Be the Inspiration: Natalie Rooney

How does accuracy play a part in shooting?
Accuracy is everything in shooting. You have to hit the target, however you also have to be accurate with your gun, and make sure that it fits you. You have to have good hand-eye co-ordination; it’s all about hitting as many targets as you can. You have a certain number of targets in each round and have a total of five stations that you change between. You have to remain accurate despite the conditions that you face; for example, when it’s windy the targets tend to move a lot. NZ is generally windy so this is something that I’m quite used to. However, different types of weather can be tough to deal with too - Rio is particularly hot which can be hard to shoot in.
What other skills do you need?
Composure is really important. You have to get in the right space when changing between stations. You also have to keep your focus over a long period of time during a competition. Focus is something that I’ve worked on a lot. You have to be able to block out surrounding distractions., for example, every time someone misses a horn goes off. And you have to be able to react very quickly, when you call for a target you have to be ready.
How does technique when under pressure come into it?
Technique comes with practice and is a key thing is remaining consistent. I started work with a sports psychologist, but until then I’ve just had to teach herself to handle the pressure. It’s important to have a clear mind. Sometimes you’ll just have bad days where you just can’t get anything to work, in situations like this you just have to stop, reset, and refocus.
How did you get into the sport?
I got into shooting when my brothers started a secondary school shooting competition. I gave it a go and really liked it. It’s a family sport and the whole family does it together. I love it because anyone can do it, there is lots of variety and I compete with a great group of people.
How does it feel representing New Zealand?
Wearing the silver fern is pretty amazing. Winning for NZ is also pretty awesome!
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