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Printable Version

2006 CMP Three-Position Air Rifle Summer Camps

By Sommer Wood, CMP Writer/Editor

Campers participated in a new physical training program this year. “Ambercising,” as the campers and staff called it, was created by former USA Shooting National Team Member Amber Darland and ADAPT Sports, the first program specifically designed for shooters.

The conclusion of the 2006 CMP Three-Position Summer Camp season marks the 10th year for this highly acclaimed program. Over the years this program has benefited countless young shooters across the country and is revered as the premier camp of its kind. This year the schedule included new locations and new programs that carried forward the standards campers and coaches have come to expect.

The camps were once again led by Dan Durben, who served as Camp Director for his third season. Durben is a 1988 Olympian. He was the National Rifle Coach from 1996 through the 2000 Olympics. He subsequently coached the National Paralympic Shooting Team in 2004. Also in her third season with the camps was Camp Assistant Director Sommer Wood. Now a CMP staff member, Wood spent her collegiate career with the Clemson University Club Rifle Team. Returning staff members were Vicki Goss and Brad Donoho from the University of Kentucky, Katie Harrington from the University of Nebraska, Natasha Dinsmore from West Virginia and Joseph and James Hall from Jacksonville State. New camp counselors were Andrew Hahn of Memphis State, Jennifer Marshall of North Carolina State, Ray Geyer of the University of Kentucky and Cameron Hicks of Murray State.

CMP Counselor Vicki Goss shot beside Advanced Camp participant Micaela Jochum. The Advanced Camp offered the unique opportunity for campers and counselors to work through shooting issues together in live match situations.

Many events were packed into the camp season this year, including some new additions to the program. The camps with their five-day schedule, which has been a staple of the program for 10 years, again traveled from coast to coast reaching shooters in Channelview, Texas; Oceanside, California; Spartanburg, South Carolina and Fort Benning, Georgia. For returning campers additions to the curriculum gave the camps a fresh look. The most noticeable change was in the physical training portion of the camps where the USA Shooting Exercise Training Program was added. This program was developed for the U. S. National Team by Brian Cassidy of ADAPT, a physical therapy firm in Portland, Oregon and Amber Darland, a former U. S. National Team member. The program is designed to improve balance, strength and stability using only the body for resistance. Because no extra equipment is needed, the workout can easily be conducted on the range. The workout targets specific areas of the body that directly relate to shooters stability such as the hip flexor muscles that provide much of the support in standing and kneeling. This program primarily reaches the smaller muscles used for stability that are not typically worked in traditional exercise programs like weight training. This is the first workout of its kind and the participants of the summer camps were the first to see it outside of the U. S. National Team.

New events on the schedule this summer were a CMP Advanced Camp that was offered at the USA Shooting National Championships and a Coaches Clinic held at Fort Benning. This was actually the second year for the Advanced Camp, but it was the first time the entire counselor staff was involved. 10 campers participated in the invitation-only camp. Selection criteria included previous participation in a CMP Camp and having demonstrated tremendous growth and improvement throughout the past competitive season. During the weeklong camp, participants competed in both air rifle and smallbore national championship events. For some, this was their first experience with outdoor smallbore competition. Advanced camp juniors also had many opportunities to work with counselors one-on-one and to be in discussion groups with National Team Members. This camp’s unique setting allowed athletes to work through performance issues in real match situations. This, of course, made for a very busy week and an especially rewarding camp experience.

The first CMP Summer Camp Coaches Clinic allowed coaches to work with camp counselors for two days both on the range and in the classroom.

The Coaches Clinic was brand new on the summer camp schedule and offered an opportunity for coaches to explore the CMP Camp curriculum from a coach’s perspective. During the two and one-half day clinic at Fort Benning, Georgia, coaches participated in classroom instruction and discussion sessions on the range where they received live demonstrations from the counselor staff. On the last day of the clinic Scott Pilkington of Pilkguns in Monteagle, Tennessee provided a hands-on rifle maintenance course for sporter and precision air rifles. The clinic was a big hit with instructors who gained more than just a few coaching tips. “After the clinic I returned home to shoot a match and my scores improved as a direct result of the techniques I learned. If it had that kind of effect on my shooting, I know it will help me become a better coach,” said Robert Head of Auburn, Alabama.

In keeping with a practice established last year, commemorative targets were painted for each camp. The use of commemorative targets comes from a tradition that was first developed by German shooting clubs beginning in the 17th century and which is continued to this day. These targets are typically large painted wooden discs that commemorate special festivities for the club, such as a significant anniversary or the annual crowning of the club’s shooting king or queen. Many of these painted “Schützenscheiben” were impressive works of art that are extremely valuable today. Originally the targets were used for one shot matches where each club member or participant shot at a designated spot on the target. The person with the shot closest to that spot became the winner or would be designated as the club’s shooting king or queen for the coming year.

In modern German shooting clubs, festival target competitors no longer shoot at the painted wooden targets, but rather shoot one-shot matches on paper targets. The names of participants and the winner who fired the best center shot are then recorded on the outer area of the target. The targets for the CMP Junior Rifle Camps were painted by the CMP staff’s resident artist, Sommer Wood. Each commemorative camp target was uniquely designed to incorporate pictorial features characteristic of the region of each camp. Junior Camp participants also did not shoot at the painted targets, but instead fired their commemorative shots on paper targets that were subsequently attached to outer band of the wooden targets for everyone to view. Targets were then either donated to the host site or a drawing was held among participants giving the winner the right to display the target in their home range.

Campers who arrived to camp with dirty or malfunctioning rifles depended on camp staff to get them back to match condition.

For the weeklong Camps participants were placed with their teams into counselor groups where they began the week working on position skills. By the middle of the week the athletes were ready to put their training to a test in match and final training. These pressure situations allow the shooters to incorporate the mental training tools that are stressed all week. The goal is to not only help these shooters make it to the final, but to help them develop the mental toughness to win. Throughout the week shooters are pushed to raise their personal expectations. For many this pays off at the end of camp match where as many as 25 campers each camp shot personal best scores, this included the individual camp winners. Extra pressure is added to the end of camp match because it is an EIC match where juniors can earn points towards a Junior Distinguished Badge. Scores from all the Camps are combined into one match, and the top ten percent of non-Distinguished shooters earn EIC points. This adds to the incentive for athletes to shooter their best.

After an extremely successful summer, the bar is set high for next year’s camps, but CMP will be up to the challenge of making the 2007 Three-Position Air Rifle Camps better than ever. For all the athletes who attended this past summer’s camps, expectations for the coming season should be high as they return to their schools with the tools that can make them shooting champions. For photos from the summer visit, for complete scores from the summer visit

Planning for the 2007 Summer Camps is already under way and announcements will be posted on the CMP website in early January. For information about the camps, contact Sommer Wood at

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