July 19th, 2014

Ty Cooper Offers Tips for Camp Perry Competitors

Creedmoor SportsTyrel Cooper of Creedmoor Sports will be competing at Camp Perry this summer. A past member of the USAMU, Cooper’s shooting resume includes five national championships (one each in 2008, 2011, 2012, and two in 2013). He is the current (2013) NRA National Long Range Champion, and reigning (2013) NRA National Service Rifle Champion. In this article, Cooper offers advice to other competitive shooters.

Below is a 2012 file photo of SSG Ty Cooper shooting a service rifle. Cooper won the 2013 NRA National High Power Rifle Long Range Championships with a final score of 1243-71X. In the Long Range Championships, Cooper used a Nesika-actioned bolt gun with long barrel chambered in 7mm SAUM.

Mental Preparation
by Tyrel Cooper
Getting focused mentally is an important part of preparation for Perry. I have shot two long range team matches and a no-sighter, 50-shot across-the-course match since last Perry — that’s it. So I expect to be a little rusty but at the same time I am preparing myself to win mentally. I am telling myself “I am the 2014 Nation Champion”. Now my goal hasn’t been to be the Service Rifle National Champion; no, my goal the last 4 years has been to be the overall National Champion and do it with a Service Rifle. Now I haven’t achieved that goal and with today’s rifles and calibers it might never happen. The purpose of this goal is to look past a service rifle and go after everyone.

Tyrel Cooper Creedmoor SportsIn 2011 I was chasing Sherri Gallagher, since then I have been chasing Brandon Green and last year almost got him. If I get beat by a Service Rifle I am going to make him or her work for it. So there is your peak into my mental process. I go for the top and if I am hanging with them then the Service Rifle National Championship will come, Kind of like how I shoot for X’s and Tens will come.

Now I understand everyone is at different levels. You have to figure out what your goals are and then lie to yourself that you’ve already achieved them. Here is a trick that I used back in 2008: When I was a kid just starting out, my Dad made me read several books on shooting. One of them being With Winning In Mind by Lanny Bassham. One of the things I remember from his book is that he would make notes and place them where he would see them often. They contained his goals or stated he was already a world champion. I took a page from his book and did the same thing.

I made 3×5 cards and wrote my personal best 500 and 800 aggregate scores and taped on the horn of my truck, above the radio in my truck, on my laptop and a few other places I would see them often. Every time I saw those I would tell myself that I average those scores and I would get used to seeing them. By doing this you are lying to yourself to overcome the mental blocks the subconscious mind lays out for you.

I went from my worst year in 2007 to winning my first National Championship in 2008. I kind of slacked off in 2009 because I had reached my goals and didn’t set new ones and it showed, so I had to find new goals and motivation which I did and that pushed me back to the top.

Long story short, this is a mental sport and you have to figure out what you need to do to perform at your highest levels and breaking through those mental road blocks. You have to figure out how to get yourself to relax and control your mind keeping calm when you are shooting a personal best, either standing or on the day.

Here is a tip from my mental process from shooting. First I shoot for Xs, I took the line from the movie The Patriot and applied it to my shooting, “Aim small, miss small” and it is true. If you accept wide shots then you will keep shooting wide shots.

Slow, Solid, Smooth, Center

Always focus on the positive and good shots, and what you did physically and mentally, when you shot them. When I am nervous and need to calm myself down I tell myself: slow, solid, smooth, center.

Slow
I want my movement to be slow… I can shoot tens and Xs all day with slow movement.

Solid
Solid like a rock, a rock doesn’t move and that’s how I want my positions. By saying solid it reminds me to go through my little checks to make sure I am doing what I need to do make that happen.

Smooth
Smooth — that is my trigger word for smooth movement. You don’t want fast choppy movement but slow and smooth. This also reminds me to be smooth on the trigger. You can be smooth-fast or you can be smooth-slow but you have to be smooth and most people aren’t when they think they are. Just before leaving the USAMU, I walked up and down the line of five shooters during a rapid fire string and only one of them was smooth with their trigger control. It’s the second most important thing when it comes to shooting.

Center
This reminds me that I want my shots in the middle. It is just a positive reinforcement of where I want my shots to go. I shoot a reverse flat tire so it also kind of reminds me as to what I am looking for.

Tyrel Cooper Creedmoor Sports

Organizing Your Gear
[This year] I have all new gear, a new place, and I am creating a new system. Coming from the Army Marksmanship Unit, I had years to develop and refine my system from my daily routines, to my gear, and to my set-up process. I wanted to share with you a little bit of what I am going through right now.

