Meet Kinzie Thomas
SCHEELS Professional Archer
Kinzie Thomas is a 15-year-old Fargo native who competes in compound bow archery. She is part of Team USA’s Compound Junior Dream Team which is a program that serves some of the best youth archers in the nation. Kinzie is also a SCHEELS Ambassador and took the time to sit with us to share what life is like on the road and expound on her dreams for the future.
What inspired you to become an archer?
My dad, he is the one who brought me to the range for the first time. He has always told me that I can do anything, as long as I work hard and never give up. Work hard, stay positive, and always be humble.
How often do you practice?
Usually I will practice anywhere from 2-5 days a week.
Describe one day in your life looks like.
On a school day, I wake up and then go to school. School is very important to me, so school always comes first. So when I get home I’ll do my homework first, and then eat supper and go shoot.
What is your biggest accomplishment in your sport?
My biggest accomplishment is winning two silver medals in Rome, Italy at the European Youth Cup.
What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
I practice! While I practice I work on my mental game! Your mental game is a very important aspect of archery. I will work on being (and staying) positive, and a trigger word. A trigger word is a word or phrase that I will use during my shot to keep my conscious mind busy while my subconscious mind can perform the task that I trained it to do, such as executing the shot.
What is one of your favorite moments from competitive archery?
One of my favorite moments was winning the Gator Cup in 2015. It’s one of my favorite moments because that was my first USA outdoor tournament, and I was really proud of how far I got!
What would be your ultimate achievement?
My ultimate achievement would be to be in the Olympics! Of course, right now that is not an option, because only recurve bows are allowed and I shoot a compound bow. When the compounds are allowed in the Olympics, I would love to go!
How do you set your goals?
At the beginning of the year, I’ll set my goals for indoor and outdoor season. When setting my goals, I set placing and form goals. Then at the end of the year, I’ll evaluate which goals I accomplished and which goals I still need to work on.
What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
My biggest challenge is staying positive. I struggle sometimes when the going gets tough, but I always manage to come through! I just need to take a deep breath, and think about what the problem is and try my hardest to fix it.
What 1-2 things do you believe differentiates you from your contemporaries who have tailed off in their athletic participation and abilities?
My work ethic and my coach-ability! I work very hard and practice a lot so I can do my best. My level of coach-ability also differentiates me. I listen to what the coaches say, and try it out. My coaches are just trying to help me, so the least I can do is listen to them.
Do you have any recommended resources to share (books, seminars, websites, coaches)?
I really enjoyed the books With Winning in Mind by Lanny Bassham and Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella.
Have you experienced a breakthrough, and if so, what led to it?
I actually just experienced a breakthrough! I was at camp and one of the coaches, Linda Beck, pulled me aside. She told me to really focus on where you want to hit, along with using my trigger word. That was at the beginning of the camp, and by the end of camp I was shooting great. When I got back the next day I shot my high score of 696/720! I was shooting okay before, but after that mental adjustment it was even better. That’s why working on your mental game is so important, because it can make a huge difference!
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Ben Teets gave me the best advice, which is “Don’t sweat the petty stuff, pet the sweaty stuff.”
Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
There is no glory in practice, but without practice, there is no glory.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from many people! My parents have been a big inspiration. They both work hard and always make sure that I get the right equipment, or anything else to help me. I know that traveling the country is not cheap. I love this sport and am grateful that my parents give so much to me and my brother. Their passion and dedication to allow me to chase my dream inspires me to be the best I can be, win or lose, and never give up. There are professional archers that I look up to, but there are also a lot of local people too. Local shooters like John Lien and Ben Teets are two big inspirations. I aspire to be like them, both in archery and in life in general!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I would just like to share that, for me, archery has been a journey. I have learned so much and have even changed as a person. Before archery, I was a shy person, and didn’t really care to venture out of my comfort zone. Now I am not as shy, and have made a lot of new friends! I have friends all over the country, and love to meet new people!