February notes

If someone can explain where did January go… please do so!

But complaining about how fast the time flies by is only going to aggravate me, I learned this one long time ago… so – no complains… but seriosuly… where did it go?! OK, kidding.

As January / February decided to bring some cold with them (not enough snow to build even one small snowman, the child is 100% dissapointed) I had to postpone my well-laid plans to get out of the house and on the range, for a few practice shots now and then. Mounting the gun excercises are going ok (not phenomenal, mostly because I hate going in the basement in the middle of the night! and that’s the only quiet moment when one can focus on some personal stuff, at least in this household )… but there is a need to do something… almost anything will do.

Watching William playing tennis once a week was just killing me – I love tennis, I love playing the game and for a few years I missed all the opportunities to play. Add the Australian Open I’ve been watching like a mad-woman @ 3:30 in the mornings – so it comes to no surprise that last Tuesday I marched into the office of the Membership Director at the Cedar Springs Club and… a few minutes later I was the happy owner of a family membership. After returning home I didn’t tell William anything, he would have get in the car and drive himself there – he’s been asking for months now to go to their pool (they have a water-slide and he was anxious to try it for the first time in his young life). But later that night I shared our new aquisition with head coach – and this time I had no power (and no will, to be truthful) to stop the man in my life: so come 11:30 PM who’s playing tennis on the only occupied court?! Yeah, you guessed it – the happy couple. Well – now ‘playing’ is a bit too much for what we were doing. Remember we hadn’t touched the tennis raquet in over 5 years (if not seven, I lost count) so no normal person can get on a tennis court at midnight and start serving for the Provincial Championships.

But we did what they call ‘cardio – or fitness – tennis’ and we enjoyed it enormously. Of course both of us found muscles we forgot we have… interestingly enough, like in horseback riding, we find completely different muscles. Not sure what that means, but it took me 2 days to be able to hold a pot of water with my right hand only (well… I do return the backhand with one hand only… and after the first 15 minutes Florin forgot I am the lady and started to return at his full power… so there you have it, the complete ‘excuse’).

Another intersting fact is that, like in trapshooting, tennis is (after taking the fitness form out of equation) a mind game – you have to watch the ball, not the raquet, you have to move smoothly, but firmly, you have to move your whole arm, not the wrist. Translation in trapshooting: watch the target, move smoothly, move the gun with the body, not the arms… I wonder if all sports get to the same 4-5 main focus ideas bottom line?!

So here you have my winter blues solution – can’t go to Florida (which will be my first option!) so we’ll just go to the tennis club and enjoy some evenings of fun.

For all of you who can stay out in the cold – remember to stay warm! For those who can’t – find some indoor activities that will keep you in form.

And, most important – have FUN! Winter is almost gone anyhow, spring is just around the corner… I can’t WAIT to get back to the range

In the meantime – See, Smooth, Smoke – ONE!

 

Random thoughts (2)

I was enjoing a quiet evening last week when Florin came from the club with incredible and sad news: one of the club members has passed away. I thought it would be one of the older gentlemen, and I was preparing to hear one of the familiar names – you know that feeling when something wrong happened and you wait for those few moments until to hear what exactly happened to pass. Then he said: John. A rapid brain-check and a stunning me: Kokoris? Yes.

I had to sit down – John was (as many trapshooters are) a person full of life, you could always be sure you’ll find a good laugh in his presence. Not only that, he was what I will call still young, definitely not a vet… I knew he’s been sick for a while, but when I talked to him last (sometimes in the summer) he was confident he was over the worst and recovering. Apparently it wasn’t the illness that took him away, but the all-so-dreaded heart attack.

As I was trying to comprehend what our trapshooting lives will be without John’s larger-than-life attitude, I became sadder and sadder: there won’t be any jokes from him from now on, no smiles when you shoot well, no comforting pats when you shoot not that well…

May you rest in peace, John (and smoke each one from now on, up there) – I have you and your family in my prayers!

And so I was again reminded to slow down and enjoy every single moment – to tell my dear ones they are loved, to meet my friends as often as possible and to laugh a lot. Life is so precious and we spend way too much time being unhappy when happiness is just there, at the tips of our fingers. We just need to reach it and grab it.

 

Yee-Haa (3) – Provincials Day 2

Or how to continue a great Championship!

