Sermon Illustrations > Discipline > Gold Medalist

Gold Medalist

Sports Illustrated, August 2, 1976, pp. 31-35, quoted in How to Profit from Bible Reading, I. L. Jensen, Moody Press, p. 80

Lanny Bassham, Olympic gold-medalist in small-bore rifle competition, tells what concentration does for his marksmanship: "Our sport is controlled nonmovement. We are shooting from 50 meters&md;over half a football field&md;at a bull's eye three-quarters the size of a dime. If the angle of error at the point of the barrel is more than .005 of a millimeter (that is five one-thousandths), you drop into the next circle and lose a point.

So we have to learn how to make everything stop. I stop my breathing. I stop my digestion by not eating for 12 hours before the competition. I train by running to keep my pulse around 60, so I have a full second between beats&md;I have gotten it lower, but found that the stroke-volume increased so much that each beat really jolted me. You do all of this and you have the technical control. But you have to have some years of experience in reading conditions: the wind, the mirage. Then you have the other 80% of the problems&md;the mind.