It’s been a year since I took up clay pigeon shooting - I became hooked after a shooting lesson I bought as a birthday treat for my brother. With both of us competing to be Top Gun - a healthy dose of sibling rivalry - we were laughing and buzzing with excitement. Within that year I have developed a skill that has had an enormously positive impact on my physical and mental health.
Shooting is primarily a mental sport, demanding sharpened concentration levels. This level of concentration requires a release of the regular day-to-day thought patterns and the more deeply ingrained worries and stresses: I find myself thinking in the present moment, listening to my body and focusing on the target at hand.
The physical exertion of shooting has improved my balance, hand-eye coordination and reaction speeds (I’m not quite as quick as the karate kid with his chopsticks, but I’m working on it). Awesome boosts of adrenaline when the target is smashed tests my self-control, regaining concentration with steady breathing techniques when my brain gets excited and celebrates the hit, preparing my body with weight forward, braced, yet relaxed for the recoil of the second cartridge.
The disciplines of practicing as an architect and clay shooting have a lot in common; both come with great personal responsibility, in addition to problem solving activities involving physics, mathematics, logic, and creative thinking. When employed effectively and successfully, you’ll smash your target head on, leaving nothing but powder... you could find a metaphor in there if you try.
Emily Anderson -