Hugh Pritchard, Biathlete

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Hugh Pritchard

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Shooting Exercises

Some examples of 'static' shooting training - most are better used in groups because that induces more stress and incentive to perform at the limits of one's capability. That also enables you to compare timings of drills. Most are best done with a coach or helper to cock the targets. You can add variety by introducing penalties (eg a few press-ups on the mat for each miss), or doing the exercises as relays.

These are good to put in at the beginning of a training session, after zeroing and before combination training; alternatively at the end of a static shooting training session, just to remind athletes about speed and stress. All can be done on skis or roller-skis as well as on foot.

All these exercises start and finish with the rifle on the back. None involve moving with a live round in the chamber, although some require moving with a loaded mag fitted.

  1. Biathlon series (4 mags of 5): start behind the mat, get down and fire 5 prone, stand up and turn round a marker (with rifle on back), fire 5 standing, etc. Under 2 minutes is very quick indeed.
  2. Biathlon series, relay style (4 mags of 5, with 3 spares in each relay holder): as above, but handloading as necessary.
  3. Biathlon series, relay style (4 mags of 2, with 3 spares in each relay holder): as above, but handloading the last 3 for each shoot.
  4. Biathlon series, handloading (empty mag on the rifle, 10 rounds on the mat, 10 rounds in the standing cup): as above, but handloading all rounds.
  5. 20x1st shot (4 mags of 5): fit a mag and fire a shot at the first target; stand up and put the rifle on as normal (you have a loaded mag on the rifle, and an empty case in the breech), get down, change mags, fire the second shot, stand up, etc.
  6. 20x1st shot handloading (empty mag on the rifle; 10 rounds on the mat, 10 in the cup for standing shooting): as above, but no changing mags, loading each round by hand.
  7. Shoot standing on prone targets - all sorts of variations possible, but don't emphasise speed, as just hitting them is hard enough.
  8. 1st shot, going just for speed. You can skip changing magazines to emphasise just speed into position. It's amazing how quickly you can do this with a very little practice.
  9. 100 straight: try to shoot 100 targets (as 20 biathlon shoots) without a miss. Try to maintain normal shooting speed. This helps you learn to cope with the stress of trying to maintain a clear streak, and is quite intense mentally. Mike Dixon has shot 147 before missing.
  10. Press-ups Combi: rifle on, the group doing press-ups to the coach's count, on coach's command straight into position and fire, either 1st shot or all 5.