We asked Traci Taylor a few fun questions. Leadership Staff Spotlight is designed to help you get to know our awesome team of Leadership Staff a little better. Traci lives in North Carolina and is and an avid competitive archer.
Are you a competitive shooter? Yes
What types of matches / shoots do you participate in? Competitive Archery
What types of firearms / archery do you shoot competitively? I compete in 3D archery, indoor and field.
If you could only shoot one type of competition what would it be? As of right now, probably 3D. However, I’m starting to fall in love with field archery. There’s just not as much of it in my area.
How did you get involved with competitive shooting? When my husband started bowhunting, I got a little jealous. I decided I wanted to give it a try as well, and me being me, wanted the best of the best bow – I had to compete with my husband. Lol. So I did my research, decided what I wanted, and found it at a local archery pro shop. We quickly became regulars at that pro shop, and were invited to a local 3D. It was all downhill from there. I don’ think we missed a single shoot that year and started competing nationally the following year.
How long have you been shooting competitively? 3 years!
What shooting skill would you like to master? Judging yardage. I shoot an open class, which means I have to guess the distance of the target rather than use a rangefinder. I’m always blown away when I’m around a pro that seems to have a rangefinder inside their eyeballs. I’ve seen certain pros accurately judge targets down to a tenth of a yard time after time. Mind = blown.
What’s your biggest shooting challenge? Having the time to practice. I have a successful career outside of archery. So trying to juggle working 50-ish hours per week, exercising, maintaining a house, and family obligations, it can be hard to squeeze in regular practice.
What would be the most amazing competitive stage that is still on your bucket list?
Winning an ASA tournament in the pro class. I currently shoot in a semi-pro class, and am hoping to win out and move up to women’s pro in the next year. I fully expect to get my rear-end kicked for quite some time when I do, but I will rise to it. And some day, I’ll be at the top of that podium.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned? Mental management. My two biggest obstacles in archery were the fear of what other people thought and the fear of fear. I’d get so nervous about performing poorly, and potentially letting people down, that I’d fall apart. It got so bad that I’d become a nervous wreck days before a tournament, just out of the fear OF falling apart. I spent a good part of last year working on my “mental game.” I set non-score related goals, journaled about those goals before and after tournaments, worked on breathing, and even recited my own mantra to myself as I was stepping up to the line: “Just do you, boo.” It sounds silly, but it was a reminder that I was there for me. No one else, just me. It helped me to stay in the zone, and do my thing.
What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation? Ha! A lot of things, I’m a talker! The question is, should you believe what I’m talking about for 40 minutes… But in all seriousness, probably form practice and mental management. It’s my soap box. I think a lot of competitors, no matter what type of activity they compete in, will eventually fall into a rut because they’re not willing to put in the work, and even take a temporary dip in scores, to dial in and focus on their problem areas. Say they have a bad habit, but it’s working for them, and they’re terrified to fix it, because it’s working for them. Eventually, it’s going to stop working for them. It WILL come back to bite them. I’ve worked so hard, for countless hours on improving my form and mental game and continue to make it a foundation of my training regimen. I could give way more than a 40 minute presentation on how to focus on both.
NON – SHOOTING RELATED
What do you like most about the SLG shooting trailer? The people in it. I love this organization. I love what it stands for. I love what it does. And I love the people involved. These women love what they do, and love to share it with anyone they can.
What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue? Throwing pottery. I took classes for about a year, and fell in love with it. Unfortunately, archery started taking up all my extra time. And my local arts center closed and I don’t have the space, or budget for my own wheel and kiln.
What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home? France. I went there last year with Team USA for the World 3D Archery Championships.
Where do you usually go when you when you have time off? To the mountains. My husband has family in the most beautiful part of North Carolina, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s one of my favorite places on earth. So peaceful and unspoiled. So beautiful.
Who inspires you to be better? My husband’s grandparents. They’re both in their late 80s and declining, but they’re incredible, incredible people. They’re artists, farmers, musicians, and simple mountain folk. They’ve been married for 65 years and are still madly in love. They’re so kind and so welcoming to anyone that walks in their door. They make me want to be better, and work harder, and love stronger.
What are three interesting facts about you? I grew up doing musical theatre, I’ve been obsessed with Michael Jackson music since I was 3 or 4, and I married my high school sweet heart.
What is your biggest fear? Working my life away. So many people are so busy working and doing what they’re “supposed” to do. They live their life the way their parents told them they’re supposed to prioritize based on what society tells them should be their priorities. I want to live! I want to experience everything I can, have fun and see the world! I’m terrified of getting caught up in the rat race and not living my life to its fullest!
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Fruit Pizza
List two pet peeves
1. White noise on the radio. I HATE it when someone is flipping and leaves it on a static station and forgets about it. It drives me crazy!
2. People assuming that because I’m a woman, I don’t know much about archery. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been working in the archery shop and people don’t take my word for things, or literally bypass me to go talk to a man.
Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest? Smell. It’s a curse.
One thing that not a lot of people know you love to do? Sing.
Mountains or Beach? Oh that’s a HARD one! Since I live in central North Carolina, I don’t have to choose. I live 2 hours away from both. But if I HAD to, I’d probably say mountains.