International Shooting Sport Federation, ISSF, has been involved in dedicatedly in the development of Shooting Sport across the globe. One of the oldest Olympic Sport, Shooting has been there since the first Olympic Games. Franz Schreiber, the Secretary General of ISSF spoke with us on International Shooting, recent changes, development plans and other related aspect.
What are the upcoming challenges and changes in the sport that ISSF has predicted to be facing with? Shooters often complain about the cost of equipment, how is ISSF trying to support them get the necessary equipment in affordable prices?
The ISSF keeps sustainability and the development of sport in great considerations. These are key areas that our Federation identifies as fundamental for the future of our sport. As you might know, the ISSF has launched a new “Sport for All” event – the ISSF Target Sprint – that aims at attracting new young shooters, keeping the participation costs down.
The ISSF Targets Sprint combines athletes’ precision shooting and running abilities, by mixing air rifle shooting and middle distance running. It requires participants to be fast, accurate shooters and to possess outstanding physical fitness. By rule, the organizers of the event provide the targets layouts, the rifles and the ammunition: all what you need to participate is a pair of running shoes.
The first Target Sprint events were organized between 2014 and 2015 in Munich and Suhl (Germany), and the ISSF aims to develop the event furthermore, as we think it has the possibility to become the first step into our sport, since it does not require beginners to invest money to be involved.
Bulgaria recently hosted ISSF Academy D course for the development of regional coaches. How successful was the course? What are the plans for development of coaches going on at different locations worldwide?
The ISSF Academy D Course in Bulgaria was definitely a success. The participants showed tremendous enthusiasm for all aspects of the course. The technical shooting elements stimulated great interest and much debate.
The coaches were also very keen to learn about planning the training year and how to relate their goals to an ‘on range’ session. Mr Viktor Antonov, the General Secretary of the Bulgarian Trap and Skeet Federation, expressed his satisfaction for the course, and for the development possibilities that it offered.
The ISSF is certainly planning to organize more and more Academy courses world-wide, following a path which started in 1992 when the same Academy was founded for the specific purpose of developing and delivering coach education for the Olympic shooting sports. Since then, the ISSF Academy has grown and adapted to meet the needs of the modern Olympic shooting coach: the recent event in Bulgaria which you mentioned was the 29th ISSF D Course organized since 1992.
Steps to ensure improvement in quality of sports infrastructure…
The ISSF is conscious that the success of our sport also passes through a sharp presentation of our disciplines, and this involves without doubts also the infrastructures look and feel. We have been working on this issue by developing the ISSF Corporate Identity and Design Guidelines, which is a “how to” guide for our championship organizers in the areas of venues branding and media work.
The document was released after an internal study that involved experts of different communication and design areas, and off-course shooting sport professionals. The Guidelines are public, and the document can be downloaded from the rules section of the ISSF website. We encourage everybody – not only our championships organizers – to take advantage of it, with the aim of improving the shooting sport facilities worldwide.
We are also part of the process to define the standards of the Olympic venues, and over the decades we have been working to enhance the quality and at the same time reduce the costs associated with the facilities required to conduct our competitions.
The Olympic Games have a great power in driving the development of sports, and we believe that the best practices developed for the Games will reflect also at national and regional level, at the proper scale.
Shooting is a tough sport as it requires concentration & endurance. What are the various changes in the training techniques over the years in the sport to help the Shooters perform better? How are the facilities compared to past?
Concerning the facilities, we have noticed that the quality of the infrastructures tends to improve worldwide, and we like to think it’s because we have been investing a lot in offering guidance and support to events organizers.
The ISSF is holding an annual Organizers Workshop in Munich – this year it will be the 14th edition. The goal of this workshop is to coordinate the work of the Organizing Committees, the ISSF Technical Delegates and the ISSF Headquarters, and to improve the standard of the ISSF supervised competitions by giving Organizing Committees the resources, information and the support they need to conduct the best possible ISSF and Continental Championships. Specific modules of the Workshop are dedicated to the venues and the facilities branding, and all the documents presented and discussed are available on the ISSF website, in the organizers section.
For what concerns the changes in the training techniques, I would suggest to speak about this topic with a professional coach, I really believe this question should have many different answers, with regards to the different ISSF disciplines.
What are the training & development programs designed for creating effective technical officials for the sport? How successful have been these to ensure a sufficient pool to pick the officials from?
The ISSF has a long tradition of excellent officials: they are part of our Shooting sport family, and they contribute to the success of our sport and events through their voluntary work and personal passion.
The process to license technical officials is defined by the same ISSF Rules. The International Shooting Sport Federation indeed licenses judges to supervise shooting competitions and to ensure the fair and equal treatment of all competitors, according to the ISSF Constitution.
Judges must be experienced and fully conversant with the current versions of the ISSF Rules and Regulations, plus the relevant Technical Rules for the Shooting discipline concerned, in order to advice, supervise and assist during the competitions.
Judges’ licenses are divided into two categories. “Category A” authorizes the holder to act as an official Jury member at all shooting competitions, for which the license is valid with respect to the disciplines included, including the Olympic Games and World Championships. Judges of this category are also permitted to conduct official ISSF Judges’ courses when authorized by the ISSF Secretary General together with the Chairman of the Judges Committee. “Category B” authorizes the holder to act as an official Jury member in all shooting competitions, for which the license is valid with respect to the disciplines included, except the Olympic Games and the World Championships.
The ISSF can issue judges’ licenses for one or more discipline, but only following successful completion of official ISSF courses, which are conducted regularly in each of the disciplines. Our organization keeps Judges in high consideration, also at constitutional level.
The ISSF has indeed a Judges Committee, which consists of a chairman and seven members. It is responsible for the uniform application of the shooting rules, provides guidelines for international judges, prepares and conducts courses for judges and jury members, approves applications for judges licenses and proposes juries to the executive committee for championships and games. The committee meets at least once a year and reports to the ISSF Administrative Council.
What are the plans that ISSF has been working on for expanding the horizon of this sport to more countries worldwide? How is it planning to connect this sport with far and wide of the world, for this sport is in itself rated as a costly one?
As I mentioned before, we have been working on a new “Sport for All” event, the ISSF Target Sprint, and at the same time we do believe that grassroots development in our traditional disciplines can be achieved through the development of a strong base of international coaches and technical officials, and that’s were we are investing to grow our ambassadors all around the world.
In answering this question, we should also consider that our ISSF World Cup Series and our ISSF World Championships are organized in different areas of the world and in different continents, to get closer to the athletes and to the supporters.
All these efforts are supported by our investment in communication. Since years we have our own TV production to cover our largest events, and we do distribute footage worldwide, in order to spread knowledge about our disciplines and involve a large audience.
What plans does the ISSF have for integration of Shooting to Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games? What benefits does a sport get when it gets associated to Olympic Games?
Shooting sport was part of the modern Olympic Games since the very first edition, in 1896, and the Olympic Games founder Pierre De Coubertin was himself a pistol shooter.
Our Federation celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2007, and in over a century it has always supported the Olympic movement. Our history is bounded to the Games, and every member of the Shooting sport family sees a great value in it.
Rio 2016 will be once again a great momentum for our sport: 390 shooters from all over the world will participate in the event, in 15 different shooting competitions, in the disciplines of Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun shooting.
The benefit associated with it? The Olympic Games are the most important sport event of world, and we are proud of being part of it as it reflects the positive values that drive our daily work and our long-term aspirations.