Why coached shooting for teams events?

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Fergus Bailey
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Why coached shooting for teams events?

#1 Postby Fergus Bailey » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:50 am

Hi all. I hope this is an acceptable forum for this question – its somewhat prompted by some of the FClass worlds discussion that has been going on.

I am very much an FClass outsider. I have an interest to understand the discipline better, with a view to competing more actively at some time, and have been researching the sport for a while now. Can someone please explain to me what coached shooting is, and why is it the only for of shooting that seems to apply to teams events in this discipline (and I can see from the recent Worlds that this is an international thing, not just some local nuance)? I have a very rudimentary understanding, but would like to know more.

Just for context - I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with coached shooting, so please dont take this as a negative comment. I am genuinely trying to understand the history and appeal of this aspect of the sport.

And please understand that its not like I dont have experience with team shooting (at least as I have been exposed to it). I have represented Australia at 4 centrefire World Benchrest Championships (4 person teams), 1 centrefire regional Benchrest Championships, and 1 rimfire Benchrest World Postal Championships (3 person teams) in the past 10 or so years. There is a team element to these events, especially the way Australia approaches the centrefire WBC, however the shooting portion is all shot entirely as an individual.

I guess where I am coming from is that I intuitively see shooting as an individual effort (even when competing on a team). I certainly see a role for coaching, but am struggling to understand how coached shooting works in an Fclass/fullbore context.

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#2 Postby AlanF » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:13 am


In F-Class team shooting, it is very much a team effort, with no emphasis on individuals. Each person in the team has a role, be it coach, shooter, captain or plotter etc. The idea is to make maximum use of all the available skills to produce the best outcome, and when its working well as it did for the F-Open team in Raton, that is what happens. The wind reading aspect is taken very seriously in F-Class, and its recognised that some people are very skilled at it. So the wind coaches are chosen mainly on that basis, but also on their communication skills and calmness under pressure. Wind coaches either instruct shooters on wind changes, or directly make the adjustments to their sights. Shooters are chosen based on their ability to shoot quickly and accurately (wind skills not required because coaches do that), and willingness to obey instructions. Having accurate equipment is a must, but rifles can be swapped at any time, even during an application. A common situation for larger (8 shooter) team events is to be allocated 2 adjacent targets, with two coaches and two shooters in operation simultaneously. This allows valuable information sharing between the coaches, particularly when windage zeros of rifles are identical. Many shooters prefer team events to individual - it is quite a different experience.


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#3 Postby DaveMc » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:00 pm

Fergus, Several points should be made here.
1) You probably will find some "uncoached" team events in F class which are basically just adding best scores of individual shooters at prize meetings and the like. It is four individual shooters with very little teamwork. Of course it would be different if you were representing your country or state etc as there would be team training and helping each other improve.
2) working together as a team to get the best scores on paper is what the essence of F class team shooting is all about. Of course you can enter any team event and shoot it all as individuals if you like and some people genuinely believe this is the way to get the best score. It is not until you see a good team working that you see how it all comes together. Multiple shooter, 3 coach teams are the ultimate teamwork situation. How do you work off each other to improve scores over the individuals lining up and shooting?

The concept in single coach teams is the coach learns from the first shooter and applies that logic to the next shooters coming through. Sure one or two individuals may score better by themselves but the combined average of everyones scores nearly always goes up (if done well).

BUT real teamwork comes in multiple coaches and shooting lanes. The combined knowledge and how to sychronise becomes a very powerful tool and a very rewarding experience. It is hard to get right but when it does it is magical. To me this is the true essence of team shooting and comes together a little like a soccer or football team. Rarely does an individual score a try or goal by themselves but rather the whole team depends on working together to get the best result.

F class team shooting has no place for individuals. They only tend to upset the applecart but it is a hard step from shooting your whole career as an individual and then having to change the attitude towards "what is better for the team".
We need more team shooting events so that it becomes part of the "culture" and also a greater understanding of the requirements and roles.

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Re: Why coached shooting for teams events?

#4 Postby Triplejim » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:20 pm

Fergus Bailey wrote:I certainly see a role for coaching.

In team shooting, you will find some members can accurately maintain plots whilst others have difficulty transferring the visual information to paper.
The members who can recall the visual information often make good coaches.
A lot of the left versus right hemisphere thought processes as being mathematicians versus artists has been debunked http://www.livescience.com/39373-left-b ... -myth.html
but try your hand at this survey http://www.wherecreativitygoestoschool. ... b_test.htm

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#5 Postby RAVEN » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:28 pm

Nice job Boys
the only thing I will add Fergus is that being part of a successful team is the most rewarding thing that you can do as a target shooter not only does it give you a great sense of achievement and satisfaction but you also get to share it with your fellow team mates. YA GOTTA LOVE THAT

bruce moulds
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#6 Postby bruce moulds » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:31 pm

one powerful tool a team coach has is statistics.
these start the second 2 shots are fired, and grow with shot count.
the coach fires every shot fired by the team in a sense. with each shot, experience grows
people shooting as individuals are at a serious disadvantage competing against this.
keep safe,
"SUCH IS LIFE" Edward Kelly 11 nov 1880

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#7 Postby higginsdj » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:03 am

I love team shooting (and it applys to TR as well). As a shooter I can concentrate solely on my shot performance - nothing else matters - hell as a TR shooter I have no idea where my shots are even landing. As a plotter I keep track of where the shots land and where the group is developing and keep the coach informed. The coach worries about the wind and has 2 other wind coaches and the shots of another shooter to aid in the right sight setting for the shooter that he/she is coaching and has the plotter to show them where the group is developing.



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#8 Postby johnk » Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:35 am

When you sit back & think about it, open range shooting is probably the only group of disciplines that could accommodate wind coaching & benefit from it.

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#9 Postby BATattack » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:09 am

The end result is higher scores. As an individual you may be an extremely good wind reader or an extremely good trigger puller. You would probably see this even in benchrest?

But when you have a good wind reader making the adjustments and the best trigger pullers putting their shots down spot on every time you have a the perfect hybrid shooter.

I am no where near the best coach out there but I know I can coach someone else to better scores than I can shoot because all I'm doing is watching the wind.

I also know I can hold slightly better vert because I have more time to position myself and concentrate on release while someone else is doing the wind adjustments

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