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The countdown to the Commonwealth Games is on

Things are starting to become more and more focused now on the details covering my shooting, with technical and mental preparations plus physical fitness and planning for all eventualities.


As Benjamin Franklin once said: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”, so I have carried out a full review of all aspects of my current situation and performance (following training sessions) and formulated a plan going forwards. The main areas are physical, mental, technical and tactical, all of which will be worked on right up to competition day. Much of this work is very familiar from when I was shooting Double Trap back in 2016 and hasn’t taken much time to get back up to speed, which has been positive.


Physical gym work has been set by Trevor Christian from the Manx Sports Aid Foundation and is aimed at getting me as fit and strong as I will need to be for recovery, from training and also the flight to Australia, and also to absorb recoil from the gun allowing better control. Technical work has been identified from training sessions but this is mainly about familiarisation with the event.


A new addition to the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games shooting team is Ed Barker as clays coach. Ed is the son of Martin, my original coach who passed away in 2016, so a great member to have with the team who shares Martin’s passion and understanding of the sport greatly. Martin was also a coach with the team back in 2006 at Melbourne so great to see Ed carrying on from his father.


Mental training has been key to good performances and this has been carefully planned out with key areas being worked on to get me to the right place at the right time. And tactics for the event are still in the making – for instance, we’ve booked some additional accommodation near the shooting venue for the 3 nights leading up to competition to ensure good rest. Due to the shooting venue’s location it is estimated that a 2 hour bus journey from the main accommodation might be common so I wanted to avoid a 5.30am bus trip. Most of the other home nation teams have done the same.


I made a brief trip back to the Island in February for the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Gala Dinner celebrating 60 years of the Island’s participation. It was great to be part of the RL360 table and was certainly entertaining when some surprised members of the team won prizes in the silent auction they didn’t know they were bidding in!


Team kit has been distributed and it’s great to have my hands on it now, always a very proud moment to receive the “Island’s colours” as it were.

There is a lot of nutritional advice being sent out from the IOM Commonwealth Games Association now in the run up the games, especially around anti-doping legislation and also over eating at the village.


Regarding anti-doping it’s pretty straight forward, each athlete is 100% responsible for their body and there are no excuses. Supplements are a serious risk and also medicines which haven’t been approved by UK anti-doping, although this doesn’t cover the same product which has been manufactured in another country, as was the case with Allan Baxter and his nasal inhaler during a winter Olympics which saw him lose a medal.


Over eating is also a concern, not from a sporting ban but certainly a risk to performance! There are often stories of how access to 24hr food can cause athletes to change their eating habits and gain a few pounds before competing, especially if there is a McDonald’s on site like at the Rio Olympics! Dangerous!!


Commonwealth Games 2018