Glendale High School archery students bow to an expert

Glendale High School archery students bow to an expert
Dalar Karimian, 17, gets archery technique advice from U.S. Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig at Glendale High School on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Lorig came to the archery program for the day at Glendale High School to help them develop their technique. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

Just weeks before Glendale High's archery team competes in a state championship, five-time Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig dropped by Tuesday to offer advice to team members on their form, footing and follow-through.

Lorig, who practices the sport for six to eight hours each day, said she's learned to remain cool under pressure because of the time she's put into archery.

Originally from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, now the Republic of Georgia, Lorig was granted U.S. citizenship in 2005.

PHOTOS: Five-time Olympic archer visits GHS archery team

Among the many international competitions in which she's competed were the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Beijing and London.

"I do have enough experience to handle the pressure, and sometimes I'm not as good as [other times], but the way I handle pressure — so far, so good," she said.

About 12 students told Lorig about their varying levels of experience — some had been shooting for a few years, others a few months.

Each archer also shared what they thought was their biggest challenge in the sport before she coached each student individually.

"Right off the bat, she corrected the way I was standing," said Asad Landery, a 17-year-old senior who has been shooting for two years. "She showed me how imbalanced I was by just gently pushing on me, and I just lost my balance."

After he corrected his stance, she pushed him again, but he didn't budge.

Lorig also encouraged the team to stay focused.

"I'm only letting my brain do what I have to do. That's what gives you consistency. That's what gives you confidence. When you're confident, your score goes up."

Also, the sport can take a while to master. "Archery means patience," she said. "If you don't have patience, play soccer."

Now in its third year, Glendale High's archery team is overseen by Coach Stephen Holmoe. Without many competitors nearby, the Nitros' closest rival is North Hollywood High, and the team has even competed against college archers at USC or UCLA, Holme said.

Sixteen-year-old Chris Ha Hyun Lee has traveled across the country to shoot, since taking up the sport a few years ago.

This summer, he'll participate in an international competition in Korea, following his team's participation in the state championships on May 24 in Long Beach.

"You can learn a lot from it," he said. "If you ask anyone in the very top levels, they'll say, 'archery is 99% mental.' By the time you go to competition, everyone should have practiced enough. You've shot thousands of shots and you know how to shoot. It's just how you react to it if you don't shoot the shot you want to at a certain time and moving on from that."