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Simo Ihalainen, Vesa Linnamo, Kaisu Mononen and Sami Kuitunen

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.

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Edward F. Etzel Jr.

Information is presented on the development and validation of a unique multidimensional, sport-specific model of attention among 71 world-class and/or potential world-class international rifle shooters. It was postulated that attention possesses five relatively independent subcomponent factors: capacity, duration, flexibility, intensivity, and selectivity. A 25-item, five-subscale questionnaire, the Riflery Attention Questionnaire (RAQ), was systematically developed utilizing Goldberg's intuitive-rational strategy as well as Jackson's general test-item development approach. Factor analysis and item analyses performed on each subscale generally supported the factor integrity of the model. A step-wise multiple regression analysis was also conducted to determine the extent to which subjects' RAQ responses predicted their shooting performance. A low positive relationship between the two was noted.

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Christopher M. Janelle, Charles H. Hillman, Ross J. Apparies, Nicholas P. Murray, Launi Meili, Elizabeth A. Fallon and Bradley D. Hatfield

The purpose of this study was to examine whether variability in gaze behavior and cortical activation would differentiate expert (n = 12) and nonexpert (n = 13) small-bore rifle shooters. Spectral-activity and eye-movement data were collected concurrently during the course of a regulation indoor sequence of 40 shots from the standing position. Experts exhibited significantly superior shooting performance, as well as a significantly longer quiet eye period preceding shot execution than did nonexperts. Additionally, expertise interacted with hemispheric activation levels: Experts demonstrated a significant increase in left-hemisphere alpha and beta power, accompanied by a reduction in right-hemisphere alpha and beta power, during the preparatory period just prior to the shot. Nonexperts exhibited similar hemispheric asymmetry, but to a lesser extent than did experts. Findings suggest systematic expertise-related differences in ocular and cortical activity during the preparatory phase leading up to the trigger pull that reflects more optimal organization of the neural structures needed to achieve high-level performance.

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Niilo Koettinen and Heikki Lyytinen

Preshot brain slow potential (SP) shifts from frontal, central, centro-lateral, and occipital areas were recorded for 12 national-caliber sharpshooters during rifle-shooting performance. The aim of the study was to examine the intra-and intersubject variation in these SP profiles and to compare the superior performance to the poor performance. The results revealed that each shooter responded with one main SP profile in both performance categories. The other profiles represented outliers rather than substantial variation. The main profiles differed from subject to subject, presumably indicating several shooting styles. Finally, the main profiles related to high and low score shots could be differentiated, but this differentiation varied from subject to subject. The results were interpreted as showing that a shooter tends systematically to carry through a learned performance pattern, which is reflected in the main SP profile of the superior shots. If the shooter fails to follow this pattern, the shot is preceded by different SP changes.

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Harri Luchsinger, Jan Kocbach, Gertjan Ettema and Øyvind Sandbakk

Biathlon is an Olympic winter sport, where 3 or 5 (0.8–4 km) laps of cross-country skiing using the skating technique is interspersed with 5-shot series of rifle shooting, alternating between the prone or standing position. One of the traditional racing formats is the individual distance

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David A. Shearer, Stephen D. Mellalieu and Catherine R. Shearer

While posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is most commonly associated with survivors of traumatic events (e.g., combat), PTSD can occur after any situation in which victims perceive that their life or safety is threatened. In sport, athletes often place themselves in dangerous situations and are also exposed to the same lifestyle dangers as the general population. The literature on PTSD among athletes is sparse, and consequently, it is possible that many (non-clinical) sport psychologists would fail to recognize the symptoms and may subsequently fail to refer the athlete to the appropriate professional for clinical assistance. In the following case study, we present an example of an athlete suffering from PTSD following a serious bicycle accident in which she sustained head and facial injuries. We briefly detail the nature of PTSD and discuss how sport psychology services can be implemented alongside a parallel clinical intervention program. Finally, we offer recommendations for practice when working with athletes with PTSD.

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Han-Kyu Park, Dong-Woo Kim and Tae-Ho Kim

Air rifle shooting is an Olympic sport, divided into 15 detailed events, requiring long periods of concentration, accuracy, and stability of body activity. Above all, air rifle shooting is a game that requires maintaining high accuracy while standing over an hour and aiming at a stationary target

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Harri Luchsinger, Jan Kocbach, Gertjan Ettema and Øyvind Sandbakk

Biathlon is an Olympic sport combining cross-country skiing with the skating technique and rifle shooting. Biathletes carry a 3.5-kg-long rifle around the ski tracks and stop at the shooting range to perform 5 shots in the prone or standing position between the 2.5- to 5.0-km laps. In the biathlon

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Harry Prapavessis, J. Robert Grove, Peter J. McNair and Nigel T. Cable

A single-subject research design was used to test the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral intervention in reducing state anxiety and improving sport performance. The subject was a small-bore rifle shooter who suffered from high levels of competition-related anxiety. Initially, self-report, physiological, and behavioral measures of baseline state anxiety were obtained during competition. A 6-week intervention program was then implemented. This program included training in relaxation, thought stoppage, refocusing, coping statements, and biofeedback. An opportunity to practice using these procedures in competition was provided. Measures of state anxiety and performance were then obtained in a second competition. Results revealed that cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, gun vibration, and urinary catecholamines decreased whereas self-confidence and performance increased from baseline to treatment. The importance of examining multiple dimensions of state anxiety using a multimethod, idiographic approach is discussed.

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Frederick S. Daniels and Daniel M. Landers

This study investigated heart rate (HE) and respiration functioning during rifle shooting to test hypotheses derived from Schwartz's (1979) systems and disregulation theory, and to compare biofeedback with verbal instruction in developing awareness and control of autonomic patterns. Male subjects (N = 8) were pretested to determine HE and respiration patterns affecting performance. They were then divided into two equal groups and given either auditory biofeedback or verbal instruction. The auditory-biofeedback group received continuous pattern feedback through earphones while the verbal instruction group received only presession instruction without feedback. Each group trained for five sessions of 40 shots each. Following training, two 40-shot sessions were conducted. A scaled interview was administered pre- and posttraining to determine awareness/control of autonomic functioning. Compared to the verbal instruction group, the results showed that the biofeedback group significantly improved performance and consistency of the desired pattern and had significantly greater awareness/control of the autonomic pattern. The results supported the systems and disregulation theory as well as the viability of biofeedback for altering imbalances within the systems.