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(perhaps the ones with better coaches) end up going to NCAA shooting teams. If anything, this “second-half” of their develop- ment is just as critical as the fi rst half at their club. Yet what we see very often is stagnation or sometimes even a regression in skill level of the athletes in col- lege. Certainly there are many life changes happening in their age group, but how much is caused by a lack of coaching knowledge at this level of athlete. Some re- sort to peer coaching but this de- pends entirely on who happens to be there on the team at that time and if they have experience with a particular problem. It is hit and miss. The more all coaches know

and the more the collegiate coaches and I interact the better athlete development can be. So I am a big advocate for

coach education. If we want a broader, deeper fi eld of ath- letes vying for the next Olympic team slots, then we all, club coaches, JROTC and HS, and collegiate coaches, must refl ect on what we expect of ourselves and our athletes and focus on self-improvement. I think the biggest, more powerful tool in the coach’s toolbox is an ac- tive search button for coach- ing knowledge and application.

Mindset I believe all athletes respond

in a similar way to training but that each athlete responds in- dividually. All athletes must be treated as individuals who will respond differently compared to another athlete subjected to the same training conditions. I believe any gain in perfor-

mance comes from training. There is little I can do at a com- petition to help someone shoot better. The improvement comes from the hard work, the training before the match, provides the

performance improvement; not the coach. It isn’t magic. If you want to shoot better:

Work both smarter and harder. If you don’t seem to be mak-

ing progress: It is likely that you have adapted to what you are doing now. You need to change something; more shots, more time, maybe less, but probably more. Change forces the body to adapt to new challenges. If you can’t seem to get the

same position: You probably have not really learned it thor- oughly in the fi rst place. Up- Downs are the answer. Increase the number of opportunities to

is all about precision. Exacting requirements for exacting stan- dards. I got my BS in Chemis- try many years ago because I wanted to know how things were put together. How things worked. I like science and measurement. I think our rifl e sport tends to attract those who seek out sym- metry and precision. This can be a two edged sword, since those same people are also prone to “paralysis by analysis” and may have a challenge completing the shot because it is not “per- fect.” Another aspect that I really like is shooting in the wind. It is not purely scientifi c like bal-

“I believe any gain in performance comes from training. There is little I can do at a competition to help someone shoot better. The improvement comes from the hard work, the training before the match, provides the performance improve- ment; not the coach. It isn’t magic.”

get into the position, not just once or twice per training ses- sion, but multiple times. Remember the defi nition of

insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Most things you can do at the lower end of the performance spectrum will have a positive effect on score in a short time (sometimes instantly) as long as they follow the correct position theory and shooting fun- damentals. Sometimes it takes a while for a change to take hold. This is especially true at the top end of performance. Testing a change for several weeks is not unusual at this level. In fact the higher the performance level the longer it takes to evaluate a change to determine if it indeed is a worthwhile change or no What do you like most? Rifl e shooting in particular

listics, but choosing the correct tactic for the condition and be- ing in sync with the condition is much more like art. It is beauti- ful when it is fl owing correctly.

What do you like least? I suppose there must be

something that I would rather not do if I didn’t need to, but coaching such a highly techni- cal sport requires equally high or higher technical and tactical planning of all aspects of per- formance including nutrition, strength and conditioning, psy- chological skills, etc. To be suc- cessful and to help the athletes, I need to be up to speed on ev- erything. I haven’t yet run across anything I dislike about the sport.

Mentors I wanted to play baseball hav- ing been involved at the youth

May 2013 | USA Shooting News 45

level with some fair success. When I was not invited back af- ter the fi rst week of tryouts for my high school JV team I needed to fi nd something to do. My high ed me to take the hunter safety course so we could go hunting after school. As part of the grad- uation we had to demonstrate how to safely load and fi re a rifl e. My fi rst 15 shots on an old sin- gle bull A-17 target were spread from top to bottom and side to side, but I loved it and resolved to return the following Saturday to improve. I was hooked. My fi rst coach and my hunter Safety instructor was Louis A DeLauche. He was a Canadian ex-pat who lived in my small town in Wis- consin. He had been a good long range rifl e shooter in Canada and had started a junior rifl e club and there I found myself a place where I could learn about a fun sport and be challenged to learn for myself. We did not know every detail about positions that some of the big teams of the day like the Acorns and the Langley Junior Rifl e teams but we knew the fundamentals and worked to make logical changes. Some were good and some were not successful, but we kept working at it.

My college coach also was

not a technical shooting coach. What he was, was a leader. He pushed us to keep improving he didn’t know exactly how to help us but he was motivated to keep us motivated. I have learned from everyone I have come across in the shooting sports. Some have helped me in ways that they can never know.

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