Stay frosty

Focus and mental fortitude are Mitchell’s secrets for building a consistent score

Mitchell Brooker-Smith keeps his head in the game at the British Shooting Shotgun Series shoot at South Wales 2000

The weekend of 8-9 June marked the second round of the British Shooting Shotgun Series, held at South Wales 2000 shooting ground. Thanks to my performance at Bisley I entered this competition strong with a comfortable score on the point system that qualifies shotgun athletes for the British Shooting Grand final, which will be held at Fauxdegla shooting ground in September. As I finished second at Bisley this meant I had 2 points. The fewer points you have the better!

I arrived at South Wales 2000 the Friday before the shoot for the official training day. The weather couldn’t have been more miserable; long, soggy rain drops soaked everyone to the bone all morning.

I waited to see if the rain would clear but the chances didn’t look too promising. Meanwhile, I sat in the club house catching up with fellow shooters including 2018 Commonwealth games silver medallist, Ben Llewellin.

I was fortunate enough to have trained with Ben at South Wales 2000 the previous weekend and I was pleased to see that we would be on the same squad throughout the weekend.

When I realised the rain wasn’t going to clear, myself and a couple of the other junior shooters braved the damp weather and went out to train while we still had the chance. I was fortunate enough to shoot a 75 ex-75 in training on the Friday.

Although I was pleased with the score, I remained level headed and didn’t get too excited – after all, it’s only training. The point of the official training is to work out key things, such as where our hold point is on each station on a particular range, and to get a feel for how the targets are flying. It’s so that when we come to compete we’re not shooting on a completely new range.

Day 1 of the competition came and the weather was completely different to the previous day. The sun was shining and the sky was blue, but there were some powerful winds that were throwing the targets all over the place!

Despite this new challenge, I managed to stay focused and stick to my routine. I ended Day 1 on 69 ex-75, which I was pleased with onsidering the weather, but I was still aware that everything would come down to having a good second day to earn a place in the Junior Men’s final.

Mitchell was shooting in a squad with Team GB Skeet star Ben Llewellin

The conditions were much improved on Day 2; it was warm and calm with not a single cloud in miles. Unfotunately, I didn’t shoot as well as I should have. I shot 45 ex-50, leaving me on a total of 114 ex-125, a few targets short of what I would have preferred.

My qualification score got me into the final, but I had to have a shoot off for bib number, which I lost leaving me with third bib going into the final. It was then that I took a minute to have a chat with myself. I snapped out of this target-costly routine and promised myself that I was going to win the final. 

It was a tight final, and after the first 60 targets had been shot I had to go into a sudden death shoot-off for gold. The competition was stiff, but in the end I managed to fulfil my promise to myself and win gold in the Junior Men’s final. Congratulations to all the other Juniors and competitors who competed at this challenging shoot. 

Following the Shotgun Series shoot I had a break from competitions in my schedule, but it wouldn’t be too long, because I was selected to represent Team GB at the ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany at the beginning of July! I look forward to telling you all about about this event next month. 

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