All about shooting : Physical Fitness

This post is to introduce the beginners to the concept of fitness related to 10M Air Pistol Shooting through my experience. This is NOT a How-to post. As you move towards higher levels, it is advised to get professional sports physiotherapist and psychologist to help you early on.

My Dad and I share an interesting bond. We claim that we understand each other like no other person in this world would (which is true). And that is precisely the reason why we argue like no other father-daughter duo would.

A very frequent bone of contention between us is ‘fitness’.

Consider this :


15-yo Me: “Baba I want to be a cricketer like the Younger Sibling.”
Dad         : “You are not fit enough.”

Trekking. Me, Dad, and younger sibling at Nainital for a rock climbing camp.


21-yo Me: “Baba I want to take up tennis. As a hobby.”
Dad         : “You are not fit enough.”

Trekking. Again at the Nainital rock climbing camp.


28-yo Me: “Baba I am going to join shooting.”
Dad         : “You are not fit enough.”

Trekking. At Lonavala.

I looked at him dumbfounded. I just had to stand there for 2 hours and lift a 1000g pistol. I warmed up before the session and stretched after. What’s the big deal? It is not an out and out physical sport like Tennis or Cricket. What is Dad driving at?

Cut to 2016 : My second State-level match in Nashik.

I shot 11 points less than the required qualification score of 335, with one shot in the first ring – a 1! I attributed the score to the fact that I hadn’t trained enough yet.

My parents were with me in the match. When we walked out of the range, I asked my Dad for an analysis.

He said that he doesn’t know much about the sport, but it is interesting, and I did well, and I will do better when I was fit enough. 

This time I heeded him and asked him to explain in detail.

He said that even though primarily shooting is a mental sport, you need to go out and do some physical activity so that you are not fatigued during your sessions. Even top-level Chess players swim and run. Gone are the days when unfit players were acceptable in Cricket. If anyone manages to get in the Team despite physical shortcomings, they fade away in the longer run with occasional moments where (just) their talent makes them shine.

I bought it.

But when I saw final matches in women’s 10M Air Pistol, I could see players of all shapes and sizes and they did not look to me as if they’d be doing a lot of physical activity outside of shooting. Only one European shooter mentioned doing Yoga in one of the interviews.

Here’s where I was wrong. Never judge anyone based on appearances. 

Then, I didn’t know that. So I went to my Coach with my dilemma.

My father thinks I am not fit enough. I see International Players who I think are not fit enough. So why exactly am I not scoring?

He looked at me with half a smile. I now realise how juvenile my question might have seemed, coming from an apparently mature individual. He told me that I do not require serious gymming, but swimming, running will help, and I could talk to the in-house physio if I wanted.

A year passed by. I never talked to the in-house physio. I did not pursue anything additional than what I was doing on the range. I scraped through the Pre-Nationals and Nationals of 2016.

Then I saw the movie Dangal. As superficial as it sounds, my eyes were opened.

I needed to be more serious about my sport. And I did get serious in everything I did in shooting, except fitness. It gave me results, good ones too, but somewhere I knew something was missing and I always felt lost as to what.

I knew I had to exercise but what, how, when?

2017 : 1 year 2 months after the fateful Nashik match.

I met our consultant physiotherapist, who is currently training International athletes. A lot of my myths were busted, and I got the real no-frills perspective on physical fitness in shooting.

You guys, the real article starts here!

So here’s the long and short of it :

Physical fitness training in shooting is to help develop mental strength.

The crux of it is running. That too, slow running. All other exercises a shooter does (warm up, stretches, cool down) is to aid him/her in building the stamina required for running.

Why slow running?

  1. The completion of even one session of running fills you with confidence.
  2. It gives a sense of achievement.
  3. Completing each running session trains the shooter to finish what he/she started no matter what.
  4. Regular running streaks help make winning a habit.
  5. It helps improve your lung capacity. (This one’s my addition.)

Layman tips

  1. Always run or exercise after your shooting session.
  2. Your exercise regimen should be : Day 1 Run, Day 2 Full body stretching, Day 3 Rest AND Repeat.
  3. Start with 20 mins on 400m track – in which you do basic body exercises, brisk walk for 5 mins, slow run for 20 mins, and finish with an additional round of brisk walk. Gradually, when you feel like it, increase to 30 mins.
  4. Substitute running with 40 mins walk a week before competition.
  5. Do not go by my word for it. This is just to give you an idea of the kind of fitness an average shooter needs.

