Meet Pune’s shooting stars

The whiteboard and the projector could belong to any classroom,as could the rapt expressions on the faces of the children looking up at the screen in front of them. But the projector is connected to an air rifle,and up on the screen is a contour pattern of concentric circles

Written by Karthikkrishnaswamy | Pune | Published: May 13, 2012 7:11 am

The whiteboard and the projector could belong to any classroom,as could the rapt expressions on the faces of the children looking up at the screen in front of them. But the projector is connected to an air rifle,and up on the screen is a contour pattern of concentric circles.

“Six o’clock,six o’clock,” says the man seated next to a young boy looking through the rifle sights,to indicate the position of the marker that buzzes around the screen relative to the centre of the bulls-eye. He then turns to a moustachioed gentleman waiting for his turn at the rifle,and says: “The more advanced version of this system measures your heart beat,your pulse rate.”

The ‘system’ that Kiran Khandare,coach at the Gun for Glory shooting academy,refers to is the SCATT Shooter Training System. Today,Gun for Glory’s SCATT system is being put through its paces by a group of five children in the 10-14 age group and the father of one of these children.

This session is part of First Shot,a beginner-level shooting programme that the academy has begun at its Balewadi premises. The programme was designed by Gun for Glory founder Gagan Narang and his team of coaches,in conjunction with sports management company FairPlay.

“First Shot is open to anyone who is over 10 years old,” says Kaustubh Dwivedi,manager,FairPlay.

“The idea is to give them an early start and get their basics right. Each batch lasts one week,but it’s only on Day 4 that they begin shooting pellets. Till then,it’s all about learning the right position,getting their breathing in order,and using SCATT to help them stabilise their rifles. After that,they get to test our 10m range.”

Dwivedi says the programme received an enthusiastic response.

“This is our first batch,and 17 people have signed for it,” he says. “We have four time slots,based on their preference. We priced it at Rs 3,500 to keep it affordable while ensuring that whoever signs up is serious about the course.”

The academy plans to conduct First Shot all through the summer,before starting their Level 2 course for those who have completed the beginner’s programme and want to learn more.

“In Level 1,the shoot is done only while the participants are seated. Most of them are really young,in the 10-14 age group,and their bodies need to grow before they can comfortably shoot standing up,” says Dwivedi.

“And they only use open-sight rifles. That gives them the option of choosing either rifle shooting or pistol shooting when they start Level 2. Hopefully,we should get that course up and running in a month and a half.”

Apart from First Shot,Gun for Glory have come with a novel method of taking shooting to the masses.

“We have begun this sampling programme,where we take the SCATT system to different housing societies — there are no pellets so it’s completely safe — set it up in the common room,and get to come and try their hand at it,” says Dwivedi.

“Around 35-40 people,young children and adults,turned up for our first sampling visit,and we’re planning to visit around 15 societies in the Baner-Aundh region in two-three weeks.”

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