When I learned that my 14-year-old granddaughter, Mia, wanted me to teach her how to shoot, I jumped at the opportunity. 

I quickly inquired about when we could do it, and we settled on a date during her school spring break.

As an eight-time champion, it’s not unusual for people to ask me to teach them to shoot. I don’t relish the task.

My persistence, commitment to detail and ability to follow instruction make me a good student, but I do not have the gift for teaching. Also, teaching someone to shoot takes hours of work that extends beyond the time you spend on the gun range. You must prepare the gear, plan an introductory course, travel to the range, set up the range and clean up afterward.

And when people ask me to teach them, usually what they really mean is they want me to take them out to fire a gun. It takes focus to learn about firearm safety and handling. It also takes a lot of time and determination to learn and practice to shoot accurately. 

With Mia, though, I felt differently. For one, she’s an excellent student. But it’s more than that. 

This was an opportunity to pass on to a family member a sliver of the knowledge and skill that I have gained throughout my 30 years of shooting. I want her to have at least a basic understanding on how to safely operate firearms so that she’s not afraid of them, like I was before I enrolled in shooting courses. 

Even if she does not want to commit to shooting long-term, some knowledge from our lesson should linger. Later in life, she might want to take up shooting, or she might date someone who likes to, and they can enjoy it together.

One regret of my shooting career is that no one in my family ever saw me compete. Competitively speaking, it didn’t make sense to have my loved ones present. My shooting competitions were pressure-packed events with top competitors. Any small distraction can disrupt your performance. 

My husband, Carlos, knew what I went through in the competitions. He listened to my stories when I returned home, he helped arrange my travel, and he attended awards banquets after the competition. Even though Carlos never saw me compete, it was because he didn’t want his presence to negatively affect my performance.

Continue reading this blog post at Women’s Outdoor News.

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