My name is Sam Ray and as you may know, I am a Physical Therapist at Upright Athlete in Durham, NC. At Upright Athlete, I have been expanding my clinical experience with focus on injury prevention and sports performance for all ages. As my passion continues to grow within the clinic, I am also able to travel as a USA Shooting Physical Therapist for national and international events. This chapter of my story began last year when I was given the opportunity to travel to South Korea for the 2018 ISSF World Championships in Changwon. My most recent adventure landed me in Beijing, China for the 2019 ISSF World Cup for pistol and rifle. Below is a quick summary of my experience on and off the shooting range in Beijing. Enjoy!
Last week I had the opportunity to work as the Physical Therapist for USA Shooting at the 2019 ISSF World Cup in Beijing, China at the 2008 Olympic Shooting Range.
This competition includes all pistol and rifle athletes that qualified for the event through a Spring Selection match last month. I treated all pistol and rifle athletes in accordance with their shooting schedules for 10m, 25m, and 50m matches which included 10m men’s and women’s air pistol, 10m men’s and women’s air rifle, 10m air pistol mixed team, 10m air rifle mixed team, 25m women’s precision pistol, 25m women’s rapid fire pistol, 25m men’s rapid fire pistol, and 50m men’s and women’s 3-position small-bore rifle.
It was important for me to apply proper shooting form for standing, kneeling, and prone positions to enhance performance and prevent injuries during competition. I also assessed each athlete’s typical workout routine in order to best understand and treat each individual based on their specific strengths and weaknesses, in addition to creating personalized home exercise programs for continued athletic success beyond this World Cup. I stepped away from the treatment table to practice my own dry firing skills at the shooting range with an air pistol while the athlete’s analyzed my technique in order to enhance my understanding of the sport and its requirements. I could definitely use some more practice!
Outside of the shooting range, I spent my free time exploring Beijing! This included Tiananmen Square, Wangfujing Street Market (where I ate a scorpion…), and the Silk Market! Beijing had so much to offer with it’s unique culture, abundance of sight-seeing, athletic finesse, and overall hospitality. This was a fantastic opportunity for me to apply all that I have learned and previously practiced at Upright Athlete and ActivEdge to a unique, high caliber athletic population. I departed Beijing, China after an amazing international learning experience and incredible addition to my professional career. I am very thankful for this opportunity and am looking forward to working with USA Shooting in the future.