The officials have been a bit slow in displaying information this year (apparently because some technical difficulties) and so we are slow in confirming some of the amazing results of this weekend.

On Friday, at the Winchester shoot, Garret won the Junior Handicap. His very first win in hist very first competition season!

Yesterday, in the Preliminaries – Chloe won her very first real trophy: Lady Handicap. I hope she’ll write something about it, the feelings related to such an event are great!

And today, in the Doubles Championship Phil won the Doubles Class D title – way to go…

Congratulations to all winners!

And to all our competing students: so far you did AMAZING! Matthew shot 300 targets in 3 days and he got better and better each and every day. Today he shot an amazing 76 in handicap, in unbeliveable windy conditions. Smokey B. Alex was constantly smoking targets every day and, by the look on his face, greatly enjoying himself. Sacha discovered the joy of shooting in less than perfect conditions and absolutely loved it! Dan was our usual cheerful team member, always finding ways to uplift the spirit of our young ones.

Welcome to 2009 Ontario Provincial Trapshooting Championships to Gyl, Doug, Alireza, Keith and Anthony – good work!!

We are all looking forward to tomorrow’s performances.

 

Yee-Haa (2) – Ontario Trapshooting Championships: Preliminary Day

 
Or let this be the day when ‘I got my swing back’

One of my favourite movies is ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’ – I love absolutely everything about it: the director (my #1 actor / director of all times, Robert Redford), the actors (I believe Matt Damon is one of the best in his generation, I love Will Smith to pieces, and I see Charlize Theron as the new Sharon Stone, with more style and finess – if that’s possible), the photography and, most of all, the message. I first watched the movie long before I was entertaining any ideas about competiting, long before I broke my first target. You know how a movie can impress you with one scene the best – and my ‘Legend’ scene was the one when Matt, after being 12 under par, at the beginning of his second 36 hole run gets the ‘See the field’ speech from Smith and then… while Will Smith is still talking everything blurs out and it’s only him and The Field… then even the field somehow comes closer and closer… in focus… Then, when he hits the ball – it is a perfect move, efortless and beautiful. And you hear Smith’s smile: ‘Yup, he got his swing back!’

And that’s exactly what happened to me today: I got my swing back! It is hard for anyone to understand what such a thing means, unless one had walked in these shoes…

I am unsure how to explain – for a while I have been trying too hard to break those orange targets. I still had fun (lots) and I was enjoying every moment on the range. But for some unknown reasons I wasn’t feeling what I used to feel. I was breaking targets, I even broke some very good scores – but something was missing. Like Bagger says: ‘Well you lost your swing… We got to go find it… Now it’s somewhere… in the harmony… of all that is… All that was… All that will be…’ And that’s exactly how it was – I lost something and I had no clue how to get it back.

Then – yesterday it started to click and… today… I’ll let Bagger Vance one more time to explain, he does it so much better:

Put your eyes on Bobby Jones… Look at his practice swing, almost like he’s searchin for something… Then he finds it… Watch how he settle hisself right into the middle of it, feel that focus… He got a lot of shots he could choose from… Duffs and tops and skulls, there’s only ONE shot that’s in perfect harmony with the field… One shot that’s his, authentic shot, and that shot is gonna choose him… There’s a perfect shot out there tryin’ to find each and every one of us… All we got to do is get ourselves out of its way, to let it choose us… Can’t see that flag as some dragon you got to slay… You got to look with soft eyes… See the place where the tides and the seasons and the turnin’ of the Earth, all come together… where everything that is, becomes one… You got to seek that place with your soul Junuh… Seek it with your hands don’t think about it… Feel it… Your hands is wiser than your head ever gonna be… Now I can’t take you there Junuh… Just hopes I can help you find a way… Just you… that ball… that flag… and all you are…

I learned just last year that what he’s describing is The Zone – and, for the ones who have experienced it, it is probably the most amazing feeling you can have. The beauty of the moment is indescribable. All I know is I still dream about that calm and out-of-this-world feeling.

