Shooting Sports – An Introduction By Anand C K Shashidhar

Shooting Sports – An Introduction By Anand C K Shashidhar- Sport of shooting is probably India’s fastest growing sport and also India’s best bet in the International podium, as the recent Asian games tally proves. Shooting topped with 7 Gold of the 22 medals that contributed to India’s 1-7 medal haul. This short article will provide a brief introduction and insight to this sport.

All sporting events fall into 2 major categories – Active and Passive. Active sports include all events that need extensive physical prowess, while a Passive sport is more of the mind. Shooting is more in the second category. I have observed that another possible differentiation is how the athlete uses or controls the body’s metabolism. Shooting requires maximum control over bodily emotions, in an effort to remain a constant throughout the event. And this would require one to completely understand every part of themselves, and fine tune their performance to ensure that two deliveries are met. First is to develop a Rhythm that would result in a perfect scoring shot, and the Second would be to repeat this rhythm the number of times the event dictates.

And to achieve this state of constant perfection, there is no one single rule that would work for all, and therefore, precision marksmanship warrants an attitude of perfection, in effort, mindset, equipment and execution. And to do this, the fine tuning required in everyone’s growth curve would probably define this as a Prescriptive Sport. One that requires monitoring of several aspects of training, lifestyle, and results, based on which a disciplined and customized approach is ‘Prescribed’ to ensure perfection in every action and every shot.

Classification of Shooting Events

The event itself has a matrix of categories, firstly segregated by the type of gun used, and secondly by the distance or method of shooting. The types of guns can be Rifle, Pistol & Shotgun. Rifles and Pistols are further classified under firearms and air guns. Further rifle events can be over 50 meters and 10 meters, while pistol events are for 50 meters, 25 meters and 10 meters. All 10 meter events are done with air guns, while the rest use firearms. Under shotgun, there are two events, the Trap and Skeet. And considering that all these events have men, women, junior and youth categories, with each category allowing a team of up to 3 shooters, the total contingent of the country, in any International event, could easily be many dozens of shooters. Thus allowing for a larger contingent to participate and increasing chances of more medals.

Rules and Equipment in Shooting Events

Each event has a different set of rules in terms of number of shots, distance to target, total time allotted, etc. And given that the positions change, the set of allowable equipment and accessories vary along with the type of gun used, its allowable weight, dimension and other technicalities. The positions themselves warrant a proper understanding of hold, stance as it’s referred to. 

But in all this melee of rules, distances, types of ammo used etc., one thing remains as one of the foundational setup for good shooting, which is the Rhythm. A proper rhythm can mean a lot in terms of proper execution of every shot. And it is this rhythm that every shooter must develop and perfect, so that it can be repeated as many times as required, for that perfect score. And to achieve this particular rhythm is the first big challenge that most shooters have to go through.

What happens in most cases is that new shooting enthusiasts blindly follow what they are told, probably by myopic instructors, or by looking at others’ training. But most do not understand that Sports Shooting Coaching is Prescriptive in nature. This would mean that the rhythm and all its elements have to be tried to its variance capacity to jointly make that one rhythm which perfectly suits that shooter. Unfortunately, in most cases, this is not the case.

Individual Differences in Shooting Technique

To understand this, in a very simple way, if we measure the dimensions of our palm with anyone else. We can find that they have quite a few variations. Therefore, the grip taken by one person is not the same that the other takes. This means that the pressure applied by various parts of the palm and fingers are not equal either. So how can the grip of the rifle that suits one person perfectly match another? And this is just one of the several dozen aspects that make up sports shooting. So every aspect, from position and angle of foot to the numerous settings on the gun will all change from person to person.

Technological Advancements in Shooting Equipment

Thankfully, and with technological advancement, modern day guns come with numerous adjustments. A combination of which is to be scoured for that perfect fit. Even the jackets and trousers that shooters wear, are customized to the shooter’s body type and event. And to make these fine adjustments, a mind well aware of all these combinations . And its use or disadvantages should be considered as a mentor. If not, most shooters end up wasting their career taking blind paths.

And to create a better awareness of this sport and all its nuances. I have authored India’s First and Comprehensive Guide to Sports Shooting, titled 10X. More information can be found at Target10X.com.

Of the several sections that cover this vast sport and its variants. The first and most important chapter should be on Safety . Since all guns are capable of causing injury when used incorrectly. Strict adherence to the safety aspects is what has insofar allowed Sport of Shooting to remain as one of the safest games across the world with the least number of casualties.

Historical Evolution of Shooting as a Sport

It is interesting to note how this sport has grown from its inception as a mode of warfare to one of the most common sports across the world. While shooting itself realized its founding in the 13th century when gunpowder. Or its resemblance, was used in China, its growth was triggered with the sole intention of use in warfare. Military strength of a nation was directly proportional to its Fire Power or in other words the capability of its guns. As wars required more R & D of weapons, an assortment of guns resulted for use in different conditions and situations. And as wars reduced, the next best option for these guns was to be used as sport. Hunting was the initial form of sport and as animals reduced. Shooters had to be content with paper and clay targets. 

Shooting Events in the Olympics and Other Federations

The shooting events held in the Olympics, are under the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) norms, which makes these events the cream of the gamut of what is included under Shooting Sports. There are many other federations which have varied modes of events. In all, the actual number of events that exist within the Shooting Sports charter is abundant enough to suit anyone’s taste. Be it as a Professional outlook, or for just fun and hobby.

All in all, and to summarize the requirements to delve into this sport. The initial requirement would be a focused mind, dedication and time. Rest all will follow. Most shooting events are not too demanding on physical prowess, but general fitness will have to be achieved. Also, there is no gender or age bar, which means that anyone probably over the age of 11 years. Even if they wear prescription glasses, can dive into this wonderful sport.

One other important thing to note is that few events, like the Indoor Air Gun events. It can be safely practiced even at home, and at any part of the day. And since shooters will only have to focus on being better than what they were the last time. There is no need for a competitor and therefore practice at any desired or available time.

And last but not least, in this age of handholding wherein most of the modern generation have all their decisions made by their elders or the web. A sport like shooting is a great and probably a mandatory method for an individual to improve their focus. Learn more about themselves, make mistakes, correct it on their own, and keep growing into a better self, every day!

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