We are attempting to put together some organized practices for the TC group at Elk River. While once you are familiar with biathlon shooting you are welcome to use the range on your own—just be sure you clean up, lock up, and leave things as you found them. And don’t leave any paint in the range building in case it gets vandalized again.
There are, however, a lot of advantages to organized training with other athletes. Recognizing that we will offer two sessions this week:
Wed morning from 10:30 to noon with Lynda
Saturday morning from 9:00 to 11:00 with Tara
Now here is the key: You need to check in with the appropriate leader before you come out for an organized practice. That will allow them to:
let you know of any schedule change before the practice
Set up the correct number of targets before shooting starts
not take breaks to set up for late comers
the Leader can avoid showing up on the above schedule when sometime else would be more appropriate if no one is coming
Keep me out of the loop.
The leader will bring a scope. There is paper in the building if you know how to get in or have a key.
So we need to try this for a week. In particular, Tara’s house is undergoing a major remodeling and she can’t commit to more than a week so far. If someone else would be able to jump in as leader—even on a different schedule, please let me know.
Please sign up for events you want to participate in—just drop Tara, Lynda or Bill a note. Particularly note the Camp Ripley events on the 22nd of August. I think this is a rare opportunity to use that facility!!
Work party to install new plates
noon to ??
Directions to F Range at Camp Ripley
Left on Argonne Rd immediately after leaving Range Control and then Right on Cody rd. Turn left just before the closed gate on Cody Rd.
Here in MN we have kind of a reputation for producing good shooters compared to the rest of the US in biathlon. Now that said, each of us can improve our shooting…each of us!!
Without accuracy during base shooting, you will have difficulty hitting targets during combo training with a heartrate and lactates elevated, and even more so when fatigued in a race.
So herein, I want to concentrate on accuracy only for a moment. And of all the things involved in accuracy like a smooth trigger squeeze of the final trigger stage, and staying relaxed with a good rifle fit, natural point of aim etc, I want to concentrate on “sight alignment”.
With the mandatory open sights required for biathlon by the rules, there has to be two sights—front and rear, unlike a glass optical rifle scope. These, along with the eye getting light back through the sights from the target, all need to be aligned perfectly with the flight of the bullet. But at least three problems exist: 1] the eye can only focus on one plane at a time—call it close, nearby or distant; 2] the eye needs to be steady on the rifle – not moving around in either the prone or standing position and 3] the sights and the eye need to be perfectly aligned immediately when shooting instinctively or fast. Enter the adjustable stock with an adjustable ‘’cheekpiece”.
The rear sight aperture opening should be about 2” from your eyeball so there is a white ring around the front sight barrel in both positions, prone and standing. That ring is shown in the attached diagram.
To properly put your head on the stock, you should first move sideways onto the cheekpiece until it hits your teeth –then down onto the cheekbone. But not with excessive pressure sideways or down..just enough to lock your face onto the rifle. Once you have done that, your sight alignment should look like the attached diagram. Best is to do it looking at a white background with no target to divert your attention. Focus on the front sight as that is where your focus should be when shooting, not moving back and forth. That sight should be crisp and clear—the rear sight will be a bit fuzzy.
Now do that with your eyes closed, open the eyes and see if that white ring around the front sight barrel is perfect. Do it several times. If you have to push or lift your head to get alignment, you will never shoot a tight group!! Your eye will pick up and correct your head for a very minor misalignment, but any more than that and it will ignore it—or you will loosen your head position to get it.
So start making minor adjustments to the cheekpiece until that white ring looks perfect. Perfect! Now check it in standing. It helps if the cheekpiece is aligned with the rifle—not at an angle to that line as your head position between the two positions will vary a little fore/aft so when you adjust the cheekpiece, keep it lined up.
Then when you get into prone position and put your head onto the stock—you will be ready immediately to shift your hips around that forward elbow and get your “sight picture” … to get your rifle aligned onto the target. In standing, you do that by more rifle adjustment of the butthook or forestock riser for vertical alignment and by slightly rotating your feet around the heel for horizontal alignment. It is not advised to rotate your feet completely into an “open” or “closed” position. Keep your toes lined up with the target.
Due to the construction taking place at Elk River’s Woodland Trail system, we are planning on modifying the race from our normal routine. Please see the attached trail map. The only loop available is too long for an early season four shooting stage race, so we are planning a Sprint with two shooting stages.
I am anticipating an invitation to come out shortly, but please put this event on your calendar for next week!!
7.8km 3 loops, 2 shooting stages, PS. 30 second flat penalty, no loops.
Younger/novice race categories may have a shorter race depending on coach/athlete decision.
Registration @ 4:30 PM Please have your paperwork filled out beforehand. Zero @ 5:00 PM Race Start @ 5:45 PM Time-trial start, 30 second interval. $10 / racer Cash or check made out to Minnesota Biathlon.
Yesterday we received notice from the USBA office that both the Vermont camp and races there plus the follow-up elite camp at Lake Placid have been cancelled due to the virus concerns and inability to host large numbers of people safely. For those who were looking at the scheduled races as part of the Trials for IBU or World Cup Team positions, USBA will be scheduling some additional events later in the summer/fall for a fair trials contest.
In MN our plans will be to continue to hold Daycamps around the state, and localized weekly training practices; along with 3 or 4 rollerski races at Elk River as scheduled pending any changes in the rules. Currently MN is one of the few states where the numbers of new cases are declining.
With all this in mind, it is even more important that you do your own training as planned, work at improving your own Personal Records and keep up with the tests and times we are asking you to do. And keep reporting those back to me. At the end of the upcoming Mt Itasca Day camp, I will circulate some of the up to date spreadsheets so you can compare yourself with others. Collectively we have made equal or better gains in the basics this year than we have in normal years!! We are stronger, skiing better, and shooting better than ever before!!
Stay safe and practice good personal habits, even if those around you are careless or don’t recognize their obligation to other people!