Courtesy of Helen Smith: Gold Medalist, Women’s Individual Air Pistol, 1994 Commonwealth Games.
While the Finals format has changed, this is a good exercise to develop your ability to fire your shot and perform on demand. Sometimes, you’ll see an athlete struggling to break their shot. They may abort and re-try several times, before finally releasing. If this sounds familiar to you, then this is a good exercise to practice.
||Shooters are called to the line, in the order they finished the match. You set up.
||Command: Your preparation time begins now.
(3 minutes prep time during which you my dry fire.)
||Command: Your seven minute sighter time begins now.
(You have 4 sighter target on which to shoot unlimited sighters. A 30 sec. warning is given.
(After this your gun must be open, but not cocked between each shot.)
||Command: For your first shot LOAD
(You load one shot, cocking it & keep it benched.)
||Command: Attention. 3-2-1-START
(These are about 1 sec.apart. You have 75 sec. to fire the shot. When all competitors have shot, or 75 sec. has elapsed…)
||Command: Change targets
(You return your target, put it on the seat behind you or hand it off, then send down next target.)
||Command: For you next competition shot, Load
(Note they don’t count out the shots)
||Repeat until all shots have been delivered.
||Practice with this MP3: finals_10-50m Right click and “Save Target As…”
Set up your equipment to DRYFIRE beside your computer or download this to an MP3 player and take it down to the range. It essentially duplicates commands 4-7, with the “For your next shot LOAD” until “Change targets”.
||After each shot, the scoring jury will call out the scores for each position. This is when it can get a little unnerving because you’re hearing everyone’s score. There’s cheering, clapping, groans etc. So this is where and when you let the sound wash over you. Keep your focus very strongly in your own world: talk, chant to yourself. Remember: it ain’t over until it’s over.
As I like to think of it, this is the thrill we don’t get from our sport. This is the adrenaline rush (controlled of course), our down-hill ski race! The added nerves make your eye-sight sharper, your sense of touch more sensitive, your mind more focused (flight or fight). And it truly is that.
So practice the process. Practice the isolation. Practice shutting the mind off, or chanting your mantra, in between each shot. Practice the routine of the event. That’s Finals!