Rifle team channels focus into success

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    It could be considered the least appreciated, understood or known team on campus, but the rifle team is shooting with result and is the most focused group of athletes the university has to offer.

    When every shot could be the deciding factor in a shooter’s score, ice cold veins and a stable mind are key.

    TCU’s team is certainly above average in the shooting world.

    After tying for fifth place last year in the NCAA Championships, the Horned Frogs already defeated its fifth place counterpart, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., this season.

    Head coach Karen Monez said each shot is a one-shot match. Shooters cannot let what just happened affect what is going to happen.

    Obviously a steady hand and good eyes are necessary for a good shooter, but this cranial prowess is the team’s determining factor.

    This mental toughness separates the good shooters from the bad.

    Never focus on the bad shots, only learn from them. Learn what it takes to make the next shot the perfect shot.

    Team meetings held every week focus on goals and how to reach them. The team works on individual confidence and boosting the morale of any shooters who feel their touch has slipped.

    Campus or student understanding of the rifle team is probably pretty low. Who goes to rifle matches? Who understands scoring? Who realizes how much concentration each team member exerts for each individual shot?

    I assume few could honestly or accurately answer any of those questions. But the fact remains that the rifle team collectively is the most focused purple and white-wearing Horned Frog team at TCU.

    To hammer in how much concentration each shot takes, a score of 10 from 50 feet requires hitting a target the size of a period. The little dot taken for granted in so many papers is the most frustrating thing in a shooter’s life.

    This focus goes beyond the shooting range. The rifle squad had the highest team GPA for the spring 2007 semester and a plaque on the wall at the rifle range proves it.

    Unlike most sporting events, players on a rifle team avoid getting too amped up for a game. Instead they try to reach a state of Zen-like tranquility.

    Adrenaline only gets in the way of a steady hand and a focused mind.

    So maybe being an overlooked team is not such a bad thing for these Horned Frog shooters. Maybe sitting calmly in the back is the best thing for them.

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