Relation of Elite Rifle Shooters’ Technique-Test Measures to Competition Performance

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose:

To describe the long-term changes in shooting technique in relation to competition performances in elite air-rifle shooters.

Methods:

Seventeen elite shooters completed simulated air-rifle shooting-competition series in 3 consecutive seasons, participating on 15 ± 7 testing occasions. Shooting score and aiming-point-trajectory variables were obtained with an optoelectronic shooting device, and postural-balance variables were measured with force platform. Shooters’ competition results were collected from all international and national competitions during the 3-y period.

Results:

Mean test score, stability of hold, aiming accuracy, cleanness of triggering, and postural balance improved during the 3-y period (ANOVA, time, P < .05−.01). Seasonal mean test results in stability of hold (R = −.70, P = .000) and cleanness of triggering (R = −.75, P = .000) were related to competition performances. Changes in stability of hold (R = −.61, P = .000) and cleanness of triggering (R = −.39, P = .022) were also related to the changes in competition performances. Postural balance in shooting direction was more related to cleanness of triggering (R = .57, P = .000), whereas balance in cross-shooting direction was more related to stability of hold (R = .70, P = .000).

Conclusion:

The shooting-technique testing used in the current study seems to be a valid and useful tool for long-term performance assessment. Stability of hold, cleanness of triggering, and postural balance can be further developed even at the elite level, resulting in improved competition performances.

Ihalainen, Mononen, and Kuitunen are with KIHU—Research Inst for Olympic Sports, Jyväskylä, Finland. Linnamo is with the Dept of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.

Address author correspondence to Simo Ihalainen at simo.ihalainen@kihu.fi.