Wolfe Publishing Group

    Be More than a Wannabe Part III

    At the end of Part II, I said I would share with you the “secret” of winning and the importance of recordkeeping.


    To help improve my scores, I designed my own score and recordkeeping form. I can’t see how any shooter can get by without good recordkeeping. Good records can help a shooter make decisions from shot to shot during a match, or a record of things that happened during a match to analyze and make adjustments for the next yardage, the next day or the next match. It makes no sense to keep these records if you don’t take the time to study and refer to them and learn. Referring back to records is particularly helpful when going to a range and a shooter wants to see what their sight settings were when they shot there last, and compare what the temperature and light conditions were then versus now. One thing a lot of shooters forget to record when they finish their relay is their ending elevation and windage, mirage conditions, headwind or tailwind. Shooters should try to keep recordkeeping quick and simple, so it doesn’t interfere with finishing the relay on time. Sharing information with other shooters really helps them, particularly a new shooter. Some shooters want to keep all their secrets to themselves, as if they have the magic bullet, special lube, custom nipple and so forth. That statement brings me to the “Secret to Winning.”

    Secret to Winning

    My first World Championship match was at Camp Butner, North Carolina, in 2009. The South African team won, beating the United States again. In the evening, after the last day of the match, I was walking by the South Africans motel room. They were celebrating with loud excitement and joy of winning the World Championship and beating the U.S. and Germans again. As I passed by their room, one of the team members shouted, “Hey Ed, come on in and have a drink.” So, I entered their room, (standing room only) and Eugene Kuisis and I started talking about the match. Eugene gave me a box of their special design bullet, their special nipple that he made for all the team members, a special felt wad with their secret lube in the center, and told me about their powder and load. Then other team members started giving me all their leftover bullets and I asked them why they were giving me all this stuff. They said it cost too much to take the bullets home because of the extra weight. I told Eugene, “Your captain is going to be very upset when he finds out you gave me all your secret weapons.” Eugene replied “No, he won’t.” I said, “Why not?” Eugene replied, “Because we know the secret to winning and your team doesn’t.” I said “I don’t understand. What is your secret?” Eugene replied, “Until the USA team begins to work together as a team, you will never beat us.” I never forgot that and as the years went on and several more World Championships were held every two years, the U.S. never beat the South African team. I watched the U.S. team “shoot themselves in the foot” time and time again. When the opportunity came, I let it be known that I would like the job as captain. I pushed the point that we work together as a team. No more individuals shooting only for themselves, but working together as one, helping each other, sharing information. There would be team discipline. Team selection would be different than it had been in the past. It worked – The U.S. team won the World Championships in 2017 and 2019, and for the first time in history, the U.S. team won not only the long range, but the midrange team match as well in Australia.

    The strategy of helping each other and sharing information works not only for team competition but for individual competition as well. Helping your competitors makes everyone a better shooter. The stiffer the competition, the harder everyone works to be a better shooter. There is no thrill beating an individual or team who doesn’t shoot very well. This strategy also helps build lasting friendships. I wouldn’t take anything for the friendships we have made all over the United States and the world.

    There is another important element to winning that a lot of shooting organizations have forgotten. Having fun. Isn’t that why we all started shooting? I remember the times at my grandfather’s place, having a shooting match on Sunday afternoons with men, women, boys and girls, seeing who could strike a match stick at 25 yards with a .22 rifle. So, don’t forget to have fun and stay out of petty politics that spoil the sport.

    Please continue sending me your comments and shot groups at: onceuponatimetwo@gmail.com.

    Thank you, and in the next issue we will talk about shooting with a sling.

    Wolfe Publishing Group