Mind games.

We are having a treasure hunt in the village. Because of my literary prowess (!) I was delegated to write, in a poetic manner, the clues.

Because it’s easy for me, (I wish everything else was), I did them quickly. I then had to submit them to the organiser. Poor soul. She’s young and intelligent, but has no concept of how an old and twisted mind works.

Put it this way, there may well be trouble ahead. She is a scientist you see. I, manifestly, am not. She wants everything precise – “but how many steps exactly is it?” – “who cares?” – etcetera. Much fun.

You see, I think a thing like this is only to encourage discussion. Promote observation. ( It’s amazing what she has not seen living here all her life! ) Promote conversation. I’m not caring if people can find everything. She might be. The other scientist involved in checking was patently uncomfortable too. Lets hope there’s some artists in the company who can see the bigger picture.

Looking forward to it.

Book of the week. (5)

This is a tough read. Or it was for me. “Critical Moments During Competition” by Roland A. Carlstedt.

The sub text below the title reads – “A Mind Body Model Of Sport Performance When it Counts the Most.” Whew.

Then, on the back, the opening sentence is – “This book provides an integrative empirical analysis of numerous anecdotal notions and cliches that have permeated sport psychology, including “just do it” (or in Drew Christie’s inimitable words “see the doo, shoot the doo!) The “ideal performance state,” “mental toughness,” “focus” and the idea that sport is mostly a mental game.

So, there you are. Does that give you an idea what you might be in for inside? Let me tell you I’ve had it for years and I’m still trying to get to grips with it!!!

May I also say that a Scottish shooter has just purchased the latest ISSF book on Trapshooting, written by Kevin Kilty. That will no doubt set the heather on fire in discussion circles.

Enough at this time in the morning. Be good.

Book of the week (4)

A small gap between three and four as I was away shooting last week. All very nice, if not quite the outcome I was seeking. C’est la vie, as they say in Fort Augustus.

To work. This week’s tome is “Pistol Shooting” with “As a sport” in lower case, written by Hans Standl, in German, and translated in to Angle by Anita Pennington in 1975. A long time ago.

Of course it’s ages since I’ve looked at these books – and, yes, there are some shotgun ones coming – but the interesting thing is the opening pages (1 & 2) are “The Coach.” Very interesting. I’ve always felt that when I write my book, (it’s coming) the first chapter will only say “Get a Coach” over and over again.

Its actually a very good book, with all sorts of practical stuff and several sections on, what he calls “Theoretical Training.” 108 pages of that(!) so you can see there’s a lot in there. I’ll thrill you with some of it:

Pre start nerves and competition stress, Negative Influences, Sleeplessness, Excuses, Success and It’s Price, Planning your Training, Psychology and Tactics, Wishful Thinking (oh yes!) and Determination and Purpose to finish. This list is tiny compared to the actual contents of the book. There’s a lot in there.

I like a wee acknowledgement at the beginning where there’s a nod to a couple of books. “Das Training des Sportschutzen” and, even better, “Die besten Tips der besten Schutzen.” The last one’s a cracker!

I bet I loved this book when I got it. There’s a ton of stuff with even an annual training plan all laid out. Oh joy. You always got asked for an annual training plan at the ISSF academy. They must have hundreds of them now, hopefully not mouldering in boxes (from my days of things being submitted on paper in big folders) to discs to these wee stick things they use now. Lets hope someone has bothered to look at them all, collate them, see what’s similar and dissimilar and make something of them to help others.

Somehow I doubt it!

Book of the week. (3)

Next one on the shelf. “Competitive Pistol Shooting” by Dr Laslo Antal. 2nd edition. Published in 1989. It’s so old that it covers “all the UIT disciplines.” Who, reading this, remembers the olden days of UIT? Would they even know what UIT means? I think, dangerous, Union International de Tir, translated into Franglais as ISU, which is what I used to shoot. ISU skeet that is. I don’t know if ever there was ISU Trap. I never heard of it. Oh, incidentally, the Franglais refers to International Shooting Union, which is only a translation – it wasn’t two different organisations.

Anyway, Dr Antal, who represented England and GB at lots of things, escaped, if that’s not too strong a word, from Hungary in 1957. If you haven’t read much about the Hungarian Revolution, I’ll just give one short quote from Wikipedia – “by January 1957, the new Soviet installed government had suppressed all public opposition.” You can imagine there’s a bit of catching up to do if you are unaware of the history. But I digress. Naturally.

