Captain Persaud expresses thanks to GOA for facilitating
By Franklin Wilson
Experienced Great Britain Rifle Shooting Coach, Ian Shaw, who is conducting two-weeks of training for local marksmen at the invitation of the Guyana National Rifle Association (GNRA), has said that he is pleased with the progress of the riflemen to date.
The sessions, which will cover all areas including team building, is aimed at improving the overall game of the Caribbean’s most successful rifle shooting team.
Speaking with Kaieteur Sport at the Timehri Rifle Ranges yesterday prior to the commencement of another day of training in humid conditions, Shaw noted that the focus is on the shooters not him.
On Friday evening the marksmen, some of the best in the region including National Captain Mahendra Persaud, Lennox Braithwaite, Ransford Goodluck and retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Paul Slowe among others, were going through their paces on the electronic Scatt Training System.
This system according to Shaw, analyses every element of what the shooters are doing and they’ve been looking at how they can make small improvements which overall would make vast improvements over time.
“It will take time for this to work but even in the short space of time we’ve had so far we’ve seen certainly two or three of the less experienced shooters show dramatic improvement very quickly with a few small changes with the electronic training; now we’ve got to make sure that the improvement is transformed into the competition setting.”
Yesterday’s sessions at the Timehri Ranges, the hub of shooting in Guyana, focused on setting the sights of the rifles and this was done with live firing at the 200 yards range.
“What we are doing here is something that most people don’t do. In order to be able to change the sights correctly each gun has to be zeroed so that when the sights say zero and there’s no wind you know you can pull the trigger and it will always be centrally, not left to right.”
This exercise, Shaw explained, was vital for all shooters, experienced and non-experienced to be aware of, so that when it comes to competition all would be hitting good shots on the target.
“Unless those zeros are all correct when it comes to a competition the coach has to mess around trying to work things out which is unnecessary because if it was set right in the first place the coach just sits there and say go on bang and you start getting bulls straight away and he hasn’t got to start messing around. We want everyone’s zeros to be synchronized.”
Shaw, described as a marksman of considerable pedigree and experience as a member of the Great Britain team, noted that they are not going back to basics but just looking at the critical basics to ensure that those are right.
“These guys are experienced shooters and in particular Mahendra and Ransford, I mean I got silver at the Commonwealth Games and these guys were fifth, right there the whole way, two points behind me.
So you’ve got some very good shooters, and really it’s a question of refining the skills that already exists and then looking at the more inexperienced people and giving them the tools in order to bring themselves up to the next level.”
Shaw, who has won the Ballinger Belt and Grand Aggregate in New Zealand, the British Open Target Rifle Championship at Bisley and a few other competitions over the years, expressed pleasure at the application of the shooters so far.
“I’m pleased with the progress and the really good thing is that they are listening and they are taking it on board but I’m explaining things to them in such a way that they understand why they are making the changes. Change for the sake of change is pointless but change for the sake of improvement, that’s what we want and that’s what we are getting. They understand why they are doing things and they can see the benefit.”
While he has an idea of what the shooters need to do to improve having seen them in competition mode in Guyana last year when the British team visited here and subsequently at the Caribbean Rifle Shooting Championships in Barbados and the Australia Match also in the Land of the Flying Fish, Shaw said he wants to get feedback from them as to what they want as well.
“It’s going to be one step at a time, it’s the positions right, getting the actual shot release right, make sure they’re getting the right aim so that we know they are hitting the centre and then we will move towards working on the team so that the team becomes a well oiled machine. When they turn up at the firing point in Jamaica, the rest of the West Indians see a unified team that are very, very disciplined and ready to win similar to the Great Britain team.”
Shaw posited that such an attitude will give the team the edge, citing that he has seen it work all over the world.
Captain Mahendra Persaud also commented and noted that the signs are very encouraging. He pointed out that the sessions on the electronic targets showed up some faults which Shaw has been working on including getting the shooters more comfortable and into their comfort zone.
Some of what has been imparted to the riflemen was practiced at the 300 and 600 yards ranges also.
“Tomorrow (today) we’ll be going right into team strategy and everything that comes with doing proper team shooting the way the English would do it. Our aim is to improve the shooting, technique, the scores and confidence of the shooters as we seek to continue lifting the standard of shooting for Guyana.”
Persaud expressed profound gratitude to the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) and its President, K. A Juman Yassin who assisted in a major way in making Shaw’s visit a reality.
“The GOA had pledged its assistance to this project of getting a Coach here ever since the Great Britain team was here last year so we at the GNRA are very appreciative of the GOA’s assistance.”
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