Meet your physio and talk to him/her about running, its benefits, and what other physical fitness measures you need to take.


August Blogathon : All about shooting!

I don’t know what the Blogathon is called, but I am jumping in headlong…inspired by ze Lady at Shail’s Nest.

The salient features of this month long blogging ‘abhiyaan’ will be:

1. Blogging from Mobile using WordPress App. This will get me writing on the go and without the fear of my inner editor.

2. I will pen down my thoughts about shooting. Those thoughts which are good if written in my shooting diary, but don’t necessarily belong only there.

So here’s the long and short of my plan. (Yes, I have a plan this time around.) 

As you would know if you visit my blog often, I took up shooting 10m Air Pistol in May 2015. I have played quite a few state matches, and have made it to the Nationals by qualifying in the Pre-Nationals. Right now, I am preparing for the 2017 Nationals.

The shooting bug bit me way back in 2004, when then Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the double trap Silver at Athens Olympics. That was the year I came to Pune for my engineering. 

The Internet was in nascent stage then. I searched for shooting ranges at 40 Rs/hr! The one I found was in Hadapsar, a good 25km away from where I stayed. There was no Ola/Uber to take me to and fro…and I thought to myself… well…all in good time.

The good time came 11 years later when I quit my job and joined the academy I had my eye on since 2011. 

Little did anyone know that my seemingly off-hand decision was a carefully planned attempt at making up for the years I lost because I had other ‘normal’ things to do – study, get a job, marry…in a word – ‘settle down’!

Now that you got to know how I got into shooting… I’ll delve into the stuff I want to write about, in the next posts.

I plan to provide my blog some August company. 😉 See ya around amigos!

Game of Blogs : Chapter 13 : Offer you cannot refuse

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Team : The Maverick X

Read the previous parts of the story here :

Part 1 of story here
Part 2 of story here
Part 3 of story here
Part 4 of story here
Part 5 of story here
Part 6 of story here
Part 7 of story here
Part 8 of story here
Part 9 of story here
Part 10 of the story here
Part 11 of the story here
Part 12 of the story here

Shekhar was extremely upset over Tara taking on the fake riot case. Thankfully the inspector had dismissed her statement saying that she did not have any concrete proof and hunting for 2 men was like searching for needles in a haystack.

Still the fiesty lady had taken up another case of similar riots and planned bomb blasts in 90s. The riots were to be staged for toppling the then ruling party, but were fortunately contained after sparks in the interiors of Mumbai. Shekhar remembered them vividly. How could he not?


Jennifer was surprised to get a call from Roohi. She wanted to come over and play at her place. Right, now I am a playmate for nine year old girls?

Shekhar had insisted on dropping her off too. She could not refuse that. He was too damn sweet when he spoke with that mushy sing-song voice of his. Only condition – both Shekhar and Roohi had to be home when Tara returned from work.

Jennifer wondered why Tara had stayed back. She had two senior defence staff with her who would drop her home, so Jennifer didn’t inisist on staying. She had other business to deal with.

Roohi was as naughty as ever. Browsing her favorite fashion blog and trying on Jennifer’s latest collection of accessories. Jennifer was not at all in mood for all this right now. She was lost in thoughts of Cyrus Daruwalla. What in the world did he have to do with Anne?


Cyrus was over the moon when he got a call from Anne. She was coming over to spend the weekend with him in Delhi.

He was wary that he had set her off when she hadn’t called him for a month. He had begun to think that what was serious for him was a casual fling for Anne. Because she had not bothered to call or write to him since he had returned from that heavenly trip.

His heart skipped a beat when he heard her voice. “I am coming over honey. Make sure you have this weekend off.”

“Are you kidding me Angel? Of course I’ll be with you every second. I was about to make a trip back to Kovalam…wondering where you were,” said Cyrus.


Jennifer booked tickets to Delhi as Roohi sat scribbling on a paper. She looked at Roohi’s paperwork thinking it was a drawing of some sort. However she was aghast when she saw that the kid had been solving a mathematical puzzle. What made her jump was the answer – “”

Read the next part of the story here

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Game of Blogs : Chapter 10 : Of blogs

Team : The Maverick X

Read the first 9 posts here :

Part 1 of story

Part 2 of story

Part 3 of story

Part 4 of story

Part 5 of story

Part 6 of story

Part 7 of story

Part 8 of story

Part 9 of story

Jennifer looked at her MacBook and heaved a sigh. Why-o-why did the kid look so nigh?

