While watching and reading about the women's shooting events at the Summer Olympics, I learned how they train and compete isn't very different than how our juniors team trains and competes.
For example, Kim Rhode shot 99/100 discs in Women's Skeet, setting a new Olympic record.
Traveling across the country and shooting in various weather conditions prepared Ms. Rhode for London's odd weather patterns.
Shooting in various conditions is also what my juniors team does to prepare for almost any type of condition in which we shoot. We shoot in the cold, in the heat and with lots of noise. We learn to adapt and block out distractions.
Another example is in the Women's 10m Air Rifle finals, in which the winner was determined by who had the highest score at the end of 10 shots in the standing position, known as the offhand.
At the end of some air rifle competitions, each team sends a representative to shoot what is called a "guts match." During a "guts match," parents and competitors try to make as much noise as possible to distract the shooters. At the end of each round, the highest scores move on and the lowest scores are out.
A similarity between the Olympic finals and a guts match is they are both shot in the standing position.
However, in the Olympic finals, no sound is made at all by the audience and no shooter is out of the finals due to the score recently shot. A guts match is really noisy and low score moves out each round.
In conclusion, training in adverse conditions prepares us for what the Olympics will be like.
Also, the standing position for 10m Air Rifle determines whether the competition is won or lost, which is something for me to pay close attention to in practice.
Overall, reading and watching the Olympics will help juniors and me reach the Olympic Games.
Editor's Note: Liz Bark, 13, was the youngest member of the Maryland team that took part in 2012 National Junior Air Gun Team Championship & Training Summit in Alabama in June.