It wasn’t a full zone what I experienced today, but it was a type of zone (I wonder how many they are…). Today I somehow managed to let the perfect shot to choose me. Instead of searching high and above for it, I became calm and I let it come to me. How I did it – I don’t know. I know before handicap I had a determination to be soft and smooth and all the targets I broke where pure smoke (with a few exceptions). Was it efortless? No, I had to work (that’s how I know it wasn’t THE Zone, that one is pure effortless), but I worked with confidence and determination. I worked with joy, knowing what I was doing and what I am suppose to do.

And then the Doubles event came – and I had an amazing moment there. We started after 7 PM, light was awful and I was still sooo happy about finally getting the ‘click’ in handicap that nothing could have bother me. We took the line, I called for my first pair and I had 2 very good first posts. On post 3 I suddenly remembered how last year I shot this event with Mark Edmondson – a legend of trap shooting, untimely passed away on June 20th. And I will always remember the feeling I had when I got on the line, realizing I was going to lead a squad of amazing trap shooters, me, a brand new shooter with barely 3 years of experience against their decades of excellence. Not only that, but the next day I was to receive the ‘Mark Edmondson’ Award for the most improved shooter in doubles – an added pressure on me. And I will always remember his smile and his pat on the shoulder: ‘You’ll be fine, just have fun’. So I tried and I actually managed to pull off one of my best scores to day, winning the event in preliminary. Imagine my profound surprise when, next morning, for the actual Championship Event – who’s walking the line with me? Same squad, same Mark Edmondson and his friends. Now the pressure was tripled – now they knew I can do it, I had to do it – again! Same smile, same pat – and after the first round, when I shot a not so impressive 43 he looks at me and tells me in a matter-of-factly tone: ‘I know you can do better – how about you do it?’ Somehow, from his tone and attitude, all I gathered was not shame but an amazing strength – and I broke an amazing 48 on the second round. He was happier for my score than I could be. And that evening I found out we were two ladies with the same score and it would be a shoot off. As luck would have it the other Lady was Cheryl Stiby, a good friend of Mark and a wonderful person herself. Mark came to both of us before the shoot-off and told us to make him proud. Then, at the end of 3 hard rounds of shoot-off, he hugged both of us and said we made him proud, indeed.

And back to today, a year later – I am sitting on post 3 and all these thoughts come through my mind in a flash… and I am suddenly flooded with a swirl of emotions… and in a panic I am looking for an idea on how to channel all this energy into something positive. I cling to the first one that comes through my mind: I am shooting these targets for him, for Mark. And although I did not calm out, there is a change inside that makes me focus and smoke the next 50 targets. I loose the edge of all the emotions exactly when I got them (on post 3) and the relaxation brings also a sudden calm. I am happy and I am still sad at the same time. But I know I can do it, because I know there are a few people out there (walking here, on Earth, or up there, in Heaven) that believe in me.

Or, like Bagger Vance put it so eloquently:

Yes you can… but you ain’t alone… I’m right here with ya… I’ve been here all along… Now play the game… Your game… The one that only you was meant to play… Then one that was given to you when you come into this world… You ready?… Strike that ball Junuh don’t hold nothin back give it everything… Now’s the time… Let yourself remember… Remember YOUR swing… That’s right Junuh, settle yourself… Let’s go… Now is the time, Junuh…

For all of you out there looking for a lost swing: you are not alone… just play YOUR game… and let it come back to you. Now is time

 

National Post

Today there is an article in the National Post about trapshooting, our school, and its Head Coach, Florin.

It’s a small miracle to have an article in a national newspaper about shooting – in a positive way!

I’ve been singing and dancing all day and as the article made my day, I am sure I made some people’s day with my exhuberance…

For all who love this beautiful sport: Summer School: On the firing line

Yee-Haa!

Or – What a great start to the Provincials!

Imagine our home club (Hamilton Gun Club) in the morning, with about 150 trap shooters around (and many more just watching)… and 10% of them being LearnTrapshooting Canada’s teams! Isn’t that nice?

It is – and it was wonderful to see the golden people all with big smiles and (at least some, I am sure, if not all) quiet nerves. We gathered relatively late – all ready to classify and squad around 10 am – and ambushed Alan @ classification. After we cleaned all the confusions about who has enough targets and who doesn’t we were ready to pull the squads and we did so in good time. People behind us were really understanding, I thought some of them will start complaining; but either they came to recognize that we are, in fact, doing a good thing for the sport, or simply they got used to our storming around with lots of gold 🙂 Whichever it is – a public and heartfelt ‘Thank you!’ for your patience, gentlemen, it is much appreciated.

