Clay Shooting

Mitchell Brooker-smith

Mitchell Brooker-smith takes pos­i­tive lessons from a frus­trat­ing Ju­nior World Cup deep in the Ger­man for­est

- Suhl · Germany · Dunkirk · Europe · European Union · France · Belgium · Netherlands · Somalia · Belarus · Iceland · Austria · Jacques-Louis David · United Kingdom · Great Britain · Italy · Italy National Football Team · Lonato

Ar­riv­ing home from the Ju­nior World Cup in Suhl, I have much to re­flect on. The com­pe­ti­tion was filled with highs and lows, but it was a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence I will never for­get.

My grand­par­ents, my mum and I drove to Ger­many. We took a ferry over to Dunkirk and had a long drive through Europe. Sur­pris­ingly, the drive didn’t feel bor­ing or exhausting. It was a peace­ful ex­pe­ri­ence ob­serv­ing the scener­ies of north­ern France, Bel­gium, the Nether­lands and Ger­many. It took us 7 hours from Dunkirk to reach our ho­tel in Suhl, Ger­many, over­flow­ing with pine trees.

The next day, we dropped my gun off. The shoot­ing ground was like a huge square cut out of a for­est that makes way for a shoot­ing ground. It had ev­ery­thing there – shot­gun fa­cil­i­ties, ri­fle, pis­tol and even tar­get sprint! We took a look around. It was nice to see so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple from dif­fer­ent na­tions brought to­gether by one event. I found the Bri­tish team shad­ing them­selves from the weather in a mar­quee.

An­other day passed and we were get­ting ready for the of­fi­cial train­ing. The squads were de­cided by mak­ing one na­tion’s team into one squad – all six Bri­tish boys were put to­gether. We were all lim­ited to two train­ing rounds, so we didn’t get to ex­pe­ri­ence what three of the five ranges felt like. All we could do is have con­fi­dence and take each tar­get as it came on the day.

I felt ner­vous when I first woke up on com­pe­ti­tion day – that was to be ex­pected for my first ma­jor event. I just had to be brave and do what I nor­mally do. When we ar­rived at the shoot­ing range, there was a long wait un­til my first round of the day, but I kept my­self oc­cu­pied by prac­tis­ing cop­ing strate­gies to re­lax me. I started strong, shoot­ing a 25-straight fol­lowed by a 24 and a 23, end­ing on 72 ex-75.

On day two, the sun was shin­ing and there wasn’t a sin­gle gust of wind – per­fect weather for break­ing tar­gets. I started strong with a 23, keep­ing me in a good po­si­tion go­ing into the last round. When it came to the last round, how­ever, step­ping out into the range deep in the for­est felt claus­tro­pho­bic and com­pact. I shot a 21 on my last round, one tar­get away from earn­ing a place in the fi­nal! I was disappoint­ed for a bit – to come so close does hurt, but now I know what to do in a sit­u­a­tion like that next time. I won’t let the back­ground faze me again. At the end of the com­pe­ti­tion I fin­ished 14th (on count­back) on a score of 116 ex-125. While writ­ing this, I would like to con­grat­u­late team­mates David Mcneil for mak­ing the fi­nal and Olly Har­ri­son on win­ning bronze.

I also have some ex­cit­ing news – in Septem­ber 2019 I shall be rep­re­sent­ing Great Britain again at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships in Lonato, Italy. I feel con­fi­dent I will bring a medal back for our coun­try. I look for­ward to keep­ing you up to date with my progress lead­ing up to this event and keep­ing you in­formed of all the other com­pe­ti­tions I have lined up!

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 ??  ?? Mitchell started well with a 25-straight, but a fi­nal place eluded him
Mitchell started well with a 25-straight, but a fi­nal place eluded him
 ??  ?? Mitchell’s pre­ferred kit in­cludes Pilla glasses, Cens plugs and Fiocchi shells
Mitchell’s pre­ferred kit in­cludes Pilla glasses, Cens plugs and Fiocchi shells
 ??  ?? Mitchell Brook­er­smith is a promis­ing young Bri­tish shooter. He turns 16 in October and comes from Glouces­ter­shire. Hav­ing started shoot­ing at the age of 12, he now shoots Olympic Skeet for Eng­land and Great Britain.
Mitchell Brook­er­smith is a promis­ing young Bri­tish shooter. He turns 16 in October and comes from Glouces­ter­shire. Hav­ing started shoot­ing at the age of 12, he now shoots Olympic Skeet for Eng­land and Great Britain.

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