Training and Shooting

Overview: Training to Win

Starting out, shooting athletes are told to train hard and, with diligence, you'll become a talented marksman. So, how do you actually train? What’s involved? How do you reach your goal?

Lanny Bassham, Olympic gold medallist and rifle shooter, advises beginners to find the best shooters and steal their techniques and training plans. Study the champions: listen and observe. Once you figure out what they are doing, copy them shamelessly. Afterwards, when you've attained a level of competence, move from copying others to adapting the training and skills to be unique to yourself. For instance, learn the proper, textbook stance and then (later) modify it to suit your particular frame. First copy, then create.

Canada is a big country and that tends to isolate our shooters and coaches. I'd wager that its similar throughout the United States as well. As such, you'll have to read whatever you can on the subject, as I've been doing (and I guess that's why you're here.) Of particular note, I've been looking for training schedules and annual plans, essentially anything that says: "Do this for "x" minutes, so many times a week for this time period." This is an overview of what I’ve read.

Warning: some people have said some things that others won't agree with. Everyone's personal experience is unique. What worked for Ragnar Skanaker may fail miserably for you. Furthermore, some recommendations are harsh and could lead to inflamed joints or worse. Be careful in every aspect of your training and always check with your coach and/or doctor before you try anything. Listen to pain: your body is telling you that something is wrong. Also, beware of over-training: too much of a good thing can lead to burnout, both physically and mentally.

Lastly, these are my impressions of other people's anecdotal thoughts on their personal training experiences. There is no empirical data that proves that one particular training method is superior to another. None-the-less, while there is no definitive answer, threads of commonality run through them all. (For an excellent online read, check out Pilkington’s Interview Page.)

TargetShooting Canada - Copyright 2001: Patrick Haynes