After a few moments of confusion about who needs to pay what (I know, those forms can get really really scary!) we met on the west side, under our beautiful white tent. Cars unpacked, guns put together and into the rack, lawn chairs spread around – and then the humming of the day started… Everyone was excited – to shoot, to watch, to simply be out there. The whole day passed almost without a hiccup – we got pretty good scores, we got several decent ones, we got lots of converstaions along these lines: ‘Wow, lots of new people… when did they start?’ ‘In March [or May or January]’ ‘What year is that?’ ‘This year’ ‘You mean to tell me they have been shooting for less than 6 months?!’ ‘Yup’ ‘Oh, they are doing GREAT! Keep doing!’. And we got lots and lots of positive comments from lots of people… Everybody kept saying the same thing over and over: ‘This is great – what you are doing here!’.

We even tried to ignore the craziness of the doubles event – which started on the wrong foot and continued that way… the only good thing about it is the fact that when the rain start everyone was completely done 🙂

All in all – a beautiful start of the 4 days of competition. We had fun and we enjoyed our targets. We met some of our good friends and we gained more and more experience.

My lesson for the day? Don’t rush! If I could only be patient enough to remind myself that before each and every shot… 🙂 And it’s not that I don’t know what to do, because I do – but that Mr. Hyde kept popping his ugly head in my mind and disturbing my peace. So for me the simplest of advises today: Stay there until you see the target… everything I missed today could have been smoked if I only had waited to see the target first.

But I am happy – beyond the scores (which were all over the spectrum – I am talking about my own) I had a very fun day, with lots of sun and almost no rain (I got half-soaked at the end, looking for my better half, which, for the record, has been beside me 2 seconds before… and then… simply disappeared!), with lots of smoked targets and this simple realization of how much more some patience will bring to my trapshooting life, with lots of friends – what else is there to be wishful for?

I am looking forward to our Provincial Championships – remember: Relax, Relax, and… Have fun!

And, of course: See, Smooth, Smoke – ONE!

P.S. It’s clear I haven’t mastered this patience ‘thingie’ – rushing to get a few more other things done I submitted this same article twice… oh, well – I can only hope tomorrow I’ll remember to wait and see my targets. Or, like Phil Kiner says in his last Trap & Field article: it’s simple – if you can’t see it, you can’t break it. Truer words have never been spoken… 🙂

 

Thoughts (3)

Apparently I have started my own series – of thoughts 🙂

It just dawned on me – I had this thought at the back of my mind for months, I even wrote once something along the lines of this idea… when suddenly the idea became crystal clear in my mind and I had this urge to share it with everyone that might read about trapshooting on our website.

Trapshooting is the only sport I know of (you’re welcome to leave comments with other sports where this is happening) where you will have multiple generations of athletes all competing together. As parents and grandparents we might want to have our children competing in one sport or another – and trapshooting is the only one where Dad & Son (Mom & Son, Mom & Daughter etc.) can compete together. Yes, we have the Categories – and I believe it’s for the adult’s own good as well as for the younger / older generations: we encourage different generations (and Ladies for that matter) to keep competing. But at the end of the day we had different generations of people competing together. We are not bound by the age rule, we are not even bound by the physical rule that much (we have the Wheelchair category, and we all know of people with different physical disabilities which are still able to compete).

And what is so revolutionary about finally getting the idea, you’ll say?

I am not sure revolutionary is the right term – but whatever the term will be the answer is: opportunity!

It means you are not required to start at 4 or 6 (where most of the top athletes have started their training) – you can pick this sport up whenever life gives you the opportunity. And you’ll be as likely to win as any other trapshooter, providing you have the right attitude, of course. It means that we, as parents, can bring our children along and teach them this wonderful sport, and then we’ll have the opportunity to enjoy it together. It can also mean that if our kids are in the sport we can come along at any time and start learning. How many parents will pick up hockey along with their 7-9-15 year olds? Even if they do – it will mean different leagues, different ice rink times, different everything. Enter trapshooting: voila! We have parents and children coming together at the range, and enjoying a few hours of clay breaking! At the same time, on the same range, with the same targets…

It opens an entirely whole range of opportunities: because it’s not a physical intensive sport (all you need is to be able to swing your shotgun), it’s more of a mind game. You need proper instruction to start so that you can fully enjoy it and to perfect its technicalities. And from there on – it’s you and your targets. Nothing will ever stand between you and your targets: neither your age, nor your physical abilities. Eyesight may give one past a certain age a little grief, but that can be usually corrected; there are some good optometrists out there (although very few that will take the time to understand your specific needs).

