We are in the midst of “March Madness” — the annual NCAA college basketball tournament. Here’s a clever piece by Hap Rocketto that examines the game of B-Ball and explains why shooting targets is actually more difficult than shooting hoops. This story originally appeared in the Hap’s Corner section of Pronematch.com. Hap is a rare talent in the gun world — a serious shooter who also has unique insights, and a great sense of humor. We recommend you visit Pronematch.com to enjoy the many other interesting Hap’s Corner postings.
by Hap Rocketto
I know shooting is tougher than basketball…. Come on, just how difficult is it for five tall guys to help each other toss a big ball into a basket? Granted basketball is more physically demanding than shooting a rifle, but I think that blasting a quarter-size group into the center of the target at 100 yards all by yourself is a far more difficult task than working as a team to dunk a ball.
Therefore, in the style of Late Night talk show host David Letterman, I have constructed a list of ten reasons why rifle shooting is tougher than basketball.
10. When you get tired in basketball the coach just calls time out and replaces you with someone fresh. Not so in shooting.
9. When’s the last time a basketball player had to make a shot with the sun in his eyes?
8. How often does a basketball player have a perfectly good shot blown out by the wind?
7. If a basketball player places a shot a little higher than intended, no problem. The backboard causes the ball to bounce into the basket. No such luck in shooting.
6. Rifle matches commonly run all day. When was the last time you saw a basketball game run more than an hour or so?
5. If you’re not making your shots in basketball, you can just pass the ball to someone who is hot. No such convenience in shooting.
4. Rifle bullets travel faster than the speed of sound (roughly 300 meters per second). Basketballs top out at around 15 meters per second.
3. A basketball player can shoot from anywhere on the court that is convenient and comfortable. All riflemen shoot from the same distance.
2. A basketball player may shoot as often as the opportunity arises and is not limited to the number of shots taken. A rifle match requires that each rifleman shoot the same number of record shots. If they shoot more than allowed, then a penalty follows.
1. And the Number One reason why shooting is tougher than basketball is that, if you miss a shot in basketball you, or a team mate, can just jump up, grab the ball, and try again. Try that in shooting.
The only real similarity between the two sports is that a competitor attempts to score points by shooting. In rifle it is through a hard-hold and easy squeeze in prone, sitting, kneeling and standing; while in basketball it is via hook shots, jump shots, lay-ups, or the dramatic, ever crowd-pleasing, slam dunk.
About the Author: Hap Rocketto is a Distinguished Rifleman with service and smallbore rifle, member of The Presidents Hundred, and the National Guard’s Chief’s 50. He is a National Smallbore Record holder, a member of the 1600 Club and the Connecticut Shooters’ Hall Of Fame. A historian of the shooting sports, his work appears in Shooting Sports USA, the late Precision Shooting Magazine, The Outdoor Message, the American Rifleman, the CMP website, and Pronematch.com.
Credit John Puol for finding this article and communicating with Hap Rocketto.