Tuesday, June 6, 2017
This Is Still Our Normal
When I found out that the team shooting doctor would be in Lake Placid to work with the national team circa early June I had my doubts. It's a long drive, I wouldn't have a place to stay at that point, the first camp starts a week after, and why not go for a thorough skype session instead? Despite going though with it at the very end of a tough training block, I have to admit that the trip was worth the effort. If you're going to do something, at least try to do it right. I needed Matt's in person perspective with my shooting even it meant going out of my way to make the meeting happen. Injured shoulder and all, the trip was success.
Training has been going well. Or at least "going" in the literal sense. Even after I've contacted the pavement the movement was still happening. Everything was going smooth at about 20mph when my pole planted between my legs. An all to common mistake in roller skiing. I've gone down in this fashion so many times before, all I cared about was landing in a way that didn't break my pole. On the plus side the ski pole didn't snap. On the down side, my shoulder took to bulk of the fall. I do recall the feeling of my leg and elbow sliding on the unforgiving pavement. I was going pretty hard at the time and the impact knocked the wind out of me. At first, I scrambled to my feet carefully, as to not break my pole on the way up. Then frustration followed. The same frustration that comes with every fall. Then came the pain, as I hung out on the side of the road I checked the damage. The blood coming off my arm looked worse than it was. That poor scared elbow had recently healed from a bike to ice slip earlier in May, and there is was hemorrhaging all over again. The part that concerned me was the shoulder pain. That problem had held on since then. It's getting better, but it's made certain training methods difficult.
On Wednesday I headed north, then west, then south, then meandered through the Adirondacks until I found myself in Lake Placid yet again. The place felt familiar, as if I had been there a week ago when it was actually almost a year since the last visit. Not unlike home, it was cold and raining. The dinning hall at the OTC was open just long enough after a long drive and short run to catch dinner before calling it quits for the day.
My first meeting with Matt Emmons was Thursday morning. The roller ski session beforehand was cut short when my shoulder wasn't into it. I put on what I thought would be warm enough clothing for an outdoor shooting session in June. I was wrong to underestimate the covered range. We were both on the same page with what we wanted out of set up for prone and standing. It took a while to move the various components around to the right places. In then end we had a set up that made sense both fundamentally and for my comfort zone. There is a lot of science to precision shooting.
Matt is a world Champion in precision shooting. Not only that, but he's also very good at conveying the important parts of shooting over. This is what I want in shooting from a coach, because it takes a lot of trust to make any major changes. To give you an idea of Matt's skill level: it was windy that morning. When my grouping wasn't spectacular, Matt put my cuff on and tried my rifle out for five shots. He was baffled when the group wasn't perfect. It wasn't his rifle, he shot pretty fast, and it was very windy! He opened up the front sight and swapped it out for a slightly smaller ring, got back into position and shot what we (biathletes) would call a perfect group.
The last few days of the week were busy. The dome light to door in my truck was disconnected. This plan backfired on me when the warning light for the headlights stop ringing when you left the lights on. Thankfully, I only drained the battery twice. Both times in the OTC parking lot. Since it was the end of our three week training stretch my battery was running low. Naturally, I forgot my road bike back home and with the shoulder injury it ended up being a slight running camp. We ironed out the smaller details in shooting as best as we could. It's still going to take some time to become accustomed to the changes, but it's going in the right direction now.
Now it's back to crunch time. That's the time when we you have less than a week to cover all of your bases before you're back in training gauntlet. With the confidence in the new set up I can start working towards updated the parts on the rifle stock. The next step in training has me back in Lake Placid for long training camp. Since that's more of a next week issue and this is technically a recovery week, I'm going to have to resist going into details about more training.