Shooting Australia Launches National Pathways Squad Program

On Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th February, 9 shotgun athletes from Shooting Australia’s National Pathways Squad participated in a Pathways Camp that was held at Melbourne Gun Club, in Victoria’s Yarra Valley region. Athletes comprised both female and male, junior and senior, across both Olympic (ISSF) Skeet and Trap clay target shooting disciplines.

The Pathways camp was led by Shooting Australia’s Performance Pathways Manager Aurelie Gibson and supported by National Shotgun Coach Richard Sammon, Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Lead Jane Altschwager, network coach Deserie Baynes (Bronze Medallist Olympian), and Victorian Institute of Sport Shooting Program staff Josh Ferguson (Physiotherapist) and Dan Dymond (Sports Psychologist).

This Pathways Camp launched Shooting Australia’s National Pathways Squad Program that aims to proactively identify and develop athletes that are believed to have the performance potential, coupled with the off-range qualities, that profile the world’s best. And during the camp, the 9 athletes had access to sessions including pre-shooting activation, improving mindset, training for performance, annual planning and long-term planning, and time on the range putting drills and skills into practice with assistance from Baynes.

Reflecting on the camp, Gibson said “I really appreciate how the athletes were engaged for the duration [of the camp] and the excellent contributions of all the presenters. Upon finishing, the athletes expressed that they learned a lot and really enjoyed the experience.”

In a first opportunity to attend a camp of this nature, senior men’s skeet athlete Frank Morris (NSW) said “I found the camp to be a great balance of fun and information. The concepts we discussed I believe will be very beneficial moving forward in my development as an athlete.” While senior women’s skeet athlete Brittany Melbourne (VIC) said “The recent pathways training camp proved to be an excellent tool to equip [athletes] with the knowledge to develop their process both off an on the range.”

The delivery of this program would not be possible without the support from the Australian Institute of Sport through a Solutions Grant which has resulted in a significant level of funding able to be injected in the pathway athlete space. The National Pathways Squad program has the potential to both increase the depth and quality of athlete talent within the high performance pathway (Emerging and Developing), and to fast track the success of these athletes on the world stage (Podium Potential, Podium Ready & Podium).

Of the National Pathways Squad Program Shooting Australia’s High Performance Manager Kathryn Periac says “Understanding how all aspects of life and preparation for successful competitive performance interact and can be planned to optimise each component, is an important step forward for the developing athletes. I look forward to continuing upward pressure from our Pathway athletes in domestic and international competitions. This is an indicator of a healthy high-performance system and supports all athletes to continue to grow. In this first pathways camp, it was encouraging to see the enthusiasm and application to learn new skills demonstrated by the athletes as the future of our shotgun national teams.”

Acknowledging some key components of high-performance sport, junior women’s Trap athlete Renae Jones (VIC) said “The Pathways camp was great and we were lucky to have such knowledgeable people work with us. I am looking forward to integrating the new training drills, psychological and pre-shooting exercises into my routine to help further my development. The planning segment will be helpful as life can get very busy between Uni, work, shooting and social events.”

In parallel to the athlete development, Shooting Australia will work towards developing a team of Network Coaches that are aligned with the National High Performance Program, enabling the appropriate development and support of the Pathways athletes through structured and consistent engagement. The development of a team of Network Coaches will not only add value to the athlete cohort that are identified within the Paris Olympic Cycle, but those identified into the 2028 (Los Angeles) and 2032 (Brisbane) Olympic Cycles and beyond.

This Pathways Camp is the first in a series of Pathways Camps that will be rolled out in 2023, also engaging pistol and rifle pathway athletes.

All media enquiries to Shooting Australia’s Event and Communication Manager Jane Vella via [email protected] or 0407 859 197.

Shooting Australia