Paige Pearce Gore from Target Champion to Overnight Indoor Archery Superstar

Jan. 04, 2018, 7:29 p.m. (ET)

Paige Pearce Gore (Red Bluff, California) has been a major force in the archery world for years. Paige has been best known for her incredible six youth world titles between 2008 and 2015, and she holds countless national and continental target podium finishes, records and titles. She has competed on the U.S. World Cup Team for three of the last four seasons, and has also created quite a name for herself in the 3-D and field archery worlds, including a silver finish at the 2012 World Archery Field Championships.

What was missing from her resume? Before 2017, Paige had not yet climbed any major indoor podiums.

Then, suddenly, at her Indoor World Cup debut in Marrakesh, Paige won silver in a double shoot-off final and then followed with gold at the next stage in Bangkok. Shortly thereafter, she pulled off the highest score ever recorded by a compound woman in world history with an incredible 596/600 and set a national record with 1188/1200 at the World Archery Indoor Championships – U.S. Team Trials.

What happened? “When we were practicing at the World Archery Championships in Mexico, the guys were sitting there talking about indoor and I chimed in on the conversation. Braden [Gellenthien] made a comment like: ‘let’s face it, you’re not the best indoor shooter in the world.’ That stung,” shared Paige. “I thought a lot about it and realized if Braden thought that, there were probably a lot of other people out there who thought that, and I didn’t like it.”

Ready to make moves on her new goal, Paige determined to register for the Indoor World Cups and get better. “I was like ‘I can do this,’ and the more I thought about it, I knew I could do it. I didn’t think I would have as good results as I did that quickly, but in my mind, I wasn’t planning to do this in an instant and prove [Braden] wrong; my plan was to shoot all the indoor shoots all season and work to get there and improve and work through my issues so in the future I’d be better. I didn’t expect it all to click so fast and do as well as I did, so that was a lucky bonus!”

After the World Archery Championships, there were only a few days to prepare for indoor season before Paige headed to Morocco. Paige made a few small adjustments: “I did drop my anchor point and lengthened my draw a bit, which makes it easier for me to line up my peep sight and my scope housing.” But, Paige said the real challenge for her was overcoming mental blocks with indoor archery.

“Inside, I have always had the mentality that you have to be perfect,” said Paige. “Outside, when you get to the first scoring end it’s more relaxed, you just shoot. If you have a few nines, you’re like okay I just have to miss less. But inside, they say first scoring end and my mind would go ‘okay now you can’t miss.’ So, I just needed some experience inside to work through those pressures. I would tell myself that I’m not perfect, but you have to wrap your head around that. I still have a long way to go to be as good as it as I am outdoors on the mental game side of things.”

Paige’s cool under pressure comes from learning to properly set goals for herself. She shared: “The goals I set for myself aren’t score or podium placements; I want to feel the growth on the mental side. There are times when I know I need a 10 and I’ll choke and shoot a 9 – I want to get through that. Outdoors, usually if I miss it’s my shooting, but indoors, I can tell it’s my nerves. So, for me it’s hitting those mental goals. I know if I reach them, my scores will go up. I know that by setting mental goals, I’m upping my other goals. If I set a score goal and I don’t reach it, it’s probably nerve induced, so if I set a mental goal and focus on that, the scores will come. I think that’s why I’ve been shooting higher scores—because I’m not focusing on getting the scores, I’m focused on how to get to them, how to feel comfortable shooting those kinds of scores.”

With much of the indoor season left to go, Paige is still challenging herself to grow mentally and says she believes the lessons she is learning will carry over to the outdoor season later this year. “I’m locking down a more dedicated training schedule and I’m going to carry it outside,” shared Paige. Follow her journey on her Facebook and Instagram fan pages.