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Shotgun Update


BY TODD GRAVES NATIONAL TEAM COACH FOR SHOTGUN


The Shotgun Approach To Success: Prepare for a marathon and two sprints


Phenomenal! This word


best captures the success of our season. To be more spe- cifi c, we won 16 individual medals in international com- petitions, 11 medals at the World Championships and earned three Olympic quo- tas. Arguably one of the fi n- est years that our Team has ever experienced, I believe several key changes contrib- uted to our 2014 success. At the close of 2013,


USA Shooting’s Director of Operations, David Johnson, met with National Assistant Coaches Dwayne Weger and Jay Waldron and me to begin strategically planning our path to the 2016 Olym- pic Games and to improve upon overall performance. After the 2012 Olympic Games, the competition pro- cedures were changed in all three shotgun disciplines in order to increase the level of excitement for spectators. The adoption of these


new rules put forth by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) placed new pressures and chal- lenges on the athletes. The old scoring system could be described as a marathon race. A shooter needed to stay steady and shoot con- sistently good scores to maximize the opportunity for a medal. Under the new set of rules, however, we begin with a marathon followed by two sprint races.


During 2013, we con-


tinued hosting selection matches and selecting Teams with the same pro- cess long-since used: off of the combined scores of two selection matches (500 to 600 targets total) plus a single fi nal. This method was perfect for selecting those “marathon” athletes to go win medals. However, with the new and more challeng- ing rules, we recognized the need to revise our selection procedures to better pre- pare our athletes and team. For 2014, we initiated a


points selection process, breaking down each of the past two selection matches into four small matches (each match 125 to 150 targets) with a fi nal at the end of each. (These smaller matches total the exact num- ber of targets the men shoot in international competition, and the fi nals operate in the same format as they do under the new rules.) Place- ment points are then added to the score of each athlete that makes a fi nal: 5 for 1st, 4 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, 2 for 4th and 1 each for 5th and 6th.


Josh Richmond (left) and Jeff Holguin (right) square off in the gold-medal match at the ISSF World Cup in Tucson, Arizona.


Photo by: Marco Dalla Dea/ISSF


For example, if trap shooter John Smith shot a 125 in the prequalifi cation and won the gold medal, he would have 130 points for the match. If Bill Jones shot 118 and fi n- ished third after the fi nal, he would have 121 points, and so on. At the end of the last selection (4th match), all points are added together and the three with the high- est point totals have earned their berth on the team in their respective discipline. This new selection pro-


cess allows our athletes to shoot matches in the same format as we compete in overseas. It also allows for more fi nals competition with weight being added to these fi nals. During six com- bined matches in 2013 (four World Cups, World Cham- pionship and World Cup Fi- nal) our Open Team made 17 fi nals appearances and won six medals for a conver- sion percentage of 35%. In


2014, in the same matches, our Open Team made 25 fi - nals appearances and won 17 medals for a conversion percentage of 68% and this does not even include our Junior Team members who won three individual World Championship medals. In 2014, we put more athletes into Finals and once they were in the Final, they won far more frequently. The new system seems to be paying dividends. This year was an awe-


some year for Shotgun. Our athletes worked their butts off to make the team and then worked even harder to bring home the hardware. We are excited about the prospects of 2015 and, on down the road, to the Olym- pic Games in 2016.


18 USA Shooting News | Year in Review 2014


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