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.
Now is your chance to compete head to head with other biathletes from Canada and the US. See the note below from Danika Frisbie, with USBA, for the “virtual” summer biathlon competition August 3 to 9. Lets show what the Midwest has in numbers of biathletes and what we can do. All age groups and abilities encouraged to participate. Sign up and instructions are below in Danika’s emial. The competition consists of a 3K run on a track and the American shooting test.
Lets have some fun with this!
Please pass this note along to others that may be interested.
Mark Torresani USBA Midwest Coordinator
Virtual North American Biathlon Summer Nationals 2020
Coaches and athletes,
Here is an opportunity for you to compete from your home training grounds at a national level.
While it’s not the same as Jericho, we hope this alternative competition format will give athletes in all stages of development a chance to challenge themselves against peers across the U.S. and Canada while head-to-head opportunities remain limited.
To compete, you should be an active athlete or coach member of U.S. Biathlon or Biathlon Canada.
Let’s do this! Best regards, Danika & U.S. Biathlon Staff
The competition is to achieve the fastest overall combined time from a 3000m running time trial and an American test executed to completion. A 15 second time penalty will be added to the overall time for each missed target in the American test.
3000m time trial + American test (P,S,P,S) + 0:15 seconds per penalty = total competition time
This format allows us to best mimic elements of biathlon competition with standardized, repeatable components that can be completed from any track or range in the county.
U15 athletes will follow a shorter format. All other competition categories will use the format above. The competition categories are: U15, U17, U19 (Youth), Junior, Senior, Open Masters, Grand Masters. See competition rules for details and competition category guidelines.
Plan sessions between August 3-9th to complete your competition segments.
Compete! Get a coach, training partner, or friend to time an American test for you, and head to the track to complete a 3000m time trial. The tests do not need to be completed on the same day.
Submit your run time and your American test results by August 9th at 4:00pm EDT using the online entry form sent to you.
Results and awards will be announced on August 10th, and the traditional Jericho race socks will be mailed to all North American competitors!
Details on competition format, categories, and instructions are provided below. Please do your best to follow the competition rules! Though we cannot guarantee standard conditions were met for every competition entry, we trust that everyone entering this event will participate in the spirit of a fair and honest competition. Do your best!
Other ways to celebrate biathlon
All competitors will receive a pair of race socks from “the summer nationals that never was” thanks to the generous spirit of Ethan Allen Biathlon Club.
Design the socks for this year’s competition in our sock design contest! Submit your designs to Danika Frisbie at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 1, 2020 using the template attached to this guide. Socks are produced by Save our Soles knitting in Colorado.
Share photos of you and/or your teammates competing! Use the hashtags #usbiathlon, #biathloncanada, and #jericho2020.
MN Biathlon in cooperation with the Elk River Parks Dept has been trying to put together a series of practices twice a week at the ER facility. This would be in addition to the already scheduled Thurs the 25th of June which might already be full [10 athletes].
Currently we are looking at Mondays and Thursdays. We are working on the time of day:
Mid morning to avoid rush hour Early afternoon to avoid late afternoon rush Evenings while we have long daylight
We may end up with different times of day on Mondays vs Thursdays. And as we are looking at two of us to be the alternate facilitators on Mondays—could end up with alternating times on that day.
So please let me know a] if you are interested and b] if so rank the days/ times you would prefer.
I am considering starting this on Thursday the 18th of June. As I pointed out above, the 25th might already be full. Otherwise open to any athlete who has their own /or leased rifle.
We would need to have a sign up program for each practice to a] avoid overfilling the range – so 10 max per practice and b] to be sure the facilitator has someone coming. More on that later. Each practice will have a shooting/combo plan that is structured to match the MN Biathlon training plans. We still are planning a race on Thursday the 16th of July—and that will not have a 10 person limit.
Thank you for getting back to me as soon as possible. Bill Meyer, Coach MNBiathlon
Attached is a Policy/Guidelines for all Biathlon Training and Racing for June 2020 in MN under the auspices of MN Biathlon, but subject to the Governor’s rules and any guidelines scheduled to be coming out on June 1 from his office.
Based on the Policy and the underlying considerations, the two Camps scheduled for June [Mt Itasca and Elk River] are both cancelled. MN Biathlon will be putting together a new schedule for June to include Beginner rifle fitting/ indoctrination, Day Camps, and hopefully a race. Elk River is closed to roller skiing until July 1st to allow for a pipeline construction down the RR grade near the range. The range and other trails are open yet.
This Policy/Guideline is predicated on the assumption, and subject to our obligation to each other, that we practice safe habits to avoid spreading the Covid 19 virus. II is critical that we live up to this obligation.
Sincerely, Bill Meyer, Coach MNBiathlon
MN BIATHLON POLICY/GUIDELINES FOR JUNE 2020 DUE TO COVID 19 PANDEMIC
While many athletes from the Twin Cities area are using the range at Elk River periodically, at this point we have been unable to organize weekly coached practices. I do anticipate I will be down once every couple of weeks, and we will hopefully have a camp there in June along with 4 summer races scheduled there. We will send notices and invitations out as those get closer to fruition.
As to everyone across the state, if you plan to lease a rifle from MN Biathlon this year—and I have talked to most of those folks recently, you do need to be a MN Biathlon member even if you belong to one of the subsidiary clubs.
Thanks for your interest in Biathlon! Bill Meyer, Coach