In honour of the Holland & Holland School Notices Independent Schools Clay Pigeon Championships, Olympic shooting gold medallist, Richard Faulds MBE speaks to SN about clay pigeon shooting and the benefits of starting shooting early
How did you get into shooting?
Growing up on the family farm, my father shot game, so he bought me some lessons for my ninth birthday.
Can you remember your first lesson? What was it like?
It was with the “late” Tony Duffield, who was a family friend and shooting instructor near Chichester in West Sussex. I hit 19 out of 25 and was hooked! After that I wanted to shoot at every opportunity I got.
What do you enjoy most about shotgun shooting?
I enjoy the competitive side, social side and with game shooting it’s about being in the countryside and learning about nature, fieldcraft and conservation. It’s a sport you can be involved in to whatever level you wish.
Many people feel it’s a difficult sport to get in to. What would you say to people who are looking to start out?
The most important thing to consider is to get proper coaching if possible. This is the key to getting off on the right foot, learning about safety, gun handling and getting a good technique early on.
How did you go from shooting with your family to competing nationally?
I started having lessons and progressed very quickly to competing at weekends. It all snowballed from there!
What was it like winning the 2000 Summer Olympics in the Men’s Double Trap?
The highlight of my career. It was a moment in time that I never thought would happen, but had always hoped would! The countless days, weeks, months and years of training all paid off. Never give up on your dreams!
What training did you have to do before competing?
It was a mixture of individual non-competitive training, training camps abroad and competitions with fellow team members. I would be practising five days a week and shooting anywhere from 500 to 600 targets a day. Obviously, there was some down time too!
Did you have to prepare yourself mentally in any way?
I was one of the first shooters in the world to use a sport psychologist when training, working with Sports Psychologist, Prof. Peter Terry. He knew nothing about shooting and I knew nothing about sports psychology so we were both on an equal footing. We got on really well.
We talked a lot about how I was thinking and feeling and it definitely helped me qualify for the Olympics. Now sports psychology plays a massive part in people’s training.
Given the success you’ve had throughout your career, what advice would you give for budding young sportsmen?
The best piece of advice I can give to young kids interested in sport is to try lots of different things. I was very lucky to discover shooting and find that I was good at it straight away. Find out what you’re good at and what you enjoy. Then, try and get the best coaching you can to help you learn and understand more about the sport you love.
See the full list of results of the Clay Pigeon Championships 2019 here!
To register your team for the 2020 Championships please email firstname.lastname@example.org as spaces are limited to first come, first served!