This article is part of the CCA Previews for 2016.
By Wang Kaiying (16S03E), co-captain
For a first-timer, finding the RI shooting range is a feat within itself. Hidden in a quiet corner behind the school canteen, it has only a bright red “DANGER” sign signalling its existence during training hours.
But even with the intimidating guns, there is nothing at all dangerous about shooting. We abide by strict safety rules, such as never leaving a loaded gun unattended, and aiming only at the target.
That being said, shooting is still unlike most other sports CCAs. Venture into the range during training and you’ll be greeted not with the sounds of loud shouting and shoes squeaking against the floor, but with silence. While shooting does not involve vigorous physical activity, there is more to it than meets the eye.
At first glance, our trainings may seem monotonous and repetitive – after all, all we do is shoot. However, there is actually greater variation than most realise. There are different exercises, each with their own purpose: for instance, to focus solely on our technique, we shoot groupings of up to 60 shots on a single target card, and gauge our performance by how concentrated the shots are. Or, to simulate competitions and to train our mental strength, we shoot up to 10 shots on a target card, bringing the card back after each shot.
Technical precision aside, mental strength is also an important part of shooting. For one, it is immensely important that shooters learn to manage their emotions – the disappointment from a bad shot, for instance, can easily trigger a whole series of bad shots, while the excitement and raised expectations after a streak of good shots can just as easily end that streak. Moreover, since shooting is largely an individual pursuit, we come under immense pressure to outdo ourselves during competitions. Thus, mental discipline is of paramount importance in shooting, and keeping our emotions in check and focusing purely on perfecting each motion is something each shooter tries his best to master. And it is this valuable ability to push everything else aside, to focus on what’s important, and to perform under pressure, that stays with us even when we’ve kept the guns and locked the armoury.
But Shooting isn’t as daunting as it may seem! We have two dedicated and experienced coaches who never fail to give timely advice. Moreover, shooting may be an individual sport, but the CCA has a strong team spirit. With relatively heavy training schedules – averaging 2-3 times per week during non-competition periods, and up to 5 times during the competition season – it is inevitable that we spend a lot of time together. Consequently, we have a strong rapport with each other. We trust each other to work hard, and we strive for the common goal of doing our best. Furthermore, we support and encourage each other through our ups and downs, both in and outside of CCA. We have fun, too – breaks during training are usually filled with laughter (albeit silent, for fear of disrupting those still shooting).
Admittedly, Shooting is a CCA that prefers those with prior experience, because the skill set required is a rather specific one. However, we hope that this has given you a better understanding of what Shooting is like, both as a sport and CCA. And if you’re interested to try out shooting for yourself, do take part in our IHC next year!