By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
There’s a lot to learn in the sport of competitive shooting — a lot more than some may realize.
The Oskaloosa Shooting Team recently attended a skeet shooting clinic, where the young team members had the opportunity to learn from a few notable experts. Vincent Hancock, two-time Olympic gold medalist, Craig Hancock, international skeet coach, par excellence, and Frank Thompson, 2012 Olympic skeet team member, were involved in the clinic. The clinic was held at the New Pioneer Clay Target Center in Waukee this past weekend.
Larry Gay, Oskaloosa Shooting Team head coach, said that during the two-day-long clinic, his team members learned many important shooting skills. He said it was important for his team members to realize what a rare opportunity they had on their hands while at the clinic, which was sponsored by Iowa Scholastic Clay Target Program.
“I tried to impress upon the kids that, ‘you’re standing here in the presence of greatness,’” said Gay of the rare opportunity to learn from some of the best shooters in the world.
Gay, who also serves as treasurer for the Iowa Scholastic Clay Target Program executive board, said that his team members were provided very unique ways of approaching skeet shooting.
“The mental game is so important in the shooting sports,” explained Gay. “If you don’t expect to win, you’re not going to.”
Although a lot of what Gay’s students learned at the clinic were things they were relatively familiar with already, he said it’s important for his students to “create a library” of information about shooting, which will benefit them at the appropriate times.
The clinic was extensive in what it offered, said Gay, noting that his team members were involved in activities from 8:30 a.m. to just after 4 p.m. each day.
Within the Oskaloosa Shooting Club itself, Gay said his team members don’t simply learn how to shoot better. While at the clinic this was also a focus, he said.
“We don’t just teach them better shooting,” said Gay. “We teach them to be better people and this clinic is a lot the same way. When they’re up there talking to the kids, they’re stressing the importance of doing the right things. Safety is always number one.”
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.