The National Archery in the Schools Program started when Reddick was a sixth grader at Trigg County Middle School. Trigg was one of the first schools to institute the program.
“This year, they had something like 5,000 shooters at nationals; the first year, they had about 64,” Reddick said.
Reddick competed in that event and shot a 199 out of 300. Earlier this month, she shot 293 to become the high school division and overall female world champion at the first-ever NASP World Championship Archery Tournament in Orlando, Fla.
“It took me so long to get better at it,” Reddick said. “Once I did get better, it got even harder to get better after that because it’s every shot. Once you’re about a 285 shooter, every shot counts.”
Reddick said it’s easy to tell who takes archery seriously and who is just doing it for fun.
“Most archers look at it as a game, and it’s not,” Reddick said. “When you think like that, that’s when you start to lose. Archery is a sport. It’s as much mental as it is physical, if not more.”
Reddick has joined the team sponsored by Mathews, one of the leading bow-makers in the world. In preparation for joining that professional group, Reddick said she’ll take the recommendation of a coach she recently spoke with in Paducah.
“He told me before I even start shooting to get books and read them,” Reddick said. “I don’t really understand it all yet because I haven’t started shooting in the big tournaments, but I’m ready to learn.”
Reddick said she was introduced to bow hunting by her father, Danny, but even her family connection to the sport didn’t lead to an immediate love for it. She said her father is more of a bow hunter, while she prefers to focus on shooting targets.
“We did it in [physical education class] at school, and at first, I didn’t like it,” Reddick said. “I wasn’t good at it, so I didn’t like it. But I kept shooting and I got better. Dad’s pushed me the whole way. If it wasn’t for him, there’s no way I’d be where I am.”
Trigg won multiple state and national championships while Reddick, a 2009 graduate, was a student, and she said competition improved each year, which should serve as preparation for another increase in competition as she enters the pro ranks.
“Without the coaches [at Trigg], this program wouldn’t be where it is today,” Reddick said of coaches Meg Davis and Tom Patterson, as well as parents of other shooters who have served as coaches over the years. “There’s a lot of other schools that are wanting to get into it because of how successful we’ve been.”
Reddick is currently taking classes at Hopkinsville Community College and said she’ll shoot at some indoor events and train with the national amateur team in Georgia, although she’ll likely be too old to compete with the team once the next Olympics roll around. She also said it will likely be next month before she begins shooting with Mathews, but once she does, she plans to start at the bottom and work her way to the top.
“Everything I know about archery now won’t matter when I start shooting for them,” Reddick said. “It’s a totally different concept. The shooters out there right now are shooting perfect scores. One arrow will cost you $50,000. There’s so much pressure on every shot, but I work well under pressure.”
Reddick said she’s earned enough money through archery to pay for college and plans to continue competing, although money is secondary to her love of the sport.
“Money’s not what I care about as much as getting my name out there,” Reddick said. “I want to make this something I can do for the rest of my life.”