"You've got to be very patient and just very level-headed when shooting." - Brendan Appel
Nearly 100 students from ten universities came to Grand Island for the 1st annual Scholastic Clay Target Program Central Region Collegiate Championship. The 3-day event from Oct. 12-14 featured trap, skeet, and sporting clays.
Many people think of shooting as simply a sport, but coaches say it teaches so much more.
"They learn focus, discipline, safety and responsibility of course," said Duane Shepherd, coach of the Fort Hays State University Shooting Sports Club.
And what they learn on the range translates to the classroom and daily life.
"Anytime you have the personal responsibility and discipline to engage in a sport that requires this type of focus as shooting sports do, that's a direct carry-over to your academics," said Shepherd.
"It's a easy way to slow down life. I think of it as a great stress reliever. It's a lot of fun too and a lot of teamwork development," added Tarent Tevis, an athlete on Shepherd's team.
Coaches say shooting also help athletes sharpen their minds, as each event requires a different way of thinking. And beyond teamwork and discipline, shooters say the sport teaches patience and resolve. So even when they miss, they can carry on with calm.
"You've got to be very patient and just very level-headed when shooting because something bad could happen and you don't want that to affect your whole score through the whole event," said Brendan Appel of Lindenwood University. "You want to be able to box that up and put it away."
Some say the best part of shooting sports is that it's non-gender specific. That's why coaches say more and more girls are joining teams each year, creating friendly competition.
"Everybody says it's a male sport because it's shooting sports, and people see you and they're like, oh you're a girl and you shoot, that's awesome, and it just kind of helps you strive," said Josey Nunnenkamp of Fort Hays State University. "You want to beat the guys, you want to be the girl that wins and kicks their butt."