A day in the life of an Olympic Clay Target shooter can vary from week to week.
Being an outdoor sport, factors such as weather influence my training schedule as well as constant domestic and overseas travel affect when and how I train. I tend to go with the saying, ‘quality over quantity’.
In the many years I have been travelling and competing, I believe having a structured routine with balance helps me prepare correctly to be the best I can be on my competition day.
A typical day competing overseas looks like this:
2:00/3:00am – Usually, regardless of what country I travel to I wake early with jetlag. Managing this is difficult, as I tend to steer clear of sleeping pills. My one piece of advice for jetlag is try and get as much sleep on the flight over, keep well hydrated and try not to worry about getting back to sleep. The first couple of days are always the hardest.
6:30am – Alarm/wake up/shower. Pack my bag for training.
7:00am – BREAKFAST: Head down to breakfast, whatever I eat on the first day of arrival I tend to eat for the rest of my time (call me superstitious).
This will include protein, some type of carbohydrate and fruit to fuel me for training. I do not drink coffee as the caffeine in it affects my performances in a negative way. I try to drink plenty of water because dehydration can affect your eyesight and your decision-making time, both of which are very important to hitting a target.
8:00am – Catch the official transport to the shooting range, this is generally a large bus with all the athletes. The hotels we stay at generally are no longer than 30-45 minutes from the shooting range. During the travel time I usually listen to music and prepare mentally for the day ahead.
9:00am – Arrive at the shooting range. Go to our team area and set up for the day. All competitors’ guns and ammunition are locked in a big armoury, which we must collect and return on a daily basis.
9:30-10:00am Warm up, this includes stretching as well as a quick massage from the team physio to loosen any tense muscles.
10:00-1:00pm – TRAINING: Depending on the team and how well everyone is training will depend how long our day is at the range. I tend to shoot at least three rounds on different layouts to acclimatise to the environment and the surroundings, so when comp time arrives I am well and truly prepared.
1:00-1:45pm – LUNCH: Usually the shooting ranges have decent restaurants so after training we will eat before heading back to the hotel. If not, I always pack tuna and crackers from home.
2:00-2:30pm – Back on the bus and back to the hotel.
2:30-3:30pm – DOWN TIME: I usually just relax in the hotel room or go for a walk and explore the city. We travel to so many beautiful countries and it is a pleasure to get out and see the sights and explore different cultures.
3:30-4:30pm – GYM: I find it important to continue to exercise when I am overseas. Back in Australia I work out five days per week and currently I’m exploring f45 as a way to stay in shape. When I’m overseas I purely focus on cardio, whether it be running on the treadmill or riding the exercise bike.
I tend to shy away from weights due to risk of soreness before competition. I never go to the gym in the morning or before a training session because I want to focus 100% of my energy on the shooting range.
5:00-5:45pm – PHYSIO: Clay Target Shooting involves a lot of muscles being used in your neck, arms and back. Also due to 20+ hour plane rides, it’s natural to be stiff and sore. When our team physio travels with us, I make sure I see her once a night just to loosen up and feel refreshed for the next day of training.
6:30pm – DINNER: I try to have dinner relatively early so I can be in bed at a reasonable hour. It’s common to have one designated team dinner on our trip away. The other nights are very casual – whether it be going out for local cuisine or staying in for room service. I find it difficult not to overeat overseas due to the wide array of food on offer, so trying to control food intake is always a tough one.
8:00-9:00pm – Rest and relax. It is important to have a healthy balance of work and downtime throughout the day to ensure you don’t become stressed or run down. I try and fit in time for some meditation as well.