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Tim Kneale August 2017 Blog

Definitely in the learning zone

It has been a busy start to the summer with UK and overseas competitions. I have still been getting to grips with the new discipline and testing my process under competition stress whenever possible. Olympic trap is a lot more of a reactive, reflex driven process compared with double trap where there was time to consciously make decisions. The process of breaking the target must be natural and uncontrived but for this to happen I have had to work consciously on what I want this to look like. Not an easy process to go through as there are a lot of missed targets - this is very frustrating as you can imagine. Definitely spending a lot of time in the learning zone.  

Learning Zone

Earlier in the season I had some technical alterations made to my gun. The wooden stock I used for Double Trap was precision made to fit my hand very tightly allowing increased control between the 2 shots. When I got the new gun and the fitted stock it was made differently, although a similar copy of the old one. However, as the movement range is a lot greater in Olympic Trap I found my hand was too restricted and the position was causing recoil to travel though my thumb and cause bruising at the base near the wrist. This was altered to reduce the restriction (wood was carved away) and the problem has been sorted but for a time training was pretty painful.


In May the GB squad travelled to the “Green Cup” in a small village called Todi 2 hours north of Rome. The fortified village is well worth a visit and the walk to the top will keep you fit! This is the home of the Italian National Team with great facilities but very hard targets with each shooting range being different to the last. The event was a good marker for the following few months and highlighted areas requiring work on the training ground.


The following weekend was the first Great Britain selection shoot of the year at my local ground, Brook Bank, near Cheddar Gorge. My number one goal of this year is to hit 118/125 which is a senior travelling score set by British Shooting. To shoot this score so early in the season would be a massive achievement but would not guarantee a team position on its own for any international events. This year is about hitting that score and setting things in place ready for next year and 2019, the qualification year for the 2020 Olympic Games. I shot a 110 so a little way to go yet.


My Olympic Double Trap team mate, Steve Scott, is in the same positon as I am (an Olympic medal doesn’t give you an easier ride in top level sport) so we needed to get as much competition exposure as possible. The Olympic format is shot over 125 targets, 75 one day one and 50 on day two, but it used to be 200 targets -100 each day. This has led to many competitions being either 200 or 100 targets and very few 125 events strangely enough. This means we have to travel far and wide searching for opportunities to meet our target. Belgrade, Serbia, was next on the list. A lack of direct flights meant we flew into Croatia and drove across the border, spending an interesting hour translating we were professional sportsmen and the guns were for a clay target competition. Unfortunately the event wasn’t very high scoring as the targets used were extremely hard - a Rio Olympian won with a score of 117. We picked up a few missed targets one evening and found they were riddled with holes but just wouldn’t break. Although this felt like it was a backwards step I feel I am on the upward path of the picture below.

The emotional journey of creating anything great

Back in the UK a Grand Prix was held at the Nuthampstead shooting ground the week before the next GB Selection shoot. Another good testing ground and learning opportunity but things were starting to become frustrating. Both events went ok with my personal best being pushed up a few targets to 112/118 which was positive and also a consideration score for the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games team for the 2018 games which was great. Being only a consideration score though it guarantees nothing in terms of team selection.


During July there was a training camp planned at an Italian shooting ground in Bologna, a ground we visited a lot of years ago. It was here I had the opportunity to talk to another coach, Per Moen, from Norway. Per is a mountain of a man and claims to have been involved with the Norwegian special forces - I would not like to upset him! I had been trying to arrange a meeting earlier in the year but we hadn’t managed to cross paths. He spent some time with me on the trap range and made some significant alterations to my technique allowing a smoother target pickup and less overreaction to wider angled targets which appear faster. A good step forward, I felt, but again another setback in terms of getting to grips with more alterations which would take time. I left the rest of the GB Squad and travelled north to an Italian selection event West of Milan, amongst the Arborio rice fields funnily enough. The event went well and I had a great opportunity to test the new changes and make plans for areas which needed work.


The following week was a quick turn around and only a few days at home with Amy as I headed to the Glen Moriston Shooting Ground on the banks of Loch Ness - from the mosquitos of the rice paddies to the midges of Scotland! A cracking little ground with 2 OT layouts surrounded by conifer woodland providing an excellent background. I started the competition well with 24/25 but unfortunately couldn’t maintain the same level of consistency, entering the final in 5th position and exiting also in 5th. A positive move forward however and a great base to now build from with the changes in technique.


As you can imagine there is a fair bit of pressure to achieve the 118 score right now so trying to manage this during training and compete effectively can be a challenge at times. I am focusing on the process however and trying to remain in the moment, just one shot at a time and sticking to the following mantra.


success = time x consistency of effort

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