Not being a physical sport it means we are not bound by age (which usually drives all the physical differences in the world) or by gender – it also means we can start in our late 40s, 50s, 60s and still be the Grand Champions. Now show me an NHL player over 40 that can still be as competitive as a young 20-something. Our beloved Maple Leafs had the oldest average age between the NHL teams and we all know what good that did to it. Not only that – but show me an aspiring NHL player that decided at 35 he’d like to play in the NHL, then started training and made it there by 40.

We can argue that NHL is a professional league and that there is tons of sifting to go through before you get to a top team. And we can argue that Categories in ATA have, in fact, the same effect as different leagues in other sports would. But none of these arguments will negate what we have in trapshooting: the awesome opportunity to compete along the top players, the unbelievable opportunity to compete along all generations and genders. Which is exactly what gives trapshooting its magic: the ability to learn from the experts and to pick up the wisdom of all generations? Everybody knows you play better when you have a Gretzky in your team. Why? Because you’ll learn from his game – and you’ll learn without visible effort, just being around him.

And that’s the opportunity trapshooting provides, that’s the ‘magic’. That’s what makes it a perfect family gathering, a perfect family common hobby. That’s what will keep trapshooting alive – the dream of a 6 year old to someday compete in the Olympics and the dream of his parents to someday compete in the Olympics. Susan Nattrass was 56 last year when she competed for the last time in the Olympics. She started 30-some years ago with ATA trap and she went after that into the Olympic track. She is Canada’s best known trapshooter athlete. And makes everyone’s dream somehow attainable. All you need is the opportunity and the passion. The rest – it will be, one day, history!

Until then – we have our own Provincial Championship this coming weekend. To all our LTS athletes competing: good luck and remember: it’s the journey, not the destination! To all LTS athletes not competing this year: come out and cheer for your friends, come out and enjoy the show!

To all our friends: we hope to see you on the range, at Hamilton Gun Club – Friday, July 31st to Monday, August 3rd. It will be a weekend full of fun and we will all enjoy our time there.

And to everyone: it’s really simple: See, Smooth, Smoke… ONE! Just that next one, that’s all!

 

Thoughts (2)

Not so long ago there were a couple of threads on trapshooters.com – one about favourite trapshooting sayings and another about inspirational sayings.

Enjoying both threads enormously I realized (once again) that our trapshooting community is a pretty close-knit one and once you get accepted you find a strong family ready to help you. As with any family you’ll have the odd members, the black sheep and all sorts of other characters. But, at the core, in its essence, they will love you as much as you love them back.

And that gives me hope that we’ll be able to revitalize this beautiful sport even here, north of the Second Amendment’s border. That more and more people will come to realize this sport is as much about beauty and calm and happiness as golf (like Michael just figured out: it’s the new golf 🙂 ). It is about traditions and family values, respect and appreciation, about outdoors and friendship. Of course you’ll find the bitter ‘old’ ones but most everyone else is shooting at the little clay ‘thingies’ for the pure joy of smoking one.

Getting me re-acquainted with a shotgun after many years of pause was, most likely, the best gift my husband gave … himself 🙂 I am sure lots of people will shoot better if they’ll get their better half to join them on the range – it is a wonderful sport, but like any other it needs lots of practice hours. And ranges here are far from being as accessible as a golf range or a soccer field or a hockey arena. Which means, most likely, more time away from home… and what family enjoys having a part of them being swept away for hours and hours at time?! But what family wouldn’t enjoy the same time doing something together, sharing the love for a common hobby? Granted, not everyone is made for trap shooting… but I am quite sure there could be more women and more young people on the range than there are today. Sounds strange to try to bring on the ‘competition’, doesn’t it? But it’s not – the future of the sport is not in the hands of our wonderful third generation of veterans and senior veterans… the future is not even in the hands of our male adults… the future lies with the children and youngsters. And what best way to bring the youngsters than to bring their moms, sisters, and girlfriends into the sport as well? This is not an entertainment sport where we can get the cheerleaders and watch for 2-3 hours a match… We are talking about day-long competitions… it takes a very dedicated person to endure hours and days of a middle-of-nowhere. So what could be better than actually transforming them from simply spectators into participants?!

