3 June 2014
Six-time Olympian Russell Mark took time out of his busy schedule to teach a group of kids about the fine art of clay shooting.
It is not every day you get to hang out with your idol and receive advice from one of the most successful athletes in their chosen field. Well, that is what happened to 16 junior clay shooters who recently spent the day with the Olympic Gold Medallist.
The International Gun Club in Adelaide was the venue for a junior coaching clinic in conjunction with the South Australian Clay Target Association (SACTA), with special guest Mark the head coach for the day.
Russell Mark's Olympic career has spanned 24 years and six Olympic Games. He finished a respectable 15th in his first Olympic Games in Seoul 1988 and, a disappointing 20th - by his high standards - in London 2012.
The highlight of Mark's successful career and longevity in the sport was of course his gold medal in the double trap at the 1996 Atlanta games.
All the juniors hung off every word Mark taught them, from how to position your feet in stance formation to correctly utilising the pattern board.
"Russell Mark is one of the most well-known and revered trap shooters not only in Australia but world-wide, he has very good coaching and communication skills and the kids responded well to his style of teaching," SACTA Junior Development Officer Michael Veenstra said.
"The basis of the clinic was to make sure the juniors had a grasp of the basic fundamentals of trap shooting, which is foot position, gun mount and gun hold points on the trap house."
Mark's rapport with the teenagers was astounding; he was able to relate to them at their level as he too began shooting in his teens.
Only time will tell whether or not there are any budding Olympians from the group of lucky teenagers who spent the day with Russell Mark.
What won’t be forgotten in a hurry is the impact and words of wisdom these kids will take with them every time they step out on the shooting range from here on in.