Only in the world of archery would someone use Las Vegas as a preparation for Yankton, South Dakota.
Not the other way around. No, one tournament in Las Vegas as a starting point for another tournament — with more of an international flavor — in small-town Yankton.
That’s the position Viktor Orosz and Alejandro Benitez find themselves in for the upcoming World Archery Indoor Championships in Yankton.
For Orosz, a 19-year-old from Hungary, and Benitez, a 16-year-old from Paraguay, their journeys across the globe have included plenty of archery.
“It’s quite a lot of shooting, yeah,” Orosz said during a practice round Tuesday afternoon at the NFAA Easton Archery Center, site of the Championships which begins Thursday.
“But on the other hand, I didn’t shoot as much in Vegas. I’ll do more of that here.”
Orosz’s 18-hour journey from Budapest to Yankton included a stop in Las Vegas for the Vegas Shoot. He and his mother, Katalin, then packed up and resumed their journey to Yankton.
When you shoot competitive archery, it’s what you do; you routinely travel around the globe. What it isn’t, though, is a vacation, Orosz said.
“I travel quite a lot, but you get used to it, I guess,” he said. “For me, it’s not like a holiday; it’s more of a business trip.”
Still relatively young in archery circles, Orosz is actually on his second visit to Yankton. He made the trek to South Dakota three years ago for the World Archery Youth Championships.
Certainly a lot has changed since then at the Easton Center (including the new addition), but Orosz pointed to something else that is different from that summer 2015 event.
“There’s snow here now,” he said, with a smile. “Last time it was 40 degrees (Celsius). We don’t get snow like this back home.”
As the only archer from his country, Orosz certainly needed someone to accompany him on the trip, so his mother is with him — he usually travels with one parent, but rarely both. That also means he can focus on his own performance.
Does mom provide some coaching advice?
“When you’re in a competition, you don’t usually need to be coached,” Orosz said. “You don’t want to change too much, but it’s more the mental things they can remind you of.”
In many ways, the coach or parent can calm down the archer, Orosz said.
“I got to a point where I had to change how I thought about it,” he said. “There’s so much that goes into it, but it’s mostly mental.”
As far as what he’s aiming for this week at the Indoor Championships, Orosz — who will compete in the Compound Junior Men division — said he doesn’t want to set his expectations too high.
“I don’t have a specific goal, I just want to do my best,” he said.
Benitez left his home country last week to also compete at the Vegas Shoot, but unlike Orosz, that was his first competitive indoor experience.
“It was pretty interesting,” Benitez said after his practice round Tuesday. “I never had the opportunity before.”
He’s also working to qualify for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics, to be held in October in Buenos Aires, Argentina. So in his case, his journey to the United States served two purposes.
“That helped me a lot, I think,” Benitez said.
As one would imagine, there’s quite a difference from shooting arrows outside and then doing so in an indoor environment. In an indoor setting, archers have nothing else to impact the flight of their arrows, Benitez said.
“You don’t have the external things,” he said. “It’s more of a mental thing. You only have you and your arrows; nothing else.”
With that in mind, Benitez said he’ll be more concerned during the Indoor Championships with himself than who he’s standing next to or who’s matched up with in the brackets.
“I’m trying to focus on my technique,” he said. “If I can focus on that, I should be able to shoot a pretty good score.”
Like Orosz, Benitez is the lone archer in Yankton from his native country.
“It’s interesting,” Benitez said. “You look around and see all these federations with all these archers, and then it’s just me. I think that’ll help me.”
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