Rifle marksmanship is a sport skill where a rifle is aimed, controlled, and fired so as to consistently hit a distant, difficult target. Cadets desiring to be a member of the marksmanship team must provide a signed parent release form (located at the bottom of this page AND on the Parent Release Forms page).
Rifle marksmanship is:
• A Sport with a Military Heritage. The sport of shooting is similar to almost all sports in that it for began as a skill humans needed for survival or military purposes. Soldiers who could shoot skillfully and accurately have been valued by military services for centuries. Accurate rifle marksmanship was developed by military leaders through training and competition.
• An Olympic Sport. The sport of shooting enjoys the prestige and recognition that goes with its status as an Olympic sport. 140 different countries practice organized forms of the Olympic shooting events and belong to the world governing body of shooting, the International Shooting Sport Federation. Shooting ranks among the top five participation sports in the world in terms of the numbers of people worldwide who practice target shooting.
• A Sport that Stresses Control, Discipline, Concentration and Precision. These are special qualities that are developed through rifle marksmanship practice. These skills also benefit marksmanship participants in other ways.
• A Lifetime Sport. People who participate in target shooting on a recreational or competitive basis range from 4-H BB gun competitors as young as nine or ten to people in their 70s and 80s. Shooting is a lifetime participation sport.
One of the most important benefits of participating in the sport of shooting is that it develops certain skills and attributes in its participants that can help them perform better in school and in life. Skills or attributes that are enhanced by the marksmanship experience include:
• Control. The target shooter must learn to apply physical, mental and emotional control to be able to consistently fire accurate shots.
• Discipline. A high level of personal discipline is necessary in order to always handle guns safety and to perform the practice necessary to develop the skills required for success in this sport.
• Concentration. Target shooting in an intensely mental activity where participants develop the ability to concentrate and focus their attention on real performance factors. The improved concentration skills of shooters typically transfers to doing better work in school.
• Extreme Precision. The target used for air rifle target shooting has a ten ring that is really just a very tiny “dot.” To score the maximum of ten points on a single shot on this 10 meter target, the firer’s shot must hit or touch this dot that is only one-half millimeter in diameter. The effort to achieve such precision on a consistent, shotafter-shot basis yields the positive benefits of control, discipline and concentration.
The “qualities” that result from marksmanship participation are positive and beneficial. These qualities or benefits of marksmanship include:
• Safety: Statistics compiled by the CMP as well as similar statistics provided by the National Safety Council, National Shooting Sports Foundation and other organizations confirm that air rifle shooting and the shooting sports are among the safest of all sports. Properly conducted, rifle is the safest sport a school can offer.
• Open to All. Shooting is a sport where boys and girls can compete together on an equal basis. It is also a sport where physical size, speed or strength has almost nothing to do with chances for ultimate success. Champion shooters represent both sexes and have many different physical characteristics.
• Practice, Not Ability. Shooting is a sport where only practice can develop the motor skills, muscular coordination and concentration abilities needed to consistently scores tens. So-called natural ability that is so vital in many sports makes very little difference in shooting. The most important natural ability in shooting may be an interest in shooting and a desire to work hard in practice and competition.
• Teaches Life Skills. One of the real benefits of marksmanship is that it teaches valuable life skills that can benefit those who participate in the shooting sports throughout their lives.
• Teaches Control and Respect for Others. Rifle marksmanship is unique in that it does not require aggressive actions against opponents. In target shooting, the shooter’s competitive energies must be directed towards an inanimate target that is ten meters downrange and not directly against an opponent. This allows target shooting participants to learn special qualities of self-control and emotional-control as well as a unique respect for their opponents.
• It’s Fun. One of the most important reasons young people participate in any sport is that they enjoy the sport. People who participate in shooting do it because it really is fun.