Training, Competing, Shoot-Offs, Confidence and a new Rifle

Many things have happened since my last blog post and I am truly sorry that it has taken this long before I got it posted, so I should attempt to start at the beginning and talk about the last 6 months. One of the reasons that my blog haven’t been updated is because that I have had some technical problems, but no reason to give out excuses when I now have the opportunity to write this long waited update.

The very first competition of the year to be exact in week 1, was in Sweden at the Swedish Cup held in Sävsjö. Again they have created a great competition with some good ranges and I was shooting at my mid level the two first days with scores of 394 and 395, after two great finals I was also 2 Gold medals richer, the last day I only managed a 392 and I was in doubt if it was because I was getting mentally tired or if there was something else I couldn’t describe.

Two weeks later I went to a new created International Competition in Denmark called LF Open. LF Open was at the same time also a qualification competition for both the European Championships in Meraker, Norway and the World Championships in Munich, Germany. I scored 395 and a Silver medal plus a decent qualification score.

On the 23rd of January the trip was again back to Denmark to compete in the 3rd qualification shooting towards the ECH in Meraker, Norway. A few days before the Sports manager of the Danish Shooting Union had called me and told I was already selected for the team to compete in Norway, so I wouldn’t have to worry about the qualification. I think that was my luck, during the competition I felt pretty bad to be honest I had the feeling of being nausea. The result turned out thereafter, a total of 389 and one of the worst results for a long period of time. Afterwards the whole Danish team went on a training camp together for the rest of the weekend and I was to stay in Denmark and drive with the minibus to the IWK competition in Munich. I didn’t feel any better during the training camp, and when it lacked towards the end I got really sick, I was sick for 2½ days where I only was sleeping on my dear friends couch trying to get better. Thank you Rikke for borrowing your couch and being a tired, bored and sick friend those days, you took good care of me.

IWK Munich, bringing back the good memories of this historic Olympic shooting range. The first thing I did when I arrived in Munich was to go directly to the service team of Anschütz, asking them to make a checkup on my rifle because of the whole period where I have been having some troubles. I’m now very happy that I did, it showed out that my rifle still was broken. So I only have thanks left to the Anschütz Service team for fixing my rifle and I could then go to RWS to get some pellets tested now when my old H&N pellets weren’t going optimally in the bore anymore. I got new pellets and I could start with the unofficial trainings. I reached two training sessions before the competitions started and in both sessions I was suddenly again shooting amazing inner tens and not just average tens and good nines. The competitions turned out with 395 and 394 which wasn’t too bad considering the fact I just had been sick a few days before the competition and that my rifle finally was fixed.

The first two weeks of February was doomed to be hectic with great experiences and learning. First a match at InterShoot in The Hague, Netherlands where I had a bad start on the competition but finished very nicely, again it seems I just can’t get back into the real high scores but just keeping this good midlevel of 394-395. The match resulted in 394 and a great final caused me to win the golden medal. The following day I was to board a plane to Nuernberg, Germany. I had qualified together with my Bundesliga Team, KKS Nordstemmen, to shoot the Bundesliga Final held in Coburg. It was an amazing experience to shoot in the final, I learned a lot about myself and how I act under pressure, certainly something I have taken with me to all the finals I have been shooting during this season, just one season in the Bundesliga have changed a lot of things and given me a lot of good experience. My team and I was shooting below our normal average and our opponents where shooting well, we couldn’t expect to win when we look at the scores afterwards and it made perfectly sense that we unfortunately lost on all 5 positions on the team. If we have shot up to our best we could maybe have been equal with our opponents, but as we all say, we got experience and we will be back next year to fight for the Golden medals in the Bundesliga Final.

After the Bundesliga Final in Coburg the trip was towards Denmark, a few days of training with my National Coach, Leif Steinar Rolland, before our official European Championships training camp. I had some nice training sessions and a nice training camp, finally the training results are coming back up to where they used to be and my confidence was gaining new levels. Also at home after this camp and until this day of speech my trainings have only been increasing my self-confidence since my downturn last year during the World Cups.

This year’s European Championships was held in Meraker, Norway. I had packed my winter clothing as Norway is known for being cold and frozen, but when I landed all the snow was melting and I was certainly too warmly dressed. Arriving at the hotel I met the rest of the Danish team plus a camera man and a journalist from DR Sporten, which is a part of Danish TV Sport. They where to follow the Danish Air Rifle lady team during the European Championships, to learn more about our sport and to make a TV documentary to be sent live on Danish TV 2 weeks later. In the beginning it was a little weird having a camera after you all the time, but after a few hours you slowly get used to it, they were with us everywhere from breakfast to the dressing rooms on the shooting range. The competition went well, I had a decent start a very bad middle and a decent end, but unfortunately I make a 9 in shot 39 which cost me the shoot-off final in the European Championships. I was though very satisfied with the result and a place as the 13th best Air Rifle Women shooter in Europe.

After the European Championships I was a short trip to Dortmund to shoot this year’s edition of ISAS but with a total result of 394 it wouldn’t give more than 14th place in the strong field of great shooters. But the positive with the match was I found a few things I should be training on, but also the confirmation that I need to personalize my pistol grip more to fit my hand. I added more material to the grip a few days after the ISAS by using “liquid wood” – a bit of grinding afterwards and the grip turned out well. Now it was just about training and getting used to the new feeling.

The first competition to be shot with my new grip was ISCH in Hannover. I got the lucky draw of the first relay at 8AM and I do remember I was considerably tired since I only arrived the evening before a little late, Arno drove me there but since he had to work on the Friday we could first leave after he got home from work. I scored a decent 395 which showed to myself that I am a stable shooter in the mid 90’s – I made the final as number 8 based on my many innertens, but even though I shot an average final the other shooters did the same so there was no change in my place after the final, I ended as number 8.

