March 28th, 2014

Lights, Camera, Action — Commence Fire

If you own a modern smart-phone, you have a shooting coach in your pocket. What we mean is that the video-recording capability of your smart phone can help improve your shooting. Have you ever watched yourself shooting, under match conditions? Well you may be shocked (and surprised) by what you see. Video reveals all. If you are flinching, you’ll see it. If you’re not returning your rifle to the same place on the rests after each shot, you’ll see it. If you are not maintaining a consistent cheek weld from shot to shot, you’ll see it.

If you are a serious competitive shooter (or aspire to be one), you should take a camera to the range next time you practice. Have a friend film you while you are shooting in “match-like conditions”, i.e. with time limits and a specific course of fire. After the filming session, review the video carefully.

Our IT guy, JayChris, has improved his shooting skills by filming his practice sessions and watching for gun-handling errors or other mistakes. Recently Jay won the F-Open division at the TCSA (Rattlesnake) match. Jay says his progress has been aided by video analysis:

“Video-tape yourself in match conditions (or under mock match conditions when practicing). I have video from my first season of shooting at a long range match some years ago. I can compare that to video shot in 2014. Going back to year one, I could see how much moving around I was doing. The video camera is a useful tool. I video myself every so often at the practice range, just to make sure I’m consistent. When reviewing the video, I’ve caught myself dropping a shot right after re-settling into a new position where I didn’t even notice I was doing it while shooting.”

Video analysis has helped our IT Guy, JayChris, shoot better and make fewer mistakes.
JayChris Video

Watch Your Position on Video
Jay continues: “Watching myself and other shooters on video has shown me how important it is to establish a comfortable shooting position. I used to move all over the place between shots. I spent some time getting a feel for a position where I could eject and load without breaking my cheek/shoulder weld, and that I could hold through a 20-shot string. It’s probably not as super critical as sling shooting positions, but I think it makes a big difference. It also helps ensure that your view through the scope remains the same. If you have parallax, changing your cheek weld has consequences. This includes making sure your rifle is set on the bags at a comfortable height — too high or too low and you are straining yourself and adding muscle tension into the equation.”

Use Video To Analyze Mistakes After Matches
Video can help you identify inconsistent holds and gun-handling mistakes. A video review can be part of the regular “post-mortem” you should do after every match. Bryan Litz says: “After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues.”

Video can help you spot problems (such as inconsistent head position or bad trigger technique) that cost you points. We had one friend who was complaining about “mysterious horizontal” at matches. A post-match video session revealed that he was yanking the trigger to the side, rather than pulling straight back. He then consciously worked on his trigger control and his scores improved noticeably.

Video Equipment — What You Need
If you own a digital point-and-shoot camera made within the last four years, chances are you can shoot video. It may not be HD video, but it will suffice for the task of analyzing your shooting technique. Apple iPhones and iPads (and some Android phones) can take excellent video as well, but you’ll have to figure out a mounting system if you’re out by yourself. If you don’t currently own any device that can shoot video, consider one of the choices below. You can get a great camera for under $250.00 these days. The selections below all feature wide-angle capability, so you can position the camera close to the shooter. That’s important when shooting at crowded ranges. The Panasonic Lumix ZS20 has built-in GPS functionality, so you can tag your photos/videos with latitude and longitude.

One tip — you do NOT need to record at 1920×1080 Full HD resolution. It’s nice that some of the latest cameras (including the GoPro) offer this resolution, but 1920×1080 files will be HUGE, and older computers may have trouble playing back the video. For your range movies (to be viewed on a computer), we suggest you record at 720p HD.

Recommended Cameras with Video Capability

Permalink Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
October 17th, 2013

New ‘Coaching Young Rifle Shooters’ Book by Gary Anderson

DCM Emeritus Gary Anderson has authored a new book, Coaching Young Rifle Shooters, that fills an important need. Anderson, one of the most successful American marksmen in history, has created a new fully-illustrated guide to help parents and coaches train young shooters. This 187-page, full-color book is the most comprehensive instructional guide of its kind currently in print. In his training guidebook, Gary provides coaches with the tools needed to develop young shooters and improve their skills. In his 11 years of international competition, Gary won two Olympic gold medals, seven World Championships, and 16 national titles.

Gary Anderson Coaching Book

Coaching Young Rifle Shooters
By Gary Anderson

Instructional and teaching guide for coaches and parents who work with beginning and intermediate junior rifle shooters.

187 pages, full color.
Fully Illustrated.
$19.95 plus S&H

CMP Store
Item NLU 758

Order through the CMP E-Store.

About Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson served as the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) from 1999-2009, and is now DCM Emeritus. At the 1962 World Shooting Championships in Egypt, Anderson won four individual titles and set three new world records. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Gary won the 300m free-rifle Gold Medal, setting a new world record in the process. At the 1966 World Shooting Championships in Germany, Anderson won three additional world titles. At the 1968 Olympics, Gary won a second gold medal in the 300m free-rifle event.

