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  1. #1
    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    2020-2021 Rifle Season

    I just want it to be over. I love the kids but this season is just a disaster.

    No one knew what to expect going in. We opted to go "postal" meaning each team shoots at it's home range and the coaches exchange the targets to turn over to the home scorer.

    We started off weak with a 491 at five shooters which went to 7 for the win.
    Then a 488 lose and a 486 loss which I believe are the lowest scores since I took over as Coach 8 years ago. Tonight we had a 492 at five which went to 8 for the win.



    My kids have averaged 495 for the last three straight years. Now that may not seem like much of a drop but when all 8 teams are capable of shooting 492's every night, it's a huge difference.

    My three seniors have been shooting poorly although tonight they shot 100, 99 and 98. Which again doesn't seem bad but the 98 is low for them. They shot 97's and 96's in the previous two matches.

    They seem happy, not overly stressed by the Covid restrictions but something I can't put my finger on is holding them back.

    Practice has been a mess. Kids on and off quarantine, academically ineligible and just absent for the day (they can do school from home) Today was photo day and I realized I don't even know what my one girl looks like. The masks came off long enough to take the team photo but as I was in the back, I never saw her face. She's shot in every match and I only know what her eyes and hair look like. See her on the street, I might not recognize her.

    Just plain weird. Other teams in much the same boat so we aren't the only ones.

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    Contributing Member Ovidio's Avatar
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    Might be all psychological.
    I’m not a competitive shooter, but I like to shoot and try to shoot as good as I can.
    What I noticed this last year, is that starting to shoot is difficult. I have wider groups. While shooting, I can slowly relax and tighten them a lot, even getting to very good ones. Then, as I think might be for many, a tad of fatigue starts to make me worse again. In the end, the “good shooting string” is shorter. Starts later and “uses up” a part of my “useful” shots.
    But I can relax and get out a better feeling person.
    So, I’m glad, albeit not as good as I’d like.
    Maybe this is what happens to your kids.
    34a cp., btg. Susa, 3° rgt. Alpini

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    Contributing Member 22SqnRAE's Avatar
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    Steve,

    I'm a Target Rifle shooter for discipline. My passion is Service Rifle. But there's a world of difference between Service scoring at 100/200m and variable positions on a Figure 11 target and the variability of a .308 155 grain projectile form 300 to 1000 yards with open sights.

    I do shoot TR most weekends for the meditative effects of setting up, going through the routine of prepping rifle, fixing sights for the range, adjusting for windage and considering any sight settings to account for light conditions. This ritual allows me to forget about what I was thinkign about before getting to the range. When it's my turn to take to the mound and set up ready for my Serial, I'm thinking bullets, bolt, mat, glove, ears. On the mound it's sling tensions, elbow and hip position, target, foresight, rearsight, breathing, aiming pattern. Repeat for 11 or 13 shots depending on first or second serial. I'm sure your shooting follows a similar pattern.

    All this usually takes about 3 hours for me and the rest of the club. A great afternoon, thinking only shooting and banter.

    The actual concentration is only done on the mound and it really does take a bit to wipe your mind clean of all the thoughts you had prior to driving through the range gates. This is the key.

    If you don't concentrate on the mound, you'll end up making the most use of the target, which is not what you want. (that is, all over the place instead of a nice tight little group.)

    Consider the disruption, turmoil, 'new normal' and angst that your operating under. Clearing all that from your mind when driving through the gate is a big ask. Not seeing the kids as you remember them is a major unsettler.

    Be kind on yourself, you're under stress. Some of s work well under stress, other crumble. I happen to be a carrier...

    It takes practice and time to get your rhythm back. Enjoy sending happiness pills downrange first, then worry about scores. You'll get back there...!
    Trying to save Service history, one rifle at a time...

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    I think part of it is they don't really have a lot of time to settle. For away matches we have the ritual of packing up, loading, having a talk and then a half hour quiet ride to the other school and then another talk and introductions. For home matches, it's still getting ready, set up and then the talk and introductions.

    So I tried replicating that as much as possible on Tuesday and they shot worse. Yesterday without it and the disruption of photo day they shot better.

    I know it's mental but just can't figure out what aspect of mental it is. Over time I get to know each of the individual kids quirks but the three seniors just defy everything, my one junior was never super consistent and he's carrying on that tradition this year. My sophomore with experience is trying very hard but is struggling. My other sophomores are all inexperienced and still in the learning curve and the 5 new kids I simply don't see enough do to practice limitations and now match after match which they can't participate in with the exception of the one that is doing well.

    We had 7 practices in late November and then a shutdown for nearly the entire month of December. Then six days of practice and matches started. We usually have a full month of practice before matches start and then they are two a week. We are making them up now so we have 3 or 4 a week. It's a pain in the butt.

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    We have at least won the last two so we are currently 3-2 on the season. Scores up slightly, still can't get them all to perform well together the same match. When the seniors are up the underclassmen underperform. 492 is our highest score so far. Our average last year was 495.29 with a low score of 490 in one match, the only score lower than our high this year. It is a young, inexperienced team and we are dealing with Covid issues so lower isn't unexpected, just not this low.

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    The season is finally over. All matches completed. It was a mixed bag. Match averages were much lower than previous years. We finished 4th which is pretty bad for us with a final record of 8-6. One All Star who finished 6th in the league. Same shooter finished 3rd in the individuals tournament today. Second shooter finished 7th. As a team we won the tournament which was pretty awesome. First trophy we have brought home in a long time. My 3rd and 4th shooters finished 12th and 13th and with the 5th, we finished the day with a score of 488 and 8 centers, beating the 2nd place team who had 487 and 7 centers. Some years I've been sad the season is over, others happy, this is the first one I'm relieved I think.

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