We talk shooting, singing & Powerball with a future World Champion
Chris Banfield from Tasmania Australia is currently ranked joint 2nd in the world in WA1500 Pistol Shooting and is hoping to grab the top spot in the world this weekend. As a longtime Powerball user, we asked him if he would be kind enough to answer some questions for us about a sport we did not know a lot about.
Q. How did you first get into the sport? What attracted you to it?
Chris: I got into pistol shooting through my Dad. I started shooting when I was 5 years old and have been shooting for the last 27 years. I have always been competitive so that always drove me to get better.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the technical aspects of Pistol Shooting? Main rules etc.
Chris: WA1500 is a 150 shot match that takes about 1 hour to shoot. The distance ranges from 50yds to 7yds and I have to shoot in multiple positions like sitting, prone, left hand and right hand. At 50yds, to hit the 10cm ten ring, the sights have to perfect to within 0.1mm, so about the thickness of a hair. So it takes a lot of concentration over a long period of time.
See below some of the positions that Chris shoots from in his hour-long matches.
Q. In essence it is more of an endurance event really then? Is this typical of most shooting sports or is this more of a marathon event in pistol shooting?
Chris: I would say it’s an endurance race on a tightrope. One mistake or loss of concentration and you are pretty much out of the running to win. I think that’s what I love about the sport, you have so much to remember. There are different distances, time frames, sight settings and shooting sequences. It’s like every sport though, it comes down to your match preparation and training.
Q. We see you are currently ranked 2nd in the world how is the ranking system based and what does grand master stand for?
Chris: I’m equal 2nd. 0.4 of a point off first. High master is the highest grading level in the match. Our scores get submitted from sanctioned matches throughout the year. I have a match this weekend so hopefully, if I do well I can get to first. The ranking is an average of the highest 3 scores from your last 4 shoots.
Q. Congratulations on your success in the World Championships lately, I’m sure there was a lot of hard work behind the scenes, can you tell us a little bit about your sporting career to date?
Chris: I put a lot of work in to make the Australian team. Work that was made easy by my friend and fellow shooter Matt. His drive to improve fuelled mine as well. It’s been a long career, too many highlights to name. Number 1 would have to be representing Australia at the world championships in Germany last year. I have won 6 national championships but the one I won last year to make the Australian team was the best. The hard work I had put in and the pressure of trying to make the team just made it so much sweeter.
Video courtesy of Southern Cross News Tasmania
Q. What are your aspirations and goals for the future within the Sport?
Chris: My number 1 goal is to win a World Championships. The world champs are only held once every 2 years and next year it is being held in Australia. To win on my home ground would be awesome.
Q. We would love to get some insight into your training schedule and what getting to the top involves? And how does Powerball fit into your training?
Chris: Training keeps me pretty busy with reloading and keeping everything in working order. Leading up to a competition I practice with about 400-600 live rounds a week. I try and train my weakest link until it is a strength and then chase the next weak link. It’s a never-ending cycle really. As I’m short of free time, Powerball is really good because I can have it with me at all times. The best thing about the Powerball is that it really works on the wrist and forearm muscles the ones I need the most. It’s small and compact so I can take it away with me when I go away shooting. It’s also fun to use so it makes training easier plus it works all the muscles I need for pistol shooting.
Q. You spoke earlier about the amount of concentration that the 1-hour entails, is there anything specific you do in terms of improving your concentration or visualization techniques to improve your shooting?
Chris: It is far too draining to try and concentrate for that long so I try and break it down into short intense bursts. When I’m not shooting, I take my earmuffs off. That is the trigger to relax and lower my concentration. I can talk and have a laugh with fellow competitors but when my earmuffs go back on, it’s game time and the trigger to heighten my concentration. It’s also important not to overthink either, just relax and let your training take over. I have a little trick that helps with nerves or if I’m over thinking. Singing songs in my head helps me to relax and clear out any negative thoughts that may sneak in. It’s a simple and easy method that seems to work for me.
Q. Do you have any advice for young inspiring athletes, and how might they reach the top?
Chris: To a new shooter starting out, I would say don’t over complicate things. Pistol shooting is pretty much 80% trigger control 20% sight alignment. Simple practice drills like Dry firing is the best form of training and the cheapest. When training I would advise to always go for quality over quantity you don’t have to shoot thousands of rounds a week. learn to fire 1 precision shot then you can slowly work on getting faster after that. Most of all have fun. It makes the hard work a lot easier when you’re enjoying yourself
All the team at Powerballs.com wish Chris the very best in his quest for the world number one spot and future challenge for gold in the world championships in Australia. For more information on Powerball and how it can help any sportsperson check out some of our products in-store. Our watch our video for our Autostart Titan Pro below.