Club on target for open day
AS her finger rests on the trigger Leah Costanzo is relaxed but her focus is intense.
Shooting requires such precise attention it forces all thoughts and ideas from your head, she says, and this "mental fitness” is what she loves most about the sport.
It doesn't matter if the washing needs to be brought in, she said, laughing.
"When the target's released - because you have to react so quickly - if you have that little mental slip-up, where you're thinking about something else, you've lost your target and you just can't make up the ground,” she said.
"Although you're competing, you're competing more against yourself.
"Once you have your basics down pat, it becomes a mental game.”
Mrs Costanzo is a member of the Ballandean Clay Target Club, which meets every month to practice down-the-line (DTL) shooting and on May 26 is holding a family-friendly come-and-try-day.
Clay target shooting, also known as clay pidgeon shooting, is a sport that people as young as 12 can enjoy.
The only thing you need to bring to the National Come-and-Try Day this month is closed shoes.
Shooters sometimes cop flack from members of the public who equate shooting with 'nutters', Mrs Costanzo said, but her club is committed to safety.
"It's quite an emotional subject, because we like to do everything that we can to protect our sport and our right to own a firearm,” she said.
She said Australian laws which control gun ownership served the sport well, "but we can still be pigeonholed by the general public”.
"In our sport, safety is of the utmost, and if anyone even looks like being unsafe, they come down on them very heavy.
"If they do something that is so stupid - they're gone. We will not tolerate that sort of behaviour. Zero tolerance.”
Club member Sam Scalia stopped shooting for 20 years but is glad he's back and encouraged newcomers to give it a try.
"All generations can shoot - my Dad's 66, I'm 40, and my son's a 12-year-old and he's going to start shooting very soon,” he said.
"It's just one of those things that sucks you in - it's a bit hard to explain. The smell of gun powder, we always say.”
The Come and Try Day will be held on May 26, 9am-12noon at Ballandean Clay Target Club, Curr Rd, Ballandean.