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19-year-old Atascadero native makes Team USA Archery, will compete internationally

Posted at 7:50 AM, May 23, 2022

She’s one of the best in the world but get this, she’s only 19. Bella Otter of Atascadero has been named to the United States Archery Team to represent America in two international competitions: the Youth and Masters Pan Am Championship in Nova Scotia and the World Cup in Paris.

“I get to do this as a full-time thing; how cool is that?” said Bella Otter with a grin.

It’s pretty cool if you ask us.

The phrase “practice makes perfect” gets tossed around frequently, but for a sport like archery, it’s spot-on. For 19-year-old Bella Otter, she’s on-point, quite literally, with a bow in-hand and with her outlook on the sport.

“For the most part, it’s been a male-dominated sport. Women’s archery is always in the process of emerging into something that is really worthy of representation,” said Bella.

Bella picked up the precision-based sport nearly 10 years ago. Now a decade later, she’s representing the Central Coast and the red, white, and blue on an international level, but all that success doesn’t come without time and dedication.

“I'm shooting six days a week. I'm shooting anywhere between 70 and 100 arrows a day,” said Bella.

Her support system, including mom and dad and folks at Central Coast Archery, has allowed her to reach the highest level in her sport.

“There were never any expectations of performance,” said Nate Otter, Bella’s dad. “One thing that’s so important about our philosophy is that it’s not about where the arrow lands as much as the person that’s shooting that arrow. And in the case of Bella, she's just such an incredible soul that she's found herself surrounded by people that are committed to her success.”

Bella’s coach, Blair Sandberg, has been working with her for the past few years.

“It’s said that archery is 90% mental and the other 10% is in your head,” joked Sandberg. “Being able to stand there under pressure with all the cameras on and the crowd, being able to execute a perfect shot. As long as she’s enthusiastic, I’m in.”

Bella’s mom, Jessica Otter, is a mindset coach and works with her daughter to be in the most ideal mental state when she’s staring down her target.

“When you’re looking left and right and there's insanely talented people around you, you know that it's going to come down to whoever's mastered their mental game,” said Bella.

“The mother-daughter relationship is special,” said Jessica. “She is so open and so coachable that there are techniques and skills that I can offer to her, even as her mom, and she implements them. She’s very dedicated. She’s in 100%. You have to be in 100%. She wants this.”

That mental strength is a necessity if she turns pro, an option that is very much so on the table for the Atascadero grad, but the sharpshooter is studying at Cuesta to get a secondary education and keep her future career options wide open.

“I think like a lot of things, it's definitely something that you can take it as far as you want to take it,” said Bella. “In five years, am I going to be totally going pro and have this be my only thing? Totally a possibility. I really can't tell you at this point, but we're okay with that.”

Expenses for Bella’s trip to Paris are covered, but travel expenses for the Nova Scotia competition are not. If you would like to help out, click herefor a link to a GoFundMe page. You can also head to Central Coast Archery and ask about a bow raffle that will benefit Bella’s travels.