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How Shooting Sports Can Benefit Recreational Sports

There are many physical benefits to taking up shooting sports.  Increased strength, stamina, balance, hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills are just some of the benefits.  For instance, hand guns greatly increase arm and wrist strength.  Just like traditional recreational sports, shooting sports can keep you active, build confidence and increase self-esteem as well as toughen your mental game!

Girl shooting guns

Shooting is a perishable skill 

Shooting is a perishable skill and must be developed, just like traditional sports. You would not pick up a tennis racket, swing it once or twice then declare that you are proficient.   With repetitive movements, those muscles that are involved are strengthened.  Understanding the rules of firearms safety is the first and foremost important requirement.  To know and follow the 4 basic safety rules goes hand-in-hand with practicing and developing the discipline of good shooting skills.  

4 Basic Firearm Safety Rules:

  1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded and always perform a clearance check.
  2. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times and never point it at anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off of the trigger until you are on your target and ready to shoot.
  4. Know your target and what is beyond it as well as in front of and all around it.  

Success depends on dedication and practice

In the shooting sports like traditional recreational sports, success depends on dedication and practice.  This can develop the upper body strength, core-strength, improve and develop concentration and focus while developing self-discipline to fire one shot after another with consistent and proper technique.  

Getting kids involved in the shooting sports is a great way to help build self-esteem, confidence, as well as teach hand-eye coordination and concentration.  Required safety training instills respect, responsibility, teamwork and sportsmanship. These are all great qualities that can affect other aspects of life!

Girl practicing shooting sports

Bringing out the best athlete

Body control and neuromuscular coordination are considered foundational to fitness for life and sports.  It brings out the best in an athlete!  Take a look at some of the benefits of shooting sports and how this can translate to your activities such as, tennis, golf, baseball, basketball, soccer, running, just to name a few.  Think of how the benefits of shooting sports can translate to your particular sport. 

  • Builds physical discipline:  Shooting sports can help build many physical disciplines that are not only healthy but enjoyable.  Increased strength, stamina, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills are just a few of the physical disciplines acquired in the shooting sports that apply not only to this sport but to all life.  Which sport have you enjoyed that required physical discipline to improve your skill?
  • Arm strength:  Shooting a gun requires strong, sturdy arm and hands, back and core strength, in order to aim and shoot your target. 
  • Improves Focus:  Keeping your eyes on the target while aiming a gun requires a lot of focus.  You remove your mind from other activities, you find yourself in the present moment.  Consider what happens when a player loses their focus by taking their “eye off the ball.”
  • Increases mental discipline:  To the surprise of many, shooting sports are primarily mental sports.  Experienced marksmen think sports shooting is 90% mental.  Concentration levels are sharpened. Multiple problem-solving activities involving logic, mathematics and “thinking outside the box” are needed to succeed at any level of the shooting sports.
  • Advances personal responsibility:  Personal responsibility is taught throughout the shooting sports to advance both safety and skill development.
  • Courage and confidence:  For some people, shooting may seem like a very dangerous or scary thing to do. However, being properly trained can certainly build confidence and courage in any sport.
  • Adrenaline:  Learning or participating in a sport can spike your adrenaline and cause a surge of energy to pulse through your blood.  This increase in energy levels releases the feel-good endorphin, serotonin.  Serotonin contributes to that feeling of happiness and can be a powerful, rewarding emotion. 
  • Physical balance: Remaining perfectly still in your shooting stance while aiming your gun at your target engages your core muscles, which support proper posture.  When the abdominal muscles are weak, the lower back holds additional pressure and weight from simple daily tasks like walking.  Strengthening the abdominal muscles allow the weight of the upper body to be evenly distributed front to back, improving balance.  
  • Builds patience:  Shooting requires patience for development to take place.  Shooting sports can be particularly useful for youngsters as it can help develop patience at an early age.  

Shooting sports can help condition you both physically and mentally

Young or old, getting involved in the shooting sports can help condition you both physically and mentally, and benefit you in any sport you participate in.  Always practice the safety rules.  Learn them and commit them to memory!  If you have been looking for a new sport or hobby, consider the shooting sports.  You will find a whole new community of friends, challenge your brain and your body, and have lots of fun! 

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