Air-rifle and small-bore shooting are fascinating Olympic sports due to their unique performance requirements for accuracy and precision.
The purpose of our study was to systematically research the literature to determine and summarize performance determinants in both air-rifle and small-bore shooting. Since some athletes participate internationally in both disciplines in competition, the disciplines must have some similarity in the performance structure. Therefore, we further investigated whether performance in air-rifle and small-bore shooting can be explained by the same performance determinants.
We systematically searched in four databases using combined keywords relevant to performance in air-rifle and small-bore shooting. The articles included had undergone peer-review and had a) a direct relation to shooting performance, b) an indirect relation by comparing the performance of shooters of different skill levels, and c) a practical relevance (directly controllable through training). After the quality of each article was assessed, the key data were extracted and summarized.
The fourteen articles included achieved an average of 60 ± 14% (range 30–80%) in quality assessment. ... mehrAltogether, articles covered 268 subjects (32% female), of which 19% were elite- and 28% were national-level athletes. Sixteen performance determinants were investigated, which were divided into anthropometric, technical-coordinative, physiological and psychological categories. Both in air-rifle and small-bore shooting, rifle stability and body sway were found to differ between elite- and national-level athletes. In both disciplines, body sway seemed to have no influence on shot score in elite- and national-level athletes. Similarly, heart rate did not correlate with shot score at nearly all performance levels in both disciplines. In national-level air-rifle athletes, horizontal rifle stability, aiming accuracy and aiming time were found to affect shot score.
To be competitive at a national-level in air-rifle shooting, a highly developed aiming process is needed to achieve a high shot score. Lack of data prevented us from drawing evidence-based conclusions in elite-level air-rifle athletes and in small-bore shooting. Future research should investigate possible performance determinants both in air-rifle and in small-bore shooting, especially with elite-level athletes, to confirm or disprove existing findings. Further research should use more complex analyses to investigate the multifaceted processes associated with different performance determinants.