Kim Eagles is the Canadian National Champion in Sport Pistol and Womens Air Pistol for 2000. She is also their National record holder in Junior and Senior Womens Air Pistol, and Sport Pistol.
When did you start shooting?
I started out as a tetrathlete in pony club when I was eight. Fifteen years ago. Probably nine or ten years ago I just started shooting by itself. I wasn't very good at running so I picked up the points I lost in the run by shooting better, so that's how I started concentrating on my shooting and kept playing with it.
What is tetrathlon?
It's a shorter version of the modern pentathlon for younger athletes.
You didn't shoot in school, or on any school teams?
We don't have school teams in Canada.
Do you have a coach?
I had a coach who started off with me when I was doing tetrathlon. He taught me how to shoot, and took me right up to my third year on the national team. Then he passed away in 1997, so since then I've been working with our national rifle coach. So I have a coach, but it's a little difficult to be coached long distance. We're working together, but not as closely as I used to.
You've been on the Canadian National Team how many years?
Ninety six was my first year, so this is my fourth.
You would have been a junior then?
No, I was a junior but I made the senior team. I never did make the junior team, my first nationals I made the senior team. It was a little bit of a shock to myself along with everybody else. But I'd been shooting for quite a few years in tetrathlon beforehand, so it was just that tetrathlon nationals would fall at the same time as our shooting nationals so it was a while before I went to a shooting nationals.
Have you been overseas to shoot?
Yes. I went to the World Championships in 1998 and then usually got to the Atlanta World Cup, but that was the extent of my traveling. But this year I took off school so I could train for the Olympics, so I've been to all the World Cups this year.
You didn't do the Commonwealth Championships last year in Auckland?
No. I did the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia in 1998.
What brand of pistols do you shoot?
They're both Walthers. In Air the CPM1, I've been shooting it since I started pretty much, nine years ago. My Sport Pistol's a GSP, and I started shooting that in 1993.
Do you have any preference for ammunition?
Whatever matches the guns. I switch when I run out of a brand, I try whichever one matches the gun next. So, no I don't have any preferences.
Who would you say has been your greatest shooting influence?
Probably George, my coach from before. He introduced me to the sport and taught me how to shoot.
With your training, what is your most valuable practice drill?
That's something I have trouble with. I don't know. Basically I train just by shooting and then trying to find some more drills, but I haven't learned of any yet. Sometimes I work a little on timing. I have somebody with a stopwatch behind me, and I know my best shots usually break between six and eight seconds. To have somebody time me and tell me when I've gone over is the most effective. I train most of the time by myself and finding somebody to do the timing is difficult.
Is it hard for you to get to a range?
Not to get to a range, but to find a range. Right now I shoot air pistol in somebody's basement. It's almost pitch black, the concrete's all uneven where I stand, but that's the only place I can find where I have ten meters. Sport Pistol is not bad. We have the Commonwealth Games range from 1994. They tore down and rebuilt a section of it at one of the local clubs, and that works pretty well. But up until then, when I was still at school, I was shooting on a range that was so windy that I had to hold on to my scope so it wouldn't fall over while I was shooting. There are lots of challenges training in Canada.
Have you found the political climate for guns in Canada has made it more difficult?
Just from the fact that they're closing down ranges, getting permits to carry our guns, stuff like that. On the National Team it's much easier, but for someone new, coming out to start, it's almost impossible. Other than air, that's about the only thing they can shoot. So we're fast falling in numbers.
Are airguns registered the same as other firearms? No. And that's why we are able to use them. There's no restrictions at all on target air pistols.
Do you dry fire very much?
A fair bit. I usually start my practice with half an hour at least before I live fire. Some days I'll just dry fire, and others I'll dry fire and then shoot, but I rarely just shoot. I prefer to dry fire at a dot on the wall because I can see the movement more because it's closer than dry firing at a target at ten meters. But I usually start out on a dot on the wall and then I dry fire a bit at ten meters before starting to shoot.
How have you been preparing for your Olympic selection shoots?
I shoot usually six times a week and then I do weights three times a week in between. Our trials were back in February. It's been a rough year, I don't know whether I overtrained a little, so I'm tapering back a little bit, then taking a break and starting up again in a couple of weeks a little more seriously so that I peak at the right time.
How do you handle the mental game in a big match?
I work with a psychologist usually once a week. The mental thing was never a problem for me until recently. I used to shoot way better in a match than ever I did in practice. My level of concentration came up when I walked on the line in competition. Now I work on visualization, mental talk and stuff like that.
When you're on the line what do you think of?
It changes depending on how my shooting is going at the time. If it's going well I ignore everything else and keep doing what I'm doing. If I'm having difficulty I might have to bring myself back to the beginning again and talk myself through a couple of shots before getting on a roll again.
What's your funniest shooting experience?
That would be showing up at my first national championships and handing my gun over for gun check, having it passed back saying they can't measure my trigger weight because it had snapped off. There was nothing there to measure. That was my first nationals ever. Luckily the club where we were shooting had just bought the same gun, so we took the trigger out of theirs and dropped it into mine. It was a little different to what I was used to, but I shot really well with it. So I went home and changed my trigger to match that one.
Well it was lucky.
Yes, it was lucky.
What advice do you have to shooters just starting out?
Start off in air pistol and learn the basics before going on to Sport Pistol. Almost all of the juniors in Canada come out of either tetrathlon or pentathlon, so we have very few juniors who just start shooting, unless their dad may be in it, so they already know most of the basics. Then it's just teaching them a different type of competition style.
How is your preparation going for Sydney? Is it going okay?
Obviously no, it's not. That's why I changed in the last couple of weeks. I'm slowing down a bit now, resting a bit, and then I'll start up again around the last two weeks of July. Then I'll have six weeks to build up to the Olympics. I needed the competition experience, since when I was at school I only got to one World Cup a year if I was lucky, so this year I took the year off and hit every World Cup just trying to get experience. Which was good, but at the same time I think I burned myself out a bit with so many competitions. I needed it and I think in the long run it will pay off, but right now I need to take a break.
Well, good luck in Sydney!
P.O. Box 97
Monteagle, TN 37356
|UPS Delivery Address
354 Little Trees Ramble
Monteagle, TN 37356