Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Sad news for VI shooting in the UK

Earlier this week I learned of the death of Ken Nash. Ken was a significant figure within shooting and in particular vision impaired shooting. Ken has been involved from the beginning of vision impaired shooting as it is now in the UK, from the time the Swarovski acoustic scope made its way over here back in 1994. Since then Ken promoted VI shooting amongst shooting clubs and grew the sport to what it is today. He also organised the annual British VI championships and the VI leagues. Also around the late 1990s through to the mid 2000s, Ken organised a team of VI shooters to go and shoot at the Dutch open Championships in Apeldoorn.

Back in 2013 as part of the disabled shooting project, I presented Ken Nash with the award for outstanding individual contribution to disabled target shooting. It was a great honour for me to present him with the award and acknowledge his contribution.

I would like to finish this post by saying thank you Ken, you will be sadly missed. My condolences go to his wife, family and friends.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Over to you, what do you like

I know I started writing my blog years ago, but I started to commit to giving frequent updates only more recently. Its all part of me wanting to raise my profile ahead of the World Championships later this year. Also if I can get others interested in the sport and may be even taking it up, even better.

So its time to ask you, my readers, what items do you like reading? Are there some topics you want more of or are there things you would like me to go into more detail. Do you like reading about me and what I am doing, training, competitions and even things outside my shooting, or would you prefer more detailed technical items? Is there anything I haven't talked about yet which you would like me to discuss.

So now over to you, either give me your feedback in the comments or if you would prefer to send it privately use the contact form to email me.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Another competition in the calendar

This week I have got my entry into the ESSU Championships confirmed. With these championships coming about a week before I go to Hanover, it should be a good training competition to prepare me for the first international of the year. I am not sure which I prefer, whether to have competitions coming up close together like this in clusters, or if I would prefer them to be spread out a bit more evenly throughout the year. I am sure when I get back from Hanover I will be trying to catch up with other parts of my life. Why not give your view in the comments.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

CTSA league results

Today the results for the final round of the Cambridgeshire Target Shooting Association rifle leagues were available. I finished in a solid second place in the first division. One thing which was very pleasing to see is that my average for the ten rounds is 272.4. This is significantly higher than my entry average which was 263.8. It is always nice to see improvement in your shooting and for me to have such a large improvement is a really good start for the year. Now to keep up that good work in readiness for my international competitions later this year.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Training without pellets or sound

Earlier today I was at my shooting club doing some training, but I never fired a pellet or even turned on the sound from my aiming device. Don't worry I haven't gone mad, there is a good reason for this. Those of you who are shooters may be familiar with the concept of dry-fire training, but what was the no sound all about?

As my shooting has improved, getting the position correct to ensure everything is fully stable has become more important. In the last couple of weeks we have done some work on getting the position correct. However when I hear the sound of the aiming device, it is too tempting to let that drive me to work at finding the centre of the target, rather than feeling my position and letting the position naturally settle. So we kept the sound off today so that I would have to feel the position.

My assistant had Scatt attached to my rifle so she could see how things were moving. I have been told that things seem to be improving and I think I am starting to understand better what I need to do. I have been given some home work in the form of some exercises to help with strength. May be next time I am at the club we can look at adding the sound back in.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

The equipment I use

For those who would like to know what equipment I use, then you may be interested in the new page I have written which lists my current and previous shooting equipment. Read the my equipment page here. I have left out items which I feel are less significant, however if you are interested in those then contact me with your request.

On that page I have mentioned where I have received support with the equipment, but one I think particularly deserves to be highlighted is that of the boots.

Back in 2007, fellow vision impaired shooter Morag Morrison sadly died of Parkinson's disease. Morag's family wanted to give her shooting equipment to people who would make good use of it, I was asked if any of it would be useful to me and fortunately my feet were the same size as Morag's and so I inherited her boots. Morag's boots continue to serve me well, I thank Morag's family for giving me these boots and I hope they feel I am making good use of them.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Article in the Melton Times

There was a nice piece written about me in the Melton Times this week. You can read the article here. It gives a good summary of my shooting career to date and mentions my hopes for the World Championships later this year.

In the past most media coverage about vision impaired shooting normally focusses on how it is done and/or is about a club getting the equipment. One thing which normally is lacking is any insights into the actual people who are the vision impaired shooters. I must admit I do quite like interviews and items which discuss the person. In my time of doing the sport I have met some great people. I really hope over time people will become more aware of vision impaired shooting and so there will be less need for the how it is done items and more time can be given to showing the personalities in the sport.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

British vision impaired championships

Yesterday was the day of the British vision impaired shooting championships. Due to the differences between this competition and how international competitions are shot, I decided not to shoot in this competition. However I still went to see what was going on, see whether there were any shooters who may be interested in the international disciplines and also to collect my EcoAims which I will use for prone.

The first thing which struck me was how quiet it was at the competition. Having gone to international competitions and mainstream national competitions, I have got so used to there being music playing and plenty of people talking. Seems like many in this country are still under the impression that vision impaired shooters need silence, rather than the shooter learning to cope with background noise or getting earphones with better sound isolation.

Another difference was the fact that paper targets of air pistol size were being used. This probably is the main reason I decided not to compete, all my international competitions are done using air rifle targets and with electronics, so the rhythm and score would not compare. Also I am not satisfied with the current solution used in this country for using the EcoAims with paper targets, they mount the LED on the wall above the target. This means any error in positioning the target in the target carrier will lead to an inaccuracy of the aiming system. At my shooting club we are so disatisfied that we have decided to look into developing a target holder with an LED which is loaded into the target carrier, thus ensuring the target and LED are always positioned the same relative to each other.

We had a bit of a conversation with one of the clubs from Cornwall. To my surprise one of them was someone I went to school with and had not spoken with since I left school in 2003. They seemed quite interested in the international disciplines and I hope that they do look into it further.

With the journey home to do I decided to head for home before the final results were announced, so unfortunately I cannot give details of those here. I hope those who competed enjoyed the championships and feel that they achieved their goals.

Finally before I go, I am sure some of you may have the question why I was getting a second EcoAims aiming device? The reason is so that we can set one up for standing and the other for prone. Also the EcoAims device I currently have is an older device and the adjusters do not have such a good feel when you move them, so it can be difficult to adjust it precisely, the newer devices have much better clicks in the adjusters. This possibly is one advantage the VIASS has with its electronic adjustments, providing you remember the values you can set the adjustments from a computer, which makes it much more suited to multi-discipline use.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Melton Times Sports Awards presentation evening

Yesterday evening was the Melton Times Sports Awards. As I previously blogged, I had been nominated and short listed as a finalist in the category of disabled sports person of the year.

The evening started with a meal and the awards were to be presented afterwards. There were a number of different categories and the disabled sports person award was to be the third to be presented. It was impressive to hear about all the finalists and what they have done in their sports, I can imagine there were some tough choices for the judges to select one winner in each category.

The moment came when the disabled sports person award was to be presented. All finalists were to go up to the stage whilst information about each finalist and their achievements were read out. I did not know whether I had won or not until the envelope was opened and the winner was announced. I am proud to say that the winner was myself. Fortunately for me, the winners of the previous categories did not give a speech and as I am not keen on giving speeches I followed their lead.

Me with my award

I would like to say a quick thank you to all the people have helped me, from those who work as my assistant, coaching encouragement, etc. Yes I might be the one who actually does the aiming and firing of the shot, but without your help I doubt I would have reached the level I have.

In Australia for the World Championships

As the World Championships gets closer, now less than a week away, I thought it was time to write another blog post. Last week saw me take t...