Formal Practice

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Formal Practice

In our previous newsletter we explored Informal Training, one of Athena’s four new methods of training on Electronic Scoring Targets (ESTs). The idea behind Informal Training is simple, the athlete can shoot however much they want for however long they want. There are no time limits or restrictions on the number of shots.


What happens though when an athlete wants to train to a specific course of fire, being held to the same time constraints and conditions as what would be in a competition? Athena’s answer to this question is called, “Formal Training.”


In Formal Training the athlete selects from a list of pre-built Course of Fire definitions, for example a 3x10 air rifle or 60 shots air pistol. Each Course of Fire has the number of shots, stages, time limits, and even range commands included.


In a typical competition an athlete's target is controlled by the Range Officer. The Range Officer issues range commands, START, STOP, etc, and these commands in turn control the state of the event, range timer, and even the green and red safety lights.


In training though there is no Range Officer to issue commands to the athletes (there should ALWAYS be a Range Officer present for safety reasons). Instead, Athena uses it’s Range Control Automation to advance through the commands as if a human Range Officer was issuing them. As the commands are automatically issued, the range commands are displayed on the Monitor, the range timer gets set, starts, and stops, and the red and green lights turn on and off.


For example consider the following series of Monitor screenshots to the left. These illustrate Athena’s automation that takes the athlete from the end of sighters to the beginning of competition shots.


Formal Practice 09


Formal Practice 10


Formal Practice 11

The first screenshot is the STOP command, which occurs when the range timer reaches 0. Automatically the text “Sighting shots … STOP” is displayed on the Monitor and the Target’s red light is turned on.


After a five second pause, again automatically, the command “10 record shots in a time limit of 10 minutes …” appears on the monitor, with it, the range timer is set to 10 minutes (the time limit for prone record fire).


After another 5 second pause, the “START” command is displayed, the Target’s red light is turned off, the green light is turned on, and the range timer begins.


As demonstrated, with Athena’s automation the athlete advances through the stages of the match, shown the same range commands, held to the same time constraints, and has the target’s lights turn on and off, all as if it was a real competition. Formal Training thus gives athletes as much of a real-life competitive experience, but in practice.


Oh, and don’t worry, athletes can always pause the automation if they need to take a break.