DCM CMP Gary AndersonGary retired from active international competition after the 1969 World Championships in Spain, where he set a 50m, three-position world record. After his “retirement” from international competition, Gary competed in the National High Power Championships, winning the President’s National Trophy in 1973, 1975 and 1976. Over his competitive career, Anderson won two Olympic Gold Medals, seven World Championships, and sixteen National Championships. No American has ever won more major shooting titles.

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March 14th, 2013

NRA Coaching Schools Train Mentors for New Shooters

NRA Coaching SchoolJust about every competitive or recreational shooter has someone who helped introduce them to the shooting sports or helped them develop their skills. For many competition shooters, a coach is the person they credit for helping them train successfully and win.

The NRA’s Coach Education Program helps train shooters to become capable mentors. Each year, hundreds of people become NRA Certified Coaches by attending a Coach School. Available for a variety of shooting disciplines including Shotgun, Air Gun, Smallbore, and Pistol, Coach Schools teach the necessary methods for encouraging shooters and developing their skills.

Throughout the year, Coach Schools are offered for a variety of disciplines. Two Coach Schools will be held very soon, one in South Carolina next week, and another in Ohio in April. Information on these two coach schools is in the table below. More coach school sessions are added regularly, so check the Coach Education Program website for updates. To learn more about the Coach Education Program or to hold a Coach School in your area, contact Samantha Olsen at (703) 267-1504 or solsen [at]

NRA coach school

Who Teaches the Coach School?
The NRA Coach Schools are taught by National Coach Development Staff who are Certified Coaches that have been carefully selected, based on their talents and expertise in the areas of sports, education, coaching, and shooting. In addition, these coach school instructors have attended special training on how to conduct informative and enjoyable schools.

How Can I Sponsor a School in my Area?

The NRA is accepting requests to sponsor smallbore and air rifle, pistol, shotgun and high power rifle coach schools. For information on how you or your organization can sponsor one of these events, click here for a Sponsor’s Guide. For questions about the Coach Education Program, email

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
February 12th, 2013

CMP’s FREE Newsletter for Coaches and Junior Shooters

On the Mark Magazine CMPON THE MARK is published quarterly by the Civilian Marksmanship Program. You can download the latest 35-page Fall 2012 issue for free. ON THE MARK is dedicated to providing news and information about junior shooting activities to leaders and coaches of junior shooting clubs, teams and camps. A typical issue of ON THE MARK includes 16-38 pages of new junior shooting program information as well as news about junior events, instructional tips and coaching information. Bonus inserts and brochures are regularly included which detail programs for junior competition and training programs or provide equipment and training material purchase opportunities.

Free Subscriptions for CMP-Affiliated Junior Clubs
One free ON THE MARK subscription is provided to each CMP-affiliated junior club, JROTC unit with marksmanship program, and 4-H Shooting Sports Club. Individual subscriptions to ON THE MARK are available at $8.00 per year. To subscribe to ON THE MARK, download the OTM Order Form.

Editorial Submissions
To submit stories, match reports, or photos for possible inclusion in ON THE MARK, contact: Steve Cooper, OTM Editor, P.O. Box 576, Port Clinton, Ohio 43420; phone (419) 635-2141, ext 1108; fax (419) 635-2573 or email

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March 8th, 2009

NRA Shooting Coach Program is Successful

NRA Shooting Coach SchoolThe NRA Shooting Coach Education Program offers both basic and advanced technical and tactical skills coach training schools for rifle, pistol, shotgun and High Power rifle along with training camps and clinics. The Coach Education Program is a cooperative effort of the three major competitive shooting organizations in the United States: the NRA, USA Shooting (USAS) and the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).

The NRA Coach Schools are taught by National Coach Development Staff who are Certified Coaches that have been carefully selected, based on their talents and expertise in the areas of sports, education, coaching, athletics, and shooting.

Don Sipes, NRA’s National Shotgun Coach Trainer, explains that the Coach training program has been very effective: “The growth has been phenomenal … we had 495 [NRA Certified Shotgun Coaches] as of July 1, 2007, and after [the March 2009 session], we’ll have over 1,500 coaches.” Looking to the future, Sipes hopes to have 1,800 NRA Certified Shotgun Coaches by the end of 2009.

Shooting Coach School
The 2-day coach school is the heart of the program. The instructors use up-to-date materials and PowerPoint presentations to present coaching methodology and a variety of learning activities for all participants. Each coach certification school involves two days of sports-specific lessons designed to teach coaching fundamentals. The following subjects are taught:

Safety and Risk Management
Competition Events
Equipment and Facilities
Fundamentals of Shooting
Shooting Positions
Sports Psychology
Training Planning
Running Quality Programs
How To Conduct Tournaments

If you are interested in becoming an NRA Shooting Coach, you can attend one of the 2-day clinics held at a dozen locations nationwide. Currently, most of the coaching schools are for ATA Trap and shotgun disciplines, but there are also sessions for Smallbore and Air Rifle disciplines scheduled from April through July. CLICK HERE for a list of Coach training seminars (with contact info). To learn more about Rifle or Pistol Coach Education, contact Marcus Raab (703) 267-1589 or mraab [at]

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