I went and shot a match at [Fort] Benning a few weekends ago and I had more issues with my gear and system than I did with the act of shooting, it was frustrating and I didn’t like it one bit. So in my preparation for Perry, I took all of my gear apart in my living room and started over. I went through as if I was going to shoot a match; placing gear where I wanted it in or on my Creedmoor Range Cart. There is a lot to be said for having a system and not having to worry about where your gear is or isn’t. Once I got all of my gear in place, I put my new Ron Brown Sling on my rifle and dry fired a little bit. Worked on sitting and prone to figure out what sling notches I would need to use and how my new glove/mitt combination would work. My gear is set and ready to go in my living room, and even though I am not leaving until Sunday, I am setting all the shooting gear and equipment aside to make sure I have everything I need.

If you don’t have a system with your gear where everything has its place or certain spot, then I would suggest you start working on one. When it comes to a match, you don’t want to be searching for something or worrying if it was forgotten at home.

If you have a good system, it allows you to focus on the important things such as how to get your mind in your little bubble, working on what you need to think about to shoot Xs, and thinking about whatever reminders you need to think about to get you to perform at your highest level.

My reminder that I ask myself when I am setting up my gear either in my living room or getting ready to head down range is this: Scope, mat, rifle, stool, jacket, sweatshirt, sling, glove, ammo, mags, data book, and ear plugs. This is the most important stuff that I can’t shoot a match without. I always have extra pens, flags and small stuff in my stool.

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
August 19th, 2013

Long Range Champion SSG Ty Cooper — How He Got Started

Story by Lars Dalseide for NRABlog
It was a close one for SSG Tyrel Cooper. He’s been close before at NRA’s National Long Range High Power Rifle Championships in Camp Perry, but not as close as this. Not so close that his overall point total of 1243, while impressive, was not good enough to win. It was only good enough for a tie. Thank god for the X count. With an X count of of 71, Cooper inched by fellow U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) teammate Brandon Keith Green by seven whole points. Talk about the skin of your teeth. “It’s been a long time coming,” said Cooper — Fourteen years to be exact.

Falling in love with High Powered Rifles
Cooper wasn’t raised on rifles. No, he was just your typical California kid on the streets of Sacramento. It wasn’t until a 14 year-old Ty accompanied his father to the Police and Fire Games that he discovered a passion for firearms.

“I tagged along with Dad to a high power rifle match. We ran into Jim O’Connell at the practice range. He asked if I wanted to shoot one of his ARs. After a little prodding, I did and instantly fell in love. I ended up pulling targets for the rest of the match. That’s when I decided it was better to be pulling triggers than pulling targets.”

Working odd jobs and hoarding the cash, Cooper eventually saved enough for an AR of his own. Now all he needed was a place to shoot. California, contrary to popular opinion, would provide.

“There are a lot of real good shooters who come out of California,” said Cooper. “They have one of the best high power teams in the country right now. Norman Mayo, Tom Whittaker, and Bob Gustin (3rd in this year’s Long Range High Power Championships) all came out of California. We use to shoot at the same club in Sacramento. “I grew up watching him (Gustin) shoot, wishing one day I’d be like him.”

A path to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Long Range Rifle Team
The rest of Cooper’s teenage years were spent competing. With his father and sister in tow, they went from competition to competition throughout the state. It was a family affair.

“We only had one gun,” he said with a snicker. “I would shoot, she would shoot, then dad would shoot. After a while, he backed off and just supported us. “My sister was pretty good. I was actually her coach on the Junior Team in 2007 at the World Championships up in Canada. But that’s the last time we shot together. She went and got married, had two kids. Life got in the way.”

Cooper was working on a life of his own. Out of high school, he was searching for a place to put those rifle talents to use. That place would be with the U.S. Army. Joining at the age of 19, he spent the next few years honing skills. Reading wind, playing with ballistics, shooting whenever possible. Four years later, as a member of the USA Young Eagles Rifle Team (America’s under 21 and under 25 long range rifle team), he met with AMU Coach Emil Praslick.

“We head a real good talk. I got the letter and was off to basic training.”

It’s been a whirlwind ever since. Learning from the best in the business, Cooper utilizes his refined skills to be the best in competition and valuable resource in training. As any member of the AMU will tell you, one of their primary goals is to serve as a force multiplier. They do this by sending members of the Unit to army bases throughout the world. There they teach the troops the finer points of marksmanship.

But the travel doesn’t end there. There’s also a great deal required for the competitions. Ty explained: “For Long Range I’ve been to Canada, England, Australia, South Africa. In the states I’ve shot in California, Louisiana, Tennesee, Virginia, Georgia and Ohio. Long Range has taken me around the world, High Power has only taken me up and down the east coast.” Now, no matter where he goes, he will always be known as NRA’s 2013 National Long Range High Power Rifle Champion.

“When he was a kid growing up, he had a lot of help from a lot a good shooters,” said Robert Gustin, one of Cooper’s early mentors at the Sacramento shooting club. “One thing you can count on is that he’s always been good and will get nothing but better.” Photo above shows SSG Brandon Green, SSG Tyrel Cooper, and Bob Gustin on stage at the NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships in Camp Perry.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »