If you read my previous article, you know I started shooting by chance.
During the weekends, I would write music, go shopping and hang out in fancy restaurants and nightclubs. But here I am today, almost living in a shooting ground, I am there every weekend, and I can't remember the last time I went on a shopping spree in the city. Which my husband is really happy about.
I have passed the 6 month "fake shooter" barrier. To me, fake shooters are those who appear to be hyped on their first day shooting, promise to come back, but as soon as the weather inclemencies get harsh, they lose their interest for shooting and they abandon you, they disappear from the shooting ground. You probably know a few of those.
To me there are no excuses, I shoot when it rains or snows. This is SPARTA!
So, if you are planning on bringing your friends to your local shooting ground, here, I will leave you with the things that made me pursue my dream of becoming a top shooter in Sweden and perhaps assist you in gaining a new shooting companion. Let's begin this conquest!
1. I LIVE IN THE CITY: I MISS THE COUNTRYSIDE
Living in the city is comfortable because grocery shopping doesn't require much time and one can walk everywhere, but growing up in the suburbs of Madrid next to a forest, I always longed for the countryside when I moved to Stockholm.
So if you want to bring a non-shooting-friend along with you, please don't select one of your friends who love concrete jungles, make sure he/she likes the countryside, that gives you extra points when convincing someone to start shooting, considering that the majority of shooting grounds are in the countryside.
2. I HAVE A VERY STRESSFUL JOB: SHOOTING IS MY THERAPY
From Monday to Friday, I work at an office, I am Chief Marketing Officer at a Swedish Fintech company, and previously I was Communications Director a global B2B publication called The CEO Magazine. So yes, shooting is my hobby but I take it as seriously as my job.
For the past 5 years I have worked from 08:00 to 24:00, as I had to coordinate projects overseas, and I had very demanding clients who required my attention 24/7. I do it with passion because I love my job, but it can cross other people when all I do is talk about work at home, and I need to cancel plans with friends because clients need me.
So choose someone who needs to disconnect from work. You probably know of someone who is running the rat race and shooting is the best escape, believe me.
When I first held a gun in my hands at Skokloster Wings & Clays, I was so scared, and aware of how dangerous handling a gun can be, that I had to be fully focused on what I was doing. My brain completely erased my work related thoughts, and I found myself fully focused on something that is not work related for the first time in years.
So if the person you want to bring shooting has a stressful life and always has his/her problems on the back of their minds, they will thank you as soon as they realise the great therapy shooting is. They will not think of work or their problems for a couple of hours.
Oh, just one more thing with these people: when you bring them shooting, make sure they turn their phones off...
3. I HAVE A PARTNER IN CRIME THAT SUPPORTS ME: MY HUSBAND
I always get messages from people saying that my husband is very lucky to have a wife who likes shooting, but it is actually the other way round. I am lucky to have someone kind enough to take care of our son and some other major things so I can go shooting. We are a good team so if you are planning on bringing your wife to one of your shooting sessions, make sure you are a good team and if you have children, get ready to take care of them at home or make sure you have strong arms to hold them tight if you take them to the shooting ground. And don't forget to take hearing protection for kids.
Having your kids around while mommy shoots, is super cool, you will actually love to see your wife/girlfriend/tinderfriend smoking some clays, and kids often find it cool to say "my mommy shoots" to their friends, but make sure it is not always like that. At least when I go shooting, I enjoy having time for myself. Being kids-free while shooting is great! And don't get me wrong, I love children and my son is everything to me, but I really enjoy those couple of hours when I shoot and I am alone.
Let your partner get ready with a good instructor (or if you can, instruct her, there is nothing more bonding than that practicing a sport together with someone) and when she is ready, shoot together, you will love to have a female friend as a shooting companion, we can be challenging in many aspects!
4. NEWBIES HAVE AN EGO: SO BE CAREFUL
I can actually relate to a lot of you who text me when you want to quit shooting because you are not shooting well. Being a newbie is hard: the only things you hear for months is how bad you do things and how things should be done. That can undermine people.
When your friend is shooting for the first time, do things to build their confidence: tell them they are doing better than the other newbies, get your phone out, and film some videos in slow motion so he/she can see how cool they look like with a gun and smashing some clays. Cheer him/her up not only when he kills 1 or 2 birds, but when he nearly kills them too. Tell him he deserved to kill those that he didn't kill because his aim was improving mount after mount.
5. DRESS ACCORDING TO THE WEATHER: TWEED IS FAB, BUT ALSO WARM
If you follow my instagram account, you will see that I do care for my looks. There is nothing wrong with that, but the most important thing for me apart from dressing nicely, is to feel comfortable while I shoot.
If you look at my videos, in competitions I always wear a pair of flat sneakers and I also wear my famous Perazzi net vest, but when it starts to get cold and windy, I love to wear tweed. Plain with nothing weird on it, just classy and comfortable.
Why do I say this? Because when I bring my non-shooting friends to Skokloster Wings & Clays, they don't know what to wear, so if they don't have the clothes, they go to the nearest shopping center, they buy a Barbour or a Belstaff jacket and when they wear it while they shoot, the gun gets fastened in the button of the upper part of the jacket, those with the pockets.
Please make sure they take something warm (if it's winter) but comfortable at the same time. Without any accessories or embellishments that could make them shoot worse. Nothing near the neck and shoulders.
If they come with the wrong clothes, they will shoot worse and dislike the experience, which means that you will not be able to convert them into shooting companions, sorry.
So, share this advice with your friends and ask them to join you next weekend, you might change someone's life. Just as mine changed 9 months ago and I have brought 20 friends . with me who had never touched a shotgun before and some of them are prepping for competitions in 2020.
All the best,