Kevin Venta is one of the shooters that I’ve found thanks to social media (there are a lot of shooters on Instagram!). Originally Slovenian, he is now member of the German national team and has managed to fulfill two of his shooting dreams. He’s had an impressive progress since he started pistol shooting (six months after he begun training he managed his first 100 points series). A shooter to follow and to learn from.
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How and when did you start shooting?
After recovering from handball injury in 2010 I started looking for another sport where I could be successful. I went with a friend to see what 10m rifle was like out of curiosity and the trainer of that club asked me if I wanted to try air pistol. I said “sure, why not, it looks exciting”. After a few shots I fell in love <3
What made you want to train and compete more seriously? What was your progression like?
My dream was to find a sport which I could do in the future like a professional job. That was my dream since I was a little boy. But first, I wanted to reach a national team.
That dream came true after less than one year. In february I started training every day. After 3 months I reached 4th place in the national championship of Slovenia, with a qualification score of 553. My results went high very fast. I still remember people asking “what? Who’s this kid? Where does he come from?No one could believe that it’s possible to come so high in so little time, and no one did knew me back then. In January 2011 I was selected to the junior national team of Slovenia. The next dream was to qualify to the european championship in Brescia Brescia (Italy) that same year. I did it with an amazing score of 572 points with just one year of training. It felt amazing!
What are you most proud of in your shooting?
After 6 months of training I shot my first 100 point series in training. Another great achievement was breaking the 19 years old Slovenian record in 10m air pistol with 585 points, and breaking the 43 years old record in 50m free pistol with 562 points. I was the 2016 student World champion in free pistol 50m. Then third place in the german bundesliga in 2018 and first place in 2019. I’ve been multiple times the national champion of Slovenia. My biggest international competition was last January in Munich, where I won two bronze medals. I have a lot of medals from all kinds of international competitions.
But the most proud moment for me is when I became a professional sportsman in March 2020. This was my biggest dream.
What advice has had the biggest positive impact in your shooting? Who gave it?
There’s been great advice from shooters around the world for which I’m very thankful. The best one was from Korean shooter Jin Jong Oh for 50m free pistol: “always look at your sights, especially the front sight. Concentrate on that in a competition”.
What did you spend a lot of effort on and later discovered it wasn’t so important?
Thinking before the competition that if your preparation went great, then the competition would also go great.. I discovered later that you can have the best preparation, you can be the favorite, shoot world records just before a competition, but if you are not able to concentrate and give all your best in that moment in competition none of above things will help you.
How do you train and how often? What does a typical training day look like? Do you train with a coach or by yourself?
I train on average six days per week then take a day off (more after competitions) I do at least 100 shots per day; three times per week strength exercises; and running also three times per week. With the national team we train all day, both fitness and shooting. We take over 200 shots per day. I mostly train alone (with or without my trainer ) and also in a group with a trainer. Every day is different 🙂
How do you stay motivated in training and competition?
As a professional I can practice a sport that makes me happy. This is my biggest motivation. Everyone wants medals: if you are happy, the chance of getting a medal is higher.
What do you do before a match or training to get into the appropriate mind space?
Nothing special. I do my 20 dry fire shoots on a wall. I also like to talk to people, have fun, laugh, just to lower the stress. Just before the match I try to concentrate on the most important basic things on shooting technique.
How do you manage nervousness through a competition? Can you give an example of a technique you use when things are not going well?
Hardly (hehehe). If this was an easy sport everybody would be an Olympic champion. The best thing to do is to breathe deeply, try to keep calm, talk with yourself. There are many techniques. Everyone should try it out and find the best one that fits them.
What aspect of the shooting technique has brought you the biggest improvement? How would you recommend people to train it?
Concentrating on trigger pull and holding the same muscle tension and focus on the sights after the shot for at least 2 more seconds. Sadly, it is the most boring training: dry fire on a white wall.
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?
Trigger pull. Just the basics on a white wall. The most important thing is to pull the trigger slowly in the last moment, when your aim is still. Always try things, techniques,and routines for yourself. There is no golden book to get the best scores.
What is your shot sequence like?
I go up a little over the target; then down to the black ring around 7 and 8; pause; look at the front sight; and slowly lower to the aiming position; stop in the aiming position; and pull the trigger.
Which tool or equipment can’t you live without?
Food (hehehe) and my air pistol.
What question would you have liked me to ask and what’s your answer to it?
Why do you shoot? Because it makes me happy 🙂
Where can other interested shooters follow you or find out more about you?
Who would you recommend is interviewed next?
Jože Čeper. He’s done a great job with 25m standard and center fire pistol, breaking Slovenian national records.