And so I happily dream of a day when we’ll be able to have high-school teams of trapshooters… or collegiate competitions… like our neighbours down south. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Until then, I am going to share a few of the trapshooting sayings – for humor and for a thought before Provincials.

Shoot well!

**********************************

If you’re shootin’ bad, you need a new new gun; if you’re shootin’ good, you deserve a new gun.

It ain’t the gun that causes misses, It’s the nut on the end of the stock.

Trapshooters fear the angles and miss the straightaways.

I must have shot overneath that bird.

Ya get ’em all? Naw……I left some for seed!

There is a lot of space around the target.

If you knew what day you were going to shoot good that’s the only day you would shoot.

Look at that kid, he don’t know he’s supposed to miss.

A talented puller is someone who can throw the bird into your pattern.

I shot a perfect score. They threw 25 targets – the gun went bang 25 times!

**********************************

To break them all you should break this next one.

Just like the fishing saying ‘If it was easy, they would call it catching not fishing’. Same goes for trap. It’s called ‘trap shooting, not trap hitting’ for a reason.

How to shoot doubles: You shoot that one and then that one.

Never admire the break on the first bird in doubles!

Can you break one bird for sure?… Then you can break 100!

The best thing about winning is knowing you can.

 

Toronto International

After an extremely tiresome week (the first LTS camp and 2 BIG 50 shoots) we gathered again in Cookstown, next to the model airplanes and (a new addition to the mix) some parachutes. This time weather was more gentle (although I wouldn’t say it was a summer day, more like spring; and it’s middle of July!), and the team even bigger.

We had 2 full squads for singles – with Matthew competing for the first time in Ontario (thank you, Alireza for watching him closely – literarily) and a very brand new member of the Senior’s Team: Sacha – welcome to the team, Sacha! And welcome to the team Alex as well! I know he’s sulking he couldn’t make it this weekend, but I also know he’ll probably tie Mike up when he returns home and come with us next time 🙂 Mike, you’ve been forewarned!

This time I found a solution for not ambushing the nice gentlemen at classification / squading and all went smoother than a smoothie: positions were handed out in no time, and everyone stood in line to get their cards swiped and their money happily “invested”… life as a trapshooter 🙂

As soon as we all had our stubs in the pocket we went outside to watch the targets and wait for our squads to start – and the LTS crowd being larger than ever before time passed quickly with lots of stories (meant to tease or encourage the newcomers; although I am sure some stories might have discouraged some 🙂 – time will tell). We shot singles on the last 2 traps – and if any of our students wonders what had happened with their scores on the second trap – stop wondering. You did nothing wrong! It’s the actual trap that made it extremely hard for one to shoot targets. The reason: because of firearms regulations, Toronto Club management had to actually physically rotate the traphouse towards the left while the concrete pads were left intact. As we know from the handicap event – event a few degrees at the trapshouse make a lot of difference out there, at the target. That being said – as I explained a few times already, harder conditions made the human brain be more disciplined: you know you have to pay more attention, you know you have to “behave yourself”… and that’s how you smoke more targets! When all conditions are perfect one tends to let down the guard and think ‘oh, this is easy!’ and that’s when the ‘oops’ moments occur.

Anyhow – I was impressed by all our team members; smoke after smoke and targets disappearing in little black puffs… at one point I was actually happily laughing with Frank which made it interesting for us to mind our own targets. But we did! And I watched the other team – they were having as much fun as possible (on the exact same 2 traps). Some interesting competitions arose on the spot – it still amazes me how these young minds find a way to compete over any single thing that’s crossing their way… But, please, always remember to keep the fun in!

Although the shoot was supposed to be a small one (with most of the top shooters being away to Cicero, NY for the NY State Championship) we somehow managed to get to 15 squads of singles. Luckily for us Steve opened the third bank and so time wise we finished shooting earlier than last time!

