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Paralympic Spotlight: KJ Polish, Part 1

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KJ Polish recently booked his ticket to his third Paralympic Games with USA Archery and is currently ranked fourth in the world in the Compound Men’s Open class. Polish and the other members of the USA Archery Paralympic Team are hoping to take home some gold from Paris. We recently spoke to Polish about the upcoming Games, which will be held from Aug. 29 through Sept. 5. He gave us a look inside his archery journey, some tips on how to choose a bow, and shares a great piece of advice he once received from Reo Wilde. The full interview will be released in three parts. Check out Part 1 below!

 

A360: How did you get started in archery?

KP: I actually got started in archery when I was 3 years old. My parents owned a sporting goods store. I just kept seeing people running around the shop with bows and they didn’t make a bow small enough for me back then. So, I went out in the woods and I got a little stick and I took a string. I made a little stick bow and that’s kind of how it all started. When I was 11 years old, I shot my first world competition and I actually won the IBO World Championship when I was 11.

 

A360: What do you look for when you’re choosing a bow?

KP: I like to have a high holding weight. So, if I’m shooting 60 pounds, I like to be holding around 20 pounds or so. That’s because I’m a lot stronger in the back wall. So, for me, that’s something really important. I have to have a nice, steady draw. I don’t like a hump in the draw. I like to just be steady all the way back and then have a high holding weight. That’s the main reason I choose a Mathews because my Mathews is adjustable for that. You can go down to 70%, let off all the way up to 80% if I want.

 

A360: What other tournament styles do you participate in?

KP: I actually do it all. I shoot all the NFAA that’s indoor, all the indoor three-spot Vegas, NFA indoor nationals, Iowa, and I went to Nimes, France, last year. I kind of do all of it. I also shoot the ASA 3D circuit and I do all USA Archery able body and para. I’m always doing something. I’m getting ready to leave tomorrow for London, Kentucky, for ASA, and then I’ll come back from that for two days, then I head to Chula Vista, California.

 

A360: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

KP: Just stay humble. Know how you got there and why you’re still there. I still remember Reo Wilde telling me something back when I was younger in the sport of FITA archery, probably like 2008. He said, “When you’re great, everybody knows. When you’re good, you tell everybody.” He said, “When you’re one of the greats, everybody knows. So, stay humble.” That hit me big when I was a kid. Reo Wilde told me that. He was at the Gold Cup in New Jersey and it was one of my first big USAT tournaments. I ended up taking second place. I lost to Dave Cousins and he was like, listen, just stay humble. Whenever you’re one of the greats, everyone will know. You don’t have to talk about it. So that was something I’ve lived by. That’s what I’ve lived by forever. Never take anything for granted. Just keep digging.

 

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned for Part 2, where Polish will discuss his practice routine and how it differs during an Olympic year. Aspiring archers should tune in to the next one: Polish will share his advice for beginners. Hint: it’s all about consistency.

Watch KJ Polish and the rest of Team USA go for gold at the Paralympics starting Aug. 29.

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Paralympic Spotlight: KJ Polish, Part 3

KJ Polish is on his way to his third Paralympic Games with USA Archery, coming up Aug. 29 through Sept. 5. In this final installment, Polish discusses how he got to this highest level of archery, how he works to improve his form, how he’s preparing mentally and physically for the Paralympic Games and what he’s excited to see in Paris. Hint: He’s manifesting a win. Check out Part 3 below!

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Paralympic Spotlight: KJ Polish, Part 2

KJ Polish is on his way to his third Paralympic Games with USA Archery! Polish and the other members of the USA Archery Paralympic Team are hoping to take home some gold from Paris. We recently spoke to Polish about the upcoming Games, which will be held from Aug. 29 through Sept. 5. In this installment of a three-part series, he discusses the ins and outs of his practice routine and how he changes it to gear up for the Games, and shares advice for beginning archers . The full interview will be released in three parts. Check out Part 2 below!

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