Monday, July 30, 2007

11 days to go... Nationals website updated

11 days remain until I leave for Saskatchewan. I would have liked to have made a few more posts before I left but time is short and well I'm sure you all would rather I was practicing anyway. ;)

What do the next 11 days have in store for me?

  • Continuing to practice at the Richmond Rod & Gun club Wednesday and Friday nights.
  • Continue cardio and physical training Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights.
  • Tighten up my food and beverage consumption. I always shoot better when I've been eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and keeping breads, sugars, and meat down to a minimum. Fish is always good too so I'm going to get some sushi a couple times before I leave. :)
  • Cut caffeine out. I'm going to research this some more as I've read caffeine stays in your system for up to 72 hrs. I also don't want a situation where cutting caffeine out completely creates a negative response. I do love my Diet Rockstar sugar free energy drinks. ;)
  • Confirm all travel details (again).
Some other news:

The Canadian National Pistol Championships website has been updated with lots of new information. They have also announced that the shooting range will have wireless Internet access so I will definitely be posting updates from there.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Equipment: Shooting Glasses by Knobloch

A few days ago I received the Knobloch Lens Testing kit from Illingworth Imports. here is a photo of the kit along side a pair of Knobloch glasses and my own pair of Knobloch shooting glasses.

Knobloch Lens Testing Kit
The lens kit comes with the test lens holder, 12 test lenses for testing spherical correction, and many accessories such as a centering device, an adjustable iris etc.

Below is what my pair looks like with a left eye side blinder and an adjustable iris.

Al Harding's Shooting Glasses
The left eye blinder lets me keep both eyes open while shooting, the white color helps to control the amount of light going into both eyes. The adjustable iris is just a nice add on, letting me close the amount of area I look through down to the size of a pinhole or as large as 15mm. This lets me control the amount of light I want going into my eye and the amount of sharpness around the gun sights.

Finally, this is what they look like on me. I actually don't see much when I'm shooting. I look at the front and rear sights and don't really focus on the target itself (the target is actually blurry when I shoot at it).

Al Harding's Shooting Glasses
Less than a month until the Canadian National Pistol Championships!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Travel details for Nationals are all set

I have all of my travel details for Nationals in order. I will be flying out of Vancouver on August 10th and arriving in Saskatoon in the morning. Then a short 2 hr drive to Prince Albert.

I compete the following day on Saturday at 12:00 pm on the first Air Pistol relay of the competition. The current match relays and positions is now posted on the Canadian Nationals website. I will then have a couple of days rest before the Finals and National Team Trials match. It has been awhile since I competed at a Nationals event so I'm not sure yet what the rules or qualification are for the National Team Trial. I believe Finals will be the top 8 shooters in any of the Olympic events (Rapid Fire Pistol, Free Pistol, and Air Pistol).

I check out Wednesday morning and will fly out of Saskatoon in the late afternoon and arrive home to Vancouver in the evening.

One month remains before I leave. I've got a very basic training plan I'm following. I avoided making it unnecessarily complicated and just sticking to basics. Spending time conditioning and strengthening core muscles, cardio, and of course actual practice time at the shooting range.

I'm waiting for the Knobloch Lens Testing kit from Illingworth Imports, as soon as I have it I'll post up info about my shooting glasses. I suspect I'll need a new lens cut for my 12 yr old shooting glasses. Too much time in front of a computer! ;)

Monday, July 2, 2007

The importance of a Competition Journal

One of the great things about having taken such a long break away from competition air pistol shooting is that I forgot a lot of things. Specifically, bad habits. A huge portion of this sport, like any sport for that matter, is the mental aspect of it. I used to spend a lot of time training my mind.

When I was regularly competing before, I would get myself into a lot of trouble with a poorly executed mental performance. The problem with this is that I would finish the competition and leave it at that and not do anything to correct a poor performance. This was made worse if I actually shot a decent score and did nothing afterwards.

Shooting a decent score is like going to a match and staying within your comfort zone and being content with that. Boring. If you want to shoot super scores you need to do more than piggyback on a 'decent performance' to get you there.

The goal of a training / competition journal should be to reinforce positives and modify negatives.

When I went to my first competition this past May I made sure that I kept a journal of everything so that I would have notes to work from later. This became especially important to me when I knew it would probably be the only competition I'd be able to attend before going to Nationals in August. Looking back at my notes now, I know I will always do it for every single competition I attend from now on.

Allan Harding's Competition Journal
What do I keep track of in my Competition Journal?
  • Event name, location, results

  • Overall thoughts: Were there any themes to how I felt I did?

  • Time leading up to match: Travel details... any problems with accommodations? car rental? What went right? Did I forgot to pack anything? Should I have brought anything differently? What did I eat? How did I sleep? Etc.

  • During competition: How many sighter targets did I take? What was I wearing? Any problems with my equipment? Any possible improvements to equipment? Range lighting? Other range notables? Competition pace? Mental routine? Physical routine?

  • After competition: Immediate thoughts after competition? Who shot next to me? Scoring accuracy by officials and scorers?

  • Other thoughts?
I kept track of a LOT of details. The photo above shows some of the details of what I wrote down after Provincials. I find it useful to separate a training journal from a competition journal.

My biggest takeaways from that competition were equipment related and in reinforcing the positive benefits of a training AND competition journal.

At Provincials I had 3 key areas all related to equipment that I wanted to improve:
  • Sight blackener. When I competed before I used to always take a carbide lighter to my gun sights to make them super black.

  • C02 - The precious gas which powers my pellets 10 meters to the target. I had one empty cylinder and another which was nearly empty after having been shipped via air from Cibles Targets. The range was out of C02 and most of the other competitors were either using Compressed Air or a different brand of gun. Knowing that after any shot you might be out of air isn't healthy for your mental program.

  • Shooting glasses. The lens in my shooting glasses is 10 yrs old... it was OK but I knew for Nationals I would be better off if I went and got my eyes tested and possibly even got a new lens cut for my glasses. At the very least I would be able to rule out my eyes as any kind of an excuse. ;)
All of these points are actual notes in my competition journal. With 6 weeks to go I've ordered sight blackener from my friend Scott at Illingworth Imports as well as a Knobloch Lens Testing Kit. Knobloch is the make of shooting glasses I compete with, I'll be covering those in my next blog posting.

As always... any feedback and comments are hugely appreciated. If you like this blog please tell a friend, let me know, or let's exchange links. Cheers.