Qualities of a Great Team Shooter
The one popular fallacy that good pistol scores are engendered
by stupidity has been proven completely erroneous. A quick look
at the nation's outstanding pistol marksmen will show you
individuals of higher than average level of intelligence. The
necessity for intense concentration and strict adherence to a
multitude of sometimes unnatural but correct shooting
fundamentals, quickly eliminates those of slower intellect.
A good team shooter need have many attributes; however, if he
lacks the ability for complete concentration and the intestinal
fortitude to make up his mind to adhere to fundamentals
regardless of match pressure, adverse weather conditions or any
other conceivable distractions he is useless to you and the team.
- Compatibility. A team member must so conduct himself so
that his presence is enjoyed by his team mates, win or
lose. Hot tempers, temperamental prima donna activities
and arbitrariness will do little to improve shooting
ability and will do a lot to alienate shooting companions
and quite possibly have a detrimental effect upon the
- Sure-Footed and Careful. This is no game for the
indecisive. Each step must be planned and deliberated.
Decide what has to be done, then carefully and
methodically do it.
- Confidence. A shooter must have no doubt whatsoever about
his ability or the accuracy of his guns.
- Consistency. A team shooter must be consistent enough
that his performance can be predicted within reasonable
- Tranquillity. Although a good shot must place all of his
mental and physical ability toward shooting a good score,
infrequently he will fail in this. Suffice to say that
when this happens if he admonished himself severely, or
falls into a fit of complete depression because of a poor
score, he will hurt greatly his chances for the rest of
the match. It is not intended that you laugh off or treat
lightly a poor performance; however, you must possess the
presence of mind to accept the bitter with the sweet.
- Good Health. The eyes are important so they must be
perfect or corrected to this condition. Good physical
condition is imperative to give resiliency to the muscles
and better nerve control. The day of the drinking,
smoking, have-a-good-time pistol champion is long past.
To win today a shooter must refrain from any habits of
either eating or living that will impede his ability to
perform at his best.
- Open Mind. The shooter who has placed himself in the
mental state that he can accept no help, no coaching-,
nor a frequent re-evaluation of his technique, can never
In addition to those proven ill effects on general health
and longevity, the following effects and reactions will
definitely prevent the shooter from reaching his maximum
potential. Do not attempt to fool yourself, or to justify
your own inability to refrain from either (or both) of
these bad habits by pointing out the
"exceptions" who are apparently able to fire
good scores in spite of their habits. Most good shooters
do not smoke at all or drink before or during their
- Sportsmanship. A poor sport has no place on any Army
team. He is a representative of the US Army and a member
of the team that produces more winners than any other.
Shoot to win, but if you are not the winner you should be
proud of a team mate who is. There is no honor in winner
over a team mate who did not shoot his best scores, so
don't play underhanded and try to create unfavorable
conditions for him. Win your matches by shooting.
To be effective, physical training for the pistol shooter must
be realistic and continuous. The objective is to so condition the
body that the general health is excellent and that the muscular
and nervous systems are fully capable of withstanding the grind
of match conditions and enable the shooter to fire his maximum
Physical training should be progressive, either in repetitions
performed or in the resistance used. Conditioning must remain
short of the fine drawn conditions sought by track athletes, as
this is generally considered detrimental to good pistol shooting.
Violent and strenuous athletics which may result in injuries
should be avoided.
A series of non-strenuous exercise of the type that require body
bending and stretching, deep breathing and moderate muscular
tension are best suited toward obtaining a condition defined as
body tone and a feeling of well being.
When you exercise, go at it with enthusiasm; if you are going to
spend the time, get the results your time deserves. Simply going
through the motions of an exercise is of no advantage whatsoever.
You must put some effort into your exercising. Don't expect that
just because you started exercising on Monday you are going to
realize an appreciable raise in score by Friday. Physical
conditioning is a relatively slow process.
Detrimental Habits for Shooters
In addition to those proven ill effects on general health and
longevity, the following effects and reactions will definitely
prevent the shooter from reaching his maximum potential. do not
attempt to fool yourself, or to justify your own inability to
refrain from these bad habits by pointing out the
"exceptions" who are apparently able to fire good
scores in spite of their habits. Most good shooters do not smoke
at all or drink before or during their shooting.
- Smoking (these are proven facts).
- Shrinks capillaries causing increased heart
action resulting in blood circulation
difficulties, rapid, shallow respiration,
increased pulse activity and frequent nerve
pulsating in the extremities of the body.
- Dry and "cures" large areas of the
lungs, preventing proper utilization of oxygen
breathed, and causing thereby the need for much
faster and deeper breathing when under pressure.
- Dulls certain sensory nerve endings in mouth and
throat causing increased nervousness when under
- Causes temporary (eventually permanent) loss of
sense of values and judgment.
- A depressant, alcohol and its tail end effects
will lessen the desire to win.
- It will dehydrate the body causing permanent ill
effects to blood, nerves and certain brain areas.
The debilitating after effects of even the mildest drugs
are well known. Once used, requirements increase rapidly,
causing eventual habitual need.
Coffee overcomes depression. Three cups of coffee are
equal to a five-alarm fire in your nervous system during
- The following suggestions are offered concerning the
- The use of tobacco is to be discouraged. The
smoker is slowly tightening an unbreakable
linkage around his nervous control that will
eventually destroy that control.
- Alcoholic beverages when used should be in
moderation and of the light variety, i.e. beer,
and only after completion of the day's shooting.
- Mild drugs of a nature intended to calm the
nerves and give a false feeling of stability in
hope of attaining high scores under pressure are
- Overeating and late hours when you are trying to
accomplish the difficult task of developing into
a better shooter or attempting to produce scores
in a match that will enable your team to win,
will definitely remove that brisk, enthusiastic
alertness so necessary when you need every point
you can get.