Hitting The Target: Q&A with Pistol Shooting Champion Tom Ashmore
Hands up if you think you can hit the centre of five 10cm targets within four seconds? It’s no easy feat but for Canberra local and the current Australian Rapid Fire Champion, Tom Ashmore this is just training for Pistol Shooting, a sport he has competed in since the age of twelve.
It’s a sport which has taken him all over the world, most recently to Munich for the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup. Pistol Shooting demands a quick reaction time, precision and complete confidence in your own ability. So, how does one become the Australian Rapid-Fire Champion? I sat down with Tom to get the in’s and out’s of Pistol Shooting.
Q: What exactly is Rapid Fire?
A: Rapid fire is shooting a series of five targets which are laid out next to each other in timed sequences. The way it is scored is that you have two series of eight seconds, two series of six seconds and two series of four seconds. This is half a match which is scored out of 300 and then you do that twice
Q: How did you get involved in Pistol Shooting?
A: My Dad did it all throughout my time at school. I tried it, really enjoyed it and began doing it as a hobby. I never really planned that it would be an event which I would compete for Australia in.
Q: How do you train for the sport?
A: I have two events which I compete in. My main event which is Rapid Fire is all about speed and accuracy. You train for this by focusing on body motion and repetition. Air Pistol, my second event, is more about being calm and being able to hold the pistol steady. I train for this by doing exercises such as holding the gun for long periods of time so when you have to hold the gun within the competition its easy.
Q: To compete in Pistol Shooting you need to be focus and concentrate quite a bit. How important would you say the mental aspect of the sport is?
A: I’d say technical ability only contributes to 40% of pistol shooting. The other 60% is your mental ability so you can actually continue that technical ability and be consistent with it. You’ve just got to be positive and know that you can do it. If I’ve had a bad warm up and are just not feeling right before a competition I tell myself that I’ve prepared to the best of my ability and that everything will fall into place.
Q: How does it feel to put on the Green and Gold and Represent Australia?
A: It’s amazing. Each time its different because you’re in a different country, different people are watching you and you’ve learnt new things. It’s a new experience, even though you’re going into the same competition you just feel so proud to know that you have put in the effort to be an Australian representative.
Q: What is your goal for the sport?
A: The ultimate goal is an Olympic gold medal. When that happens I’m not going to be sure but my first step in achieving that goal is to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. I’m not expecting to win a medal in Tokyo but I think it will be the best opportunity to get my foot in the door and gain experiences to compete at the next Olympics which is where I believe I will perform.
Q: How long can you be a pistol shooter for?
A: As long as you can still see and hold the gun out, you can shoot and compete in Pistol Shooting.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is thinking about getting into the sport, what would it be?
A: If you were interested in getting involved in Pistol Shooting as a hobby, join your local club, get some equipment and get going.