Just thought I'd share this.
There's an article in "Men's Fitness" magazine, August 2000 issue, by writer Michael Bane on - you guessed it - Olympic Target Shooting. Read it while I was waiting for a haircut and tore the page out of the magazine (yeah I know I know I'll say my Hail Marys ... I really am Catholic by the way.) I looked for the article in the online version of the magazine but it wasn't there so I'm going to plagarize the article as briefly as I can ...
Strangely enough the most cerebral of the Olympic sports is target shooting, in which your biggest opponent is the hugely powerful chemical factory of your own body.
"Shooting is 99 percent mental" says national running-target coach Sergey Luzov, a former world-record holder and world champion while competing for Russia. "Because at the time the shot happens, everything must be perfect."
For the running targets, shooters in a stationary position have to hit a moving 5.5-millimeter bull's eye that is exposed for a total of five seconds on the slow run and 2.5 seconds on the fast run. This is done 30 times for the slow and fast targets.
The secret says Luzov is relaxation. He teaches a basic exercise that, when coupled with visualization exercises, brings the shooter to a totally calm place. "It's pretty simple to describe but hard, hard, hard to do" says Luzov.
(speed edit mode)
(1) Best time to learn the exercise is just before bedtime. Lie down on your bed and mentally take yourself to a quiet place of your choosing. "Everybody has a place that, to them, is peaceful," Luzov says. "You need to go there in your mind to achieve mental relaxation."
Start relaxing yourself physically. Do this by concentration on a specific muscle, then relaxing it til it becomes a liquid - not even there. Normally, this is done from the feet up, with each of the muscles in turn, all the way to the individual muscles of the face. "The toughest part is the face," Luzov says. It is important to achieve a feeling throughout your face that it is liquid; all you should feel just a warm spot where the muscles used to exist.
For an advanced athlete the key is to bring about this relaxation in one exhalation. An Olympic-level shooter must achieve total-body relaxation in the time between shots - less than 22 seconds.
(2) The other mental component is visualization. Teach the mind to focus on a single object for a long time. Imagine an object, concentrate on that image in your mind for as long as you can. Eventually the shooter learns to precisely imagine a perfect shot, to see it and feel it in his mind's eye. "When you can see it and feel it perfectly you will have a perfect shot," says Luzov. "You start shooting, and your mind takes over for you."
For the complete article see the magazine above in your local library. Opinions?
[This message has been edited by dragontooth73 (edited October 07, 2000).]