Gabi Sasai competes in Stage 1 of the 2022 Archery World Cup on April 24, 2022 in Antalya, Turkey.
Sasai is busy, mixing being a high school student in person with her growing portfolio of major competitions. She understood how to study as well as the demands of practice and competition. Her school excuses her for missed days as she catches up on work.
“I noticed my life has a faster pace as I reached higher levels of archery,” Sasai said. “I’m in and out of the house more often, like at home for two weeks max and then at another tournament.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown his schooling online, but also opened up opportunities for him to practice more. Her church allowed her to use her full-size soccer field during the pandemic, which meant she could safely practice shooting on her own. It was just Sasai, his equipment and the target – for many hours of uninterrupted practice.
“I think I personally benefited a lot because I was so lucky to have a place close to home where I could go and train when everything was closed. I know other athletes from other sports didn’t have that,” she said. “When school was out, I practiced until it was dark. So it really helped me improve.
Sasai’s growing schedule means she keeps in touch with her friends via text and FaceTime, with the group sharing their days in short summaries. She also uses her Instagram account (@gabi365archery) as a virtual diary of her archery, journaling competitions and training days.
Sasai sees his next progression in archery coming from the mental side. Very little space separates the best in the world, in terms of points. The differential comes down to who can maximize their performance under pressure and in changing conditions.
“There’s a lot of room in my mind to grow,” she said. “Mentally, going forward, these experiences will be the ones that will help me grow. You can prepare as much as you want, but you can’t fake what you’ll be faced with during the initial shock of being in the tournament. The wave of emotion is real: like the relief, the excitement, whatever you put into it to make it worth it. The more I do this, the more I can keep growing. Which is cool.