About 3 years ago this article appeared in the Jerusalem Post on Israeli rifle competitor Gil Simkovitch. It is interesting in several ways, but most of all how the author’s misconceptions about target shooting were corrected. Here is a portion I like:
While some would think of a sport involving rifles and ammunition as aggressive, even violent, for Simkovitch it is an exercise in Zen-like tranquility. He enjoys the peace when he is shooting, calling it “a meditative experience.” Since his rifle, a 1913 Anschutz, is ultra-sensitive to the extent that his pulse beating against the barrel shifts the aim, he must be patient and sufficiently aware of his body to time his shots between heartbeats. “It’s hard at competitions, when your heart is racing from excitement,” he says. “It’s a conflict in shooting, because there is pressure to shoot well, which makes it harder. It’s easy to shoot a 10 [a perfect score] when you’re indifferent, but you can’t be indifferent.” He therefore engages in a constant dance to achieve equilibrium. “If you try too hard, you will eventually fail,” he says. “You have to find a balance. This sport is very much about balance.
Although my #1 training excercise at the moment is simply to find time to practice…#2 is developing the mental skills to shoot as well under match conditions as I do during practice. Gil’s observations are 110% b’emet (truth).