doing it.”