You will be asking, even at this early stage, that there’s not much about shotgun shooting in these books. Correct. As I said, I think, in the post relating to Book 1, in the olden days there was sod all available on shotgun shooting. It was a case of seek and hope to find. There’s much in the 5 parts of this book, but maybe, maybe, part 5 is the best as it deals with “The Principles and Practice of Training and Match Preparation.”  There’s a number of subsections of course and I can imagine, in 1989, I’d be only too grateful for some of the chapters on training plans, match preparation, relaxation, when I’d be struggling to create the inevitable 20 page essay on whatever coaching topic had been presented to us.

Realise, please, I had zilch help in those days and was struggling to get any information on high level international coaching. Micro, Macro and Meso might as well have been Martian. It was all right for the guys with the big federations behind them, but a wee punter from Scotland was always going to find it hard going.

Anyway, I’m still here. Be good.

Book of the week (2)

This one’s a cracker! I don’t know how I heard of it, but, as I recall, it took me a while to track it down. What is it? What is it? Calm down.

Its “Competitive Shooting” by A. A. Yur’yev – in English, translated from the original Russian and my copy is a third edition, but the first in English. The sub title is “Techniques and Training for Rifle, Pistol and Running Game Shooting” and it extends to 399 packed pages. Not packed with shotgun stuff right enough, but plenty on coaching, athletes, breathing, competition shooting, and tons and tons more – the full, as they say, shooting match.

Lots of references in the back relating to Russian coaching papers, and, as I said in Book 1, I wish I could access them. C’est la vie – as the Imperial Court may have said.

Having a scan through it the other day, there’s still plenty of interest. It was first published in 1985 so things have changed, particularly the kit worn by the rifle shooters. No longer just the leather bomber jacket for that cadre. I darent say any more as the moans will be legion. Each to their own.

Be good.

Book of the week 1.5(see below)

So, which as I’ve said before is how modern people start sentences, I have received “Psyching in Sport” by Rushall. It’s very interesting – but then I have a fault in me (one of many) – which finds sport psych books very interesting. If I could read the Russian ones I would find them veeeery interesting, but I can’t. Which is a pity as the depth of resource in the greater Russian library would be such a delight.

But, back to reality. In my opinion the pamphlet, or ebook, is actually better than the book. Probably because it’s “updated” for want of a better word.

So, (there I go again, totally modern), today, and in future, I shall continue to think and act like a champion. It’s a good tactic and one I encourage others to do.

A little tip that might help, if things are getting tough, is, pretend you are your hero. It only works. Except with one lad who didn’t have a hero! Ah, the joys of coaching.

Book of the week.(1)

This could be a LONG series – if I bother to continue anyway. But I think this new plan should make me actually get on and write something.

So, where does one start? Well, I’m going to start with a pamphlet, or I think an e book actually that I must have purchased about 30 years ago. So, quite up to date. It’s “Think and Act Like a Champion” (A Manual for Sporting Excellence) by Brent S. Rushall Ph.D, R.Psy. I confess I haven’t looked up what “R.Psy” means. I will though. I see it was published by Sports Science Associates. I also saw, yesterday, when I was googling various matters pertaining to the contents of the ebook, that Rushall had a book “Psyching for Sport” available on glee bay for 399p. Buy now. Of course. Easy. Looking forward to getting that.

11 chapters in the pamphlet. Well laid out. Loads of information. It’s interesting when you reread something as you find stuff that you are ready to accept, or absorb, or understand more deeply, that you skipped over before, and thus it is here. I’m really rather enjoying it.

I shall now take you on a lengthy journey through my library. Bear in mind, in the olden days, when I was doing some of my exams, there was little or no internet. Information was hard to come by and everything one could find on shooting was much treasured. I can’t even think what’s on the shelves, but Tudor Bompa comes to mind.

Don’t hold your breath – but watch this space. What fun.


I don’t know if any of you access Linda Mellor’s posts on nauseating Facebook, but, unusually, (kidding Linda), she had an interesting photograph this morning of a left handed shooter using a side by side. My question was if it was a true left hander as it looked as if, maybe, the triggers were set up “correctly” for that. Have a look and come back with your answer on a new plastic fiver, if, indeed, you can write on them nowadays.


Have a look at the new ISSF handbook. Multiple sections on shooting matters. All very good. Sometimes, amazingly, the ISSF come up with something good.

Parliamentary questions?

The “Ayes” have it. The “Ayes” have it. But, in the case of shooting, it’s very important that the eyes have it.

I maintain, and many disagree – huh, what do they know? – that you must, in many, if not all instances, when shooting, keep your eyes still. Some say that it’s impossible to keep your eyes still. Maybe so. Who am I to say? So keep them as still as possible. Keep them still until the target gets into the fovea, until “you can see it properly” and then go.

It makes a big difference. Some of you may wish to pursue some of the written material on “Quiet Eye.” Have a read and see what you make of it. Some say it helps. Some golfers say it helps. But there are papers on it relating to shooting. It might pass a wet few hours in our summer.