Spectacular Athlete: Shooting Tips From Austrian Rifle And Crossbow Champion
MY NAME IS HARALD SCHIMBÖCK, I am 49 years old, living in Perg - that's a place near Linz, Austria. I'm married for 2 years and I work as a mechanical engineer in the development department at Engel Austria.
MY FIRST CONTACT WITH SHOOTING SPORT was in 1980, when a shooting club has come to the place where I lived. My father was a member of this shooting club and he agreed to take me to the opening event. I started practicing air pistol shooting, but have to admit - I wasn't really good from the start. The best score I could do at that time was around 360...
In 2000 I got involved in different type of shooting by making first shots with the match crossbow. (...) It was a disaster.
In 1989 I abandoned shooting practice to focus on my engineer's career. The break lasted till 1994; in 1997 I bought my first air rifle and shooting equipment - shooting jacket, pants and shoes.
At work I had a guy who participated in Austrian and European Championships - he was helping me with good advice. This was the point when my scores started to grow. However, it was not easy: at that time the standard rifle target got re-designed. The 10 circle decreased to 0.5 mm from 1mm, which made my progress even more challenging.
In 2000 I got involved in different type of shooting by making first shots with the match crossbow. Just a week later I started at Paulaner Cup in Munich. This came to reality thanks to a local club, - they were looking for shooters to fill in for their team, and I was asked to take part. By the way, this event is a popular one - it's a big part of Oktoberfest every year!
IT WAS A DISASTER. I fired my first bolt just a week before the competition. Obviously, I had no experience with kneeling position. During one of the shots I actually forgot to put the bolt on the crossbow. They gave me a zero score.
Crossbow trainings brought me to the Perg shooting club, with much better training possibilities. I even could use an electronic shooting trainer which made my trainings more efficient. That was the point when I understood the importance of having dry fire pistol simulator: it immediately shows the little mistakes. It helped me to get a firm hold of a 10 score in no time. It has also helped me to realise the importance of correct follow-through.
LAST YEAR I GOT MY OWN TRACE shooting performance system from my friend, Stefan Gusenbauer, who also is a TRACE Dealer in Austria. I used it for dry fire practice at first, but now I use TRACE electronic shooting trainer in combination with electronic target system which I have built at home by myself.
This year my personal best with air rifle was 619.6 and my best series scores 106.4 points. I think it's not so bad for a senior shooter like me 😀
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL IN SHOOTING SPORT is to analyse yourself, all the time. I didn't have a coach earlier, so I always tried to get the 'know-how' from other shooters. In shooting ranges I was wandering from one shooter to another, trying to learn smart tricks from the top-class marksmen. Then I tried to apply these tricks to myself. It was good if they worked, and if it didn't - I would just move on. TRACE 10 is very quick to show if the trick I learned has worked for me. After all, there are different types of shooters and there's no ultimate recipe.
I focus less on aiming, but more on the shooting technique itself.
I practice 1 or 2 times per week to maintain the shape. But if I need to prepare to a competition I increase it up to 6 times per week and sometimes even two times a day.
I typically do from 3 to 10 series. I also listen to music while training - TRACE shooter training system has shot detection thresholds to set up, which allows to combine music with shot detection.
I FOCUS LESS ON AIMING, BUT MORE ON THE SHOOTING TECHNIQUE ITSELF. I have my own 'ritual' - I come into the target identically for every shot. I also keep aiming for a second after I have pushed the trigger.
Another very important thing is to simulate the competition as well as possible. Here's where timings become essential. You need to take into account your upcoming schedule too - how much time you will spend for breakfast, preparation, transfer from hotel to the event venue, and eventually what time you will most likely be firing the first shot.
After I won the competition in 2016 with new Austrian record, I decided to prepare to the next one as thoroughly as I could. The Austrian championship of 2017 took place in Wolfsburg. Here's what I considered while preparing:
Time: the shooting began at 8.30. Most of my other competitions were in the evenings, after work, so it was a change to get myself used to.
Rules: one of new things in ISSF rules is that music can be played both during preparation and competition itself.
I also made a matrix with several important points and accurately filled in the data after each training session.
While preparing, I did about 700 shots in different conditions, in order to see whether the change will influence my shooting or not.
HERE'S A BIT OF MY TRAINING WISDOM:
Do not try to copy anyone. Improve yourself!
Make a training timetable before the competition.
Know the competition rules and environment conditions at the venue.
ANOTHER STORY OF THE RECENT SHOOTING EXPERIENCE. It was March 2016 at Kufstein, Tyrol. Winning Upper Austrian Championship has qualified me for Austrian Championship in Kufstein. In Kufstein I stood on the very margin of the firing line, being the last shooter in the row. Before firing my 40th shot the timer showed that I had only 39 seconds left.
After my last shot the timer showed 3 seconds. I scored a 10.1.
Only later I found out that I won this competition as people started to approach me with congratulations. I had the total score advantage of 0.1.