Believe it or not, fashion and shooting sports have less in common than you think. We all want to look good while competing in our favorite sport, but it’s key to remember that the clothes we wear on the field must keep us both comfortable and safe. Most shooting ranges have policies and procedures regarding permitted shooting attire, but as a high school athlete you must consider options that will ultimately set you up for your best chance at a perfect round.
Most athletes will agree that weather is a factor to consider. Weather is a unique issue—not only can it change from day to day, but it can even change by the minute. Preparing for the weather can seem like a daunting task depending on where you shoot, but regardless of what the conditions are predicted to be, it’s your job to arrive to the field prepared for multiple scenarios. I stress to all my athletes that they need to dress for the weather.
TARGETING THE WIND
Wind has plagued competitive shooters for years and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Prepare for the windy days by wearing clothing that stays tight to the body. Your attire should not restrict your range of motion but should be form-fitting enough to keep sleeves, hoods and other accessories from flapping around and becoming a distraction. Competitors in northern states need to be aware of wind chill and how that can make cold weather feel much colder. A windbreaker may be what you need to wear to keep your body warm and mind focused forward.
SHOOTING IN THE RAIN
Yes, we shoot in the rain. In fact, we shoot in just about every weather scenario. At a minimum, you should be able to throw on a rain suit, have a towel for wiping down your glasses, and proper footwear that allows you to maintain balance. Shooting in the rain can quickly become a safety issue especially when trying to handle a firearm with a protective layer of oil on it. It’s up to the athlete to have the proper attire with them to compete safely in the rain.
COMPETING IN THE HEAT
On the other end of the spectrum: sun and heat! Stay hydrated and wear clothing that allows your skin to breathe. Competing for long hours in the sun can be very draining and mentally taxing for many athletes. Arrive to the range early to see what the conditions are like where you will be shooting. Try and find a shaded area to relax during long breaks in between rounds.
Athletes that understand how to prepare for the weather will see their scores start to rise overall if they’re ready for anything Mother Nature can throw at them. Do not show up in shorts and flip-flops and expect to shoot well in every circumstance. Proper attire, along with options for dealing with multiple weather situations, will allow everyone in the League to have a safe and enjoyable experience!