2 weeks after the ISCH I got the pleasant news from the Danish Shooting Union that I was to participate in the World Championships, Munich 2010. I was told during a training camp in Denmark, the last training camp of the season besides for those who were going to the WCH. After the training camp I returned home to the Netherlands with a nice flight in the cockpit all the way from Copenhagen to Duesseldorf – Conclusion, yes it can sometimes give benefits to travel in your track suit from the national team…

Just 1 week after my last visit in Duesseldorf Airport I was there again, flying all the way over the Atlantic Ocean to Atlanta, USA. I remember it as a very long travel, though I remember the return trip to Europe even longer. I was to shoot the World Cup in Fort Benning. During may, Georgia is slowly heating up for their lovely warm and sunny summers and I was so lucky that the whole 6 days where I was there the sun was shining and there was hardly any clouds, the day after I returned home it started raining. The 10m range was luckily nicely airconditioned which was one of the best places to be because outside was a lovely 33-35 degrees every day. I had some nice training sessions there and to be honest I didn’t feel as jetlagged as I expected and after the official training I was certainly ready to shoot the competition. The first serie was 99 and approved, but the following serie of 98 I was not happy with, the two 9’s where stupidly done and I stepped out of my position to talk with my coach, we agreed I should get back to ny original plan and stick to a few technical focus points. I got back on track and finished with 100 and 99 – a total of 396. But knowing my luck one of the range officers where standing and waiting for me to finish with one of those lovely cards saying “extra equipment control”. I went through without a blink and Leif told me I had qualified for the shoot-off final, I wasn’t sure that I heard it correct the first time, because I wouldn’t expect to qualify for a shoot-off final with a score of 396, but I did. I shot 5 x 10s in the shoot-off final and a total of 51.8, but the decimals were not good enough, Petra Zublasing from Italy won the single open position to enter with the other qualified shooters for the final. I remember I was awfully nervous but it is just like shooting in the Bundesliga, it is normal to be nervous and you still shoot tens… When I got home form Fort Benning I was jetlagged, it hit me as a rock, even though I tried to sleep on the plane it wasn’t possible, a noisy kid behind me plus a seat in the middle row, but after all a good trip with a 10th place in the luggage…

The next competition on the list was the World Cup in Belgrade, I was so fortunate to get on an airplane where none of the personnel where speaking English. Everything was in Serbian and no I don’t speak Serbian. The pilot said something just after boarding was completed, and two seconds after the message in Serbian then all the kids onboard seemed to start crying. A guy sitting next to me was kindly to translate into English; the plane was delayed 30 minutes before it could take off. In Serbia you have to pay import tax on weapons, which makes no sense since you are not as such importing the guns, alas you will bring them with you back when you go home. But yes we all paid import taxes and the airport was one big mess, not enough customs not to handle the papers. I was lucky I came in front of 20+ Russians and 40+ Indians and straight out in the bus departing for the hotel. The hotel was an experience by itself, it was supposed to be renovated completely in 2005 and I think that renovation was only downstairs at the reception and upstairs at the restaurant – the rest was very typical Eastern Europe, now you read between the lines, but hotel Serbia in Belgrade is not a recommended hotel for the future. The shooting range was fine; the food at the hotel and at the shooting range was also good. My pre event training was very bad and I doubted in many things, but Leif staid a few clever words to me “It is not one bad training session that determines if a shooter is a bad or a good shooter.” Thank you. I made a plan on how to shoot the match and everything followed the plan, the first sighters where good and I’m the type of person that I first start my match after I have shot a 9 in my sighters and some tens after that 9, it is to know where the limit is. I where aiming in the 9 and was awarded a 10.9 and reacted with a big question mark. The following shot I aimed further out and got an 8. Ok now a few tens to start the match, but they just didn’t wanna come and I was back into only shooting 9’s. Out speaking to my coach, get shaken a little, back on the range. Shot 5-7 more sighters most tens, then the match started. The first 3 shots took some time to complete and then I got into a good flow. And then I realized that Ive shot 2 x 100 in the first series J Nice, the second serie a 9.8 popped into the screen, I accepted the 9 and continued shooting. Another 9.8 came in and the serie ended on 98, the last serie was also on 98 with 2 x 9.9 but yes it is a nine but overall a very good and stable competition. I know why I shot the 9s and I know what things to work with. With 396 I was just one point from the shoot-off finals and placed as number 17.

Shortly after Belgrade we went to Sweden on training camp for the last preparations towards the WCH in Munich. I had some good training days, but returned to the Netherlands finding out that Arno’s father had died – it was empty at home and a very weird feeling, so many things to take care off and still trying to find time to get to the shooting range for practice.

Allready in Duesseldorf Airport everybody seemed to know that I was travelling with the flight to Munich, to shoot the World Championships, it was an excellent service in the Airport and the Deutche Schützen Bund certainly did a good job hosting the championships on the old shooting arena used under the Olympic Games in 1972, but of cause renovated since. The atmosphere was different that you experience during the IWK or at the WC’s and EC’s it was a big competition and people knew here is the place, were good results could turn into a quota place for the upcoming Olympic Games in London 2012. My trainings went fine and the match went good, 4 x 99 and a score of 396 – it resulted in placing number 15 just 1 point for the shoot-off finals. After the competition I picked up my new rifle from Anschütz, a 9003 Precise, a few days of vacation in Munich and a lot of training to do for the upcoming season.

This past season have brought back my confidence to a good level, I got some good stable results at the matches and overall I am at this moment ranked number 19 on the ISSF and 10 on the ESC rankings. I look forward to the coming season which is more or less already started.

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Posted on: 05/10/2010

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