Difficult decisions in Changwon

Twenty year-old Benjamin Karlsen took home the gold medal in the 50m Prone Junior event at this year’s ISSF World Championships in Changwon, after beating off stiff competition from Hungary’s Zalan Pekler. But it wasn’t an easy-win for the Norwegian shooter. Here, Benjamin discusses his experience in Changwon and the challenging decisions he had to make when shooting on a global stage.

“Ahead of the World Championships I had a strategy in place and knew exactly what ammunition lot of ELEY Tenex I was going to use.

When the time came to compete, constantly changing conditions meant I was fighting for every tenth of a point. I knew I wasn’t alone though with tough conditions affecting my competitors as well. I made sure I stayed focused and took regular breaks, but nothing felt like it was working. After 47 shots, I knew that something had to change.

When is the right time to switch?

In shooting competitions and training alike, you’re constantly faced with difficult decisions. Should I alter my position slightly, or try an alternative approach? When is the right time to switch and why? I could have stayed in my lane and finished the series in just a few minutes. After all, I had done pretty well so far and could have taken my chances, but I wasn’t sure if good was good enough.

I decided to stop shooting and clear my head. After talking to my coach, we decided on a new plan for the last shots, and it was the right choice to make.

Should I have stopped earlier? Probably, but I scored 136.0 points in my last 13 shots, climbing from 4th and then 3rd place all the way to the top of the podium. The moment I found out I had won, I felt like the best shooter in the world.

Every small decision is important. If you’re sitting in an awkward position in kneeling, it will not correct itself. You will need to change it. My advice to all shooters is to always keep options available in every situation and reflect on them constantly. Act on them and don’t tell yourself ‘maybe’, ‘we’ll see’ or ‘I’ll try’. Have confidence in your decisions.

Consider. Decide. Do. Coincidence doesn’t exist. Be in charge.”