Handicap went by with another first 25 straight – this time from Chloe who managed to step exactly in my footprints. My first year of competition, at the exact same shoot (July 16th was the exact date in 2006 and I know because I took the accomplishment as a gift for our Canada anniversary; we arrived in Canada on July 15th a few years back) I ran my first 25 straight ever in handicap, to finish with a score of 89. What did Chloe do? She ran her very first ever 25 straight in handicap, to finish with a score of… you guessed it, right?! 89!

Add to that Alireza’s first 25 straight (in singles), Anthony’s first 50 straight (to a very nice score of 99), Garret’s almost 25 (his eyes followed one of the parachutes instead of the orange dome) and now we have quite a few hats to shoot at! Not too shabby for a team that started to train (with the exception of our young “veteran” Anthony) just a few months back!

Congratulations Garret, Phil, Alireza, Anthony, and Chloe! Looking forward to the hat ceremony during the LTS Summer Games on August 29! 🙂

The morale of today’s story? Enthusiasm and dedication, discipline and attention to detail, listening to the coach and, last but not least, how well we keep the fun in the game makes it all possible. I’ll let everyone enjoy their successes. Bask in your happiness and coat yourself with it.

For all of you – come and shoot the BIG 50s this week – Tuesday and Thursday (July 14/16). It’s a nice way to gain experience in the comfortable settings of Hamilton GC.

And, of course, enjoy the summer and enjoy your targets! Smoke them all!

 

Thoughts (1)

I was reading one of the heated threads on trapshooters.com, about where ‘big dogs’ (aka the top shooters) keep their gun hold in doubles and how they shoot their first target (spot shoot vs. tracking) and I started to recall all the opinions and pieces of advice I received over the years.

There is something in the human nature that makes us ‘experts’ in every single subject – from raising horses to building houses, to educating kids, to whatever subject seems to be the center of the conversation. And then you have the trapshooters – most of them knowing better than the actual experts what you have to do.

I cannot remember any of the pieces of advice I have been given because I stuck with the main one: “don’t listen to any advice”; and I was smart 🙂 The main argument one has against one giving advice is ‘show me how your advice is producing results’. Another argument is ‘what kind of results have you ever had to prove you know what you’re talking about?’ I would argue both are not necessarily a correct argument, and does not ‘negate’ the advice.

Being a top shooter doesn’t automatically make you a good coach / instructor. Being less than a stellar shooter doesn’t mean you are not a wonderful coach. And a good instructor / coach is exactly what one needs to be in order to give good advice. A very good coach. Or a very good instructor. There is a difference between coaching and instructing, but we’ll talk on this subject another time.

As Phil Kiner mentions so nicely in his July T&F article (about Nora Ross and her beginnings) – there is one excellent advice one can receive when starting to shoot (and the only one he/she should listen to besides his/her coach): look at what top shooters are doing, ask what they are doing, then try it: if it works for you – great; if not – discard!

We are all individuals and we are all very different from each other: physically and mentally. What might be a good approach for someone could spell disaster for another. In the beginning one should stick with advice from one person only: their coach. Once you start mixing advices – it’s like mixing drinks at a party: we all know what the end result of such an activity is!

And one should also be careful when he/she decides that “coach’s advice is not needed anymore; now I can fly by myself”. Early good results can give one false confidence and parting with your coach’s advice too soon will lead to disaster. After so many years I still feel better when I know Florin is behind me, watching what I am doing. It takes away from me the responsibility of remembering what I was doing (wrong or right) in order to fix or repeat. I know that he’s there and he can correct me with one sign from the side. Sure I can go by myself to the line (and I did so many times) and sure I know what to report back – but oh, it is so much nicer when I can fallback on being just a student!

I keep reading the specialty magazines and forums and I sometimes laugh hard at what human beings can come up with! Remember – the best advice I got from a great big shooter, Nick Stamos: “You, girl, are like a turtle – keep doing what works for you and don’t listen to nobody; they don’t know you as you do”.

So keep listening to your coach (being he/she a professional one or simply a good shooter you trust) and stay with his/her advice; your coach knows you better than anyone and knows what is good for you.

And, of course, enjoy the summer – today is supposed to be one true summer day!

See you on the range (next competition: Toronto International)