Roohi had taken a fancy to Jennifer and her blog. Little did she know that the Fashion Diva and Jennifer Aunty were the same person. She went on and on to Jennifer at the park about this pair of glass sandals she wanted to buy from eBay. She wanted to know how to hack her Dad’s credit card!

Clever…or dangerous? Jennifer could not make up her mind about Roohi’s disposition. She had really taken after her Dad in terms of brains. Tara had little time to think! Jennifer smirked.

She glared at the screen of the now ON MacBook with tired eyes. As much as she hated it, she had to keep up with her post quota for the week. She searched for “white floral skirts” in a half-hearted attempt to come up with something in line with the new fashion trend set in motion by “Veer 2” – an unworthy sequel of the worthy movie Veer. The only thing worth watching in it was the heroine’s outfits. Strangely enough, Hindi movie heroines had started donning clothes again!

She was scouring the results when her eyes drooped and the hand involuntarily clicked the mouse in an attempt to save her from falling flat on the laptop screen. Damn it! I must get some sleep. The snob will have my head for breakfast if I don’t reach Gateway of India at 6 AM tomorrow.

As she started to close the MacBook, all sleep evaporated from her eyes. “My angel in a white floral skirt” – the blog title read. More than the post, it was the featured photograph that caught her attention. A girl with long hair, wearing a white top and a white floral skirt stood blowing an air-kiss at the camera. Her eyes reflected the feeling of seeing someone special on the other side.

Jennifer’s eyes turned into a shade of the crimsonest red there could ever be. There was a hint of tear on the corner of her eye. She forced herself to read the whole post where the blogger talked about this girl he met at Kovalam and how she became the apple of his eye. He called her ‘his angel’! The creep Jennifer clenched her teeth.

She went through the list of previous posts on the side-bar. She clicked on “Waves Within”.
This guy was a freak. What with aerospace design and law studies, his squabbles with his father, he had poured his heart out. Why would someone be so open about his personal life? Obviously he thinks a pseudonym is enough to hide him and his soliloquies.

Then it dawned on Jennifer! In her drowsiness, she had completely forgotten that these posts were password protected. Only the titles were public. That’s the problem with attention seeking freaks. She had hacked all the password protected posts 3 of them to be precise in order to unravel who was behind the “My angel in a white floral skirt” She wondered what had prompted him to keep that post public. Perhaps he wanted to show off to her.

Jennifer scrolled to the bottom of the Waves Within. Posted by – The Devil’s Advocate – it read. Just what I’d expect from you.

She opened another tab in her browser and searched “soliloquies of a geek whois”. She had the real name of the person who topped her “most hated people” list now.


“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Game of Blogs : Chapter 8 : The Rubik Cube

Team : The Maverick X

Read the first 7 posts here :

Part 1 of story
Part 2 of story

Part 3 of story

Part 4 of story

Part 5 of story

Part 6 of story

Part 7 of story

Shekhar was typing away frantically. Roohi was fiddling with a Rubik’s cube, trying to get all faces right by tallying her steps with the Youtube video on the iPad. Sunday mornings were a leisurely thing at the Dutta’s. Tara was bound to return from Ferozabad in an hour’s time.

Shekhar thought she was acting weird in trying to play Byomkesh Bakshi because of the conversation she had overheard. Now she wanted to know where did Pakistan figure in all this. It was a blessing that her Boss did not allow her the extra time she’d asked for, in Ferozabad. Shekhar hated trouble of any sort. He sighed and ran a hand on his bald head.

Finally, the doorbell rang. Roohi put the cube on the table and ran towards the door. Shekhar noticed that its 3 faces were perfectly done. Oddly enough, the colours were saffron, white and green! Another patriot, he thought.
Tara hurled her travel bag in a corner opposite to the shoe rack and flung herself on the couch. Even in the exhausted state, she managed a graceful posture as she reclined her head on her hand, bent at the elbow which was engulfed in her short tresses. “So what’s the plan today,” she asked.

Sunday evening was family time for the Dutta’s. They went out to the movies, hung out at the mall or took walks at Shivaji Park and had quiet dinners at exquisite restaurants afterwards. “Shivaji Park!” Roohi shouted, bobbing up and down on the sofa. She loved doing that, as it made both her pony tails do a funny dance.

