Week Four: Tuesday March 30 – Thursday April 1
I had a short break before the next shooting camp as we had a week off anyway and I missed camp three due to other commitments.
This gave me a chance to evaluate how I was doing and where I could improve. Technically I’m not afraid to say, I’m pretty good, bordering on different gravy but mentally I’m terrible.
Zero temperament, zero calmness and zero sportsmanship. As much as I’d like to think I could set a new trend – I don’t think these are the hallmarks of GB’s next set of gold medallists in 2012.
Arriving on time once again for camp four, I knew that I was going to have to show that I have a bit more about me after the gun-biting antics of the previous camp.
The rest had also had an extra week on me so I knew I had to make up some ground, especially as Steve had hit a personal best of 565 while I was away.
Fortunately for me, the first day saw us given a lecture about breathing and psychological training – all of which will be vital if I was going to control myself on the range.
In training I had my body positioning right, I was getting into a routine of preparing myself for a shoot and ensuring that my equipment was set up identically every time.
I was feeling good until I realised that the next day we’d have two full 60-shot competitions, each with an Olympic 10-shot final afterwards. Time to produce and the rest had already done this three times the previous week.
I was pretty nervous when I woke up on the second day, but unsurprisingly it was not to do with shooting. No chance.
At 4pm I was off to London to watch Arsenal’s Champions League match with Barcelona. Get a couple of shoots done, don’t get the hump, hit some good scores and go to the Arsenal. Done.
Everyone was listening to music in the lead up to the shoot but I’d left my I-Pod in the car and couldn’t be bothered to go and get it. I’ll psyche myself up.
Sadly I quickly found out that this was a bad idea and I was shooting 8s instead of 10s. The target was laughing at me once again and the joke was firmly on me.
I looked round at the scores people around me were getting which is an absolute no-no in competitions. But it actually made me feel better that they seemed to be doing about the same as me.
I know it’s childish, but I don’t care. I don’t want to lose and if everyone else is doing as bad as me then I’m going to be pleased.
I had my coach Louise loading the gun for me. She’s not really allowed to give advice during a competition but I did keep hearing her say ‘breathe’.
I was getting the hump and we both knew that was only going to lead to a bad score and some sort of ‘toys out the pram’ reaction.
The breathing actually worked. But I felt like a bit of a plum closing my eyes and telling myself that no matter how bad it was looking in front of me, I just had to get through it and hope for better after.
It reminded me of the first time I’d done something else.
I ended up shooting a 555 which all told was a credible score. I finished well and in fact was quite pleased with myself. I finished second to Steve which all told was expected.
I didn’t shoot particularly well in the final though. I’d done the hard bit and didn’t have the concentration necessary.
After lunch it was straight into another competition. Things were getting serious now.
I prepared well and despite dropping a few silly shots I went and nailed a 565. Personal best and equalled best score in only my second shoot.
That’s what I’m talking about. I’m here to be number one and it felt good. People were concerned because I’d missed a week. I wasn’t and within a few hours of my second day I’d showed exactly why.
I walked around for a while like I was the absolute nuts. But suddenly my thoughts turned elsewhere. It’s 3pm, off to the Emirates in a bit. This is massive.
As a result my 10-shot final score was poor and that scumbag Steve had gone and hit 10 straight 10s. Back down to earth. I was still number one in my eyes though.
The Arsenal match was draining. Two nil down and coming back to 2-2. I’d witnessed the best half-hour of football from any team in my lifetime and it wasn’t from my side.
So the Arsenal hadn’t been thrashed and I’d hit a personal best. It was a minor miracle. But I felt good going into the final morning and another 60-shot competition.
That feeling was quick to disappear when I woke up at 7am having had about six hours sleep. Great preparation for a shoot – nice one.
Needless to say you probably don’t need me to explain to you what happened in the competition.
At one point I turned to Louise shortly after deciding not to take a shot and said “I can see blue lines in front of me”. This wasn’t good, I was shattered.
I managed to shoot 554 despite all that. Despite being tired and missing a week, I’d managed to get the most consistent set of scores.
More than enough reason to be pleased but in hindsight I wouldn’t be going to a football match the night before a competition shoot again.
Above all that I’d sort of go hold of myself mentally. Well apart from being told off for calling the target a pretty nasty swear word after I’d hit a 10 to recover from a bad previous shot.
Why am I swearing at a piece of card? This shooting sends you west but I’m getting closer.
2012 is still far away, not just in terms of actual time. But after this camp I feel I’m a little bit closer.
Until next time. Adios.