Development Programme Initiative Case Study - Georgina Geikie
Why was a Development Programme like this needed for Air Rifle and Air Pistol Shooting?
Shooting is one of the 26 Olympic and 21 Paralympic Sports, as well as being one of the events that make up Modern Pentathlon. It’s currently not a mainstream activity, but thanks to London2012 and the success of Team GB, it has given the sport a voice. And young people want to know about it.
Shooting is a sport that anyone, of any age, gender and physical ability can participate in along side each other. It can capture those individuals who aren't interested in the “popular” sports. Shooting4England opened doors to a sport that can give young people the opportunity to remain active in a different manner. This Olympic Legacy Development Programme highlighted that the sport is part of the Olympic/Paralympic programmes and inspires the aspirational characters involved to the possibility of competing to this level. At the same time simply flags up the sports in an inspiring way, offering a hands on taster sessions of a different way to maintain a day to day active lifestyle.
Georgina Geikie, the only Team GB Pistol Shooter from London2012, Torch Bearer and ex-Pentathlete went into schools with her Olympic Torch. She delivered assemblies inspiring students around the age of 14years with her sporting endeavours and promoting the Olympic Values.
Additionally she invited young people and their parents to an Introductory
Weekend in their area, where they could have-a-go and find out further information about continuing with the sport.
A trial introductory weekend and series of school visits was organised in February, which was extremely successful and was received well by schools, students, parents and local clubs. Recognition from British Shooting and GB Modern Pentathlon identified “Shooting4England” as being a great development project, giving the sport a real Olympic Legacy, which it would never have had without
Currently the only way the majority of young people get into modern pentathlon and pure shooting is if a family member/close friend has had experience. But this project opened the doors to a much wider audience, giving the opportunity of this sport that they wouldn’t have otherwise had so easily.
Middle aged plus age group dominate shooting in the Rifle and Pistol disciplines, for the main reasons of its popularity in history and lack of information given to young people today. The “popular” mainstream sports dominate our culture. If children aren't interested in these, they invariably drop out of an active lifestyle as soon as possible. Shooting4England helped inspire students to remain active
as a result of the Olympics and give them the opportunity to get involved with activities they most likely wouldn't have otherwise.
In the lead up to London 2012, Georgina did, and remains, to be an ambassador for Active Devon, her local CSP. At all these events and other school visits, her public speaking raised the awareness of the sport extremely positively. Interested questions were constantly posed of, "how do I get into the sport?" "Where are my local facilities?" and many more. Shooting4England answered the public’s questions and more. This Development Programme catchment area was the South West of England, but could easily be rolled out across other regions.
Georgina delivered an assembly to six schools for each Introductory Weekend. She spoke to audience sizes of 50-500 students, aged between 12-18years. The messages she portrayed were of the Olympic Values, her journey to competing at London 2012 and inviting the students to participate in the forthcoming Introductory Weekend in their area.
Each weekend had a slightly different format as you will see from Appendix 1. This was partially to accommodate the facilities, but also from the experience of the initial weekends.
The general format was similar throughout the year that the sessions began with an Introduction from Georgina. This was an initial explanation of the activity they were about to embark upon and an inspirational feel as where the individuals could go with the sport.
The groups would then participate in both Air Rifle and Air Pistol, supervised. A qualified instructor would coach two individuals. They had one piece of equipment that they took in-turn to use. At some point in the day, each individual shot a competition of 10shots both Rifle and Pistol. At the end of the day/or session, a Presentation was held giving certificates to the top 6 competitors and inviting the top three to attend the Regional Final at the end of the year.
Only three young people out of all the participants of Introductory Weekends 1-3 brought their own equipment, as they had shooting experience before. All of these individuals were Multi-Sport (Pony Club Tetrathletes) who brought their pistols, but had no experience of Air Rifle. Therefore equipment for the majority of participants had to be supplied. The Scouts were a great great help with this and would be a group in the future would be very interested to participate.
Reason for Competition
The competition was aimed to recognise talent and to encourage further involvement in the sport. The Final Competition at the end of the year was a goal to work towards, and to improve at. At the Regional Final there was a Most Improved Award, to the top 3 young people who had the greatest improvement from their qualification score they achieved at the Introductory Weekend, compared to the first shoot they did a the Final.
The Most Improved Award was received very well and achieved the intended purpose. The Finalists said they had all returned to their local clubs to train and seek additional coaching for the event. Arthur Harvey said “I’ve coached young ladies and gentlemen who were very much looking forward to the Final. They’ve never competed in a pure shooting competition, as some are Pony Club Tetrathletes and the others have only taken part in the Shooting4England Introductory Weekend.”