Meet Emma Williams, from Tennessee, a 20-year-old Junior Trap competitor who recently finished ninthin Junior Women’s Trap and fifth in Junior Trap Mixed Team at the World Championship in Changwon, South Korea,. She was also on the Junior Women’s Trap Team that won team bronze. We thought you’d like to learn more about this young rising star.
NRA Family: When people ask you what you do, what do you say? Elevator speech length.
Emma Williams: I generally would tell them the basics about me. “I am a shotgun athlete for Team USA. It takes up a major majority of my time, but in my free time I am a full-time college student and student athlete.”
NRA Family: What's your history in the shooting sports?
Emma Williams: I have been involved in shooting sports since I was about 11 years old. My brother joined our middle school team his seventh-grade year, and my dad started shooting as well. Originally, I didn’t want to shoot because I was a gymnast and softball player, but they finally talked me into it. I got my first shotgun in Sparta, Illinois, in 2011 and fired my first shots later that year. I have been hooked ever since. I started competing in the Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target and AIM programs, and I was introduced to the international style when I was 14. I’ve had an Olympic dream since I was very young; it started out in softball, then went to gymnastics. I sort of gave up on it for a while after I quit gymnastics in middle school. My dream came back to life when my dad found out what the bunker was at the Nashville Gun Club. It became my second home during my high school years. I have shot many matches, 2 Junior World Cups, 1 Junior Grand Prix, and 2 Junior World Championships since then and signed to be a student athlete on the Martin Methodist College Clay Target Team.
NRA Family: You're fresh off a competition in South Korea. Any behind-the-scenes things that we should know about?
Emma Williams: Most of the behind-the-scenes (or tent flap) action involved the team hanging out and playing cards while we tried to keep cool and dry. We had quite a bit of team bonding this trip, which was really nice. I actually got to watch our Rifle/Pistol team in action in my spare time. I don’t get to see them compete much because we are always at different venues at different times. It was a really cool experience.
NRA Family: What did you take away from your last competition? What is a strength and what is a weakness?
Emma Williams: This match was quite a learning experience for me. It was the best overseas match that I’ve had so far, and I am very pleased with how I shot. One thing I learned, is that sometimes your best just isn’t quite good enough, but that is no reason to give up. I stayed very consistent throughout the match and was able to keep a pretty level head. One of the major weaknesses that I struggled with during this match was staying aggressive and not being defensive with my targets. That is something that I have been working on and will continue to drill until I get it down.
NRA Family: Do you consider yourself to be an ambassador for the shooting sports? Why?
Emma Williams: I like to consider myself an ambassador and role model for the younger shooters in the sport. One of my main goals through my shooting has been to always be someone that the younger athletes can look up to. For me, medals and awards are nice, but there’s just something about being able to inspire people and to help them find their place in the sport that keeps me going. I love talking with younger athletes and being able to help them better understand my sport and what it’s all about.
NRA Family: Have you encouraged or inspired other young women whom you know to try shooting? Do you have any stories about that?
Emma Williams: I actually have a younger friend who has been my inspiration throughout my shooting career. She has always looked up to me and I think that has pushed me to be the best athlete and person that I can be. I’ve been able to see her grow up and become the person she is today, and I’m glad to have been and to be an influential part of her life. One of my favorite things is when she calls me to tell me about her day, or how well she shot and how excited she is to go shooting.
NRA Family: What does the future hold?
Emma Williams: As many people say, the future is uncertain. I don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow, where I’ll be in a week, but one thing I know for sure, is that as long as I am able, I want to be as involved as possible in the shooting sports community. I have met some of my truest friends and made some of my fondest memories through shooting and I want to do as much as I can to give back and aid people in their shooting journeys.
NRA Family: Is there a particular discipline in shooting sports that you'd like to try?
Emma Williams: I would really like to try sport pistol. I got to watch it in Korea and it seemed so intense and precise. My hands are really shaky and I’ll probably wind up fidgeting the whole time, but it seems really fun and I’d like to give it a go.
NRA Family: Usually, young people get tremendous support from family members ... what's your story?
Emma Williams: My family has always been extremely supportive of everything I have done. My mom is the person I go to to vent about my bad days – either on the range or just life in general. She always knows how to calm me down and get me back to my normal self. I go to my dad when I need a little push. He knows how to push my buttons and make me fight for what I want. We call it “constructive anger.” They have been my support system and the foundation of who I am since the beginning and I am very grateful to have the best two people I know as parents.
NRA Family: What else do you like to do when you're not training or shooting?
Emma Williams: Some of my favorite hobbies outside of shooting involve hanging out with my friends and family, aimlessly driving around while listening to music, fish keeping and finding new places to go sight seeing. I don’t have much free time between school and shooting, but I like to fill it surrounded by the people I love doing my favorite things.
Lead image courtesy USA Shooting
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