Indian Shooters’ Asian Games Success Hinged on ‘War Room’ Simulation in NCR
Indian shooters’ remarkable performance at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou was made possible through a unique simulation technique and dry shooting sessions in a room called the ‘War Room’ located in the National Capital Region.
A seemingly ordinary room at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Ranges in the National Capital Region (NCR) played a pivotal role in the impressive achievements of Indian shooters at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou. Referred to as the ‘War Room’ by the shooters, this room was instrumental in charting India’s success through innovative simulation techniques and dry shooting.
India’s shooters have delivered an outstanding performance at the Hangzhou Asian Games, securing a total of 18 medals, including six gold medals. This marks the country’s best-ever performance in shooting at the Asian Games. The previous record was set in the 2006 Doha Asian Games, where Indian shooters claimed 13 medals, including 3 gold, 5 silver, and 6 bronze.
Palak Gulia, the gold medalist in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol Individual event at the Asian Games, shared how the ‘War Room’ at the Dr. Karni Singh Ranges in Tughlakabad aided her preparations.
“In the War Room, we simulated various scenarios such as the final round, the last four shots, the final two shots, and assessed various parameters like pulse rate, heartbeat, and breathing. We analyzed when we tend to get hyper during the course of shots (e.g., after 10 shots, 12 shots, or 14 shots) and when we should ideally remain calm during the final. All of this was meticulously practiced in the War Room,” she explained.
“I personally conducted numerous sessions in the War Room and actively participated in the mental training sessions, which occurred three times a week. This holistic approach significantly contributed to my preparation for the Asian Games,” Palak added after clinching gold and silver medals at the event.
The concept of training in the “War Room” was initiated by Pierre Beauchamp, the High-Performance Director of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
Inside the War Room, coaches employ photographs to recreate the shooting range where the athletes will compete. They simulate various scenarios, including the qualification rounds and final dry-shoot sessions, where shooters go through their entire routine without live ammunition.
“Previously, shooters used to practice dry-shooting against a plain wall. However, we now project photographs of the range and targets onto the wall. We even play background music to replicate the atmosphere they will encounter at the venue. This method of preparation has proven immensely beneficial for our shooters,” stated Ronak Pandit, the national team’s pistol coach.
Additionally, since February 2022, the NRAI has implemented a new mental training program, recruiting three sports psychologists to facilitate the mind-training sessions.
Pandit emphasized the pivotal role played by the War Room in the shooters’ success in Hangzhou, revealing that “85 percent of the shooters who trained in the War Room secured medals at the Asian Games.”
Following the Asian Games, the coaching staff has continued to utilize this program, incorporating advanced data analysis to assist shooters in their preparations for the Asian Championships in Korea and various other events leading up to the Paris Olympics.