Asian Games template showed us to focus process, not scores: Shooting HPD - Hindustan Times

Asian Games template showed us to focus process, not scores: Shooting HPD

ByAvishek Roy
Feb 29, 2024 12:13 AM IST

Pierre Beauchamp says Indian shooters have adopted his methods and is confident it will help win medals at the Paris Olympics.

Indian shooters are winning big. Fearless youngsters are cranking up world record scores, getting to the top of the world rankings. This sounds all too familiar and exciting five months before the Paris Olympics. The build-up to 2021 Tokyo was no different; the aftermath, however, proved crushing. Come Paris and the onus will be on the coaches to ensure that the success in the build-up is translated onto the biggest stage. Despite the hype, shooting has failed to deliver medals at the last two Olympics.

At the Karni Singh shooting range, a prestigious national tournament is flooded by young shooters trying to make their mark, firing alongside the likes of Olympic medallist Gagan Narang
At the Karni Singh shooting range, a prestigious national tournament is flooded by young shooters trying to make their mark, firing alongside the likes of Olympic medallist Gagan Narang

India's High Performance Director Pierre Beauchamp knows the stakes are huge, but he presents a calm demeanor. The success at the Hangzhou Asian Games, where India collected 22 medals including two individual gold in Olympic disciplines, has shut up his critics who raised doubts about his data-driven process.

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Beauchamp says he will follow the Asian Games template that helped create a positive environment around the team. "If you look at the whole Asian Games year, we replicated an Olympic template; we are going to use it for Paris 2024," Beauchamp said in an interview on the sidelines of Bharat Sports Science Conclave hosted by TransStadia University.

"At the Asian Games, the environment was positively conducive to high performance. Things ran very smoothly and coaches and athletes were aligned in everything, down to the tables where we were going to have dinner together, at the gold (medal) table."

Beauchamp says the shooters trusted the process and were better prepared to regulate their emotions and deal with the pressure of expectations. Since he joined the Indian team two years ago, the Canadian has integrated sports science and technical training. His sports science team has taken extensive data of shooters -- their heart rate, breathing patterns, skin temperature, muscle tension, etc. -- besides simulating match situations, doing video analyses. It was all too new for Indian shooting but now they have settled down to the change.

"Not everyone understands data in the same way. For example, if we see an athlete is fatigued then we will give feedback to coaches and advise sports science experts to work with the coaches. Every coach gets to know of their athlete the way we are tracking and monitoring them.

"For example, some of our shooters have problems starting an event. If you have trouble starting and you are trying to rush, it will not help. We actually teach the athletes to walk, jog and then run when they have trust in their process. Now the same shooters are much more patient and judicious in the way they approach those starts. A high quality start in the first series sets you up for success going forward."

In terms of performance, the sports science team is giving feedback to coaches on their behavioural patterns. "We look at shot-making and give the athletes and coach feedback on high quality, low quality and medium quality shots. We can look at their preparation, at readiness level, and monitor their confidence level like why they performed well in certain competitions and where they lacked in other competitions. So, we have many factors for monitoring the actions, characteristics and behaviour of athletes."

Olympic trials

But before the Paris Olympics, the shooters will have to face trials at home to get selected in the team, which means a shooter will have to peak twice in close proximity. The two sets of trials will be held in May. "It is possible to peak several times a year. The key is to manage rest and recovery, and fatigue management. We have few competitions remaining now and we are in the final phase before the Olympics selection trials. Taking that into account in our training programme, we are running final simulations so that we replicate what we are going to do at the Olympics."

Like Tokyo, the team will have several new faces, competing in their first Olympics. Beauchamp is confident they can deliver in Paris. "In the past we have focused on scores and when you do that it brings a lot of pressure and tension. When you are focused on your process and repeat it consistently there is no pressure. You are internally focused. There is a clear intention with every shot. There is a connection with the target and athletes are able to give their best."

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