Aiming High


Staring down the end of the range, Junior Roisin Bells nocks an arrow in her bow, takes aim, and lets loose as it zips away and sinks into her target. Even though a pandemic season cut her competition career off before it even began, Bells hasn’t let that stop her from stacking hours and arrows of practice.  

Bells has had an interest in archery ever since she was young, reading a book series called “Ranger’s Apprentice” and feeling inspired by the characters and their “unusual but interesting skill.” The series is about the protectors of different kingdoms who use archery as their main form of defending the people. As of last year, Bells decided to take up archery competitively.

“I love [archery], it gets me out of the house and active, and it’s just a very quiet sport, I don’t have to go running or do anything super aggressive,” Bells said. “I can just go out and stand on this beautiful cliff side of Palos Verdes and enjoy the air.”

According to Bells, archery is a very “individual” sport, as she practices by herself once per week for 3 hours at the South Bay Archery Club in Palos Verdes, where she also receives help and instruction from her coach. 

“I see my coach whenever I need help with a new skill or with just practice, so I spend two hours with him out on the range,” Bells said. “We go over skills and different ways to shoot, and it’s pretty nice to have.” 

Bells hasn’t been able to compete traditionally due to COVID-19, but she has been able to participate in pin shoots at the SBAC, where she has 5 of the 7 pins for Junior Archers. Pin shoots consist of archers all shooting at targets for an hour. Whoever is most accurate and scores the most points with 30 arrows wins a pin.   

“Not really being able to compete in competitions because of COVID-19 has been pretty disappointing,” Bells said. “But at the same time, it’s given me a lot of chances to practice and improve before I go into competitions and face people who have been in archery for much longer than I have.”

On top of being an archer, Bells is also in the process of becoming a level one archery instructor herself. This role is a certification of high safety level on the range and ability to teach beginner archery programs. 

“[Being an archery instructor] is a really great way to take something I already enjoy and find a way to make it productive and beneficial for me outside of the normal ways that [archery] helps me,” Bells said.

She also hopes that archery can become more “mainstream” and “recommends” it as a leisure activity, even if you choose not to do it as competitively.

“I would absolutely love for people to get into [archery],” Bells said. “I’ve brought friends with me before and it’s such a fun experience to try out, especially when you’ve never done it before.”

In spite of the fact that Bells hasn’t been able to pursue all that archery has to offer, she still drives to work with what she can, compete how she wants, and improve her skills every time she draws her bowstring.

“I can do [archery] on my own at any time and feel really at peace with myself,” Bells said. “It’s a lot of intense work, but it’s also a lot of very delicate work, and it really helps me hone in on how I’m feeling that day, and what I need to do in the future.”