Monday, September 14, 2015

Becoming a Champion... Not just in Airguns

On the 10 hour flight back from 2015 World Field Target Championship, I was doing my typical post match performance review analyzing where I can improve.

I ended up tied for 8th overall with a score of 137/150. The champion ended up with a score of 144. What was the difference between him and I? What could I have done better?

My breakdown is as follows:
Day 1 - 45/50 90% - missed 3/4 standing, 2 wind
Day 2 - 46/50 92% - missed 2/4 kneeling, 1 wind, 1 wrong target( offhand that I hit)
Day 3 - 46/50 92% - missed 2/4 standing, 1 range finding due to temp, 1 wind

So basically I missed 5 standing due to skill, 1 due to wrong target. Just those 6 would have put me at a 143. I also missed 2 kneelers, which would have put me at a 145; or 1st place.

Analysis complete. Need to perfect standing, tighten up a little more on kneeling. Wind is wind, I feel only missing 4 shots due to wind is pretty good.

The thought of perfecting my standing somewhat turns my stomach as I did what I consider is a lot of work before hand, and it still wasn't good enough. Match pressure got the best of me and I hurried through my shots as opposed to slowing down and waiting for the right moment.

I found out later that Sergey Zubenko who won first place practiced 10m shooting in the winter. I didn't get a chance to chat with him about it, but I assume he didn't miss any standers :-|

While reflecting, I also watched Ian Taylor who landed 3rd place during my last day. A 3 time World Champion and probably more British/Euro trophies than he can fit in his closet. He always had a nice steady pace, no "gimpy shooting jacket". Come to think of it, Jack Harris took 2nd with no shooting jacket. Nor did Andy Calpin, a legend of his own with 2 World Championships who took 6th. I watched Andy on a shoot off for 6th. He had a similar routine as Ian, nice slow pace waiting for the right shot. Then after winning the shootoff, he pulled the target back up to see where he hit it. Funny, I would have been happy just to win and moved on. LOL

So that's the difference, they never stop learning, they make every shot like a championship shot. Also, Ian and Andy have been shooting 25-30+ years each. If I think about how much practice these people have put in, it's tough to comprehend. Sergey practiced 10m. I know the Brit's all shoot the NEFTA Classic which includes 2 days of Field Target and Silhouette. They all practice A LOT of offhand. They have it down to an art.

So what does it take to become a Champion. LOTS of practice, and LOTS of preparation. At the end of the day, anyone in the top 10 of any sport is really good. What makes the top 3 the best? Practice and preparation. None of them are up there by accident. They put a lot of work into it. They all have some innate talent and good equipment, but some have prepared and/or practiced more than others.