Shooters get scientific
National shooting body to work with UniSIM in bid to give athletes the cutting edge
In shooting, the smallest detail may mean the difference between a bull's eye or a wayward shot.
And the Singapore Shooting Association (SSA) doesn't want to leave anything to chance.
In a tie-up with the SIM University (UniSIM), which saw the two organisations sign a memorandum of understanding for a four-year partnership yesterday, UniSIM's psychology undergraduates will collect data from more than 20 national shooters in a bid to up their game ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The data will be analysed by UniSIM staff and students to build individual profiles for the athletes, who will in turn learn more about their body and mind to help them gain an edge over their rivals.
The information to be collected includes emotional states during training and competitions, and even changes in the time interval between heartbeats.
"Shooting is a very mental sport where you need to focus for up to two hours and, at the same time, control your emotions," said UniSIM psychology lecturer Emily Ortega, who is heading this project, at the signing at UniSIM's Clementi premises yesterday.
"If you react to a shot emotionally, good or bad, it will put you off balance, and this (partnership) shows them what the different attributes and optimal ranges you'd need to have, and be in, to get that perfect shot," added the former Singapore Sports Institute sports psychologist, who had been working with the national shooters for "many" years.
The athletes will wear heart-rate monitors for measurements before and during training, as well as at local competitions - such contraptions are not allowed in international meets, but special arrangements have been made for local events.
The UniSIM students and staff will then match the data with the results, along with the athletes' input on their emotions during the sessions, to build the profiles.
SSA president Michael Vaz said: "Shooting is a special sport: we can bring a shooter up technically to world-class levels... but the problem of shooting at the top level (is that) on the day of the competition, it becomes a mental thing.
"We are hoping that it would help us with the mental portion."
Air rifle specialist Martina Veloso said: "Hopefully with all the results they have collected, we will know much more about ourselves and we can improve during training - how we can improvise our training plans so that we can improve our performances at competitions."
Ortega said her students will gain from this arrangement by applying what they learn in classrooms, contributing to research in this field, and through internship opportunities.
Ortega said: "Hopefully, we will win a medal at Tokyo 2020.
"That would be my ultimate litmus test."