“Alright then, I’ll grab some sleep till then”. Tara headed to the bedroom.

Shekhar resumed his article. Roohi wondered what did an article for a robbery which happened last night have to do with her Daddy scribbling mathematical formulas and doing complex permutations and combination calculations. Talking of permutations and combinations, she had one to solve herself! She went back to the Youtube video.
Tara’s phone gave a loud buzz and vibrated so violently that it woke the three of them from their afternoon siesta, which was more like an afternoon slumber! “Drats,” exclaimed Tara as she picked it up. “Uh huh, uh huh, okay. I am on it. I just have to make a couple of phone calls and I’ll get the story out tomorrow. It’s just that I think we need to involve the police in this.”

Shekhar’s bald head shined in the afternoon sunlight which crept through the light curtains in the bedroom. He looked sleepily at Roohi, who was snoring away happily and then at Tara, who was wide awake. “Where are you off to love?”, he said.

“To the Gateway of India. I am sorry Shekhar, I can’t make it to Shivaji Park today. I have a lead on the phone call that I was talking about. If everything goes as planned, we’ll have nabbed the miscreants trying to stage a full-fledged riot at Ferozabad,” Tara said in a single breath.
I did not know siesta’s give one so much energy! thought Shekhar. “Alright, is your new camera girl coming with you?”

“No,” snapped Tara. “ I am better off alone. Why are you interested in my camera girl by the way?” She raised an eyebrow.

As Tara went to the washroom to freshen up, Shekhar picked up his phone and typed a message. You better head here. SPUNKY is heading out. He hit the ‘send’ button and waited for delivery receipt. Your account balance is low. Please recharge your account to continue sending this message, it buzzed back. Shekhar stumbled as he hurried towards the landline. He hastily dialed a number and practically barked in a hushed voice, “Head over here ASAP. SPUNKY off in unmarked territory.” He heard a mumbled acknowledgement at the other end as the phone disconnected.

Tara was ready as the clock struck 5.30 PM. Roohi had woken up and was surprised to see Momma heading out. “Heyyy,” said Roohi. “Not fair! Why you go out?! We are going to the park!”

As Tara was about to utter some pacifying sentences that all mom’s say, the doorbell rang.

“Jennifer?! What are you doing here? How did you know where I live?”

Jennifer gave a cocky smile. “It’s my job to know things. I mean, as your camera girl I have to have a knack for picking up details, don’t I?”

“Jennifer Aunty! So cool! Now you can come to park with us!” exclaimed Roohi.

Tara ignored Roohi and went forth with the interrogation. “What brings you here?”

“I am coming with you,” she said.

“Where to?”

“Whereever you go!”

Tara was irritated beyond control. “How did you know I am going after the story?”

“Ladies…ladies,” intervened Shekhar. “ Before you continue, can we have the pretty lady inside the house please?
Tara let Jennifer in reluctantly. Her phone rang again.

“Yes? What? You want me to write a dummy script? Now?! Can’t it wait till I finish my lead?”

She put her phone down with a long face. “I am not going anywhere. I gotta write this stupid dummy script. Jennifer, you can go back. I’ll let you know when you are needed. Probably tomorrow morning.”

Shekhar held back a chuckle as he read his received message. SPUNKY to be grounded by boss. Don’t worry. But I’ll be there, in case it doesn’t work out.

Roohi was still restless trying to get everyone to park. “Momma, Jennifer Aunty can come with us no! Why you have to stay? Okay then, you stay, Jennifer Aunty will come with us.”

Tara looked accusingly at Shekhar, as if she wanted him to step in and take control of the awkward situation that Roohi was putting them in. Instead, Shekhar said, “Why not? It’s a lovely evening. Why don’t you join us? Shivaji park is only a ten minute run from here.”

Jennifer picked up her bag without a word to Tara and began tying her shoelaces at the door. Tara glared angrily at Shekhar who shrugged and pointed at Roohi, with a ‘it wasn’t me!’ look. Roohi now had one more face of the Rubik cube in place. Blue. For the Ashok Chakra!

As the wheels of their i20 wheezed past the gate, Tara tried to push the picture of Roohi in between Shekar and Jennifer, holding their hands and walking down the steps. She really had to concentrate on her stupid assignment. Only then she could work on what could be of national importance.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”