Students at a Patchogue archery school might not have plans to fight to the death like Jennifer Lawrence’s character Katniss Everdeen did in the Hunger Games, but they were trained the same way over the weekend.
Experienced, beginner and intermediate archers and coaches learned crossbow techniques from Lawrence’s trainer Khatuna Lorig, who is a five-time Olympian and Olympic bronze medalist.
Lorig was on hand at the 24-year-old, family-run Smith Point Archery, teaching four workshops to groups of 6 to 10, where she helped students refine shooting skills.
“I want to share my experiences, show them my tricks and motivate them,” said Lorig, who has worked with bows and arrows for 30 years, and has taught at facilities nationwide for the last two years.
The most important lesson, Lorig told the students, is to stay positive.
“Even when you don’t win in a competition, you can learn from it,” she said.
Jared Schneider, Smith Point Archery’s owner, said he was thrilled that his students had a chance to learn from Lorig.
“Many of the students here are aspiring Olympians and what a wonderful opportunity for them to learn from this caliber of an athlete,” Schneider said.
Danielle Kash, 16, of Holbrook, is one student with a dream of competing in the Olympics. She has been to several national competitions in Virginia and Pennsylvania and expects to travel to Ohio as well.
“She is so inspiring and I hope to be more like her,” Kash said after Lorig trained her on an archer’s stance and posture.
Joshua Harvey, 14, of Selden, also has Olympic dreams.
“I want to do the best that I can and have fun,” Harvey said.
During each three-hour workshop, Lorig corrected technique, showed off her skills, and told students stories of spending hours practicing in front of a mirror with a rubber band as her bow.
“It is hard,” she told them, of the time an athlete must put in to become an Olympian. “Your muscles are going to hurt -- it’s going to be challenging, but you must always smile.”