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Pistol Update


BY SERGEY LUZOV NATIONAL TEAM COACH FOR PISTOL


Pistol Program: Now is the Time to Make the Diff erence


Opportunity and prepara-


tion led to earning an Air Pis- tol Olympic quota courtesy of a Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho, pictured) victory at Championship of the Ameri- cas, two junior world titles by Alex Chichkov (Temple Ter- race, Florida) along with his fi rst open-category medal (bronze) at the Champion- ship of the Americas. Ad- ditionally, Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colorado) earned a gold at World Cup USA and made two other World Cup fi nals while Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Flor- ida) fi nished fourth at World Cup Finals. We also had good results from our Junior Women in Air Pistol includ- ing Alana Townsend (Ka- lispell, Montana) who made the Final at Bavarian Airgun along with a Team silver medal at the Junior World Cup where Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kansas) was a top performer, fi nishing two points out of the fi nal. Despite those highlights,


we did not perform up to our abilities. The lessons learned in not performing well are many. Fundamen- tally, we must become stron- ger and it must take place with a more intense training regimen. Athletes must al- ready have in place the cor- rect positioning, equipment adjustments, trigger control and follow-through critical in the most important match-


es. This, specifi cally, is what training time and experience are for. Additionally, the new Fi-


nals format requires a cer- tain mindset to be comfort- able. The reality is that there are two separate matches now in competing for med- als – one is a Qualifi cation match, and the second is a Finals match, and they are very different. Athletes have to have two different match and training strategies to be good in both. The pool of the athletes in the world who are capable of making Finals is growing. New athletes from multiple countries are con- stantly joining that list, but the pistol powers are still producing the most includ- ing South Korea, China and Ukraine. The challenge of making the Final is greater now than a few years ago with scores that used to make fi nals not even sniffi ng such any longer.


Team selection demon-


strates that most of our elite athletes are still shooting the same scores as a few years ago, scores that aren’t competitive internationally with just seven athletes in 2014 shooting scores ca- pable of making a Final at a world-class level. Our focus needs to be on developing performance consistency at world-class score levels in order to build athlete con- fi dence. For that, we need training environments at a level where athletes chal- lenge each other on a daily basis and reach for higher scores in all drills routinely. Only then can athletes learn how to compete on the edge of their abilities and be com- fortable with it. In 2015, we are planning


on more training and com- petition opportunities. We want to create and provide more world-class training to challenge our best athletes throughout the year. We are


also targeting the sport’s elite international athletes to invite them to training camps with our best ath- letes in the U.S. With just fi ve chances to win Olympic quotas in 2015, this fall and winter is the time to make the difference and build the foundation to compete suc- cessfully on the internation- al stage in 2015. I greatly appreciate our


Assistant National coaches Vladimir Chichkov, Russ Doucette, Eric Pueppke, Steve Faught and In Kim in helping raise the new generation of competitors and promoting our Olympic sport. I also want to extend my thanks to Bud Kucera, Chuck Platt and Jim Shaver for making a big difference in running quality events, training matches and drills at the OTC as well as to all coaches in the country try- ing to make our Pistol pro- gram better.


Year in Review 2014 | USA Shooting News 21


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