Local archer Danielle Han shoots competitively, teaches kids

Local archer Danielle Han
Danielle Han picked up archery as a hobby and stress reliever. Photo by Will Crooks.

Most people garden, hike, draw, or binge-watch the same two shows as hobbies. But, Danielle Han shoots arrows at colorful targets in the backyard of her home.

Moving to Greenville for an engineering position at Hubbell Lighting, Han sought out two things. “I needed to have a place to shoot, and I needed to have a Trader Joe’s,” she says, laughing. “I know I’m crazy.”

Local archer Danielle Han
Danielle Han shoots targets set at a distance of 70 meters, or 76 yards. Photo by Will Crooks.

With no public ranges nearby, Han spent five months searching for a home with enough outdoor space to shoot.

“My mom would do [archery] all the time, and she loved to teach us,” Han says. She learned archery in Girl Scouts as a kid in San Diego.

Han never shot competitively and instead focused on ballet. “I did six days a week, lived in the studio, only did ballet,” she says. “And that was my life until I was 21 or 22.”

After college, ballet wasn’t as enjoyable for Han. “So I was looking for something to do and going through activities I enjoyed as a kid,” she says.

Local archer Danielle Han
For competitions, Danielle Han shoots 72 arrows for a maximum score of 720. Photo by Will Crooks.

Buying a recurve bow and arrows, Han began practicing at a public range in Richmond, Virginia, where she was living at the time. “I started shooting with the adult league, and I was terrible — and it was a lot of fun.”

Han earned her instructor certification and began teaching lessons at the archery shop in Richmond. Taking over the Junior Olympic Archery Development program, she fell in love with teaching kids.

“The kids started getting me into competing,” she says. 

Now, Han enjoys shooting in her backyard. Standing on a cement square, Han looks down the path to a big, colorful target, 76 yards away on a raised platform. “Even when it’s frustrating, it’s calming,” she says of archery.

Graphic by Stephanie Orr

Han also established the JOAD program at Saluda River Archery. She enjoys teaching kids while improving her own shooting. Her goal is to have her students compete against her in the adult class one day.

“I’ve done two full circuits now,” she says. Competing to earn a spot on the United States Archery Team, which is the feeder for the Olympics, Han spends all of her vacation time traveling the country for competitions.

“What I enjoy now most about [archery] is how calming it is for me,” she says. Learning to stay in her “bubble,” Han blocks everyone and everything out while shooting. “Onceyou learn how to shoot, it’s all a mental game,” she says.

She grabs her bow and arrows, heads outside, stretches, and gets started. “It’s just my shot process and my equipment, me, the target — that’s it,” she says. When she’s not outside with her bow in hand, Han is chilling with her two cats, Murphy and Pabu.

Local archer Danielle Han
Danielle Han is competing to be part of the United States Archery Team. Photo by Will Crooks.



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