Lousy fracking elbow…

My left elbow is broken. By which I mean, it’s not doing its job when I shoot. This is what it should be doing:

Left arm demonstration

This is from the most recent World Cup Finals. Notice how his left elbow is placed so that his left forearm is vertical under the rifle . The theory here is simple and universal; the weight of the rifle is supported by the left forearm, which rests on the left pelvic bone which is connected to the bones in the left leg – ie. from rifle to floor, it’s bone that supports the weight, not muscle.

For that to work, the elbow has to go into the same place, every single time; and for it to work well, the left forearm has to be vertical, at least in the left-right plane (it’s ideal if it can be vertical in the fore-aft plane as well, but sometimes that’s not possible because of shooters’ morphology).

Mine, however, is not going into the same place every time. It’s not even close. And worse, I can’t feel its location except through proprioception; which isn’t the most accurate of our senses. Once again, it’s that blasted jacket at work 🙁

London 2012 Test Events announced for Shooting

Mark your calendars. From the ISSF website, via twitter (yay for the use of modern media!):

Olympic tests: Shooting 18-29 April 2012

The testing programme of the 2012 Olympic Games: Shooting pre-Olympic World Cup in all events scheduled between 18 and 29 April 2012 at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich, London

The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) announced a comprehensive testing programme which will form a key part of its preparations for the Games next year.

The testing programme will focus primarily on testing the field of play, results, scoring and timing systems, as well as key operational procedures and functions.

The Shooting Sport Test event, a pre-Olympic ISSF World Cup in all events, will take place at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich, London, between the 18th and the 29th of April 2012.

Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organizing Committee, said: ‘Our approach to operational delivery is similar to that of an athlete. You do not want to face any conditions at competition time that you have not prepared for. When the world’s greatest Olympic and Paralympic athletes come to London in the summer of 2012, every aspect of our delivery needs to be the best it can be. The invaluable experience we gain through our testing programme means we can “road-test” all our operational plans and make sure we have all the knowledge we need to deliver a truly memorable Games in 2012.’

People who are interested in attending events should sign up to www.tickets.london2012.com and they will be sent further information as soon as it is available.

Marco Dalla Dea


So the belly has to go, that much is a given. It’s putting my balance off and the low cardio fitness isn’t helping either. So a while back I joined the gym in the National Aquatic Centre (it’s on the way to work) and I’ve been trying to get there every morning since. For various reasons, my routine didn’t really take hold until recently, but for the last fortnight or so, I’ve been keeping the routine up reasonably well. It’s a simple enough gym programme – I come in, I stretch the quads a bit until I feel the muscles around the knees straighten out and hear my left hip pop (yeah, it feels as wierd as it sounds…)

Quad Stretch

then do 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer at 60-70rpm,

Pulse fitness 280G Fusion 'X-Train' elliptical trainer

then sit seiza for a few minutes to let my heartrate come down,


then do a yoga stretch (the cobra, for anyone who’s interested, though I keep my toes pointed forwards and push my hips forward in the stretch to get right at the small of the back) for my back

Yoga cobra pose
Author may not look anywhere near as dignified as this while doing this pose...

and some basic warmup stretches from the aikido days.

aikido leg stretch

Aikido stretch
Yes, you look odd doing this. But it's the best stretch for the hips and quads that I know of.

All told, takes about an hour from walking in the front door to walking out the front door (you have to remember to shower and change or your workmates will kill you…). And here’s the fun bit – all the machines in the gym are rigged with smartcards and sensors (and I wear a heartbeat sensor strap while training) and they collate all the data for you and give you these lovely reports so you can tell if you’ve made progress or not…

Yearly graph as of Feb 25

(There are odd data points there from the introductory session and two sessions where I forgot the heartrate sensor strap).

It’s a bit clearer over the last month or so:

Monthly graph on Feb 25

After the routine finally kicked in, the max heartrate in the sessions has fallen steadily, as has the average heartrate (ie. I’ve increased my cardiovascular fitness).

Who says graphs can’t motivate you? 😀

UCESSA 10m Air Pistol Postal 2010 – Round 8

Hurt my hand this morning, but when I got past that, there were some good moments in this round. The overall score was down though. Still. Card 4. *heheheheh* 😎


Composite group, Round 8
Composite group, Round 8



Round 8

43 + 37 + 43 + 45 +41 + 42 = 251

Cards after the break… Continue reading “UCESSA 10m Air Pistol Postal 2010 – Round 8”

Some days, you eat bear. Some days, bear eat you.

Wasn’t expecting great results from tonight; I planned to shoot round eight of the UCESSA air pistol match and then do some position work without kit (I figured, if I can do the left forearm right without kit, it’s definitely the jacket that’s causing the problem.

Of course, the morning before shooting a pistol match, I reach into my gym locker with my right hand and nearly tear off the thumbnail on the metal of the locker doorframe. Nice one. Spent most of the pistol match trying to find a thumb position that didn’t hurt. But maybe distraction works:


See, some days you eat the bear, and some days you don’t watch the sights and focus enough and the bear eats you while laughing at your six…

The position work was frustratingly good. I tried with my rifle, and every club rifle in the rack, from very old and heavy Walthers to FWB603s to FWBP700 Juniors. Every single time, the left elbow found the top of the left hip in the same place without thought and the left forearm was perfectly vertical. So I really am fighting that jacket badly, even after the surgery.

