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FLVH ,W·V D ÀQH PRWRU FRQWURO VSRUW ,Q JHQHUDO ÀQH PRWRU control sports are more dis- rupted by pressure, anxiety or nerves than gross motor sports like running or swim- ming,” said Sean McCann, Senior Sports Psychologist for the USOC. “Being a little bit off can make things re- ally off. Because you’re do- ing such a small movement that any slight variation, just being a little bit off makes them so volatile. In some sports, if a top athlete has a bad day mentally or physi- cally, that just means that they don’t set a world record or that they get a silver med- al instead of a gold medal. In shooting, if you’re having a rough day mentally, then you can go from the top three into the 60s.” 0HUULDP :HEVWHU GHÀQHV

the world “sport” as “a con- test or game in which people do certain physical activities DFFRUGLQJ WR D VSHFLÀF VHW RI rules and compete against each other.” Shooting has been included as an Olym-

pic sport since the inception of the modern Olympiad in 1896. The founder of the modern Olympic movement, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, was himself an avid pistol shooter. A former French champion, de Coubertin supported the inclusion of four pistol and two high-pow- HU ULÁH HYHQWV RQ WKH 2O\PSLF program. The current Olym- pic program consists of 15 2O\PSLF HYHQWV DFURVV ULÁH pistol and shotgun. In the introduction to

Olympic Shooting by Col. Jim Crossman, two-time Olympic Champion and Vice Presi- dent of the International Shooting Sports Federation Gary Anderson wrote: “It is to the credit of the Olym- pic movement that a wide range of athlete attributes are tested by many different sports and individual events in the Olympic program. Those events are not limited to testing speed or strength or endurance. Many Olym- pic events also test precise motor control skills and the

athletes’ mental abilities to continue to perform those skills under the pressure of competition. Shooting is that kind of sport and has been an important part of the Olympic sports calendar since the modern inception in 1896.” “Every Olympic sport is a combination of physical and mental requirements. There’s no doubt in my mind that shooting has the tough- est mental requirements of any Olympic sport,” said McCann. “For me, it’s just an issue of what’s the ratio. Some sports are very physi- cally dependent and have some mental components, some are very mentally dominant and have some physical components, and I think shooting is more in that area. You can’t say any sport is purely physical or purely mental. They’re all some sort of combination. But if you’re looking at dif- ÀFXOW\ RQ WKH PHQWDO VLGH there’s nothing tougher than shooting.”

Clinical Assistant Profes- sor at the University of South Carolina and USOC physio- therapist Cathy Arnot may fo- cus on the physical training and rehabilitation of shoot- ing athletes, but she even recommends that all ath- letes in the sport work with a sports psychologist as much as possible because of the profound physical effects a shooter’s psychological state can have in a match. ´,Q ULÁH DQG SLVWRO ZKHUH

it’s more of a static sport that relies so much on bal- ance and steadiness, your body will have a strong reac- tion to strong emotions like getting nervous or getting angry,” she said. “So if they take a bad shot and they’re mad, the top athletes have to have the ability to make themselves calm down when they get that sympathetic response. Their adrenaline surges, it negatively affects their steadiness, and they have to be able to control their strong emotions while shooting.”

March 2016 | USA Shooting News 35

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