In Part -I, I had defined talent as “the ability to quickly adapt to the demands of the sport”.
The biggest challenge a shooter faces, is - HIM/HER SELF. And only one in a thousand shooters has the ability to change himself. To bring about the changes within himself. Let me give you a few examples;
Most shooters, go on the range to shoot 60 shots to 70 shots and THINK that they have done enough for the day and if they continue in this fashion, they will soon be able to raise their shooting levels to international standards.
When they realise that to become an international level shooter, they must practice at least 120 – 150 shots per session for two sessions a day. FIVE times a week. A total of 4 to 5 hours each day and a minimum of 25 hours per week - they are understandably shocked!
One of my students, a very sincere young man, was similarly shocked when he realised the amount of effort and time one has to put in.
Most of the aspiring young shooters today get deflated at this stage itself, unable to adapt to the demands related to the extra time and effort.
The second stage of adaption is the realisation that merely shooting LIVE on the range even for 4 to 5 hours is simply not good enough. Shooters have to follow a STRUCTURED training program which is a combination of ‘dry’ shooting and ‘live’ shooting.
In a well structured program this ratio of dry shooting to dry firing is almost 1 : 100 !
Which means that a shooter has to practice dry firing for at least 100 shots before he shoots one live shot!
Most shooters find dry firing terribly boring, understandably so because there is no instant gratification or joy when you shoot on an actual target and check the result.
But dry firing is extremely important for mastering Sight Alignment, Reducing the arc of movement and obtaining a sharp focus on the foresight. All three elements combine to form the ‘aiming process’.
Until unless the aiming process is mastered, it is not possible to master the trigger operation. And only a correctly designed dry firing program can lead you to mastery over the aiming process in the initial stages of a shooter’s development.
Any half baked shooter can perform the role of a coach and can print out dozens of so called training programs. Most beginners get taken in by the dubious quality of such training programs, which are not even worth the paper they are printed on. As result a shooter ends up wasting his valuable time and effort.
A truly good training program, should be able to achieve the following;
1. The effort put in by the shooter should be measurable. Therefore, a training program is useless without a measuring system or tool to measure the inputs of the shooter per session.
2. The training load, (no. of shots fired per session) should be designed based on the shooter’s age, physical fitness and mental capabilities.
3. The training program should be goal oriented and while following it, the shooter must enjoy each and every session.
4. Finally and most importantly, the training program should QUICKLY help the shooter to Master the skills.
After mastering the aiming process through a well designed training program, the next level of adaption deals with the trigger operation.
Mastering the trigger operation calls for a single minded focus (mental focus) on the trigger operation before, during and after the shot is fired. This is also called as trigger follow through.
Once again, a good training program can help a shooter to develop and master the art and science of 100 % mentally focussing on the trigger operation.
The final adaption deals with the mental skills for overcoming match pressure. I have seen so many talented shooters shooting brilliantly during practice yet failing time on again, to translate their practice scores in matches.
A good training program for developing the mental skills for overcoming match pressure is critical at this juncture.
Many talented and hard working shooters across the globe are availing of these training programs and modules on this website. Their daily session wise progress is monitored, doubts and difficulties are immediately sorted out. All of them are enjoying their training and are enthusiastic and sincerely believe that these modules will help them to improve their shooting performances.