Thing is, until the gut’s gone, there’s little point in a new jacket – so everything is just waiting around for the gym to sort out the weight problem. Harumph.

Fianna Fail policy on firearms

From Irish Shooting Politics:

Sent by email:


As an Olympic target shooter, I’d like to ask for details on Fianna Fail’s policies and plans with regards to the Firearms Act, the handgun ban and private firearms ownership in Ireland, and to invite you to engage with the target shooting and hunting community on shooting.boards.ie to discuss these matters. With some 200,000 licenced firearms owners in the state, I think such engagement would be appropriate during the election campaign.


Received in response:

Dear Mr. Dennehy,
Thank you for your email dated 13th February 2011.

Fianna Fail has no plans to change existing legislation which we believe serves several very important functions, and strikes a balance between these and recreational interests generally. We are supportive of the sports of target shooting and hunting, and are mindful of their social importance, particularly in rural areas. We will view the website you refer to and would be happy to engage with any representations.

Yours sincerely,
Clare Minihane

Fianna Fáil Headquarters

Labour policy on firearms continued…

Desperately disappointing stuff to read.

From Irish Shooting Politics:

After the initial dialogue with them,  subsequent (and frankly, very disappointing) dialogue with Labour:

Thank you Demot. I’m sorry to say that I consider it a disappointing answer; a speech given two years ago in relation to a specific piece of legislation and a statement that no policy would be commented on without seeking professional advice is not the statement of the basic principles Labour would use when deciding on policy that I was hoping for.

I know that at present, none of the 200,000 licenced firearms holders in the state is likely to vote for a Green Party or Fianna Fail candidate; however, the choice between Fine Gael, Labour and Independent candidates, especially in rural constituencies, is one that clear support for sensible legislation in this area could swing in Labour’s favour – many of the 200,000 licenced firearms holders are farmers living in rural areas, and many of those who are not farmers also live in rural areas. Fine Gael’s stated policy on this is to leave the current legislation in place (a policy which few in the community would feel was fair or just or even effective) – surely this would be an opportunity for Labour to convince more undecided voters in rural constituencies to vote Labour?


This was not responded to. Following some parallel discussions, the following was sent:

Some of us target shooters spoke with Charlie Flanagan of Fine Gael on the topic of firearms legislation in more detail yesterday. He was completely against alot of the policies enacted by Dermot Ahern. He committed to meet with us and discuss the finer points at length, and on specific details said he would like to see the issues around the muzzle energy limit for air rifles and other similar minor issues changed to encourage and expand the international and Olympic end of the sport. He also said that he met a few times with the Firearms Consultation Panel, representatives from clubs such as Hilltop and the MNSCI, and would like to see the Firearms Consultation Panel made a permanent feature in any future legislation drafting. He said in relation to the centerfire handgun ban that while he is fully aware that no legally held firearms have been used and admits that Minister Ahern targeted respectable shooters and not criminals in his efforts, that he would for the immediate future revert to the Garda Commissioner on certain matters, but agreed to a full review.

In light of this, could you please ask Pat Rabbitte to review his position on this matter?

Thank you,

In response:

I really do not have any more to add to what we have already sent.

Pondering whether or not it was understood how large the demographic involved was, this was sent:

Dermot, there are 200,000 licenced firearms holders in the state. We worked before with Labour (both Brendan Howlin in 2006 and Pat Rabbitte in 2009) to good effect, now we’re looking for a committment from Labour to continue that work and fix broken legislation and you basicly haven’t given it — but Fine Gael have. Who would you advise us to vote for?

And this was received:

There is a commitment to work with stakeholders on the issues. I just cannot confirm an outcome at this stage.

At this point I thought there might have been a miscommunication earlier, so I sought to clarify:

Dermot, I didn’t see any commitment in our email exchange – all you sent was that whomever the Minister was would have to take professional advice and Garda advice and you referred me to a two-year-old speech that didn’t cover (and couldn’t cover) recent issues. There was no commitment and you didn’t lay out what Labour’s principles were on firearms policy.

Look, right now what we’ve been given a commitment on by Fine Gael is:

  • to meet with the shooting community (via the Firearms Consultation Panel) and discuss the finer points at length
  • to see the Firearms Consultation Panel made a permanent feature in any future legislation drafting.
  • to fully review the centerfire handgun ban.

And we had a statement that in principle, they would like to see the minor changes we sought to expand Olympic air rifle shooting.

Can Labour give the same committment and can Labour agree to that same statement?

No response was received to this prior to the release of this document from the NARGC, so this was sent to obtain a response on that document:

Dermot, reminding you first of all that there are some 200,000 licenced firearms holders in Ireland and some 600,000 involved in fieldsports in Ireland, could you please respond to the email below and to the attached document (which was released today by the National Association of Regional Game Councils) please?

The responses will go up on http://guns.ie and http://shooting.boards.ie (which is the discussion forum used by target shooters and hunters in Ireland).

Thank you,

And this was the sole response:

We have responded to this before.

Based on this, it seems that on target shooting issues at least, Labour cannot be recommended as a first choice for shooters, and Fine Gael would seem the more logical choice; at least based on election manifestos.