Notes from My Pistol Training with Daniel Goberville

This year for my birthday I offered myself a training with Daniel Goberville in France, just three hours away from home. He’s the father and trainer of Céline Goberville (#2 in the World Ranking and Olympic silver medalist) and has been in charge of training for the French national team.

The session was very interesting and I learned things that should improve my shooting. Just talking with him was a pleasure.

Oh, and I loved Creil’s air shooting range

These are the notes I took during the session. I’ve translated them from French on the fly and tried to order them better. I hope they are also helpful for you.

Focus on the trigger

  • Focus on the trigger, it is the most important part.
  • Raise arm with more tonus, controlling the raise and with my wrist locked.
  • The sights should be aligned when I check them over the target, no corrections (except a bit if the sights are slanted but without breaking the lock). If they are not, start again.
  • Raise my trigger weight to 580 grams (400 first stage, 180 second stage). An experimented shooter will have a trigger pull force around 560gr. My trigger was within the norms, but with travelling and conditions changes it could too easily drop under and have me disqualified.
  • Until I reach a 560/570 points competition level my focus has to be on getting everything inside the 9.
  • My trigger release hinders my results 9 times out of 10.
  • Trigger on second stage wall when I enter my aiming zone.
  • Breath with my belly when raising the gun. Only one breath per shot (I do two breaths)
  • Block breathing when reaching for the second stage stop.
  • Shot should be fired between 6 to 8 seconds after reaching this stage.
  • Two types of trigger to train (out of three, my level is not good enough for staged release). What matters is the principle, not the exact numbers:
    • Decreasing pressure trigger release: 40gr, 40gr, 40gr, 20gr, 20gr, 10gr, 5gr, 5gr each second.
    • Steady pressure trigger release: 20gr, 20gr, 20gr, 20gr…
  • The trigger will not move until it releases, I will feel the pressure in my finger.
  • Don’t look for a 10 when I’m about to shoot, work on an area that allows me to go over the 10 as much as possible (the ball of yarn you see in a SCATT).
  • Focus on a single thing to train per training session. These are the five core elements and their basic training:
    • Sights:
      • Back of target without cocking the trigger. No firing, only work on the sights.
    • Gripping and lock:
      • Think only about lock, not about balance. Raise arm and concentrate on the lock and its sensations.
    • Trigger release:
      • Start just with the metal plank behind the target, no points refference, concentrate on the release.
    • Balance:
      • use a small circle in the wall, no dry firing. Aim under the sticker like if it was your aiming zone. Smaller circle as you progress.
    • Follow through.
  • Train six days a week, three at the range. Range is for shooting, do the other exercises at home for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • You can not compete in training nor train in competition. There’s a wall of emotions separating both.
    • Training = learning (conscious, control)
    • Competing = execution (subconscious, let go)
  • Never do a 60 shot match during training. The only results that matter are those in competition.
  • Season is composed of periods of training and competition.
  • Start the sessions with focused technical training exercises and finish with coordination. 80% technical, 20% coordination when in training period. 20% technical, 80% coordination when in competition period.
  • I can finish the training session with a mini competition of 20 shots with some friends at the range.
  • 100 shots in one training session. Example of a trigger session:
    • 20 shots on the back metal.
    • 20 shots on target with the screen off or checking only on paper after each 10 shots.
    • 20 shots with the screen on (no calling of shots, but a bit more emotion and reward). Fight the urge for reward and focus on the trigger.
    • 20 shots with a contract (so many points, x shots within the 9…) Still focusing on trigger release.
    • 20 shots competing with someone (still focus on trigger).
  • Follow up and evaluation are part of a training, not a training in themselves.
  • Do not let reward and menace lead you astray. Focus on what you want when you want it.
  • With experienced shooters he works with three phases of the trigger release: engagement, continuity and final release.
  • You don’t work the aiming zone, it is the result of training balance.
  • Monthly club competitions are training, not a real competition (we just say we are going to shoot and hand the results afterwards)
  • Add physical training to develop your body. Balance brain and body.
  • Design a warm-up routine to do outside of the range, in the changing room. Ask the referees if I can warm up handling my pistol in that area.
  • Add trigger first stage travel. Right now it is almost like a single stage trigger.
  • It will take me one year to see the results of changes.

Things I did well during the training: evaluation of shots (where they landed), changing to a more controlled raise of the arm.

Update: This is the training program I got from Daniel after this session.

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