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So often, it’s the little things that go wrong that can seriously affect results and drop the confidence level to a new found low. What a funny feeling this is, when your head seems to be missing the top half! Where the grey matter resembles mush… wondering why the heck you ever took up small bore shooting, when you could be out fishing or something.


Psychologically, any athlete is affected by confidence factors - even an argument with the long suffering wife can wipe out a shooters edge really fast, for any number of reasons. To shoot really well your mind needs to be clear as crystal, without any of the trappings of everyday life. The one thing about the shootings sports is that it really is individual, you are up there, on your own and very soon the results on the board are there for all to see.


To go through the form-loss problem can be extremely frustrating, so much so that even knee-deep in fired cases has no rewards and even less results. You start to doubt everything - I have seen shooters struggling, then go out and buy a brand new Anschutz, or Bleiker rifle in the idea their rifle is ‘shot out’, or go and buy a new batch of Tenex or R50, just to see if that makes any difference!


Well in my experience, I have isolated three areas that more than likely are the culprits of form-loss. These are:


1. Health of the shooter. 2. Mechanical issues with the gear, such as the sighting example I set out above.


3. Weight issues with the shooter themselves.


Health of the shooter. This often is the cause of loss of form. Any illness can be detrimental and particularly in the spring weather where allergy issues affecting the sinus and eye sight is quite common. My Wife Cheryl, who herself is no mug with a target rifle, is severely affected by the spores of the Australian Wattle tree. As soon as these things start to bloom in late winter, early spring, she turns into a tearful, sneezing, nose running mess! She calls our national flower a ‘noxious weed’ and seeing what this does to her, I have a tendency to agree. Pretty difficult to shoot with a box of tissues as standard shooting equipment along side of you!


67


This SMALLBORE Business


If you have this sort of worry, then a course of anti- hystamine tablets are mandatory if you want to get anywhere up the results board.


Hypertension, (blood pressure issues) where medication is needed can also have fluctuating affects on scores. High blood pressure, particularly if you are a three position shooter, can be disastrous to any sort of form. It is extremely important that your blood pressure is stable and medical attention is often required. A reading of 120/70 is optimal for a top level shooter.


As usual, general fitness, though not entirely mandatory for a shooter, is highly desirable. I have seen some woefully unfit shooters that seem to put things together in spite of whatever but all I can say here is “There is more out there for you yet”!


I mentioned Tolly - he was an asthmatic who suddenly found himself in Mexico City for the 1968 Olympic Games. 8,000 feet up, with an atmosphere like pea soup! He came home really sick from that event and shot well in spite of everything…..


Be what ever, get on top of your health issues, if you want to stay in touch with your form. If it goes for a walk, find out if it is you that needs to go for a walk too! These days, a fresh air addict is one that sleeps with the window shut!


The mechanical issues with your


gear can have an effect. In spite of the troubles I listed above, where lack of confidence due to loss of form becomes somewhat of a major trouble spot, it CAN be due to equipment hassles.


The one cause I have found with those having loss of form worries can often be the fact that the rifle needs a good clean out. I have seen smallbore shooters who have never cleaned the barrel in it’s life! Somewhere close to 10,000 rounds through the barrel! I have seen good stainless barrels with so much lead in them it is not funny. (My gunsmith, Fred Lawler of RTM really loves these blokes!)


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