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How Much Training is Enough? The fundamental answer

is that young shooters who truly want to rise to the top of the rank lists should train as much as they can, balanced, of course, with their respon- sibilities to family, school and good health. Standard advice for how much juniors in the USA should train sug- gests that shooting one or two hours a day, two or three days a week, is about right. But that advice pales in comparison with what is practiced in China, a nation that has enjoyed remarkable success in producing juniors who win World Cup, World Championship and Olympic medals in open competi- tion. The 2015 ISSF World Cup Finals provide just one recent example. There three Chinese juniors, who were 18 or 19, won four medals (2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze), in open competition. When we asked Chinese National Team Leader Yifu Wang, who is himself a six-time Olympic pistol medalist, how much these young athletes train, he described a program that begins at age 11 or 12 DQG WKDW LQFOXGHV DERXW ÀYH KRXUV RI VKRRWLQJ D GD\ ÀYH or six days a week, plus two hours of physical training, plus school work. When we asked Wang whether young shooters in this age group could train too much, he simply answered “no.” There are no secrets as to why Chi- nese juniors are winning; they are working harder than everyone else.

Desire to Train and Compete

When a young shooter

embarks on a serious train- ing program and begins to set higher goals, another set of questions must be an- swered. This is because too often the drive to train and compete comes from mom and dad or the coach. Those goals and the resolve to train a lot must come from the young shooter, not the par- ents or coach. Many young shooters truly enjoy shooting and training as well as going to matches and competing. Other young shooters enjoy learning how to shoot, but are simply not motivated to do a lot of shooting. Junior shooters must be given a chance to sort out what they want out of shooting. Are they really excited about the idea of trying to win and training hard? If this person- al soul-searching yields neg- ative answers, then respect those feelings. But if young shooters can honestly say they like to train and com- pete, then encourage them to go for it.

Training Smarter In shooting today, there

are many young people all over the world and in the USA who are willing to do the huge amounts of training needed to excel. This means that

to compete against

these athletes, there must also be other ways to gain an advantage. This edge must come from training smarter, from doing things that help training achieve maximum effectiveness.

Intensity and Reward Adopting a work ethic means doing more training - usually a lot more training - but more training cannot MXVW EH ÀULQJ DV PDQ\ VKRWV as possible. For live or dry training repetitions to have positive training effects they must be 1) performed cor- rectly, 2) performed with intensity and focus and 3) result in a sense of reward. Correct performance means following a well-prepared shot plan. Intensity and fo- FXV LV GHÀQHG E\ FRQFHQWUD- tion and effort. A sense of reward is the good feeling, HYHQ D ÁHHWLQJ VHQVH RI MR\ which comes from shooting good shots that are per- formed correctly. Training must be fun or the young shooter will not continue do- ing it.

Keeping a Shooter’s Journal A key element in train- ing smarter is keeping a shooter’s journal or diary. A well-kept journal provides a record of training prog- UHVV EXW LWV PRVW EHQHÀFLDO role lies in helping shooters analyze performances. Any young shooter who wants to become a whole lot better must keep a shooter’s jour- nal and be highly disciplined about making insightful en- tries in it after every shoot- ing exercise.

Using a Shot Plan Firing great shots and scores requires performing a myriad of details inher- ent in shot technique the same way for each shot. This means paying attention to details, performing them correctly and with consis-

52 USA Shooting News | March 2016

tency. The best way to do that is to develop a detailed shot plan and then to follow it precisely.

After that, the

EHQHÀWV IURP D VKRW SODQ come from developing the self-discipline to follow the SODQ IRU HDFK VKRW ÀUHG LQ practice and in matches.

Doing a Pre-Shot Routine A key part of the shot plan

is what the shooter does to “prepare the position” and “start the shot.” The things a shooter does to prepare WKH ÀULQJ SRVLWLRQ DQG WR be physically and mentally SUHSDUHG WR ÀUH DQ DFFX- rate shot are called a “pre- VKRW URXWLQH µ 5LÁH VKRRWHUV check butt-plate and left el- bow locations, adjust their natural points of aim (NPA) and control balance and selective muscle relaxation. Pistol shooters focus on the coordinated breathing and arm lift that brings the pistol onto the aiming point and on achieving visual focus on the sight picture. Spending extra time before the shot to carry out a pre-shot routine is an essential way to train and compete smarter.

Shot Calling, Follow- Through and Analysis Another vital part of the

shot plan concerns what the shooter does after the shot. Perfecting this phase of the shot includes devel- oping precise shot calling skills, achieving consistent follow-through and having a feedback loop where each shot is analyzed to provide necessary correction cues for the next shot. Read the rest of this

story at wholelotbetter.

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