Spot the Mistake in this Article by the New London Editor

August 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

Md. Air Rifle Team Is Improving Skills, Learning Focus

Focus. It’s one of the most important skills shooters on Linganore High School’s air rifle team acquire.Blocking out distractions like a bad grade on a science test or a ball smacking a nearby wall, and just breathing steadily and with control are key to success, Henry Lane said.Lane, a senior naval science instructor who has led Linganore’s rifle team since its 2004 inception, is learning how to teach his shooters.

The team is part of Frederick County’s only Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Program, he said. At practice, he applies the analogy of riding a bicycle to shooting. Once your body learns the mechanics, you can focus on the refinements of skill, the art of the sport, he said.

In March, the team took second place in a statewide National Rifle Association championship and third in a statewide Junior Olympics tournament.The Linganore shooters compete most of the year at matches sponsored by other Navy JROTC units in their area, which includes 61 teams from high schools in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and the District of Columbia, and U.S. Department of Defense teams in Spain and Italy.

Four area teams, three from Maryland, competed in the national JROTC Championship.The team improves each year, Lane said. But statewide tournament wins remain elusive because of local competition.”You don’t get to a national level in a year,” he said.

Unlike other high school teams that play in a single league, Lane said the variety of shooting programs means five paths can lead to national championship competition.”Shooting is very, very competitive,” he said.The team shoots a “Sporter” category air rifle, a gas-powered pellet gun. Air rifle teams shoot from three positions: standing, kneeling and prone.The target is 10 meters from the shooter.

In a match, a rifle team consists of four shooters, with a total possible score of 2,400 points. Matches award trophies for team performance and medals for individual performance.Five basic skill sets are needed to do well in air rifle shooting: focus, hold control, breath and shoot control, aiming and follow-through, Lane said. Kyle Carter joined Linganore ‘s rifle team in part to prepare for a possible future in the military.

Carter, 18 and a senior, joined the team his sophomore year and found the sport fit him well. He improved to become one of the team’s best shooters.Though he has postponed plans to enlist because he hopes to attend college next fall, he said the shooting skills he has learned translate to other areas, like hunting.

Carter’s younger brother Justin, 15, joined the team this year and earned first place in the 14- to 16-year-old category at the state Junior Olympics tournament.Justin said he has learned to control his breath and think positive thoughts to prepare for shooting.

John White, 16, and a junior with three years on the team, was the most improved shooter last year. He has also picked up focus and relaxation techniques that are helpful in and out of practice and tournaments, he said.



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