By Seet Zhi Yi Alicia (19S03L) and Chiang Yee Hui Joelle (19S03G), Co-Captains
It can be hard to believe that shooting is categorised as a sport; after all, unlike the typical sportsperson, most shooters don’t have to lug their equipment around LTs, hit the gym, or adopt special diets. Since training takes place in air-conditioned ranges and PT is (practically) non-existent, some have even labelled the sport as a “mock jock CCA”. The question remains – should shooting be considered a sport?
From the physical aspect, shooting requires relatively little physical exertion. Each training session typically involves shooters dry-firing (without pellets) against the wall, then moving on to real pellets and targets. Both stages require the repetition of the same action: raising the gun then lowering it slowly, while pulling the trigger in a slow and controlled manner. Taking into consideration that the pistol weighs 1kg and the rifle weighs 4-5kg, not much calories are burnt from each session. But is the extent of physical exertion the sole criteria in determining if shooting is indeed a sport?
Unlike other sports that prioritise explosive speed or sheer strength, shooting values balance and precision. To shoot well, one has to remain as still as possible while aiming at the target as any sudden movement will cause the pellet to veer off-course. This can be achieved by stabilising one’s centre of balance so any movement is minimised. In addition to balancing the body, shooters also have to maintain psychological balance to prevent distracting thoughts from affecting one’s execution of the shot. This is often the hardest part of training as it is relatively easy to condition one’s body, but it can be incredibly challenging to focus solely on the action without desiring to shoot the perfect 10.9.
While this may sound intimidating, we’re helped along by our dedicated coaches – Coach Qian, Coach Li, and Coach Ding, all of whom have decades of shooting experience and have taught us everything we know. With their invaluable guidance, Raffles Shooting ends up on the podium for almost every competition we participate in, bagging 3 team golds and one silver in the last National School Games. But as our coaches always say, shooting is about the process, not the results. And for many of us, the 2 or 6 year journey with our batches is much more important than any medal gained.
With our relatively small size of about 11 per batch, the CCA is a very tight-knit and homely one. While training requirements consist of 2-3 three hour sessions per week, the range is open everyday (3.30-6.30 on Wednesdays and Fridays, and 4.30-7.30 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays). This gives our shooters a lot more flexibility in choosing their schedules, and allows the truly “siao” ones to train every single day. Besides the National School Games, we also participate in the annual NUS and NTU invitational shoots, as well as SG Cups throughout the year, giving us plenty of opportunities to amass competition experience.
On some days, it can be quite frustrating to not get the desired results after putting in countless training hours and it is tempting to just give up and stop pressing on. Oftentimes, our greatest opponents are not our competitors, or even our batchmates whom we train alongside with: they are ourselves.
But no matter how badly a competition goes or how exhausted you are after a frustrating training, it’s reassuring to know that once you leave the firing line, there’ll always be someone ready with a quick joke or a word of encouragement to keep you going. When the nature of the sport dictates that your greatest enemy is yourself, having batchmates and seniors who cheer you on and fight with you can really make all the difference.
After all, Raffles Shooting is a whole lot more than just a CCA or a sport – it’s a team, a family, a place you can call home.