Whether the result is the Olympic podium or simply a life fulfilled, introducing youth to shooting sports carries many rewards
by Buster Madison
Shooting sports seems to be gaining popularity again at the high school levels, and we’ve noticed this trend not only in rural communities but also across the nation. As more colleges offer Division I teams and sponsorships, young shooters take aim at this path as both a way to receive a great education and to share their love for the shooting sports with likeminded young adults. Ask some of these youthful marksmen what they shot first and they’ll most likely say a Daisy.
Daisy’s support throughout the youth community is unparalleled and their commitment to delivering match-grade products is recognizable by thousands of podium winners around the nation. If you have a child that is interested in competition shooting, we encourage you to support them through patience, motivation, and not being “pushy.” Your young athlete is naturally competitive, so let them have fun and learn from their mistakes. Encourage them to take camps, try out at local competitions, and follow positive role models like Ginny Thrasher on her Instagram page for awesome tips on becoming the next Olympian.
We recently had a chance to speak with 2016 Olympic gold medal winner (women’s 10-meter air rifle) Ginny Thrasher and asked her for some advice on raising our kids in a competitive shooting enjoinment.
When reflecting on how a dream becomes a reality, in many instances, it isn’t always about the win, it is often more about the training, commitment, drive, and support that delivers results.
For Ginny, those factors contributed a great deal to her success. It is often influences in our lives that pave the way for future greatness. Like Ginny, family is often responsible for fostering the love for shooting sports. It was a defining hunting trip with her grandpa at age 14 that initiated a life-altering path for Ginny. With just a small taste of what shooting was all about, she joined the West Springfield High School Rifle team and from there, her abilities and passion began to flourish.
As a senior in high school, Ginny went on to qualify for international matches and was noticed by several colleges. She eventually decided to attended West Virginia University and there joined the school’s elite team of competitive shooters.
Usually, freshman year is a basic introduction of what is to come. Not for Ginny. Her freshman year became her breakout year, where she became the first ever freshman to earn both NCAA Individual Titles. Just a mere three weeks after the seemingly unachievable, she won the Olympic trials. The Summer 2016 Olympic Games were held in Rio where, again, Ginny walked away with a gold medal around her neck after winning the 10-meter rifle competition. She returned victoriously back to campus at WVU, where she went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.
Ginny continues working and training towards her goals, both personally and professionally. She is actively competing and training with the mission to earn more titles, although winning is just icing on the cake. Competition is more about showing up and performing the best she can, realizing that there will be both good and bad days. This approach to competitive shooting came to Ginny with the help of supportive family, coaches, and shooting industry brands and associations that strive to show youth the fun, potential for future careers, and lifelong benefits of the shooting sports.
Brands like Daisy have been huge supporters of young shooters. Since 1955, Daisy has developed and refined curriculums that revolve around shooting education, including organizing and hosting the Daisy Championship Match with a goal of reaching more youth.
With 2020 and 2021 came disappointments like the cancellation of the Daisy Championship. Fortunately, 2022 dates have been set and will likely draw even more competitors and fun than years past. The event is a family affair, bringing entertainment shooters, a parade of teams, ceremonies, fellowship, and Ginny’s favorite event, the 10-meter air rifle competition.
With events like this and shooting industry pros like Ginny advocating the many benefits of shooting, today’s youth are more exposed to shooting sports and a strong, formal foundation in shooting education than previous generations. This extensive training, education, and commitment helps grow new athletes and the next generation of responsible firearm owners.
Ginny expressed her appreciation for active supporters in her life and the teammates who helped her establish a phenomenal career. Joining local shooting clubs and teams builds life skills that can carry a lifetime.
Raise Them Right™
“Raise Them Right™ is an American movement that encourages parents and mentors to invest time with young people to build within them a legacy of values and virtues—empowering youth with self-confidence, wholesome relationships, and skills they need to succeed in life.”
With positive role models like Ginny, brands like Daisy, and organizations like Raise Them Right, together we can shape a better tomorrow for the youth of today.