Artem Chernousov: “Always Think a Lot”

Artem is the current nº 1 in the ISSF 10m Air Pistol world ranking. He’s impacted me a lot since I first saw him shoot a final. His calmness and focus are impressive. I have to admit that I spend time just looking at his aiming eye, how still it is, and the focus it transmits, wondering what goes through his mind. When you see Artem Chernousov in a final it is really impressive how he takes the lead and keeps on adding distance shot after shot. I really enjoy seeing him compete individually and in the mixed team competitions. Read on for an insight into the mind and the shooting of this great Russian athlete that you can follow on Instagram.

How and when did you start shooting? 

My grandfather brought me into the sport shooting section at the age of 9, it was in 2005. At the beginning it was archery, then I switched to pistol shooting.

What made you want to train and compete more seriously? What was your progression like?

At first, shooting was just quite easy for me, then I began to overtake shooters of my age in Irkutsk. When I started competing at the national level I began to understand that, in principle, it was possible for me to compete for the first places. 

At that time, I was not thinking about the international competitions yet. Then, unexpectedly for me, it turned out that I was number one in the Russian national selection for the European Junior Championships in 2015. 

But in order to go to these Championships, I had to take part in at least one international tournament beforehand. This tournament was the Meyton Cup in Innsbruck. My mother and I had to make a very significant financial effort to get there, as all of it was quite unexpected and the deadlines were tight. I took second place there. Then I won the European Junior Championship. 

Next year, I renewed this success. And only after that I truly realized that I came in this sport for a long time. Then I seriously made up my mind and took it more seriously. 

The first year in the Russian national team (for adults) brought me, perhaps, the only title of the champion of Russia. At the same time, I succeeded in the Russian national selection competition and went to the adult European Championship and World Cups. That year wasn’t a fruitful one in terms of awards, but I learned a lot.

And since 2018, I’ve started winning medals at international tournaments.

What are you most proud of in your shooting? 

The thing I am the proudest of is the fact that I did not have to leave my hometown to achieve serious success in sports. I am proud to be able to glorify my hometown of Irkutsk with my achievements.

What advice has had the biggest positive impact in your shooting? Who gave it?

“Think a lot and absorb all the information, while analysing it critically” – this advice was given to me by my personal trainer.

What did you spend a lot of effort on and later discovered it wasn’t so important? 

I can definitely say that there were very few such situations in my shooting career. Perhaps one of those things is balance training with the pistol. I did not notice any increase in stability for myself.

How do you train and how often? What does a typical training day look like? Do you train with a coach or by yourself? 

Training takes place in very different ways. It all depends on the calendar. I practice most intensively at centralized national team training camps.  Rarely I practice as intensely at home – most often it is not necessary. When I am at home, I practice 5-6 times a week, most often under the supervision of a personal trainer. I also practice alone a lot, which does not confuse me at all.

How do you stay motivated in training and competition?

I don’t really think about it. Motivation is a secondary thing for me. I am very rarely driven by motivation.

What do you do before a match or training to get into the appropriate mind space? 

It seems to me that this phase is one of the most important phases in a successful shooting performance. Every shooter works on it in his/her own way. I am sure that it makes no sense for me to answer this question, because my actions will simply not be useful for some people, while other people will not understand it at all.

How do you manage nervousness through a competition? Can you give an example of a technique you use when things are not going well? 

I am an extremely calm person. It is more difficult for me to get nervous than to remain calm. However, if something goes wrong, the main thing for me is to make a pause.

What aspect of the shooting technique has brought you the biggest improvement? How would you recommend people to train it? 

When I was a junior, grip control helped me a lot. Otherwise, there were no particular issues. It’s not difficult to work on this element, you just need to give a little of your attention to it.

What would you recommend pistol shooters to focus on improving? Can you share one exercise or routine for this? How do you think they should go about it?

My first recommendation is to always think a lot. It really works. Just copying what someone else does is senseless. You need to know exactly what you are doing and why.

What is your shot sequence like? 

I raise the hand, pause, lower it down into the aiming zone, look at the target, then at the front sight, pull the trigger.

Which tool or equipment can’t you live without?

First of all, my head. Regarding the equipment: pistol and iris.

Who would you recommend is interviewed next?

I would be interested in reading interviews with Saurabh Chaudhary and Mikhail Nestruev.

See Artem Chernousov win the European Championship 2020 in Wroclaw.

This interview has been translated thanks to the voluntary effort of Anton Minko. Without his contribution to translate the interview questions to Russian and then to translate the answers to English this interview would have not been possible.

If you want to contribute to translate to your own language so that we can access and share more shooting information, get in touch.

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