With the shooting season well underway and with many competitors hoping medal and win an Olympic Quota place, we asked GB shooter Ken Parr about competition preparation. Here are his thoughts...
With so many different competitions throughout the course of the season, it is almost impossible to prepare for every competition equally.
I try to break out what the key matches I am targeting are and prepare for those. For example in May this year I had the English Championships, followed by a World Cup in Ft. Benning and a few days gap before heading off to Munich for another World Cup.
For me, the English Championships were treated as a warm up for the main matches of the World Cups. Here I trained as normal and really went to the match as a training exercise.
The World Cups were the main focus and for these I did very little training before the matches. I have been coached to relax before the big matches by only doing some light training. This is so that you remain mentally sharp for the competition itself and not getting burnt out by shooting many training shots. In the build up I try to imagine myself shooting on the range and executing a technically perfect match. You cannot always control where you shots lie on the target, but you can control how you execute the match, so I try to focus on this in the build up.
In this period of time I do like to focus really hard on making sure everything is perfect with my gun set-up and ammunition. With many moving parts on your rifle there is always something that can come loose or has moved from where it should be set up. This is the time to double check everything is tight and nothing has found its way loose.
One thing that I will do quite in advance of also like to check that my ammunition is working well for me. Typically I will test one month prior to a big match. Fortunately for me I am only a couple of hours drive from ELEY’s factory and will try to make sure I am booked in a little before the competition. I am always striving for a little bit extra from my rifle and ammunition combination and there is nothing more exciting than coming back from testing with a slightly better batch of ammo. Wherever you can find a couple of tenths in your performance cannot be ignored. By testing a few weeks before the comp, it allows me to test from the shoulder and in wind to see which batch is best, the old or the new.
Recently I have been having some really good results in the prone event. A few months ago I got a Grünig & Elmiger rifle and it seems to group so much better than my last rifle with the tests group from ELEY being fantastic, with my latest 40 shot group giving me a score of 427.1 (14.4mm)
Having this combination of good barrel and ammo has given me a lot of confidence to shoot good scores and have gone on a run of 4 consecutive PBs in competitions, including my first World Cup final at Munich. My last result was a 628.0 at the British Championships, in what were relatively windy conditions. I am hoping to continue this good form into the European Championships with some of the final Quota places left up for grabs. If I continue this good form, I am certainly in with a shout.
- Ken Parr